“Superman & Lois” Review – S01E01 – “Pilot”

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Superman & LoisPremiered: February 23, 2021
Written by: Todd Helbing
Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger

I had it all prepared in my head in advance, how I was going to review this show, just like Smallville.

I spent seven years and most of a million words reviewing that show, watching as it went from an earnest little show into an absurdity of plot holes, fanservice crutches, sexist tropes, and almost everything that makes TV bad, right in the middle of the beginning of an era of better television, where better examples were everywhere, blooming, crafting the beginnings of what people call peak TV, culminating of late in shows like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Watchmen, The Leftovers, and many others that make Smallville look in retrospect like kiddie corner playtime.

It was easy to chuckle and laugh and point at the flaws, which made for readership, because everyone loves a good evisceration, especially a justified one. Consequently I figured Superman & Lois, with its ampersand and CW Arrowverse predecessors, would be similarly easy to tear apart.

I’ve not seen much Arrowverse. A season of Arrow. A few episodes of The Flash and Supergirl. Of all of them, I liked Supergirl the most, even though I’m so clearly out of the demo it might as well be SCUBA TANKS for fish. I like Supergirl because it is earnest, and that’s absolutely Supergirl up there, and the heart and soul of that show is plain.

But like Smallville, the show (and its peers, from what I saw) was hindered by arbitrary drama, plot holes, bad effects, and a format so strictly by the numbers you could just turn to the screen and go “Okay, here’s the beat where the bad guy comes back again. Okay, here’s where the arbitrary drama moment is.” You’re not swept up, you’re trudging along.

I watched the Crisis stuff, which, although positively FILLED with fanservice, was frankly burdened with trying to be everything to everyone and didn’t really try to ground it self. It went whole hog, which is fine for a lot of folks, and good on you if that’s you. It wasn’t for me.

Steve (our EIC) and I spent ten long years working together on analysis, though, and I cherished that time. After I stopped reviewing for this site, I looked for a reason to jump back in, a thing I could care about. Could Superman & Lois be that, I wondered?

Nah, not really, I thought. But maybe at least, given how well I know Superman, it might be worth giving it the old Smallville bear poke.

I procured a copy of the script and read it. It frustrated me, because I enjoyed it. I saw the potential of Smallville in its early days, and I fell in love with and wanted to root for these characters. However, there were also the signs of old CW tropes. Some real CLUNKER dialogue lines, some “HELLO FELLOW KIDS” lines. Hell, the death of Martha Kent… well, I’ll get to it.

The point was, I saw the bones of a great show with a few polishes needed.

I said what the hell, I’ll give it a try.

I quickly regretted that, because deep down, Smallville broke me for Superman shows. I said to myself that I was setting myself up for another fall. Today came, I knew the show would air, and I dreaded what would come, because I knew it couldn’t live up to that script, at least the good parts, not with the CW budget and the history. But a commitment is a commitment.

And then I watched the thing.

I wanted to light into this beast old school, guns blazing, but dammit, against all conventional wisdom about the CW and everything Arrowverse, I liked it.

I’m doomed.

Each and every character has a solid motivation and depth, with perhaps the exception of Lana and Martha, and Lana, given the way the show has started out, isn’t a problem at all.

That’s right, Neal isn’t worried about Lana’s character development. Some of you out there are laughing, the rest of you are baffled, but it’ll make sense eventually.

The reason is because with what this show just did, I trust them to do it later, not forget it, as Smallville might have. This show should have crumpled under the weight of what Smallville did to Superman fans, and yet it is in such a stark contrast to where Smallville failed, this show benefits.

It is unashamed. It is character-driven. It is serious. It is, thusfar, well-written. It has a clear vision, and it stands apart from its peers. I know, I know, it’s just a pilot. But that pilot is what I’m reviewing, chuckles. Don’t worry, I’ll savage it if it drops the promise of this premise. But for now? I wouldn’t be surprised if this revitalizes Superman entirely.

