The CW network dropped the newest show in the DC Berlantiverse (formerly the Arrowverse) this week with Superman and Lois. This version of the Man of Steel spun out of both Supergirl and last year’s crossover event, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Because of that, this is a new take on the Superman mythos with some major changes, and it shockingly all works. Superman and Lois takes off and soars to new heights and proves without a doubt that the DC shows on The CW network still have major life in them.
The first thing to know going in is that Superman and Lois is still a The CW show. Because of that, as fans have seen in Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Batwoman, and Black Lightning, there is a certain level of mopey soap-opera like melodrama in these shows. What Superman and Lois does well from the start it creates a palpable reason for that melodrama.
Tyler Hoechlin stars as Clark Kent/Superman, reprising his supporting role from previous Supergirl episodes. Hoechlin is wonderful as this version of Supes, playing him not as some rugged sex symbol in tights, but as a man burdened with the responsibilities he has acquired since crash landing in Smallville, Kansas, as a baby. And his biggest responsibility yet is that of a father to twin teens, Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin). Hoechlin also captures that innocent boyish charm that Christopher Reeve brought to the character over 40 years ago.
In one early scene in the pilot, Superman saves a young boy from a car that is falling off an overpass. Not only is Superman wearing an early version of his iconic suit — one with the underpants on the outside and a black background around his “S” shield — but when the boy tells him he likes Superman’s suit, he matter-of-factly says, “Thanks, my mom made it for me,” before flying off to save other people who might be in peril around the world.
That one line and exchange sets the tone for this Superman, and even for fans of Hoechlin from his previous stints as the Man of Steel, this ensconces Hoechlin as the Superman of this generation, and we couldn’t be happier with his casting.
On the flip side of Hoechlin’s Clark/Superman is Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois. Tulloch was first introduced as Lois in The CW’s Elseworlds crossover event in 2018, and here she’s able to really develop the character. This Lois is believable as a world-renowned reporter and newswoman, as she brings a level of professional journalistic spirit, as well as the pressures of being a mother to the role. For a show called Superman and Lois, the creators really came through in the casting of both Superman and Lois.
Rounding out the main cast is Jordan Elsass as Jon Kent and Alex Garfin as Jordan Kent, the sons of Superman. Jon is the popular kid who has the pretty girlfriend and is the starting quarterback for his high school football team. Jordan is the alienated and depressed son with social anxiety, and he is medicated for his issues.
Neither teen knows their father is Superman, and neither teen has shown any sign of super powers. That changes in this pilot episode, and it’s that revelation that will steer the first 15-episode season into new and undiscovered territory for Superman.
Both actors are as different as night and day, as is each character, and they each bring a new wrinkle to the story. It will be fun to watch as they begin to come to grips with that fact that their father is the most powerful person on Earth, and that one or maybe both will also develop those powers.
I was not a fan of the idea of Superman and Lois having a child, and it’s one of the reasons 2006’s Superman Returns didn’t work for me. That changed when iconic Superman writer Dan Jurgens began writing a comic book that featured Clark and Lois with a young son, Jonathan. Jurgens was easily able to make Jon likable and relatable, and the character made Superman better.
Of course, it also helps that Jurgens is one of the best Superman comic writers in decades (he was the writer primarily responsible for killing the character in 1992) and knows Kal-El and Lois Lane inside and out, so creating a believable dynamic between father, mother, and son was in his wheel house.
I’m very excited to see how this new dynamic plays out on TV screens with an additional son and the built in drama bubbling just under the surface.
The pilot for Superman and Lois had a big-budget feel. The extended 90 minute run time made this seem more like a feature film, and there were some very epic shots of Superman doing super things. Director Lee Toland Krieger seems to understand that Superman is much more than a guy in tights, and the teleplay by Todd Helbing expounds on the mythos in new and exciting ways. It’s almost impossible to watch this pilot and not feel very excited for what is to come.
Fans can only hope that The CW drama that has almost ruined every other DC show on the network doesn’t begin to rear its ugly head here, as there is too much that is good in this first episode to be ruined by a Clark Kent who cries every episode like Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen/The Flash, or the level of sheer eye-rolling, stomach-turning silliness that plagued Arrow for its last few seasons.
If you decide to make a show about the most recognizable comic book character in the world, you better bring your “A” game each and every week, and I truly hope that Superman and Lois stays true to the heart and hope that this pilot episode offered, because if it does, fans will have reason to celebrate the fact that Superman is finally back on TV.
Superman and Lois airs on Tuesday nights on The CW network. Episodes are available to stream next day from The CW app. All images courtesy of The CW.
Superman and Lois
- Excellent casting across the board
- Tyler Hoechlin is the Superman for this generation
- Big budget feel
- Perfect level of The CW brand of melodrama
- It will be hard to keep this level of storytelling going for a full season
- No mention of other heroes in this episode