UPDATE: Superman and Lois land on BBC One this December.
It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since Smallville came to a close on our TV screens. Or that it has been nearly 14 years since The New Adventures of Superman hung up its cape. It is fair to say that the man of steel has had a pretty rough ride in the intervening years. After all, no matter how superb Henry Cavill has been on film, neither Man of Steel nor Justice League really allowed his Superman to fly. Meanwhile, his distant cousin, Supergirl, took the lead on the small screen, with Tyler Hoechlin’s red and blue hero subject to mere guest appearances and crossovers.
Therefore, CW’s Superman and Lois carried the hope of Superman fans worldwide when announced last year; the hero finally taking his rightful place at the heart of CW’s DC Multiverse. But this hope was also tinged with a sense of dread when the announcement came that the series would focus on Clark Kent as a husband and father, alongside the family pressures his super life creates.
Much of the fear generated among fans came from the 90’s New Adventures of Superman. A show that, while popular at the time, also carried a sitcom-like aesthetic that jarred with the expectations of many Superman fans. Smallville, however, received large scale praise during its 10 season run. While at the same time setting the multiverse in place that would continue years later with Arrow and The Flash. But, despite its brilliance, Smallville also left fans hanging with a conclusion that only saw Tom Welling finally don the cape in the last 10 mins of the final episode. Of course, that does not mean the world has been without Superman on TV. But, it has raised serious questions on how best to portray and reflect Superman’s story on screen.
So has Superman and Lois discovered a winning TV formula? And does it carry the gravitas needed to please fans and allow new viewers to jump on board? Judging by the first three episodes, the answer to both these questions is yes. For this is undoubtedly one of the strongest DC premieres on CW in recent years. It’s sublime cinematography, beautiful screenplay and engaging performances, clearly establishing that Superman and Lois means business. Here, elements of Smallville are combined with the sincerity and love shown during Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder’s tenure as Clark and Lois. The result is an opening story that hits all the right notes as family, hope, and rebirth take centre stage. The challenges of raising two teenage sons in a world of secrets, haunting both Lois and Clark.
At this point, it is worth mentioning that you will receive no spoilers from me. This is a show that not only understands the modern world it reflects but also embraces Superman’s mythology. Here the opening 20 minutes is nothing short of a love letter to the history of Superman. With Tyler Hoechlin at ease in his portrayal of both Clark and his alter-ego. Meanwhile, Lois finds a dedicated, soulful and powerful voice in Bitsie Tulloch’s hands. Lois’ role at the heart of the Superman story, vision, and journey restored and embraced.
However, even more interesting is the role of their two teenage sons, Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alex Garfin) who both bring a fresh dynamic to the story. And it is here where Superman and Lois takes inspiration from Smallville and the comics of the Rebirth era. While at the same time allowing for fascinating future story arcs in the journey of both boys. But when this is coupled with a surprise Villain, stunning effects and energetic pacing, you’ll believe a family can fly.
Superman and Lois feels more mature in construct than many of its CW contemporaries and far more cinematic in vision. Here the shows music, cinematography and screenplay provide a welcome leap forward in both confidence and style. While at the same time embracing the wider multiverse born from Arrow and The Flash. I can only hope this vision and style continues to thrive beyond the pilot. Because one thing is clear from the superb opening episode, Superman and Lois are not only in good hands but once more proudly at the heart of CW’s DC world.
While you are here, why not check our exclusive peek at Season 7 of The Flash. Coming soon to CW and Sky TV.