Which he needs, frankly, after the dour and broken era of Snyder’s murderous thug and a generation raised on the red-eyed monster of Injustice and the dark black-suited vision we’re about to no doubt get from HBO Max.

We need optimism, hope, character, and a little less of glowing red eyes and snapped necks. The world, if you hadn’t noticed, has gotten dark enough.

Those who have followed my work know that I typically go through a blow-by-blow that’s rather in-depth and perhaps neurotic, which shall now commence. If you want a short review, go down the street and find one. I’m long-winded. Deal with it. Or watch the SUPER SHORT REVIEW video that will accompany each of these. Or listen to the podcast if you don’t like to read. This is at-length, and e’er shall it remain.

Buckle up. Here we go.

BLOW BY BLOW:

The show starts with a hurried (but not rushed) montage of exposition. This is typically not good writing, it’s akin to a news exposition scene, and when I read it in the script, I rolled my eyes.

Here, watching it, it’s very clever in the execution. Artfully done. The choice to use the original suit S, to define Superman in bright colors and express his aw, shucks optimism by talking about his mother helping him make the suit really hits home well. It lands.

Ma and Pa are dead ringers, particularly the Glenn Ford-a-like. They use, I think, the same Smallville as Smallville, or a dead enough look-a-like to my memory that it actually struck me with nostalgia without that nagging feeling of fanservice so common to these creatures. This is a recurring thing throughout the pilot—nostalgia that isn’t fanservice, that is reverence and homage, not the “Look, Blue Milk! I know that!” of, say, Rogue One.

I love me some Rogue One, but the worst parts of it were when it turned and winked to the camera. This show doesn’t wink at the camera, it winks with the audience.

So far.

The CG got a little rough at points here, but I was so swept up I didn’t care. Most of it was damned passable and good, and the widescreen presentation and color filtration made it feel more like a movie than a TV show in every respect, through and through.

Lois and Clark’s meeting was great. Bitsie and Tyler don’t have chemistry so much as they have a rapport instantly recognizable to anyone who’s been married as telepathy. They know each other’s thoughts and words before they’re spoken, and I’m so glad they went with this over WILL THEY WON’T THEY or any of the other ten thousand things that always gets done with Superman and Lois. This is the first time, really, that I can think of where a show has just flat out been okay with an adult marriage between the pair. The comics did it for a bit. Snyder gave them a clunky bath tub, Smallville gave us a healthy Lois and Clark toward the end, I suppose, if you forget the part where Lois let Toyman made her try to murder Clark.

That’s the kind of thing that can add a wrinkle to a marriage.

There are lots of visual moments in this opening sequence that made me watch it twice. The cave from Man of Steel, while referencing Man of Steel, is using the only decently worthwhile thing to come out of the movies… the visuals. And only some of them. But the cave was a nice one.

The kids are defined rather broadly and quickly with generalities. We see Jonathan actually take a rope out with a football throw, which initially worried me (I knew where things were going), because I realized, oh, hell, this is going to do the Smallville thing where they make us believe that he’s got powers by showing them, and then say he doesn’t have one.

This later proves not to be a problem because of a line of dialogue where they mention having tested him at the Fortress (it could have been a lucky throw). Smallville never would have given that care.

Giving Superman’s kid an anxiety disorder is also a risk. There are so many ways to use a character’s mental health as a stick for pity or emotion, and it’s often done terribly. Even worse for my trepidation, someone I’m very closely too suffers rather constantly from crippling anxiety, so to have this land wrong would have irked me, drawing me out.

But they don’t make Jordan a simpering, terrified shell of a human. They don’t, as they often do with depression, make it about being sad instead of being empty of joy (there is a difference). They show him, in small moments, hesitant. They show it in his face, the way he considers giving the phone to Sarah. It really played for me.

Having anxiety doesn’t mean you don’t participate in your life. It means you bottle things up, and it makes you seem afraid or angry or apathetic or distant to others, depending on how it afflicts you. Hopefully this show will maintain this line, because I really, really believe Jordan, and I’d be extra critical if it were to misstep. They didn’t, at least with me.

