A new TV show centered around the character of Superman? I should be super on board with this from day one, right?
Well… here’s the thing. This new show, Superman & Lois is on the CW network. And, honestly, I’ve had a hard time getting excited over the CW family of DC Comics programming for a while now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was probably looking forward to 2019’s big crossover in the “Arrowverse” when they tackled Crisis on Infinite Earths more than I looked forward to Avengers: Endgame earlier that same year.
The Crisis crossover was incredibly ambitious. They managed to tie together every DC Comics related show currently airing on the CW and a few that have been off the air for years (decades in the case of ’60s-era Batman). I mean, when it was announced that Smallville‘s Tom Welling and Erica Durance were reprising their roles as Clark Kent and Lois Lane, respectively, I was all in. Overall, I felt like they pulled off the crossover without much of a hitch. If there was a hitch, looking back, I can’t remember it.
Over a year later, Arrow is no longer on the air. Batwoman has a different face under the cape and cowl. The Flash will carry on, but for how much longer? And Supergirl‘s sixth and final season has been delayed for a number of reasons, so I’ve read. Still, I’ve been curious about where things would go post-Crisis. And I say that even though prior to the Crisis event, I’d had wavering interest in each of these shows.
I’ll be the first to admit, the CW isn’t aiming at me as a target demographic. My interest as a 40-year-old man is gauged solely because I grew up reading these characters’ adventures in the pages of DC Comics. As their stories are adapted to the small screen, changes are inevitably made that wouldn’t necessarily be choices I would make. I’m not gonna hate on them. But, again, the CW has a specific audience in mind for their programming. And it’s not me.
So when I found out there would be a new series focusing on the Man of Steel, I kind of just sighed and thought… Huh… That’s one way to do things. This version of Superman was introduced to us on his cousin’s TV show at the start of the second season of Supergirl. I believe it was during the next season that we met the new version of Lois Lane. I could be off on that… these seasons of television have been running together for me. It’s hard for me to keep up with who’s doing what when I’m only half interested in keeping up with storylines.
I suppose audience response to Tyler Hoechlin’s Clark Kent/Superman and Bitsie Tulloch’s Lois Lane was strong enough to warrant giving them their own series to run with. They weren’t often seen in the Arrowverse, so I’m almost confident I can recap their story (maybe?). I mean, it’s mostly the Lois & Clark story we all know. Lois meets Clark at work. They fall in love. They get married. They live happily blah blah blah.
At some point during the Supergirl series, Kara’s home of Argo City was discovered to have survived Krypton’s explosion and is orbiting a red sun somewhere out there (I think that’s the story… none of the Kryptonians on Argo have powers). Superman and Lois decided to take a sabbatical of sorts and spend that time on Argo which allows a de-powered Clark and human Lois to conceive and bear a child. They have a baby boy whom they name Jonathan, after Clark’s adoptive father.
And then the Crisis happened. Our main core of heroes, some of whom originated on different parallel Earths, found themselves on one newly combined Earth. They believe the multiverse no longer exists, even though the audience was shown that it actually still does.
Suddenly, in this new reality, Clark and Lois don’t just have one son. They have two. Twins named Jonathan and Jordan Kent. And they’re not babies anymore. They’re about to begin high school. If you’re scratching your head in confusion, you’re not alone. I’m confused and I generally feel like I’ve got enough geek cred to get me through these complicated story points.
Here’s where SPOILERS begin… if you care about such things…
Superman & Lois picks up with Superman stopping a nuclear power plant meltdown. We see he has a decent, if not good, relationship with his father-in-law, General Sam Lane (that’s different from the comics). Thanks to the Daily Planet‘s new owner, Morgan Edge, a number of layoffs occur and Clark is one of the casualties. The timing isn’t great as Martha Kent suffers from a stroke which, sadly, kills her. The Kents return to Smallville from Metropolis to settle Martha’s affairs (Jonathan passed away while Clark was still a teenager). They meet with Lana Lang-Cushing, who works at the bank in Smallville and informs them that Martha had taken out a reverse mortgage on the farm in order to help out others in the community in financial need.
