Superman & Lois
Season 1 Episode 1
How do you make Superman relatable and relevant to the world? That’s the question the writers and producers face with bringing a new iteration of the Man of Steel back to the small screen to headline his own series. The pilot episode answers that question on multiple fronts, but it all comes down to giving the iconic character some all too human complications to overcome.
In the first episode, we get the origin story of the character, but the episode doesn’t spend more time than it needs to tell a story many of us know and the flashbacks are filled with human moments of loss, love and new life. We also get the Superman heroics as well with some great fan service with a look at a classic Superman suit. The scene perfectly encompasses who Superman is as a character and what he stands for.
A professional setback and a personal loss bring Lois, Clark and their twin sons Jonathan and Jordan back to Smallville where they and the audience see the effects of the economic downturn on the town and its dwindling population. We also get the return of Clark’s first love Lana Lang and her family including a daughter who catches the eye of socially awkward Jordan. The Smallville scenes are a little too on the nose with reality and Lana’s Fire Chief husband is a little too stereotypical, but the scenes are well done and feel timely.
There is plenty of Superman related action to be had as a mysterious figure is attacking nuclear power plants to draw out Superman and watch him save the day. A figure who knows everything about Superman’s past, but doesn’t seem to know his real identity. An interesting plot point that only increases the drama when the truth is finally revealed. The action is fantastic and there is a scene reminiscent of Superman Returns, but it’s subtle.
I like the fact that the villain was not the focus of the episode and that the series is going to focus more on Clark’s need to connect with his family and find balance as Superman. Something that becomes a necessity when the boys are finally told the truth and one of them manifests abilities. The rest of the episode does an interesting turn in not resolving the villain storyline but returning to the family drama.
What makes this first episode work so well is it is character focused. You get the Superman heroics. You get the special effects. There is a great cinematic quality to the way the show is shot, but the characters comes through. You can feel the humanity and realism in their performances. There isn’t any camp in the series and everything is played straight, but there are still moments of levity that keep it a drama without making it dour. While some of the teenage angst moments are a little derivative, the rest of the episode and the family drama have me invested.