After the premise is defined, we have a short action piece with Superman that is right out of Superman III. Same basic scene. A place is heating up too quickly, Superman is called, and he freezes water, holds it over the heat, and solves the problem.

Unlike Superman III, this scene thinks out the science of it for plausability. He could have plunked the ice chunk down, and most of the audience would accept that and be fine with it. Instead, he lowers it, melting it slowly. And you don’t get that thing that happens when you plunk ice into a super hot container, boom.

This attention to detail is present throughout this pilot, and I don’t often see that in other shows in the genre. At all. You will hear me repeatedly mention it.

He uses his powers well. Multiple at once, not pause, hearing, pause, heat vision, pause, x-ray. Listening while using x-ray, and immediately thereafter, heat vision. He slows down for the water melting. That’s how you do it.

The five o’clock shadow, which I initially thought would be a sore point, actually works here. It makes Superman look like he’s constantly tired from working his ass off trying to right wrongs. It’s not three days of bears (per the oil derrick in Man of Steel), it’s how I look after a day of working outside and not having time to shave. It struck me well where I thought it would feel careless. I heard criticism of it before the show, and agreed, and now I have turned around about it.

Sam Lane is a hell of character here, where usually he’s just a one-note nothing. He is a grandfather, and he’s made his peace with Clark. He’s not a villain, or a foil. He’s a member of the family who has come around to accept Superman and what he does. I think the best part of this story choice is that it’s the natural evolution of Sam Lane. Most of the comics and some of the shows have him die or become a villain, and to me, that’s not how that story ends. Superman, or more specifically Clark, would win him over in time. And since this is a late-career Superman, the choice fits, and it feels so natural, it’s strange.

It makes for an odd dynamic later, per when Lois is actually having to defend herself against Sam. Instead of her being his little daughter he has to protect, he’s turned the corner to Superman as a soldier doing his duty, understanding who he is, trusting him. It’s all there. “I told you that you married Superman.” It’s depth of character, because he’s also saying “This is why I wasn’t the best father.” It makes me want to know Sam Lane.

That’s what story should do.

Another great character moment. Clark is really Clark with his son, Jordan. He sees him playing video games and he doesn’t know how to handle it. He’s clumsy, awkward. It emphasizes that Clark is the real Clark, not Superman, which is how it should be. It’s the moment when I got over myself… when I said “Yeah, hell, Superman could screw up being a parent sometimes… if only because he is too cautious to do harm or be firm.” But more importantly, less that, more that he sees himself in Jordan.

And I will argue (and continue to argue) that in this pilot, Jordan is far more like Clark Kent in every respect than Jonathan is. Jonathan is Superman. Jordan is Clark. All the way.

We are so used to the big, bold, strong, confident Superman as the only character we see. The Snyderverse incarnation is so devoid of Clarks that I’m sure he had set dressing remove Clark Bars from any scene with a convenience store. The disdain for the source material is so plainly evident in almost everything in the movieverse, and my ache for actual Clark Kent so deep and painful, I got all the right emotional about this show.

This Clark is worried, not afraid. Pragmatic, earnest, and strong, but afraid to show his strength. A repeating element is how much Clark is afraid showing who he is will impact his kids.

It’s easy to dismiss this. “He kept his secret from the boys for 14 years? No way! Impossible!”

Anyone who would say that A) Has never had a kid, and doesn’t realize how dopey and stupid they are about solving the mystery of even making sure they have the zipper up on their pants, especially when they are teenagers, and B) Is complaining about plausibility in a show where a man flies and shoots fire from his eyes.

What matters is if the story is realized in context, and here it is. Clark doesn’t want his sons to turn on each other. He doesn’t want them to feel strange and alien, like he did. He doesn’t want to scare them. But also—like most good people of strength—he doesn’t want his power to overshadow theirs. When the time comes to show who he is, he gently lifts the truck. He doesn’t throw it to space.

Or shove an oil derrick up while bare chested and sporting a beard.

