Being a superhero is hard, but trying to save the world while simultaneously raising two children appears to be a recipe for disaster.
Superman & Lois is The CW’s latest foray into the superhero genre, and it presents a nice change of pace. Fueled by Arrow, the network has changed a lot over the last nine years.
Featuring Arrowverse veterans Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch, Superman & Lois is probably the most grounded superhero drama The CW has put out to date, and that’s part of the allure of the series.
Critics got to screen the first episode, and with the expanded runtime, it managed to include a lot of exposition, set-up for coming events, and some superhero fight scenes for good measure.
The series wastes no time in introducing us to Clark and Lois as they embark on a very different life, one that takes them back to Smallville.
While the previous CW superhero dramas all had a similar look, Superman & Lois goes for something different. The aspect ratio is changed, presenting a more cinematic look that compliments the storylines and the action.
A superhero drama featuring a group of teenagers is probably not for everyone, but Jordan Elsass and Alexander Garfin are solid as Jonathan and Jordan Kent.
What is immediately obvious is that they are polar opposites, which is one of the driving forces for drama in that initial episode, but deep down, they have that sibling bond that is unbreakable.
They are also going through a lot of different emotions due to events as their parents press on with their respective careers.
My initial concerns about the teenagers may have been tempered, but if the series zeroes in on their school life more than the adult drama, it could pose a big problem.
The family dynamic peppered throughout Superman & Lois is reason enough to tune in. The storylines unfold in ways that are not synonymous with superhero dramas.
In fact, the series reminds me more of Friday Night Lights. That show was grounded in reality with storylines that involved families.
As you can probably expect, Clark and Lois are very different people from the last time we saw them, and when you consider the major life changes, it makes sense.
What remains, however, is their undeniable connection. Their chemistry burns bright, and that’s about what I would expect from a series with both of their names in the title.
I wasn’t entirely sold on both of the characters when they appeared in the Arrowverse previously, but the more serious tone employed by Superman & Lois gives the stars meatier plots to work with.
That being said, their relationship could begin to fracture if they don’t agree on the needs of their family vs. Clark’s need to save the world.
Emmanuelle Chriqui is the new Lana Lang, but the opening episode painted her as more of a recurring player, which I didn’t mind.
There wasn’t enough of her in the premiere, and unless the writers have some good storylines cooked up that bring her to the forefront, it could suggest that she’s not a pivotal part of this narrative.
Lana’s daughter, Sarah, played by Inde Navarrette, has much better material to work with. Given that she’s similarly aged to Jonathan and Jordan, she has a natural place in the narrative.
The series desperately wants to have a nice blend of superhero and family drama, but it will all come down to the execution of future episodes on whether that will actually work out well.
It’s easy to make assumptions about one expanded episode, but it could be different as the series progresses.
One of my other concerns is the big DC TV crossovers that typically force viewers to watch all of the shows in the franchise.
Tonally, Superman & Lois is different from the shows that came before it, so I don’t think these crossovers should be present.
Yes, characters from across the franchise could pop up, but it would nice to use those characters sparingly to allow Superman & Lois to stand on its own two feet.
From the marketing alone, it seems like the network feels the same, so that’s a step in the right direction.
That’s not a knock at the other shows. It’s merely that the show shouldn’t rely on appearances from the other shows to advance the plot.
The series has a decent start, and this could be the beginning of a period of transition for the network’s superhero genre.
Will you give the show a shot?
Hit the comments.
Catch the two-hour premiere on February 23 at 8/7c.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.