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Rediscover This — Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman 

Photo Credit: ABC/Warner Bros. TV

So Friday is coming up and…no Smallville.  If you’re like me, the depression has already started to kick in and you’re having Smallville withdrawals.  I’m here to tell you its ok people, its normal.  But we can’t mourn forever right?   What we need is a distraction.  We need a show to get our minds off of Smallville and I think I have just the right solution for those who need a super boost to their viewing habits:

That’s right, the Superman show a lot of us grew up on, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (which is a lot to type, so from here on out I’ll refer to it as LC:TNAS which is also ridiculously long…but hey…it was the 90’s…it just kind of made sense back then).  In 1993 it had been a while since we had seen any new live action Superman adventures.  The last (and worst) Superman movie, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace came out in 1987 and there hadn’t been a Superman TV show since the George Reeves show of the 50’s (and I refuse to include the Superboy TV series from 1988-1992 on account of it being so damn lame, but I will at least acknowledge that while it was on it was successful and actually it was kind of a strange precursor to Smallville).  It was a rough time for Superman in general.  People were starting to get more interested in darker, anti-heroes like Wolverine and Batman and Superman’s flawless, boy scout image seemed…well…dated. Superman needed a new, modern take on it and that’s exactly what we got with LC: TNAS.

It was an unorthodox approach to Superman at the time: Make Clark and Lois the forefront, Superman the secondary character.  While this seems normal to us, Smallville fans, at the time it was truly unique and made the show accessible to not only Superman fans, but people who just wanted a show about relationships. In fact, I’d say that women were a large demographic they were looking to capture as much of the show was romantic-comedy centered and most of the focus was on the relationship between Clark and Lois (hence the name of the show).

Let’s face it, if the show is called Lois & Clark then you better find likable actors to be Lois and Clark or the whole thing doesn’t work.  Luckily the show found gold in both Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher.  For a whole generation of kids who missed out on Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain is their generation’s Superman.  He wasn’t a completely nerdy Clark just as he wasn’t a completely bad ass Superman…but it worked for this show.  He had charisma and a spark of charm which for most storylines was all he needed.  It was just a completely different take on the character, right down to Superman having the slicked back hair and Clark Kent having the curly hair which is complete opposite of every other rendition of Superman.  And Teri as Lois was perfect.  She was aggressive and headstrong, but also sweet and vulnerable.  This was really the first time in any medium that the character of Lois Lane was truly fleshed out and made three dimensional.

As far as villains go, John Shea gave a wonderful interpretation of Lex Luthor that while somewhat campy at times, it was actually the most menacing the character had been portrayed as in any previous films or TV shows and kind of paved the way for Michael Rosenbaum later on down the road.  But besides the obligatory Luthor, we were treated to some great comic book villains including Metallo, Toyman, and the Prankster.  We also got some assbackwards storylines including a time traveling H.G. Wells, somebody suing Superman for breaking their arm after he saves them, and Clark marrying a clone of Lois.  It got bizarre after a while, but it was always light hearted and fun no matter how silly it got.

The show was never a ratings juggernaut, but it did renew the public interest in Superman. In fact, when Lois and Clark got married in the show, DC comics put out the issue of Lois and Clark getting married in the comics the same week in a huge cross promotional blitz. It was a fun show that lasted 4 seasons (and unfortunately ends on a cliffhanger since the show was abruptly canceled) and now all 4 seasons are available on DVD and Netflix instant watch to help you through the Smallville mourning process.

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