Stuck in the house with a vicious illness (not Covid) left me at the mercy of symptoms. No brain, no ambition, and with nothing else to do but binge, I looked into my curiosity about the newest Superman on the CW. It had many good reviews and gushing adoration from fans. Now I know why.
OK, I’m an unashamed closet Superman freak. As a tot I sat on the linoleum floor and waited in squirming impatience to hear the announcer ask if it’s a bird or a plane. Wonderful George Reeves—what he endured was just not fair. Of course, I didn’t learn about his troubles until many years later. I never liked the Lois rendition from that era. She was just too dippy, but poor Noel Neill probably had no choice. Hollywood perpetuated and leaped on every opportunity to keep women in their place. No one in this new series would ever pull that crap on this version of Lois. She knows how to use a Tazer and even Clark/ Superman backs up a step when she’s ticked.
What stands out in this rendition is a family bombarded by challenges and how they handle them. The chemistry between the four is utterly compelling. The Kent boys—no, young men—are enough to cause a dangerous estrogen surge in the global teen population. As a grandma, I just want to get them in my clutches, feed them cookies, soak up their energy, and listen to their victories and tragedies.
A massive part of the addictive aspects of this series is how the characters and their lives are so identifiable, so today and every day. Physical attractiveness is minor; IMHO, although Jordan’s sweetly dimpled smile is enough to shatter an ocular release (sorry, inside joke). There is much about them to admire. The twins have the virtues of their parents inherent, not forced. They are a mix of kindness, honor, integrity, and loyalty mixed up with the angst of their hormone-messed up ages (14). Young people everywhere must identify and get immediately sucked into their problems. The storyline deals with issues like bullying, social disorders, parental disappointments, to name a few. But the twins are not perfect. They yell at their parents and are loaded with teen sarcasm.
Clark has performance issues about being a dad, as any normal parent should. His deer in the headlights expression when being floored by teen outbursts and their acting out blunders is priceless. As is his stunned look the first time he sees Lois.
Lois is feisty, a mom who works hard not to hover and suffers from professional tunnel vision. Not always a bad thing. Scenes with her sons, when the proverbial chips are down and everything has been blown to hell and gone, are touching. The commitment these parents invest in their children is remarkable.
That being written, this is no Ozzie & Harriet yarn. Many glaring errors are not worth mentioning, because the writing is so dang great. TV production budgets are tiny in comparison to a film. There is finite time to get it done and no money for a re-shoot.
Although I’m sure viewers are interested in seeing Superman’s daring feats, and there are many, I am more invested in the family, how they argue, snark, laugh, cling, and hang on to each other for dear life. When Jordan’s heartthrob, the volatile Sarah, gripes at the twins that she wasn’t lucky enough to have a perfect family, the boys share a startled, meaning-filled look, as they hold back the truth that their family has its own set of problems. It’s brief moments like this, speckled throughout the series that makes it so remarkable. There are no sloppy acting moments or scene-chewing silliness. This is ensemble acting at its best and rarely seen in television, certainly not at this level of intimacy.
Season Two starts tonight on the CW. I’ve no idea how I’ve survived the wait.
M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML