The Dark Herald Recommends: Superman and Lois

The Dark Herald Recommends: Superman and Lois

“What is going on here?” My wife asked in a deeply troubled voice.

“I think we just watched something…g-o-o-d?” I carefully sounded out the unfamiliar word.

“But this is a Superman show?” She said whirring in confusion.

“I know,” I said blankly.

“It’s on the CW,” recoiling in fear at the words that came from her mouth.

“I know,” I whispered back in bewildered terror.

I admit there were positive signs about the show during its development.  

One of the writers had demanded that Jonathon and Martha Kent absolutely had to be race-bent… Or else!

If this had been a Disney show the reply would have been, “You are right. We are so, so sorry we didn’t think of that ourselves. Thank god, we hired you.”

However, AT&T was closely supervising this production.  They appear to be sick to death of DC’s bullshit and came down hard on any Woke attempts at derailment.

So instead, the answer she got was, “box your stuff! Parking lot. Car. Frontgate. Good-bye. You. Are. Fired.”

Impossible to believe I know, but yes, the pilot episode of Superman and Lois is excellent.  

They have the character of Superman exactly right when I didn’t think that any writer working for Warner Media could get anywhere near that.  Clark is the Boy Scout he’s supposed to be.  Lois fits her character too.  Somebody who knows something about Superman comics clearly had a hand in the development.

More importantly, the writing is absolutely spot on.  All of the characters are well layered.  The story structure is pitch-perfect.  And most shocking of all, the story was extremely sympathetic towards rural America.  One of the very few times that has happened since “CBS canceled everything with a tree in it,” in 1972.

Here is deal.

I can’t go into this anymore without spoilers, so, I’m going to show you the first five minutes of the pilot episode.  Then I’ll throw down some spoiler flags.  If you don’t want anything spoiled, (and I can see how you wouldn’t), don’t read anymore.  Just head to the CWs website, you can watch it for free with commercials there.  Or you can pay for it on Amazon.

Now that was five minutes of absolutely brilliant character development.  After five minutes you care about these people and their problems.

It’s always easy to like Superman, if he’s done right (please take note Snyder, this isn’t rocket science).  

Lois, however, can be more of a prickly pear.  But it’s hard not to be sympathetic with the mother of child with special problems.  The problems that Lois and Clark have as parents feels so real.  They love Jordan but have no idea how to help him and they are desperate to do so.  

As you can tell, there was a lot of money pumped into this production.  There is no way the effects can be as good in the rest of the series, but AT&T clearly wants the Superman brand protected.  Honestly, I’m surprised this isn’t on HBOmax because if every episode was this good, then they would have finally found their Mandalorian.

And the vintage costume shows the series is being approached from a place of love.

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This show was trying to keep itself grounded in this world.  The Daily Planet would have been as shaky institution for a long time.  Clark getting laid off makes sense.  It made things feel a bit more real.

As did the death of Martha Kent.  They gave a great little foreshadow, but I was surprised that she was gone in the first fifteen minutes.  But then it made sense because this first episode was all about big life changes and the death of your remaining parent is a huge milestone.  Maybe you knew it was coming for a while or maybe it was a sudden shock, but the end result is the same. This is the final stage of being a grown-up.  You are absolutely on your own now.  

In the Silver Age comics, Martha and Jonathon Kent had found Clark when they were in middle-age well past childbearing years and had never managed to have one of their own.  They made no secret that Clark was adopted, and it made enough sense for them to have died in their sixties while Clark was in college.

Also, it got them out of the way.  They were always meant to be backstory and not much else.

In later iterations when life expectancies had gone up it made sense to explore those relationships with an adult Clark.

So, it was intriguing to start the show on this big of life marker.

The twins aren’t exactly long-standing canon but they have shown up in various incarnations.  They aren’t really tied to anything in terms of backstory. I liked the fundamental dichotomy between the Alpha and the Omega twins.  The brothers obviously love each other and if anyone does get Omega-Jordan at all it’s Alpha-Jonathon.  Jonathon is very protective of his damaged brother.

So the Kents return to Smallville to bury grandma and settle her remaining affairs.  Clark runs into Lana and her redneck husband.  

At first, my reaction to Lana’s husband was, okay, this more expected.  Stupid, brutish, hill-jack in a wife-beater.  Probably slaps around Lana when she’s drunk.  Sure, he was a high school jock but he developed into a small town Alpha male who is trying to take care of his community against forces that he can’t fight with his fists. As a small-town fire chief, he has had to see some pretty ugly things.  A house that burned down because the parents were cooking Meth and their kids were inside when it happened. Lana’s Trump-voting redneck husband comes across as an actual person.

The problems of small own America were sharply portrayed in this show.  It was honestly, startling to see Trump-land portrayed sympathetically. 

Lana’s daughter mentions being in the FFA, which shocked the hell out of me.  Someone in the Hollwood of 2021 actually knows about the FFA?

Most stunning of all was when Clark made the decision to move his family back to Smallville.  That was a serious WTF moment for me because this was a statement that rural America is preferable to the concrete jungle of urban life.  This is some fairly serious heresy.

