I thought a lot about whether I wanted to show our son Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and blog about it. Once upon a time, it was a show that meant a tremendous amount to me, and I loved – loved! – being part of the online fandom. The first season was great fun, and revisiting tonight’s episode left me nostalgic and happy. That first season was just something else. Then it started sliding. About half of season two’s episodes were pretty good. Exactly two stories from the third year didn’t have me screaming bloody murder and throwing pillows at the television. Season four was all right, thanks to a new writer on the show, but they strangled that golden goose to death first. I decided against buying the DVDs, even used. It might hurt too much.
Lois & Clark is currently streaming on DC Universe, and since I’ve ponied up a subscription so we can watch Doom Patrol after our son goes to bed – it’s fantastic, and Diane Guerrero deserves every available award – I decided that a five-part “best of” over the course of the next week would be a cute kiss to the past without dredging up too many painful memories of how this wonderful show fell apart. I hope that the episodes that I selected will be as good as I remember them, and also leave a few readers saying “Huh? That one?”
This was, infamously, not a Superman show in its first season. Dean Cain put on the costume in every episode that year for at least one scene – I think he’s only in the pre-titles opening to “Green, Green Glow of Home” – but this was a show about Lois Lane and Clark Kent. I mention this because our son was actually a little more taken than I expected since he’s been on a steady diet of Marvel movies, with something amazing happening every six minutes. Clark doesn’t put on the super suit until the very end of the episode. In the story, he gets robbed by some new-to-the-cast recurring character, a street kid called Jack, and a globe from Krypton is lost. This happens the day after the globe starts delivering Kal-El’s history, and his name, to him. Until this episode’s first minute, our hero did not know his birth name.
I picked “The Foundling” because I remembered it being a good story that drives a wedge between our heroes and leaves Lois, unfairly, not willing to trust her partner for a time. I think the one thing we missed was any interaction between Luthor and the heroes; Lex and Nigel don’t actually share any screen time with the good guys. I almost picked “Fly Hard” for the jealousy and for Lex really getting under Clark’s skin, but “Fly Hard” was the season cheapie, and I don’t know that it would have been the best introduction to the show.
This episode, which was written by Dan Levine, also has some very good guest stars. Tony Jay and Richard Belzer had recurring parts in the show’s first year, and this one includes the wonderful David Warner in flashbacks as Jor-El. And as for the regulars, as far as I’m concerned, every other Superman cast is miles behind Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher, with Lane Smith and John Shea as my favorite Perry and Lex as well. (Though, as I’ve mentioned before, all credit to Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch in the Arrowverse; I thought they were great fun!) As for our favorite eight year-old critic, I won’t lie and say that he was thrilled, but he enjoyed watching it, and says he’s looking forward to tomorrow morning’s example from season two.
But not half as much as I am.