Superman and Lois Turn Smallville into Riverdale (Season One Blu-Ray)

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Superman and Lois S1 BD

Superhero fans have been largely accepting of the latest CW series, Superman and Lois. And while there have been those all-too-brief, bright and shining moments (that introduction scene of Superman in his Golden Age outfit is insurpassable!), I'm too much of a Superman fan to fully fall in love with this series. And I'll tell you why.

First and foremost, this series takes place after the CW megacrossover event, Crisis on Infinite Earths, where multiverses collided and timelines were forever altered. The impact on Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) was that their one infant son had become twins -- much to the amazement of the parents who still remembered the pre-Crisis universe. That seemed to be an easy and innocuous alteration to the myth being built; Flashpoint had already changed the gender of John Diggle's child, a fact he didn't learn until much later. However, the twins on Superman and Lois -- Jonathan (Jordan Elsas) and Jordan (Alex Garfin) -- are 14 years old. Is the show set fourteen years after Crisis? I'm told that it's actually present day, so we skip their childhood entirely, and it gets retrofitted into the Kent family timeline. This means every episode of Supergirl ever made either didn't happen the same way or every time we saw Clark he had laft the somewhat younger twins at home.

This isn't just a point of confusion. It's a plot cheat for lazy writing. I get that they wanted to give Mr. and Mrs. Kent some family struggles and trials with children. But saddling them with half-grown teenagers robs the viewers of the real struggles and stories. Did Lois quit her job at the Daily Planet to be a full time mom to the infants? Or did Clark become a stay at home dad? Where are the dilemmas of having to rush off to stop a meteor from knocking the moon out of orbit if you don't have anyone to sit with the babies? Where's the tension of Superman returning from stopping bank robbers to deal with a distraught Lois who's been handling terrible twos times two? No, the characters and the writers are saved those challenges by jumping straight to the high school years.

(To be fair, the writers on the comic book series are just as lazy, having aged up Jonathan Kent into a full grown Superman, so the CW writers have a little bit more integrity and energy than does Brian Michael Bendis.)

Settling in Smallville may have been an attempt to give their children a normal life -- but there's no such thing as a normal small town on the CW, and soon we're going full-on Riverdale, with Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner) taking on the role of Hiram Lodge looking to mine the value out of the town and leave it in economic shambles.  Lois has been on the Edge story for almost the entire season, trying to prove that he's crooked. But she has no idea that he actually has a Kryptonian connection, and that soon he will set in motion the same events that destroyed another Earth in the multiverse -- one from which John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks) hails, where he was married to Lois and watched Superman lead an army of super villains.

To dig into the truth about Edge, Lois signs up to work with a local reporter in Smallville, Chrissy Beppo (Sofia Hasmik).

Okay, stop.

Chrissy. Beppo.

If you think that's an odd last name, you're right. And its' a very Superman-oriented name for longtime fans, so it's neither a coincidence nor an accidental spilling of Scrabble tiles.

Meet Beppo.

You can try to say that Chrissy is Italian, and on any other show that would work. But in Superman, if your name is Beppo... you're named after the monkey.

The threat presented by Edge nearly destroys Superman this season, and has a greater impact on Jordan, the twin that (so far) is the one who inherited the super abilities. Edge has been imbued with the powers of The Eradicator, and is able to take advantage of a rare element found only under Smallville that allows him to implant the minds of other Kryptonians into human bodies -- and the super powers that go with them (no genetic manipulation required to turn Homo sapiens into Flying Solar Batteries). The military is aware and, led by Lois's father (who knows Superman's secret identity), put a curfew on the town, which only further stokes tensions.

The real story here is almost always going to be the kids. Lana Lang (Emmanuelle Chriqui) grew up and got married, but her daughter Sarah (Inde Navarrette) and Jordan feel sparks for each other, so the same old story is playing out. Jonathan also has eyes for another girl (perhaps the episodes were written before the comic book Jonathan decided he liked boys instead), but his real affinity is working with John Henry Irons' tech so he can contribute to the protection of his family.

It's an interesting series, and certainly the most tolerable this year of the crop of CW super-shows (can we still call it the Arrowverse if there's no Arrow?) but I'm probably always going to trip over the nits I stop to pick.

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3.5 / 5.0