by Aaron Bilal
Ever since his debut in 1938, Superman has captivated audiences as a symbol of hope and champion of the oppressed. The Man of Steel has seen numerous adaptations: on the radio, on television, and in movie theaters. With a character who has over 80 years-worth of history, it can be difficult to keep the franchise fresh and interesting. Thankfully, the CW’s latest depiction explores nearly uncharted territory and raises the question: how does Clark Kent balance his life as both the world’s greatest superhero and a father?
Superman’s origin story is so widely known that nearly everyone on the planet could recite it. Doomed planet, desperate scientists, last hope, kindly couple, Superman. It’s not a difficult story to tell and it’s been done to death. In Superman and Lois, audiences are introduced to a version of the character who already has an established history. Clark has been Superman for roughly twenty years already. He’s married Lois Lane and they have twin boys, Jonathan and Jordan Kent, who make life even more hectic for fiction’s most iconic couple. After sudden tragedy and seeking a simpler life, Clark moves his family back to the town where he grew up, Smallville, Kansas.
What makes Superman and Lois so great is how it’s unlike any other show the CW has ever put out. Normal CW dramas tend to be very melodramatic, with poorly drawn characters and very shoddy production value, making it essentially the Disney Channel for hormonal teenagers and young adults. However, this show appears to not only be a new beginning for the Arrowverse, but the CW as a network. The production value is absolutely stunning. Shot on anamorphic lenses, Superman and Lois looks too good for television. Ranging from wide shots of the farmlands of Kansas to the upper atmosphere, the cinematography is cinema level quality.
The greatest aspect of the show, however, is the characters. Clark and Lois are going through a tremendously stressful time in their lives, trying to balance work and raising two teenagers. A common criticism of the last son of Krypton is how he’s so powerful that there’s no dramatic tension. But, the powers have never been what makes Superman so interesting. It’s the emotional conflicts he faces that make him endearing. The pressures of being a parent are something that no amount of physical power can overcome. It takes inner strength, strength of will, and compassion.
Superman and Lois is a phenomenal entry point for new and old fans of the DC comics icon. The incredible cinematography, high production value, and rich characters make this show a must-see.
Superman and Lois airs Tuesdays on the CW at 9/8c.