That’s not power. That’s showing off. Anyone who’s gotten past twelve in their head should see that, but sadly, many grown adults don’t. They see a man shouting about how powerful he is on a podium and call that power, ignoring the quiet dignity of the advisor.

Or the perspective, which is defined by the chronicler. But I digress.

That’s the working title of my reviews, by the way I Digress—It’s Only Seven Thousand Words, Stop Whining, You Woulda Just Been On Facebook Anyway, PhilButtMaster6969420.

Quiet. Dignity.

But kidding aside, the show is very sparing with shows of power. It’s always to help others, to solve a problem, or at an extreme. Never just for show. This too is good story.

I worried at first that the Injustice video game, the “Superman is boring.” comment, and the general surly attitude would be how they played Jordan. But like many scenes, it plays differently than it did in the script. They make it a child acting out because he’s upset, not a kid getting one over on the parent. This seems like a small difference, but it’s huge. It makes Jordan not a petulant character we can’t identify with, but rather a kid we all were at one point or another. That’s vital to making Jordan work—and here it truly does.

I feared Superboy Prime, and instead, I got prime Superboy. I don’t hate him, I am rooting for him to find joy.

Watching this as a dad is far different. It’s a gut punch, honestly, because everything Clark is facing, every failure he’s made, I have experienced. There’s nothing worse than having to hide a part of yourself from your child knowing they can’t understand it. It makes you alone, it makes them alone, and it’s the hardest part of parenting next to not murdering them for leaving Legos on the floor. It’s also a thing that is great in story, because it’s a thing that time resolves. Kids grow. Parents figure it out as they go.

Small bit, Dr. Donner and Siegel and Shuster on the whiteboard, with 1(938), as I mentioned before, not fanservice, reverence and homage. It’s clear.

There were two points in the script, aside from the exposition, where I groaned out loud and turned to someone I trust and said “Jesus, would you look at this? It’s gonna be terrible.” The Smallville critic in my screaming for release.

One was Ma Kent’s death. Originally, it ends with Superman showing up, seeing his mother is dead, and saying something so cliched and trite, it’s hard to emphasize how glad I am it isn’t here. I don’t think I can legally share it, but rest assured, it was a clunker.

Instead we get this scene, Clark being too late, and kneeling, holding her hand, and crying. Superman, crying, showing emotion, and it’s sold so well by Tyler I was right there with him, even though there wasn’t much Martha to miss.

Also in the script, there is no preceding scene where Martha and Clark talk. These two editing changes took what could have been a tragic misstep and made for one of the best scenes in the whole affair.

The other was a line from Sarah, back when she was far more snarky and far less relatable (and she truly was). I won’t quote it, but it was a fellow kids line talking about how teenage girls need Tik Tok in order to survive, and damn, did it read like a forty-year-old man writing a fifteen-year-old girl—badly.

Back to the point of Superman crying, it reminded me of the movie Angus, which, while outdated and not as good as one remembers it watching it as a kid, has an argument germane to a lot of Superman discussions, right up there with the Kill Bill theory of Superman. George C. Scott, on his way out the door of life, suggests to his grandson that Superman isn’t strong—he’s invincible.

It’s a great moment in the movie, because he’s talking about a jock that Angus, the main character, is shown up by, but it also critically misunderstands Superman. His still waters run deep, and he is probably the most vulnerable person around. People who stand for higher principles are victims of lower wounds, and targeted the hardest.

And more, people who believe in the essential goodness of people and have faith in principles are the people who are hurt the most when people die or fail to live up to expectations. Look at the sheer abject terror Clark faces at the prospect of being a bad dad.

An overall general comment. This show, more than any I’ve seen, seems to take the Superman secret identity seriously. Few know, and they’re people long proven trustworthy. Lana and Pete don’t know. His kids don’t know. Just Lois, Sam, and Clark.

And Lex?

If you watched Smallville, or read my somewhat infamous Knockout Count, you’ll know that Clark’s secret was traded fast and loose in that show. He used powers in front of people all the time. More than a hundred people knew his secret by the end of the show’s run. It got nuts.

