‘Superman and Lois’ Review: Tyler Hoechlin Soars in The CW’s Hopeful Superhero Drama Superman is a hot dad with problems!

DC Comics’ famous protagonists Clark Kent and Lois Lane get a series spotlight on The CW in Todd Helbing and Greg Berlanti’s superhero drama Superman and Lois, premiering February 23, which follows the supercouple as they try to find the right balance as working parents of 14-year-old twins, saving the world and making sure they don’t lose themselves in their world.

If you are reading this review, you likely fall into one of three categories.

Category One: You are hyped for this show. You like Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman. You want to like this show. You’re going to be planted in front of your TV on Tuesday, February 23 with a Superman shirt on and a snack. I’m just going to straight up tell you I think it is likely you will like the pilot. You can tell everyone involved loves and understands Superman. You know that isn’t always the case.

Category Two: You like Superman, but you aren’t sure about Tyler Hoechlin. He’s too short to you (he’s six foot), he’s skinny (he’s not), he has stubble (hmmm stubble!), he’s too young (Kryptonians age slower).  You might have whined about him not having the spit curl-like strands of hair curling on his forehead is somehow paramount to Superman’s character. You generally have a “Look at that bitch eating crackers” attitude about Tyler.

Category Three: You aren’t a huge Superman fan, but you are curious about this show. You might be a bit hesitant because you’ve never watched an Arrowverse series. You might even wonder why we need another Superman series.

I’m going to tackle those of you in Category Three first. You don’t need to have any Arrowverse knowledge to watch this series. There’s a montage of Clark’s life at the beginning which tells his origin story including meeting Lois, proposal, marriage and having the twins Jordan and Jonathan. It is very well done and if you are a Clois stan, you are going to be grinning from ear to ear. I sure was and my usual expression can be best described as resting you just cut in front of me in line face.

What separates this series from Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Smallville is that Clark has been Superman for about 20 years. It isn’t an origin story. And most importantly, he’s a hot dad with problems. Clark wants so badly to be a good father and close to his sons, but there’s a wall between him and them and that wall is Superman. Jon and Jordan don’t know he’s Superman. Clark was worried they might let his identity slip. If Superman were real and a dad, I one hundred percent think a teen would get on Tik Tok and out his dad as Superman for internet clout.

Keeping it a secret for this long is very much in Clark’s character. Clark is a kind person, but he’s not perfect. He’s had to be a habitual liar for all of his life out of both self-preservation and to protect his loved ones. His lies aren’t out of malice. He’s also worried if one twin has powers and the other doesn’t, the emotional toll that could take on his son.

Tyler plays Clark’s concerns that he’s a bad dad beautifully. This is Tyler’s first-time playing Clark as the lead after playing him in 12 episodes of television across the Arrowverse starting in 2016. You’d never know he was just a guest star prior because he carries the pilot on his back considering he’s in like 85% of the scenes. I have no idea how people who hate Tyler’s Superman will feel about his performance. Maybe you’ll see that he radiates kindness like Superman should. Or maybe you’ll keep up the “You’re not my real dad!” energy. Superman fans can make soap opera fans look downright reasonable and fair in comparison.

If you are wondering about the tone and feel of the series, think Friday Night Lights if it had Superman and Lois Lane. The town of Smallville is in dire straits. Farms are going under and some are entering into reverse mortgages. People are fleeing the town. There’s talk of meth fires. If you are thinking “Alan, this show sounds like a bummer!”, it isn’t. It is dealing with real issues, but there’s an underlying hopefulness and sweetness to the series. That the Kent family can get closer. That maybe Smallville can be less of a dumpster fire. That maybe Lana Lang can get a makeover because her wardrobe is ugly as hell.

Superman and Lois Episode Stills

Speaking of Lana, I know some of you might be worried the show is going to do a triangle with Lois/Clark/Lana. I did not get that vibe at all. Lana clearly is still fond of Clark, but not in a humping his leg way. Do I think she reads romance novels in the bathtub and imagines Clark as the well-hung CEO/cop/duke/spy/vampire/cowboy hero? Probably. Do I think Lois also knows this? Yep. And she isn’t threatened at all. They are not in competition. Clark is her husband.