Sidebar: the Smallville of this series is very different from the Smallville we saw on Smallville. It’s presented as something of a ghost town rather than some idyllic Main Street, USA kind of place. I’m sure there will be tons of kids at the high school once we get around to showing the twins adjusting to life in Smallville. Where they all come from, who knows? But I do appreciate that there is talk of problems that you often see in small, rural communities in the 21st century… bankruptcies… meth labs… a dirty underbelly that people don’t like to admit exists.
Now, living under a yellow sun, one would think that the twin offspring of Superman would exhibit some kind of special abilities, right? So far, nothing… But that would be boring if it’s just Clark Kent and Lois Lane raising a couple of normal teenagers. I mean… what is normal? But from the start, we see that things aren’t normal. Jonathan is kind of the golden child. He’s outgoing, popular, athletic, well-behaved… The kind of kid any parent would love to have. The kind of kid that makes parenting a little too easy. Jordan, on the other hand, is shown to be moody, introverted, and, we’re told, has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Now we’re getting into normal teenager territory.
So you’d think that Jonathan would be the one to develop super powers since he’s apparently good at everything. But in a surprise twist, it’s Jordan that suddenly has enhanced strength and heat vision. Probably has more power than that, those are just the abilities that the writers show off in the pilot.
I’m left with questions following the 2-hour premiere this past Tuesday. First of all… Is this all taking place on the same Earth as The Flash, Supergirl, Batwoman, and Arrow (even though Arrow isn’t a thing anymore)? Because if it is, where was Kara during Martha’s funeral? No, the TV version of Kara wasn’t raised by the Kents, but she’s close with her cousin and would, I assume, want to be there to support Clark as he’s grieving, right? She’s never mentioned… Unless I missed it. If I missed something and she was mentioned at some point, feel free to correct me in the comments if you happened to watch it.
My second question is, how did the twins age up so quickly? I know you don’t want to do a show about super-powered infants unless it’s a sitcom. I’d watch that, by the way. But for one child, pre-Crisis, to be an infant to suddenly be two children, post-Crisis, who are teenagers… I need some kind of in-universe explanation. Doesn’t even have to make scientific sense. You can just say that some crazy cosmic radiation from the collapsing of the multiverse caused some kind of temporal flux involving the Kent family resulting in an altered reality and an unexplainable rapid aging of the kids. Works for me. Seriously, why don’t these people hire me as a writer for their shows?
I was tempted, following the Crisis event, to quit watching these CW shows altogether. But I did decide, recently, to get caught up on the last half of Supergirl‘s last season because I knew I wanted to give Superman & Lois a chance. The plot of Supergirl was heavily influenced by the result of what happened during the Crisis with worlds merging and certain people having no memory of the Crisis while others remembered everything. In those episodes, there was no mention of Superman, Lois, or their kids.
Which, again, brings me to my first question, does Superman & Lois even take place on the same Earth?
I can understand not wanting to bring in elements related to the other shows or the crossover events during a pilot episode. I’m sure the producers want Superman & Lois to find its own footing before introducing the rest of the Arrowverse into the mix. Overall, I liked the episode. Hoechlin and Tulloch’s Clark and Lois are not my favorite portrayals of these characters, but they’re not the worst, in my opinion, either. I’m interested to see where things will go with this storyline and where it will all fit in to the bigger picture in this shared television reality.
I am hopeful regarding the twins’ relationship to one another. Jordan has powers while Jonathan does not. So far, it seems like these two brothers will be mostly supportive of each other. Please, writers, give us a pair of brothers who are continually supportive of each other. I feel like it’s way too easy to do the jealous sibling thing and give us some contrived rivalry that just shouldn’t be there. However, on top of the super powers thing, you have Lana’s daughter to contend with. Lana Lang has two daughters, but only one of them is the same age as the Kent boys. I already smell a love triangle.
I also predict that there will be an episode where some kind of accident transfers Jordan’s powers to Jonathan. On a temporary basis, of course. That’s the easiest episode to write for any super hero show.
Did you watch the Superman & Lois premiere? If so, let me know what you thought down in the comments! And if you read all of that and got this far, bless you. That one got away from me, for sure.