The CW has been no stranger to the superhero family story. From Arrow’s team and family drama to Black Lightning’s father/daughters with powers dynamic, the form and the format have been well established. Enter Superman & Lois which premiered this past Tuesday and gave a look at Clark Kent in a different light.
The show wastes no time with the often told Superman origin story and uses the first ten minutes as a refresher. One immediate observation is that this show appears to have a higher budget than its sister shows. It feels cinematic, and time isn’t wasted in showing Supes in action with physical combat and feats of strength. This takes place years after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, as Lois and Clark’s sons are teenagers. Jonathan (Jordan Elsass)is the cocky athlete and Jordan (Alex Garfin) is the angst ridden adolescent.
Tyler Hoechlin feels more comfortable and confident in the role of Superman than previous Arrowverse iterations. There’s a regal presence, an empathetic grace to his character that’s apparent early. Bitsie Tulloch’s Lois maintains the strong personality and inquisitive nature that is necessary for the character to succeed.
The show tackles the question of how can Superman be the hero the world needs and be a good father. Contextually you can make the argument that it’s different than other heroes as Superman is the world’s champion, not just a city or town. There are legitimate complications, particularly when Clark had never told his sons about his origins or their heritage. The classic sins of the father effect, except you can understand why Clark didn’t want to burden his sons with his own fears. As Lois and Clark disagree, he states, “It’s too dangerous for them to know.” Lois replies, “It’s more dangerous if they don’t.” All of this is magnified when Martha Kent dies due to a stroke which forces Clark to return to Smallville.
Later an incident takes place which forces Clark to reveal his origins to his sons which understandably upsets them. This is where the show gets interesting as there’s legitimate friction in trying to deal with the lies that Clark has told. Jordan Kent (who has powers) is someone to watch as moody and temperamental as he is, and Jonathan (who doesn’t at this point) is more self-assured. Their story arc is fascinating and potentially more compelling than anything else.
The other character who makes an impact immediately is Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh) who wants Superman available at all times and Lois realizes that Clark needs to be around more often. Just imagine Superman as a stay-at-home dad, funny right? As Lane states in the pilot, “You may have fallen in love with Clark Kent, but you married Superman. And Superman doesn’t get to have a normal life, no matter how much you want one for him.”
Going forward, the show’s main challenge as always is to sell the audience on not only the emotional aspect but the physical. We want to see Superman fight monsters, aliens, and all types of obstacles as action provides the discourse. We get that at the end of the pilot as Superman fights and loses to a Captain Luthor in a super suit. Is he from the future perhaps? It was a good cliffhanger to end the pilot on.
The man of tomorrow has a lot more on his plate than kryptonite and saving the world. As it turns out, both Clark and Lois have quite the challenge on their hands. Superman & Lois airs at 8pm every Tuesday on the CW.