Friday, June 28, 2013

A Classic Reborn: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993)

After four feature films with Christopher Reeve, it seemed like the right time for Superman to return to television. Warner Bros., flush with excitement over the success of the Fox series, Batman: The Animated Series, opted for the live-action route with Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, which spent 4 seasons anchoring ABC's Sunday lineup (1993-7).

Adhering to modern (at the time) convention, Lex Luthor (John Shea) not only is the corrupt businessman we were seeing in the comics then, but he'd also been involved, however briefly, with Lois Lane (Teri Hatcher). Enter Superman (Dean Cain). Enough said.

Of course, the series got a little trippy in the final two seasons. What did you expect? As with most shows based on comics these days, the producers played it fast & loose with the comics, opting for an African-American Toyman (Sherman Hemsley, ex-The Jeffersons, Amen) as a 1-shot villain who eventually reformed, something that couldn't be said about the comic book Toyman at the time. The hook, of course, was Hemsley reuniting with Jeffersons co-star Isabel Sanford one last time in primetime.

Currently, reruns air on The Hub (check listings). Since the series ended, both Dean Cain & Teri Hatcher have moved on to other things. Hatcher recently ended another successful Sunday night entry, Desperate Housewives, while Cain currently hosts the latest reincarnation of Bloopers (check listings again).

Following is a montage of opens for all 4 seasons. Note that Justin Whalin (Jimmy Olsen) joined the series in season 2, after Michael Landes was let go.

The only quibble might be that Cain's Superman was too close to being Superboy instead, but he managed to make it work for four years.

Rating: B+.


magicdog said...

I didn't watch this show much when it was first run, but eps I did catch were likeable - they seem to have this light Saturday morning feeling... kind of like episodes of Knight Rider and Charlie's Angels have since become long after their prime time runs.

One of the best things about this adaptation was that they treated Clark Kent as the person and Superman as the disguise/alter ego rather than the other way around. Earlier adaptations forgot Clark was still a person who had likes, dislikes and a life apart from his super heroism. Fortunately this was continued in STAS just a few years later.

hobbyfan said...

Superman: The Animated Series launched as Season 4 of Lois & Clark began, so there was a little overlap.

ABC also, albeit smartly, never moved Lois & Clark off its Sunday perch, which ensured a decent run.