The CW has a new entry to their DC Arrowverse with SUPERMAN AND LOIS. Superman is a character who has had many, many incarnations on screens big and small, and the CW has had a lot of superhero shows over the past decade. But while key elements to Superman’s well-known legend are present, SUPERMAN AND LOIS feels different on both counts, and a worthy addition to a crowded slate.
SUPERMAN AND LOIS spends a few minutes reminding fans of the story between the titular couple, which is both a refresher on the often-told origin story and an outline of what choices have been made differently in this version of the tale. Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch reprise their lead roles from earlier CW DC appearances. Then, we catch up with the couple in Metropolis, where Lois is “the most famous reporter in the world” while Clark’s Superman is successfully keeping the planet safe. And they have twin fourteen-year-olds at home, Jonathan (Jordan Elsass, Little Fires Everywhere) and Jordan (Alex Garfin, The Peanuts Movie), who sometimes feel a bit overlooked by their busy parents, especially Clark, whose secret they don’t know.
The primary plotline in the pilot of SUPERMAN AND LOIS finds Clark feelings out-of-touch as a father and struggling to right that. He still saves people, but he’s realizing that he needs to be present at home, as well, a sentiment that Lois agrees with, but her father, General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh, Nip/Tuck), does not. So when Clark is laid off by The Daily Planet and his mother, Martha (Michele Scarabelli, Alien Nation), passes away, he takes the opportunity to move his family to Smallville and try being a stay-at-home farmer-father.
In true hero fashion, Clark has multiple motivations for doing this, besides his wife telling him to be a better dad. Lois strongly suspects something rotten is going on in the dying small town as a rich man forces residents into reverse mortgages and buys up properties. Also, moody Jordan exhibits superpowers, although his brother, star athlete Jonathan, does not. And the boys discover Clark’s secret. So he’s trying to get back in touch with them while helping them cope with tough stuff in the only way he knows how – the same way his parents did with him.
Smallville is full of memories, of course. Besides the farm, there’s Clark’s ex, Lana Lang Cushing (Emmanuelle Chriqui, Entourage), who works for the bank. Her husband, Kyle (Erik Valdez, Graceland), is kind of a jerk, though Lana makes excuses for him. Their daughter, Sarah (Inde Navarrette, 13 Reasons Why), is clearly a love interest for Jordan, despite already having a boyfriend. Plus there’s a villainous Luthor afoot because, of course.
But SUPERMAN AND LOIS won’t be a rehash of Smallville or any other Superman adventure because Clark is in a different place. He’s the dad now. And his sons are very different from him. They have their own challenges and relationships, which are pretty different from Clark’s with his parents. All of the Arrowverse shows have some kind of family element, but on this one, family is the central core, with the superhero stuff being the side story. For now, anyway. So it’s a new twist on an old tale, and one I’m very much looking forward to. Fresh Superman is not something I expected in 2021, but SUPERMAN AND LOIS delivers.
There are two things that bother me a bit about the setup. One, Jonathan and Jordan seem way closer and more understanding of one another than any two siblings I’ve ever seen in real life. Two, I get Clark being busy with his Superman stuff, but Lois is an extremely present mother while still maintaining her international reputation? That seems far-fetched. More likely, there’s a missing caregiver who was with the boys a lot before the series begins.
Still, these are small squabbles, and I’m excited to see this iteration. SUPERMAN AND LOIS airs Tuesday evenings on the CW.