Superman & Lois: Pilot

"When we were dreaming about having a family, it didn't look like this, did it?"

This is a whole new direction for the Superman story. It certainly held my attention.

The first few minutes were genuinely impressive. They told the entire backstory beautifully, finally landing us in Metropolis at the Daily Planet. Except that we didn't stay in Metropolis; the action moved right over to Smallville.

But this show isn't the familiar old Smallville. No bright primary colors, no soaring music. Interestingly, it's not like the currently running Supergirl, either. There's an obvious lack of fluff. The skies are cloudy, the Kent farm is faded and poor, and Clark Kent must face the fact that he's been so busy saving the world that he hasn't been a good father.

Jonathan and Jordan Kent (named for both of Clark's fathers?) are very light and dark. Sunny, good-natured Jonathan is a football hero (and I'm remembering the teenage Smallville Clark Kent's obsession with football), while troubled Jordan is in therapy and taking medication. Jordan even thinks Superman is boring, at least before the big reveal when Clark finally told his sons the truth.

Were Jordan's powers jumpstarted by whatever that crystal was that came out of the Kryptonian ship in the barn?

I'm confused about the timeline. Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) was a baby during last year's crossover, and Jordan (Alex Garfin) didn't exist. Now they're both fourteen. And yes, both actors look, and are, older than fourteen (nineteen and seventeen). There's also something of a resemblance to each other, so good casting. Even if they don't look fourteen.

Ma Kent was only around long enough to set up the move back to a sad and gray Smallville. There was a mention of Clark's old best friend Pete, but no sighting. We did get an introduction to this incarnation's version of Lana Lang, who is married to the Smallville fire chief Kyle Cushing and has a beautiful, troubled daughter named Sarah who is going to be either Jordan or Jonathan's love interest. Lana works at the bank. Is she secretly an agent of Morgan Edge's? Or would that be too simple?

I noticed that Lois mostly functioned as Clark's support structure in this episode. She kept telling him that they needed to tell the boys, while Clark kept saying no. Nothing was said about the fact that she's the most famous reporter in the world, but she'd be leaving her job for Smallville, too. That seemed like it should have been a big thing. Maybe in a later episode?

I was also a little bit disappointed during the reveal that neither of the twins even acknowledged the coolness of Dad being Superman. Although they did give us some of that at the end of the episode.

We're getting the clear message that Superman & Lois is going to focus on human, family problems, and maybe not superhero problems so much, although those pesky world-destroying supervillains will still be part of the story. This pilot episode set up a super incarnation of someone bald named Luthor with some sort of superpower suit. Plus, there's the yet unseen Morgan Edge, who is the reason Clark lost his job at the increasingly monetized Daily Planet and is also behind some sort of reverse mortgage scam that has sucked in the Kent family farm.

Bits and pieces:

— The nuclear power plant bits were rather cool, and established that Lois' father General Lane knows who Superman is and lets him know about big time dangers.

— They wouldn't recast Lex Luthor when Jon Cryer is so terrific in the part, would they?

— I loved the bit in the opening with the old costume that Clark wore, saying that his mom had made it. Was that a little callback to Lois & Clark?

— This episode acknowledged that Clark Kent looks younger than his wife and other Smallville contemporaries. Is Clark immortal?

— Interesting that there was a reference (by Kyle Cushing) to the current and deep political divide in the United States. Are they going to do something political, or was that more of an offhand thing?

So far so good. I really like Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch in the roles, the young actors playing the twins are good, this could work.

What did you all think?

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


Gracie F. said...

I liked it. The leads are good and can obviously carry heavier storylines. We'll have to wait and see where it goes.

CrimsonLine said...

I thought it was fantastic. Classic Superman vibe, but with sufficient freshness to merit my attention. The storyline felt more mature, in the best meaning of that word, than the other CW DC shows. There was a little bit of the silly moral equivalence stuff (“not telling me something = lying to me!”) but not a lot of it, and if that doesn’t continue, I’ll be a happy man. The effects were good, the acting was generally good, and I liked the new relationship with Sam Lane.

Can’t wait to see where this all goes!

TJ said...

I liked it a lot! Yes, this could definitely work.

But isn't it time we move on from the same old Lex Luthor storyline? It feels like it has been done already - a million times.

Shari said...

I'm so glad you all enjoyed it as much as I did. Given that this show seems to be more about how being a superhero impacts a family than vice versa, I was wondering if it would find an audience. We may not be representative of the whole but it makes me feel better about it's chances. Especially since it feels like such a departure from the other Arrowverse shows.