By Joseph McAleer | Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s “Superman & Lois,” the latest take on the DC comics superhero from the planet Krypton and his true love, the star reporter for the Daily Planet.
The series debuts on The CW with a double-length episode Tuesday, Feb. 23, 8-10 p.m. EST. Subsequent installments will air Tuesdays 8-9 p.m. EST and stream on the CW app.
Purists beware: This is not your grandad’s Superman, or even your father’s. Greg Berlanti, who has developed multiple CW comic-book series (including “Arrow”), is behind this contemporary reimaging of the Man of Steel myth, along with Todd Helbing (“The Flash”).
Domesticity is the most startling change from previous film and TV treatments of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s classic characters. Superman, in the guise of Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin), is now married to Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) and they have twin sons, Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin).
“Suddenly here I am,” Clark muses, “living in Metropolis, raising two teenage boys, married to the most famous journalist in the world, trying to make the world safer for the people I love.” That now means striking a sensible work-home balance — easier said than done when dinner is on the table but there’s a nuclear power plant miles away that’s about to explode.
Needless to say, Superdad is away a lot and wracked with parental guilt. Lois, meanwhile, has her hands full with the lads, who are about to start high school. They’re a study in contrasts: Jonathan is athletic and outgoing; Jordan, who has just been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, is geeky and withdrawn.
Throw into the mix concerns that one or both may have inherited Dad’s superhuman powers, and you have the recipe for a rather unusual soap opera.
The setting shifts from big-city Metropolis to Kansas when the family visits the farm where Clark was raised. Things have changed for the worse in Smallville. Foreclosures are rampant; there’s a crystal methamphetamine problem; and a media mogul named Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner) is buying up property all over town. As he also happens to own the Daily Planet, Lois smells a rat.
Clark becomes reacquainted with his childhood sweetheart, Lana Lang Cushing (Emmanuelle Chriqui), whose rebellious daughter, Sarah (Inde Navarrette), catches Jordan’s eye.
Just when Clark seems to be making headway with his sons, however, duty calls. There’s a major baddie on the prowl named The Stranger (Wole Parks) who seeks Superman’s destruction.
Along with the references to drug use, there’s underage drinking at a party Sarah and Jordan attend and the struggle with The Stranger involves some stylized violence. Judging from the first episode available for review, though, this is mostly a family-friendly affair.
Lois is consoled by her father, Gen. Samuel Lane (Dylan Walsh), who knows Clark’s secret. “Superman doesn’t get to have a normal life as much as you want one for him,” he says.
While entertaining overall, “Superman & Lois” veers, awkwardly at times, from scenes of poignant family drama to spectacular action sequences and back again. “Your life falling apart doesn’t mean you’re special,” Lois tells her husband during one of the former interludes. “It means you’re human.”
McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.