This review has been pretty positive, but I will tell you the problem I did have with it: Lois felt like a supporting character when this is ostensibly her pilot as well. I understand why they chose to focus more on Clark in the first episode. The narrative in the first episode is dealing with his secret and his hometown. Pilots are a tricky beast. You have to set up a whole series without it feeling clunky. I think they succeeded with that, but I wish Lois had more of a point of view.

The pilot does set up Morgan Edge as Lois’ Big Bad for the season. Morgan is played by Adam Rayner and not the man who allegedly did unseemly things on Natalie Maines’ boat who played Morgan in Supergirl season three. Hopefully this will give Elizabeth Tulloch enough story to really feel like a lead on this show. Tyler will always be the main lead because he’s the one whose butt is in spandex and he’s number one on the call sheet, but the show is called Superman and Lois. Elizabeth does a good job in the pilot, but I want her to really shine and have moments that scream “This is my show too!” If that doesn’t happen in future episodes, I am going to read this show for filth. But since this is just a pilot, I’m going to be understanding. For now.

No matter what category you reside, watch the damn show. It actually gets Superman; it looks amazing and it is a very promising start.

Random thoughts about Superman & Lois episode 1:

  • I already know that since Lois and Clark conceived kids on Earth in this timeline, there’s going to be discussion of the Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex essay written by Larry Niven AKA Lois would have a penis induced death if she had sex with Clark. I assume Lois and Clark just use a lot of female dominant positions. Or they just use some sort of red sun lamp to dampen his powers so they can have sex without worrying about injury. Though it is a bit insulting to Clark for people to think he’d just bang Lois to death.
  • I feel bad for Erik Valdez who plays Lana’s jerk firefighter husband Kyle. I know a character who is going to die in season two or three when I see them. It would be shocking if this character survives the whole series.
  • The voice Wolé Parks uses as Big Bad The Stranger feels very video game voiceover cutscene. Not a criticism. Just an observation. It is fitting since The Stranger’s battle armor looks video game inspired.
  • I wonder if the reverse mortgage situation in Smallville involved commercials with well-known old TV actors. If you are going to be suckered into a reverse mortgage, you should at least get a commercial with Tom Selleck or someone like that.
  • The Superman suit looks amazing. Laura Jean Shannon and her team did the damn thing.
  • I am glad Jordan and Jon are played by actual teenagers. Alex Garfin is 16 and Jordan Elsass is 19. And I’m sure Elizabeth and Tyler are glad some 30-year-olds aren’t calling them mom and dad.
  • Between this and Walker, The CW is really leaning on the “Hot dads with teens who are pissed at them!” thing. I would be fine with The CW rebranding as the hot dad network.
  • You can’t tell this episode was produced under Covid restrictions. There’s hugging throughout, a Clois kiss and a decent number of extras. If you traveled back in time to 2019 and showed someone this episode, they wouldn’t be able to tell it was produced during a pandemic. I understand that shooting a TV show must be very difficult during this time and I’m very grateful for the work the cast, crew and writers are doing.

Superman and Lois premieres Sunday, February 23 on The CW.

Alan is a Maryland resident and lifelong Superman fan. He has a monthly soap column at The Pop Break and is a co-host on daytime themed podcast The Chat.

'Superman & Lois' Series Premiere Review

4.5

Pros

  • Tyler Hoechlin kills it.
  • Visually the series looks great.
  • Clark Kent is written with depth, not like he's some Ayn Rand character
  • Superman being a dad is so fresh.

Cons

  • There wasn't enough Elizabeth Tulloch in the pilot. For a title character, it needs to feel like it's Lois' show as well as Superman's.

The Score

  • Grade:
  • Overall 4.5

Our Verdict

The CW's Superman & Lois strikes the tone and feel of a Friday Night Lights if it had Superman and Lois Lane. The series deals with real issues, but there's an underlying hopefulness and sweetness to the series. Pilots are a tricky beast. You have to set up a whole series without it feeling clunky. I think they succeeded with that, but I wish Lois had more of a point of view.

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