TV Review: Superman & Lois, 1×1, “Pilot”

Chike Coleman shares his thoughts on the season premiere of Superman & Lois, the newest addition to the CW's DC superhero universe.
User Rating: 8

Superman is an iconic character. There is no escaping that. To reinvent the character Todd Helbing and Geoff Johns had to take the character in a definitive new direction.  The fact that Superman & Lois chose to focus on how Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) manage a family of two teenage boys (Jordan Elsass and Alex Garfin) feels cheesy at first. However, the idea gains momentum when you consider that Clark has now lost both parents and needs to become a better parent to his own children despite being Superman and being the world’s savior.

The theme of family and sacrifice was heavily present in another CW television series produced by Greg Berlanti called Everwood.  Taking the themes from that program and applying it to the world of comic books is an oddly perfect fit. The show constantly proves that even if you’re super, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have great communication with your children or get the balance of work and family right all the time.  These dynamics are something that every family struggles with and to see those traits of humanity displayed within our favorite comic book characters makes them all the more relatable.

The plan of the pilot is pretty simple. Superman is continually stopping nuclear reactors from melting down throughout Metropolis, and his sons are getting ready to start their first year of high school. The Kent Family then loses Martha Kent to a stroke, and Clark has to figure out what to do with the family farm and how to support his boys now that they’ve reached adolescence. Clark decides to tell his children the truth after an accident forces them to come to grips with the fact that they may have special abilities. The boys don’t react well to the news, and as a result, Clark and superman both throw themselves into their roles of both being the provider of the family and the savior of the world.

The first thing that attracted me to the program Superman & Lois was just that Superman and Lois. Tyler Hoechlin continues to embody everything that Christopher Reeves stood for. He is genuinely vulnerable and the ultimate Boy Scout. Everything that I listed as missing from the performance of Henry Cavill. The strength of Hoechlin’s performance comes from the fact that he is constantly questioning his own decisions trying to make sure that he lives up to his own father’s legacy. Beyond that, the main concern he has is whether his own kids will be able to fit in while living in society.

Elizabeth Tulloch finally gets the opportunity to showcase what Lois is made of, and she doesn’t disappoint. This version of the character is honest with Clark and is caring in a way that I have not seen in previous portrayals of the character. Everything with Superman & Lois feels grounded in traditional family values, which helps the series stand out from other DC fare.

The biggest disappointment I have with this pilot involves the fact that they give one of the children, Jordan, social anxiety disorder but failed to detail what it actually looks like in their lives. In this pilot, we see him impress the girl by accident and kissed a girl on purpose, proving that he may not be as socially inept as he thinks. Jonathan Kent is a good-looking jock brother who is always looking after Jordan to make sure that he doesn’t freak out or hurt himself. I like the dynamic between those two, but they need to define Jordan as a character more.

Overall, Superman & Lois is a solid start to work could be a unique show within the CW lineup. If the beautiful production values and Quality storytelling continue, there’s no telling what heights this show could reach.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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