Reviewed by: Steve Younis
Rating – 4 (out of 5): Thanks to Warner Bros. I was able to gain access to an advanced screener of the pilot episode of “Superman & Lois” ahead of its premiere. Having watched it twice now, I’m happy to report that I’m quite pleased with what The CW has in store for us.
First and foremost, “Superman & Lois” doesn’t feel like any other show from The CW. The tone of the show feels more grounded somehow. There’s a gravitas to the pilot that gives it a more mature feel to it. That’s not to say that a younger audience won’t enjoy it. It just felt more adult somehow.
Visually the pilot is impressive. The special effects are movie quality. So many of the visuals brought to mind past Superman films, including “Man of Steel” and “Superman Returns”. There were elements of both in certain scenes. There were also nods to Superman comic books, Fleischer cartoons, the Donner films… even Siegel and Shuster get a nod on a note board in the Kent’s apartment.
Having read the script for the pilot, I was pleased to see that the final version on screen matches up with what was in that script. The story is solid, with a great blend of action, superheroics, family drama, teen angst, and humor.
The cast do a great job. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the Kent twin sons, but they both are engaging characters. While Jonathan is the more affable of the two, with a slight smugness about him, he doesn’t come off as a jerk. The relationship between the twins is believable. While they’re completely different, and have that brotherly rivalry that is common amongst brothers, they also have an unspoken bond that comes across on screen. They rib each other often, but you can tell they’re close and care greatly for one another.
I’m happy to say that the Lois and Clark relationship is quite solid. They chemistry between Tyler Hoechlin and Bitsie Tulloch is more believable here than it was in their appearances on “Supergirl” and The CW’s crossovers. You can tell that the pair are more comfortable with each other, and their relationship sets a solid platform for the drama that unfolds around them. They feel like a couple that have been married for years. A team.
Tyler finally gets to shine in the duality of the role. I had always liked his Clark Kent, but it’s his Superman that really comes to the fore in the pilot. If you were worried that Superman wouldn’t have much to do in this series, don’t fret, there’s plenty of action in the pilot… and Superman really gets to display all his powers. I was even pleasantly surprised by the relationship between Superman and General Sam Lane. It’s quite different to any other version of the Superman/General, Son-in-Law/Father-in-Law dynamic we’ve seen in the past.
Speaking of relationships we’ve seen in the past, I was concerned that having Lana Lang in this series would make for an unnecessary/unwanted love-triangle, but that’s not the case. While it is mentioned that Clark and Lana used to date, it’s a throw away line that just gives viewers the understanding that they are old friends. Although I definitely get the feeling there’ll be some drama with Lana’s husband Kyle coming down the track. The guy isn’t the most pleasant person.
It wouldn’t be The CW if there wasn’t some teen angst. However, while the Kent boys and Lana’s daughter Sarah will definitely take up a fair portion of screen time moving forward, the relationship between them wasn’t too painful. There were a few eye-roll moments, especially with the dialog, but all in all the characters worked well together. Sarah is likeable and didn’t come across as the usual teenage girl with issues that can sometimes be a cliché on TV shows of late.
The show is called “Superman & Lois,” and Lois is very much an equal part of the story. While quite a bit of screen time is given to Superman and what he needs to do, Lois isn’t overshadowed at all. There’s definitely a story in Smallville that will require her talents, and I can already see that her reporter’s nose is twitching to get to the bottom of what’s happening with Morgan Edge and his interest in the local farms.
Clark and Lois having to deal with whether or not to tell their teenage sons the truth about him being Superman is dealt with really well. How it all comes about, the discussions about the ramifications… it all just rings true… and that’s ironic considering the material. Whether or not either son has powers is also dealt with rather well. It’s an entertaining ride.
There is a major twist at the end of the pilot that will have fans talking. All I can say is that the recent “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover and the death of other earths plays a major part in who “The Stranger” is. Interesting indeed…
There’s a lot to like about the opening episode of “Superman & Lois”. As I said, the show feels different to any of the other superhero shows on The CW. While I like many of those other superhero shows, I think the major difference here, besides the way it’s filmed, is that this is a show about an actual family. Many of those other shows on The CW are about manufactured families, in that those characters come together to create a support network for one another (like Supergirl’s friends at the DEO, The Flash’s friends at STAR Labs, etc…). In “Superman & Lois” the support network is the actual family themselves.
I’m looking forward to seeing where the season goes from here. I’m glad The CW decided to expand the first season from the original 13 episodes to 15. There’s a lot to like about the premiere, and it sets up the continuing story rather well. All in all I’d give the pilot a 4 out of 5 rating.
The 90-minute Pilot will air on The CW in the USA on Tuesday, February 23 from 8:00pm/7:00pmC, with a documentary special titled “Superman & Lois: Legacy of Hope” starting at 9:30pm/8:30pmC.
Australian fans will be able to watch the premiere of “Superman & Lois” on the Binge streaming service and Foxtel’s Fox8 channel on Thursday, February 25 from 8.30pm, with the documentary special titled “Superman & Lois: Legacy of Hope” starting at 10.00pm.