I don’t know if I want to tell you what I really think about this show. Especially since I wrote an article telling you exactly why we didn’t need another Superman series in my SCIFI.radio article titled: “Superman and Lois: For the Love of God Why?“
Having watched four episodes of Superman and Lois, thus far, I am happy to report I do not LOATHE it entirely.
There are things they do very well. Then there are things I wish had never happened, but I understand. I realize some of these decisions were necessary to create the kind of dynamic needed to showcase the stories the writers wanted to tell. They wanted to tell a Human story, a more personable Superman, a story about a man unsure of himself in the only arena he is not an expert in: Fatherhood. Okay. They have managed to make me accept the premise.
But what about Superman? Will we get any of the Man of Steel? Or is this the Dawson’s Creek of superhero stories?
I am happy to report, Big Blue does get to show off his powers. I am not in love with the special effects. They are good enough for me to watch without cringing. The action scenes show writers who understand how someone with Superman’s powers might work.
However, the show isn’t really about Superman. This is a show about the Superman Family. If you are a fan of the comics, you know there was a series of stories during the Silver Age under that title. This series feels like those old stories. In addition to the family dynamics, Lois Lane is still the terror of the Pulitzer crowd, fearless to the point of idiocy, she is the most dynamic member of the Kent Quartet.
Yes, there was the hint of Superman raising a child, but it is much more than that. He is raising TWO teen boys. Two sons, necessary for dynamic tension between the two of them, necessary to offset the fact Superman was an only child. We know the isolation of superpowers. What we don’t know is the jealousy of wanting superpowers. Or the horror of having powers and not knowing if or when they work or how to control them when they do.
The boys are Thor and Loki revisited. One is sunny, the other is grim, teen extremes which rub against each other producing sparks but no true animosity. Yet.
Is there anything for me to love?
I am a true Superman fan. I was doomed to watch this no matter what I wrote in my earlier essay. The first four episodes sets up the story, the Daily Planet has been bought by Morgan Edge, a story set back in the Post-Crisis Era Superman. Edge is is more than a newspaper mogul in Superman and Lois. Here, Edge is working on a number of energy, real estate and technology schemes. I think they expanded his dominion because they changed Lex Luthor. Morgan Edge will be getting an upgrade and appears to be the corporate big bad because Lex Luthor isn’t the villain we know him to be in the mainstream DC Universe.
I also think they wanted to differentiate this Lex Luthor from any other. This Luthor has an intelligent super-villain lair. His lair upgrades his armors. He says weird things about, everything. It is hard to be sure what he is talking about. The one thing you don’t wonder about is his ability to fight Superman, mano y mano.
What Luthor wants? No idea. What is his backstory? No idea. Why is he harassing General Lane? Is this some kind of transference from his previous reality? I hope there is something meaningful in the Luthor transformation as a story element from business mogul to armor-wearing dimension-hopping warrior with a mad on for Superman.
Something I hate
I hate the fact Superman always looks unshaven. I guess this is the more modern Superman, born with a five o’clock shadow no matter what time of day it. I think I am also not happy with Clark Kent’s inability to understand his sons. But maybe the discomfort is my own. I remember when my sons were his age, I didn’t quite feel so out of my element as Kal appears to be. Granted I did not possess planet-altering superpowers and I did not expect my son to possess such powers. I can appreciate his trepidation.
Is Superman and Lois worth watching?
If you are a fan of the mythos, you don’t need me to tell you to show up. Tyler Hoechlin‘s Superman is approachably handsome and a completely tongue-in-cheek loser dad as Clark Kent back in his home town of Smallville and Elizabeth Tulloch’s portrayal of the best newshound of the Daily Planet is true to form and she’s a crack Mom to boot.
The dynamic duo of Jordan and Jon, works my nerves from time to time as they behave like teenagers. Having had teenagers, I remember the mood swings and the mercurial behavior. Alex Garfin as Jordan Kent and Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent; they nail it. They do it so well, I hate them just like I would real teens behaving that way. They do have their good moments and when they do, it is nice to watch.
I am waiting for their relationship to sour. Maybe the writers will disappoint me. There have been a few surprises in these first four episodes and more than a few questions. There are fifteen episodes in this first season. I will call back when the first story arc has ended or by episode eight, whichever happens first.
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