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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