Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 30, 2022)
Given the character’s status as the first famous superhero, it makes sense that Superman has enjoyed more live-action TV series than any of his peers. The role gets another go via 2021’s Superman & Lois.
All 15 episodes from Season One appear in this three-disc set. The plot synopses come from IMDB.
Pilot: “Clark ‘Superman’ Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) return to idyllic Smallville is set to be upended by mysterious stranger.”
Left unsaid from that recap: the series posits Lois and Clark as married and the parents of teen twin sons Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alex Garfin). Our leads wonder how and/or if Superman’s powers will trickle down to the boys.
Obviously this all echoes the 1990s series Lois and Clark, which all involved clearly realized. Heck, the similar titles ensure that.
I don’t think I ever saw an episode of L&C, but I don’t believe the pair overlap too much. Based on what I read, L&C ended with the leads as newly married, not many years down the road.
I guess one could view S&L as a semi-sequel to L&C in that way. S&L does manage to find what appears to be new territory, no small feat given the fact Superman launched 83 years before this series debuted.
How well this plays out as the season progresses remains up for grabs, as “Pilot” exists almost entirely for expository reasons. The episode gives us the series’ narrative basics, and it introduces us to the concepts in a fairly efficient manner.
Which is about all it needs to do. While I can’t claim the “Pilot” bowls me over, it works well enough to make me curious where matters will proceed.
Heritage: “When adjusting to their new lives in Smallville, Lois and Clark make an important decision concerning one of their sons. Tensions begin to rise between Lois and Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner). Lana Lang Cushing (Emmanuelle Chriqui) invites the Kent family over for a barbecue.”
After the exposition-heavy “Pilot”, “Heritage” feels a bit tentative. It follows a few different threads – probably too many for the series’ second episode.
These offer some intriguing possibilities, and I think the sibling rivalry can go somewhere interesting, especially since it appears one boy enjoys superpowers and the other doesn’t. “Heritage” doesn’t flop, but it does seem somewhat unsteady. Hopefully the series will dig into these threads more robustly as it goes.
The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower: “Clark shares some of his Kryptonian history with Jordan and Jonathan during a family breakfast. Meanwhile, Lois and Chrissy (Sofia Hasmik) dig deeper to uncover the truth about Morgan Edge.”
Obviously I get that a series about Superman will need action and intrigue. However, so far the interpersonal material with the kids works best.
Maybe this will change, but I find it tough to care about Morgan Edge’s dastardly deeds or other related elements. The developments with Jordan and Jonathan fare better, though, and become surprisingly compelling.
Haywire: “Lois keeps probing into Morgan's involvement with Smallville. Meanwhile, General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh) tells Clark to choose between being a superhero and a father.”
Though the superhero parts of the first few shows didn’t excel, these work better with “Haywire”. Some interesting new characters emerge and make this a good balance of action and interpersonal domains.
The Best of Smallville: “As HarvestFest in Smallville arrives, Luthor (Wolé Parks) approaches Lois while the missing Derek (Clayton James) reappears with more than he left with.”
After a pretty good run, “Best” feels somewhat lackluster. Though not without some useful moments, it doesn’t push along the characters and overall narrative as well as its predecessors.
Broken Trust: “Clark reconsiders his decision to let Jordan play football. Lois' continued investigation of Morgan Edge requires her to trust an unexpected ally.”
S1 continues to balance villainous intrigue with the lives of the teen boys. I still enjoy the latter more than the former, and “Trust” offers some good developments in that realm.
Man of Steel: “Clark struggles to help Jordan who is grappling with a new power. Lois enlists Clark's help which leads to a surprise encounter.”
“Multiverse” tales seem to be all the rage right now. As such, the fact Captain Luthor comes from another Earth should cause me to roll my eyes.
However, I actually find myself intrigued by this side of things. At least it gives us a different spin on the Luthor role, and his side of “Steel” adds some impact to this episode.
Holding the Wrench: “Clark encourages Lois to reach out for help after noticing her reaching a breaking point. Meanwhile, Jonathan finds himself in a dangerous situation. Lastly, Kyle (Erik Valdez) encourages Sarah (Inde Navarrette) to audition for the musical revue at school.”
After the good drama of “Steel”, “Wrench” feels a bit less engaging. Or maybe I just don’t like to see the ever-steely Lois Lane get all weepy. Some good moments emerge, but “Wrench” becomes a bit of a letdown.
Loyal Subjeckts: “Lois, Chrissy and Clark team up to piece together the significance of Smallville to Morgan Edge.”
With “Loyal”, we get an episode that mostly seems to develop the overall plot in a gentle manner. That said, some interesting threads develop, so it functions as a fairly positive enterprise, and we do get a major revelation at the end.
O Mother, Where Art Thou?: “Lana reaches out to Lois and Clark when Kyle starts behaving strangely. Jonathan opens up to Jordan. Sarah storms out after accusing her mom of always covering for her dad.”
The aforementioned “major revelation” receives additional exploration here – and starts to veer into silly territory. That domain involves spoilers so I won’t say more, but the story choices do feel a bit goofy. Still, we get some decent drama and action, so I can deal with a few questionable decisions.
A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events: “Clark makes a startling discovery about Morgan Edge.”
That “reminiscence” in the title means we get an episode largely focused on flashbacks. We see how teen Clark (Dylan Kingwell) found the Fortress of Solitude as well as adult Clark’s early days in Metropolis and the development of his relationship with Lois.
The plot in my synopsis kicks in about two-thirds of the way into the show, so it doesn’t all consist of “remember when?” material. The show features a good recap of the Lois/Clark history and moves along significant narrative developments as well.
Through the Valley of Death: “Lois and John Henry can't seem to agree on the best way to stop Morgan Edge. Jonathan encourages Jordan to focus on strengthening his powers to help locate their dad. An old friend is brought in to help with the search.”
Here we get talk of essentially killing Superman. Spoiler alert: that won’t happen. Nonetheless, “Valley” ratchets up the drama and tosses out good action along the way.
Fail Safe: “Superman pays a visit to Morgan Edge. Lois and Chrissy work together on a story. Jonathan finds a welcome distraction during a stressful school day.”
As the season nears its end point, the narrative ramps up, albeit after with a false indication that matters might resolve. Since we see two more shows to go, we know this isn’t true, but “Safe” moves along matters in a satisfactory manner.
The Eradicator: “Lois is worried about Jordan as he and Sarah continue to grow closer. Clark pays Lana a visit. Jonathan been spending more and more time with John Henry.”
Penultimate episodes exist mainly to set up the finale, and that becomes the case here. Not that “Eradicator” lacks its own drama and action, but it remains a “place setter” for the most part, and it does well in that regard.
Last Sons of Krypton: “Superman's worst nightmare comes to life, and Lois confronts Leslie Larr (Stacey Farber). Lana, Kyle and Sarah agree to stay to help General Lane.”
With “Sons”, S1 comes to the expected climax that theoretically concludes the Morgan Edge saga. It follows some borderline silly paths but it nonetheless wraps up the year on a fairly positive note – along with the expected teaser for Season Two.