Julien Neaves, Editor
New CW superhero drama series Superman & Lois ended its stellar first season on August 17 so this review is a bit late to the party. We’ve already covered the first five episodes at Red Mango Reviews but it would be remiss of us not to do give Season 1 the full review treatment.
And so with a Krypton-sized SPOILER ALERT let’s review Superman & Lois Season 1 in four blasts:
Blast #1 Power Couple
Of all of the CW shows Superman & Lois is one of the most unique, and that is definitely to its credit. Instead of starting off with a young, unmarried, childless hero in the early days of their abilities and falling (and out) of love we have an older, long married Clark Kent/Superman who has twin teenage sons and has long mastered his abilities. It’s a refreshing take on the character and allows for more mature storytelling than the usual CW fare.
I have been a fan of Tyler Hoechlin’s version of the Man of Steel since he debuted in the second season of Supergirl way back in 2016, and he cements himself as one of the best live action Superman in this series. He is brilliant both as the dorky and loving Clark Kent and the powerful but caring boy scout Superman. It is a balance that is not always achieved (*cough cough* Henry Cavill *cough cough*) but it is necessary to truly deliver on the iconic character. Hoechlin has some heartwarming chemistry with Elizabeth “Bitsie” Tulloch’s Lois Lane. Now she’s not my favourite live action Lois (that’s Erica Durance from Smallville) but she does well to represent the grit and determination of the relentless reporter. And the show delivers on its title by giving Lois her own subplot of trying to uncover the truth behind Morgan Edge. I did find Tulloch struggled somewhat during the deeply emotional scenes but it’s not too bad. Overall Superman & Lois features a great…well…Superman and Lois.
Blast #2 Smallvillians
But those hoping to see the typical CW teen angst and romance never fear! Superman & Lois has got that too thanks to the Kent twins Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alex Garfin) and Lana Lang-Cushing’s daughter Sarah (Inde Navarratte). And while the troubled Jordan does start off a bit grating he comes into his own pretty soon and I enjoyed watching him struggle with his Kryptonian powers and his awkwardly sweet romance with Sarah. Jonathan, in comparison, does not get as much to do but he’s cool enough.
We also get some insight into Sarah’s life with her parents and young sister which on paper sounds boring but the writing and talents of Navarratte and Emmanuelle Chriqui and Erik Valdez (Lana and Kyle Cushing respectively) make the characters feel fleshed-out and relatable. And I was surprised I didn’t mind spending time with them even in their ostensibly mundane family drama. I must also mention Sofia Hasmik as quirky Smallville Gazetter reporter/editor Chrissy Beppo who I found fun. The other residents of Smallville are kind of just there and don’t make much of an impact.
Blast #3 Allies and Enemies
And speaking of making an impact, we have to talk about Wolé Parks as John Henry Irons/The Stranger. He delivers the breakout performance of the first season and I think many people will be paying more attention to the Devious Maids and The Vampire Diaries star. The character begins as a mysterious adversary before it was revealed that DUNH DUNH DUNH he was actually John Henry Irons aka the DC hero Steel from an alternate Earth. I was like WHAT?! They really caught me there. And as Irons he is the polar opposite of Shaq’s misguided mess of a version in the dreadful 1997 film Steel. The new version is strong, intelligent, determined and haunted. Parks acts his backside off in the more dramatic scenes and delivers in the superhero scenes. And that suit with the hammer? Man that looked great.
But Irons wasn’t the only ally Superman had in the first season. Dylan Walsh is pitch perfect as General Sam Lane. Nuff said. Angus Macfayden does not feature much as the AI version of Jor-El but he is solid in the role. And Supes also had his share of baddies to face off against as well. I actually preferred Adam Rayner as the ruthless businessman Morgan Edge before it was revealed that DUNH DUNH DUNH he is actually Kal-El’s half-brother Tal-Rho and later the Eradicator. The evil Kryptonian was just kind of generic and not all that interesting. I did enjoy the Terminatrix-esque Leslie Larr. She was cool. We also had a one-off appearance of mad scientist Thaddeus Kilgrave but he’s pretty forgettable.
Blast #4 It’s About Family
I mentioned above that Hoechlin achieves the Clark/Superman balance and the show also achieves the drama/action balance. The drama is heartfelt and believable and the theme of family runs through the Kents, the Cushings, Irons and Tal-Roh as well. And this is balanced deftly with the explosive action. The show really captures the power of Superman and the combination of special effects and sound editing means that you feel the weight of every super punch and the heat of every heat vision blast. The fights between Supes and the Stranger are especially epic and the Superman/Steel team-up against the Kryptonians was simply awesome. My favourite action scene was when Steel’s hammer connected with Larrs’ head. I was like DANG! Anyone jonesing for sweet Superman superhero action should definitely be satisfied with the first season.
While the main plot of having the Man of Steel battle a bunch of Kryptonians is not exactly novel, the overall plotting was well-paced with multiple twists and cliffhangers that made you excited for the next episode. And the character development was so well-done you actually cared when things went all comic book crazy. So yeah, Superman & Lois Season 1 was simply stellar and puts it head and shoulders above the other DC content at the CW. Let’s just hope they can continue to keep up the quality come Season 2.
Editor Jules’s Score: 9 out of 10
So how would you rate the first season of Superman & Lois? And you can check out more great DC superpowered content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.