That’s craft, and respect for the Superman story. They adhered to it so strictly, the kids didn’t know.

Speaking of that Knockout Count, I intend to do one with this show, filled with the repetitive failures it makes. Honest. The problem is, as of this pilot, he said, in awe, there are none.

They even had a chance to do mountains in Kansas at that quarry and botched it by… by… framing the shot!

(clutches pearls, faints)

NEAL KO COUNT: 1 (overpowered by craft)

Lois and Clark argue like a married couple, not a television couple. What I mean by this is they discuss with a goal both want in mind, they don’t bicker to forward a plot point.

The Planet feels like a newspaper, an actual newspaper, not a set. It’s lived in, broke, and everyone is miserable and not getting paid or getting fired or angry.

Verisimilitude. It only has one M, Lois. But you nailed it anyway.

Let’s talk about Sarah. She’s pretty, but not typical teen drama “I just stepped out of Vogue and brought tee shirts and facials for everyone.” She’s played like a human being instead of an object to be won, and from the outset she usurps convention. We expect the traditional doe-eyed response to the pretty football boy, and instead it’s Jordan.

She’s Lana, essentially, through the eyes of her daughter.

It’s funny, I can’t really decide if Jonathan is Pete or Superman’s confidence act or a combination of the two. I get the impression it’s more Superman, but he’ll adopt the role of Pete as things go on. The one Lana will end up with, though Jordan will be the one that got away when he goes to Metropolis to be whatever the next Superman is.

And the boys acquit themselves in their writing as well. It’s not “Get a load of that!” it’s “Go change your shirt.” And even that is suffused with meaning. Jonathan tells him to go change his clothes and become a completely different person. It’s almost on the nose—but you wouldn’t see it on the first view. And as such, you realize it later, and then it kicks you. Good work.

Kyle Cushing is such a spitting image of Brad in Superman III I laughed out loud, which, despite the acronym everyone uses, few hardly ever do. The gum, the cocky attitude, the redneck “let’s have a beer and poke the city boy” shtick. It’s understated though—you don’t see it unless you’re looking for it. His name is not Brad. And his character is shown to have more depth. Again, reverence, not fanservice, using what was good to make what’s better.

The scene in the kitchen where Kyle takes the city folk to task and Lois gets a bit huffy is probably one of my favorite bits of the show, because it states the beginning of a thematic I think will continue to pay off, the way corporations dupe and destroy small towns, and the way that every liberal good intention in the world can’t save them, and the complicated reasons for that.

It can be very reductive, and it often is, shouted on Facebook by people in their echo chambers and fearful of critique. Here it has depth, and reality. It’s not the redneck Christian screaming about his rights and waving a confederate flag. Kyle has a real beef. People learn and grow in his town, they leave, and then the bills come due and they never come back to pay.

Then comes the complicated part, where the corporation comes in, offers the only solution, and they have to take it. And rather than fight it, or say that it sucks, which means a community or a person has to admit defeat or a failure or an inability/fear to show strength of character in the face of a larger nemesis (a thread through the whole show), the person acts like the consolation prize they’re forced to take is actually a golden goose. Them billionaires are gonna come here and make Merica great again! They know business! They know what the little guy needs! Y’all Qaeda petulance, the utter terror at being ever wrong about anything. Especially not that reverse mortgage. We weren’t preyed on and given an obligation we could never afford to make Edge bank rich—we made a debt and we honor it!

Then in comes Lois with the truth: “Buddy, you’re voting/acting against your own interest.” And then we’re thinking it’s going to be another after school special moment, but it does what a good drama should. Kyle points out that she just thinks he’s a dumb country bumpkin. And she does. She really does. Because he is. But she doesn’t have the courage of her convictions. She doesn’t say yes. Because that’s the weakness of her side of things. She doesn’t have a way to fix it. There is no way to fix it. She’s not rich or strong or powerful in the way an Edge is. She can do nothing for Kyle or for Smallville.

Or can she? And thus she has motivation to stay. To right the wrong of Kyle’s abandonment, to live by example, and to help him find another way.