Sober reflection time.  It’s good now but that won’t last.  Arrow started off good and turned to garbage.  The Flash was the same deal.  I saw half of the first episode of Supergirl.  And Batwoman was hilariously awful from the first five minutes on.

Superman and Lois is on the CW, it can’t stay good for long.

But for now…

The Dark Herald Recommends with Enthusiasm.

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Comments (12)

  • Kyle Lulka Reply

    Is this show on the same level as smallville?

    February 25, 2021 at 9:15 pm
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      The first episode is theatrical quality.

      February 25, 2021 at 11:19 pm
      • douglas Whiddon Reply

        I think both Smallville and Lois and Clark had theatrical quality pilots. Lets see how the show looks and feels by episode 2.

        February 26, 2021 at 1:56 am
  • M. Bibliophile Reply

    I CANNOT be the only one who watches this admittedly well crafted piece and immediately thinks of Larry Niven’s “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.”

    All due respect to one of my childhood’s favorite authors, but I think I prefer this telling. A little more wholesome somehow.

    February 26, 2021 at 1:22 am
    • douglas Whiddon Reply

      I ALWAYS think of that when I think of Superman and Lois. One of the deleted scenes from “Hancock” (restored in the extended cut) deals with this.

      February 26, 2021 at 1:58 am
  • furor kek tonicus Reply

    if you’ll allow me to sperg for a moment, the dad keeling over looks like it happens in the 1970s

    while started in 1968, 911 was still a metro thing at that time and would have been extremely unlikely to have been available or even talked about in Smallville. as an example, “As late as 1989, at least 28 Chicago suburbs still lacked 9-1-1 service”. even a place as big as Joliet ( +100k pop ) would have been well outside the 911 service area.

    as someone who grew up with a party line phone ( shared line with the land lady next door ) until the mid-70s, this kind of thing kicks me right out of the story.
    yeah, i know, only Oldfags will notice this. get off my lawn.

    February 26, 2021 at 6:03 pm
  • furor kek tonicus Reply

    a much bigger plot hole has occurred to me; Clark has never not been ‘super’, since he arrived on earth.
    therefore, he should have been flying Pa Kent to the local clinic / hospital
    unless he actually wanted Pa Kent to die. i mean, if your father dying in your arms isn’t sufficient reason to break cover, you’re not ever going to have one.

    February 26, 2021 at 7:23 pm
    • RandyJJ Reply

      It’s quite possible that he just didn’t think of it. It is amazing how much people’s cognitive processes can be impeded by sudden, stressful situations. He’s had years of practice existing in situations where flying is “not an option” (due to being in public). When his dad collapses, he fails to shift gears and realize that it’s something he technically CAN do, he just shouldn’t.

      February 26, 2021 at 10:57 pm
      • Fractal Rabbit Reply

        It’s also the very reason doctors aren’t supposed to work on their own family. That kind of stress can make anyone lose their cognitive processes as the descend into panic.

        February 27, 2021 at 1:09 pm
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      There is the more fundamental problem of flying an unmodified human (whether having a heart attack or not)
      at hypersonic speeds without benefit of an aircraft.

      You have a better chance of surviving a heart attack than being suddenly hit with a 10,000 MPH wind.

      Admittedly, neither the comics nor the movies have ever addressed this rather glaring drawback.

      February 26, 2021 at 11:36 pm
      • furor kek tonicus Reply

        i don’t know that “hypersonic speeds” are necessary here. he just needs to reach a clinic or hospital ( preferably with oxygen and defib although CPR + mouth-to-mouth can be effective for quite some time provided it’s not something catastrophic like Ritter’s aortic dissection ) and there should be one in town.
        as an IRL example, Wolf Lake Indiana ( ~500 pop ) had it’s own 3 story hospital and Smallville looks bigger than that.
        but yes, if Supes was to transport Pa at hypersonic speeds i would expect him to be ‘protected’ by the Speedforce ( or whatever the Superman equivalent would be ).
        RandyJJ Reply
        It is amazing how much people’s cognitive processes can be impeded by sudden, stressful situations.

        i’d agree that this is just about the only option that permits Clark to get out of this without looking like a complete asshole.
        otoh, maybe Pa grabs him by the sleeve and tells him he can’t? that would shift responsibility onto Pa and allow Clark to remain the good obedient boy scout.
        either way though, that would put a HUGE burden of guilt on Clark for the rest of his life, and i’ve never seen an iteration of Supes that has tried to deal with him having emotional problems from something like that.
        of course, doing something like that in broad daylight would as a practical matter would result in the entire population of Smallville having to be in on keeping Clark’s identity secret.
        i recognize that i am speculating about a short clip right out of the middle of the action there so maybe i’m just talking out of my ass.

        February 27, 2021 at 5:16 am
  • Cloudbuster Reply

    Trying to watch it with ads on the CW. The first ad I am exposed to is this over-the-top piece of propaganda full of trans degenerates and fat, black women. Advertising Facebook Groups. Seriously?

    February 26, 2021 at 8:53 pm

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