Superman and Lois Evaluate: The Arrow Verse Most Grown-Up Present
Do you remember when comics and the movies and TV shows based on them were considered kid stuff? It feels both a very long time ago and alarming lately that tales of heroes in capes and tights have generally been viewed as immature and insubstantial; the journey of Adam West to do the batusi Black Panther Getting an Oscar nomination for best picture can be confusing at times, although many of us have seen it in our lives.
That’s all to say Superman & Lois, the latest addition to CW’s Arrow Verse, strives to be more than just a broadcast network’s newest superhero show. Indeed, during a recent Television Critics Association panel, Executive Producer Todd Helbing said that in developing the show their points of comparison were their benchmarks Friday night lights and Days of heavenIt shows in the cinematography and the general mood – making the show one of the most ambitious and surprising series from CW to date.
Stars Tyler Hoechlin and Bitsie Tulloch aren’t new to arrow verse or their characters – Hoechlin’s iteration of Superman debuted on Super girl in 2016, while Tulloch made her first appearance as Lois Lane in the 2018 crossover event “Elseworlds”. But after the events of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” last year, their reality was rewritten, especially about not one but two sons – twins named Jonathan (Jordan Alsace) and Jordan (Alex Garfin). When the show premiered, the boys are now 14 years old and are coping with the rigors of youth as well as anyone, which is not good, especially since their father is never home for mysterious reasons.
Image via The CW
Thanks to a series of non-super events, the Kent Lane clan is moving from Metropolis to Smallville, which is having a hard time. Overall, the show is dramatically rooted in extremely in-depth topics – I saw the pilot weeks ago and I haven’t stopped pausing even once about how a major plot point revolves around reverse mortgages (insert your own Tom Selleck Joke here, I’m all out). The dangerous state of small-town America, the corporatization of even iconic symbols of journalistic integrity like The Daily Planet … this is a show that does fistfight in space with a mysterious supervillain, but there is also a scene where One Character mentions how some desperate people in Smallville made meth. There is much to see.
You might think, “That doesn’t sound as funny as DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, a show that recently featured a climatic battle sequence based on Sisqo’s ‘Thong Song’.” And you would be right! But it’s interesting to see Greg Berlanti Executive are producing a show that feels a lot more like some of his earliest work, including Everwood and Jack & Bobby. And while Superman & Lois may not be quite on the level of a Terrence Malick Film (although I am now thinking about how cool it would be to watch Malick fight a space fistfight), his fundamental quest to be more is inspiring.
Hoechlin, Tulloch, and the rest of the supporting cast are doing their best to sell this tone and are largely successful. The show’s biggest wild card, and one that the show’s entire fate can rest on, is what’s wrong with the twins. Superman & Lois presents itself as a family drama at first, and the dynamic between the kind-hearted popular jock Jonathan and the restless and moody Jordan has the kind of antagonistic edge that could feel authentic to this age group. But there is also the risk of feeling fatigued or falling into a lack of potential stereotype traps. How their threads develop in the story over the course of this first season will be key to whether or not Superman & Lois really works.
Image via The CW
The many shows of the arrow verse sometimes face the same dilemma as the MCU when it comes to creating a common universe: To what extent can individual parts of the universe express a certain level of individuality? So far we’ve seen Black Lightning while focus on issues of race from its unique point of view Legends of Tomorrow leans hard into his own mix of madness. In a way, the fact that Superman & Lois feels very different from the shows that have taken place before is one of its strengths, and its inherent sincerity brings a lot of promise with it. promise that it may be able to live.
Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays on The CW, with episodes streamed on cwtv.com and the CW app.
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About the author
Liz Shannon Miller
(233 articles published)
Liz Shannon Miller is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has been speaking about television on the internet since the dawn of the internet. She is currently Senior TV Editor at Collider. Her work has also been published by Vulture, Variety, the AV Club, the Hollywood Reporter, IGN, The Verge, and Thought Catalog. She’s also a Produced Playwright, a variety of podcasts, and a collection of “X-Files” trivia. Follow her on Twitter at @lizlet.
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