The condescension of the lie “I don’t mean you’re a country bumpkin” is why misguided hate toward people like Lois and Clark drives people like Kyle to desperation. Insurrection. Voting against their own interests.

The Edges of the world want to hide the lure’s hook and make you think going in the boat isn’t going bankrupt in a trailer—it’s the American Dream. And it’s not. And what do you need to rectify a false notion of Corportate Truth, Justice, and the American Way?

The real f—ing deal, Superman and Lois. That’s who. And here they are.

And all of that’s politics, and subject to debate, though I won’t debate it with you, I’m long past that. The point being, it asks these questions, and I may have answered them wrong, but they were posited. And given complication you can knuckle into and work like dough. That, too, is craft.

Shifting gears, Jonathan, the more I think about it, is actually the shmucky brother. He attempts to be earnest, and he apes his father. He says “It’s the town that makes the people.” to win over Sarah, which she (and ideally we) see right through. He’s after Jordan to fit in as much as he’s trying to look after his brother, and I counted multiple time where he calls him weirdo, a freak, and tears him down.

That’s the way kids are, and it’s how brothers are, but it makes me think higher of Jordan, despite his more obvious emotional outbursts and the more hurtful things he says. It’s because when Jordan says a hurtful thing in the show, you feel he doesn’t mean it, or he’s reacting emotionally, or it’s related to his anxiety. Jonathan’s just mad his brother isn’t like everyone else, and granted he wants his brother to be like everyone else to help him, it comes from an earnest place, but it doesn’t make me like him much.

Still, he seems to have good intentions, and complication is good. He can develop. This isn’t a bad thing, just an impression.

Visually Jonathan looks like Superman. Short hair. Blue eyes. Football statue. Jordan looks like Clark. You’ll note Clark has long hair like Jordan’s in the flashback when his dad dies. The same mop, the same slumpy look. And almost every rendition of Clark as a kid has him the nerdy outcast, afraid of how people will think of him, loved by a Lana because of his sincerity.

I think it’s a bad read to say that Jordan is a bad boy. In the script it reads like a pump-fake to get people to root for Jonathan and then surprise them. And the one with powers IS a surprise, but honestly, of the two, I like Jordan far more. He’s Clark to me. He’s also me to me. I was far more Jordan than I was Jonathan. If you’re reading this still, chances are, so were you.

I am utterly amused that this show passed up a perfectly good opportunity to knockout two of its main cast and instead gave them two concussions and had them awake when Clark came. Somewhere a Smallville writer is staring at a screen going “That’s not how you do it! It’s not…URK!”

Whammy.

The biggest, dumbest thing in this show is where they put that router. It’s ridiculous, and it doesn’t make sense. However, this is mitigated by the fact that if you’ve ever seen what a kid will do to get their phone back or get better signal, the scene of Jordan being perfectly willing to die to reset that router is church as hell.

There’s a scene where the brothers talk after the accident that’s not in the pilot script, and it’s good. It, like the added Martha scene, helps us get to know these characters and how they relate. Good editing choices from the draft I saw in every single respect.

The reveal scene is probably the worst scene in the pilot, until the truck lift. Not because the scene is not in character, but because it shifts gears rather rapidly from real people with real problems to just casually talking about Superman and Krypton. When Tyler reveals his secret, he tells his sons that he comes from Planet Krypton, and was found in a spaceship, and the kids keep a straight face. No one busts up. They just kind of accept it.

This is hard to believe, and it took me out. It should have cut straight to the lift of the truck. “Dad, what is this you’re hiding in the barn!” Lift. Awe. Then realization and anger.

It took the long way, and suffered for it, but it’s hardly the most grievous of sin. It just needed to prime the pump a bit more for the absurdity of Superman’s reality before jumping right into it from family drama.

Jordan crying hit me hard, because that was awe, and it hit me in the way the scene in Unbreakable where the kid realizes yeah, his dad’s a hero, and he tears up, hits me. Every time. That awe we have for our Dads when they’re being good people or showing who they can be, it’s there and in force. Fathers—and men—are often forced to or choose to hide their strength, physical or emotional, for fear of scaring, overshadowing, or overwhelming, and when someone who is good at that, as Clark is in this show, then shows strength, it hits hard. Landing after the ice and the nukes, lifting the truck, the ease with which he stops and could have destroyed the cab but instead lightly stops, smiling.

Jordan’s reaction, though the words are harsh, are clearly a kid expressing emotion. Both he, and Clark, know he doesn’t mean it. There’s no resentment, just a sadness the provoked emotion couldn’t have been avoided. Healthy family, not scream-it-out. As Clark and Lois would be.

It also shows the difference between the sons more. Jonathan is silent. Jordan articulates. But he seems the wild one, being more emotional. It’s really kind of showing Jonathan to be weaker, hiding his emotions for the greater good.

Luthor’s suit is very Team Luthor from the comics. The head is stronger, beefier, and thicker. The voice isn’t Cryer. I’m intrigued, but there’s little to comment on with the fight, other than that “Hey, here’s a mystery!” We’ll see what they do with it. The fight was a bit clunky with the CG, but better than most CW fare. And some moments were exceptional. The cab. The space stuff. Some were less so. The landing in the shop was off. But I don’t care about any of that, really, because I was so invested in the story. You don’t care that Yoda is a muppet because you care what’s happening, not because Yoda is the greatest muppet of all time. Though he is, of course.

Another interesting change. Jordan’s heat vision was initially YELLOW. Strangely, that was the most intriguing thing in the pilot to me, but they changed it. Probably better that way, but I was curious to see where they were going. Seeing the craft thusfar, my guess is they didn’t have an answer to that, and didn’t want to Lost it, opening up a can they couldn’t pour into the soup bowl. I’d be curious to know.

I love the bit where, when they realize Jordan is the one with powers, they look, and a firefighter goes over and, very subtly, puts a cape on his back. It’s a nice moment, and the nail is not pounded too hard. But it’s there.

Another Jonathan-is-getting-weird moment. When Jordan has his talk with Sarah at the end and they commiserate about keeping a secret, Jonathan sees his brother needs privacy and instead lurks just out of earshot, possessively. That’s a little creepy. But also—teenager accurate.

All in all, one hell of a jump out of the gate. I’m hoping it doesn’t falter. I’m hoping this wasn’t just a really great pilot owing to having a ton of time to get it done. I am optimistic. And I’ll be here.

I like that they chose to make a story that essentially sets the baggage of the CW shows aside, without disrespecting them—taking the good, leaving the bad. Because though they aren’t for me, I’m glad you like them, and you should continue to. And this show? It is, so far, absolutely for me. I’m loving the hell out of it.

5Rating – 5 out of 5.


BUSINESS

So this review is one of three things I’ll be doing, if you like it, to cover this show.

The second is a short video review, condensing much of this blather into a short, five-minute tale. Both of these things will, ideally, come out Wednesdays.

The third is a podcast with Julian Finn, who you might remember from the Smallville reviews after I split, where we’ll talk over the show, and in off weeks, compare the CW Arrowverse to other elements of television, and perhaps branch outward into peak television and contextualize what’s happening here. Our super sons will also join us, giving a blind review of the show without our old guy biases. It should be a riot, and we’ll post it here as well, on the Superman Homepage.

It hasn’t been titled yet, but the first episode drops Friday, so we’ll come up with something by then. That’s how we work here, on the fly, and at length. Six thousand words, damn. Just like the good old days. Back from the Phantom Zone. Crack that whip, Monkeybella. Oook me a song.

NOW, AN IMPORTANT NOTE.

I am an independent writer of novels and comics and occasionally, reviews like this. If you liked this review, don’t like, don’t subscribe, just get yourself yonder to NealBailey.com or my Patreon.

I don’t get paid for this, so if you like any of the stuff I’m doing, plunk a buck in the tip jar or buy one of my books, help keep the work coming.

If you don’t like my review, hell, buy one of my books anyway, then savage the hell out of it. I won’t mind. I can use your hate money to make more words. Mmmmm. Hate money.

Until next week!

Neal Bailey

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13 Comments
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tnr105
February 24, 2021 7:23 pm

I’m not sure how to word this, because I realize this review is an opinion, and I appreciate honesty… not just in my reviews, but in general. I’m glad that Neal likes the show, and I’m curious as to his thoughts on it, but I could have done without the potshots at Smallville. The Snyder films too, even though I’m not a big fan of those. Lots of people love that show and that version of the character. Neal has made it pretty clear over the years that while there are aspects he enjoyed, as a whole he was not… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by tnr105
Superman2878
February 24, 2021 9:48 pm

Spoiler warning. Spoiler warning. Spoiler warning. Ok so no that I’ve given fair enough spoiler warnings, here’s my review on the first episode of Superman and Lois. I want to start off with Superman. We see a brief summery of Superman’s life from infancy to adulthood. From the time he was found and adopted by the Kents, to when he arrived in Metropolis, met Lois, and made his first rescue as Superman. Superman in this series is exactly what I was hoping for for Tyler’s Superman since they had announced his show. When he is Superman, we see a hero… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Superman2878
lcmcbain
February 25, 2021 10:01 am

Great to have you back for some reviews Neal ! As always, thank you for taking the time and effort. I’m glad the internet gets some more of your perspective on Clark/Superman because of this show. Not because we may agree on all such views, (although I believe we’re in general alignment) but because you come at it from a place of sincerity and other such niceties. 😉 Looking forward to the next one.

neal bailey
Admin
February 25, 2021 9:14 pm
Reply to  lcmcbain

Very kind of you. Thanks!

Nitin
February 25, 2021 10:27 am

Loved the thought that went into this, and the result. About the router placement though, it makes perfect sense if you wanted the best coverage across the farm and had it set up by someone who can fly.

neal bailey
Admin
February 25, 2021 9:15 pm
Reply to  Nitin

That’s a good thought. That didn’t occur to me until the podcast, which is coming tomorrow, but you’re dead on.

Superman2878
February 25, 2021 10:36 am

Nice review Neal. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your reviews for Superman and Lois in the coming weeks.

neal bailey
Admin
February 25, 2021 9:15 pm
Reply to  Superman2878

Thanks so much!

TheRBBlur
February 25, 2021 11:05 am

Reading this review was beyond nostalgic! It was like I transported back in time. Though I generally disagreed (and still do) with you about Smallville (the show is amazing) I always enjoyed watching each episode, and then logging on to see what you thought about it. Despite disagreeing most of the time, the passion and humor you put into your reviews was always appreciated.

I’m thrilled you’re back, and I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say each week. It reminds me of old times, and adds something special to my week that I can look forward to.

neal bailey
Admin
February 25, 2021 9:17 pm
Reply to  TheRBBlur

It’s kind a nuts for me… very surreal to jump right back in like before. A lot of fun.

And hey, I’ll say what I always do, and I mean it. I’m damned glad you enjoy Smallville, and you should continue to. Never let another person’s opinion stop your enjoyment of something. People mistake my passion for my views as judgment. That’s their error. You clearly get it.

I’m glad to give you a thing to look forward to. It’s that for me, too. Thanks!

Jpx98
February 25, 2021 11:52 am

I have to give the show 2 out of 5 not that I didn’t like it or won’t watch it beyond the 1st episodes, but I found it very dark and depressing for a Superman show, despite all the constant talk of hope. I also like the new costume, but again a little too dark and kept reminding of the Man Steel suit which is not a bad thing but also you want the 2 diffferent mediums to be separate  and distinct from each other. The TV version should be different from the movie version unless the movie and tv… Read more »

F-El
February 28, 2021 2:04 am

Welcome back Mr. Bailey! Glad you’ve returned. I quite loved this premiere. An easy 4.5/5 for me. Thanks for the hard work and great writing as always.

neal bailey
Admin
March 4, 2021 3:20 pm
Reply to  F-El

Thank you very much!