The Lois and Clark expedition.

§ August 5th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 16 Comments

Keeping it as short ‘n’ sweet today as I can manage, since I’ve been under the weather…but I’ve recently been rewatching some early episodes of Lois and Clark, the mid-’90s Superman TV show starring Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher, spurred on a bit by some recent discussion of the show on the Twitter, due mostly, I think, to the show’s entire run being available via streaming Netflix.

And I have to tell you, seeing the pilot episode for the first time since it aired in 1993…boy, they sure got a whole lot right. Clark’s inherent niceness and caring for humanity, the most perfect Perry White ever (“Great Shades of Elvis” and all…which, let’s face it, isn’t any more ridiculous than exclaiming “Great Caesar’s Ghost”), a great Jimmy Olsen (actor replaced after the first season, of course), the wonderful relationship between Clark and his Earth parents, a sufficiently bastardly Lex Luthor, and so on. And I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before on the site, but this is the one instance of the live action transformation of Clark into Superman and honestly thinking “hey, maybe the glasses thing actually would work.”

Now, I watched the show through about the third season, when I just sort of lost interest, I guess. But after watching a handful of the early episodes…well, there was enough good stuff going on that I think I will continue revisiting the series via Netflix for the time being. I may just stick to the more interesting-sounding episodes, though I did spot one episode which had a Netflix-written description that included the words “guest-starring Sonny Bono,” and baby, that’s next in the queue.

A couple of memories of the show:

  • At home watching the episode starring The Jeffersons‘ Sherman Hemsley as the Toyman (and guest-starring Hemsley’s Jeffersons co-star Isabel Sanford), when the phone rings. It’s old pal (and former coworker) Rob, who called to tell me he was also watching Lois and Clark…for the first time, in fact…and that it was terrible.
  • At the time, one of our customers was either head of, or a higher-up in, a nationwide Lois and Clark fan club, and she arranged for the club members to buy all their boxes of the newly-released Lois and Clark trading card boxes through our store. We sold…well, I believe the exact number was one trillion boxes of these things. I may be rounding up slightly. We also ordered extra boxes and broke them up into sets, which also sold like gangbusters. …To this day, I still find the multicolored Superman “S” stickers from those packs floating around here and there in the shop. And, less often, the metal pins featuring a photo of Hatcher and Cain that were packed one per box. Boy, those pins didn’t age well…the pictures on them are awfully faded.


16 Responses to “The Lois and Clark expedition.”

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    I was a kid when that show came on, and I remember quitting it after the 3rd season or so but as an adult could never remember why. Maybe I was a more discriminating critic than I thought back then.

    I do remember Lois’s character (or Hatcher’s performance, or both) getting more shrill and annoying as the show went on. Of course Lois is supposed to be a tad annoying in an endearing way, but it got taken way too far. I think Smallville has fallen into the same trap, starting with a good Lois actress and ruining it through the writing.

  • Joe S. Walker says:

    Considering that there’s a job market for real people who look like celebrities (in some cases very slightly), they could have people say to Clark “Hey, you’d make a better Superman impersonator than those guys!”

  • De says:

    Watched the series much longer than I probably should have (finally stopped around the New Krypton storyline).

    I still love that pilot (clumsy effects and all). My favorite part is where Clark delays an old theater being torn down to talk to the actress inside.

  • Gary says:

    I think Christopher Reeve did an excellent job of being Clark and Superman.

  • Chris G. says:

    I never understood why they had Superman’s hair slicked back and shellacked down and Clark’s fall more naturally on this show.

  • David Thiel says:

    Remember when Teri Hatcher was THE it-girl for geeks?

    The first season was definitely the best. The series’ creator originally wanted Superman as almost an afterthought, with the focus on the Daily Planet setting and the sparring/sexual tension between Lois and Clark. However, the network wanted more action and fired her. They also got rid of the better of the two Jimmy Olsens, as well as Cat Grant.

    Unfortunately, the Super action was not the series’ strong point, nor were its lame attempts to include classic DC villains. (With the exception of John Shea’s terrific Luthor, who also pretty much vanished after season one.)

    And then, of course, came the phony marriage and the frog-eating clone and Lois becoming “Wanda Detroit.” Oy.

    On the other hand, the latter seasons did have some good alternate universe stories with a time-travelling villain named Tempus.

  • The key isn’t “glasses,” it’s “ugly glasses.”

    I sat next to this woman on a train, once. Out of the corner of my eye, she looked pretty…er, pretty, in a postgraduate style-e. Chestnut hair in an uncomplicated bob, nice jacket, and glasses with the thick arms and black, rectangular frames that have become oh-so-fashionable of late. I thought little of it, to begin with, as I was all geed-up to go into The Big City and buy me some Comics – specifically, some manga.

    (I mention this because we got talking, and it turned out that she had just returned from a year’s teaching in Japan)

    Anyway, as you’ve probably guessed, at one point, she took her glasses off, and while it wasn’t exactly the clichéd Plain Jane transformation, without any further effort, any other change of hair or clothes, there was, sat before me*, a completely different woman. (* – beside me)

    A less circumspect man would have snatched those spectacles and tossed them out the windae. I merely cursed my immobilising shyness, and at the appropriate time, bid her adieu.

    “I get it, I get it. You’re a big blue average with a distraction taped to his face.”


  • DanielT says:

    Y’know, I get so tired of the whole “How come no one realizes they’re the same person?” thing. Logically, this should be true of ANYONE who doesn’t wear a full face mask. But secret identities is just one of the conceits you choose to go along with when you consume superhero stories. Like kid sidekicks, impossible technology and well, superpowers. If you can’t accept these various conceits and move on then you really shouldn’t be following superhero stories in the first place.

  • Bill D. says:

    My favorite Lois and Clark memory: my friend and I were working as go-fers for a convention that our LCS organized, and Sunday night after the show, some of the con staff and the LCS owners and guests of honor Mart and Carrie Nodell ate pizza and watched the 2nd season episode where Michael Des Barres plays a rock star the hypnotizes people or something and Lois goes undercover and OH NOES falls under his spell. Terrible episode, but the company made it a terrific experience, especially as everyone was ragged on New Jimmy (even the Nodells!).

  • Bill D. says:

    Oh, by the way, the Sonny Bono appearance is exactly everything you think it’s going to be. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your interpretation of those expectations.

  • One *great* season of TV, and one and a half seasons of *really really good* TV. I think that for two and a half seasons it was the best Superman adaptation on TV– even better than S:TAS.

    And then there was a frog-eating clone, and Tempus became a permanent member of the supporting cast, and, and, and…

  • Tom K Mason says:

    Deborah Joy LeVine was the show-runner who developed Lois and Clark and ran it for the first season. I just IMDB’d her; she’s got a bunch of interesting credits, most recently the TV series Mental, which I’d never heard of.

  • Roger Green says:

    Teri Hatcher is STILL the It Girl for a certain demographic, some of whom watch desperate Housewives just for her.

    Not me, of course…

  • David says:

    The first
    episode is still awesome. Playing with the mythology in awesome ways.

  • LiamK says:

    “I never understood why they had Superman’s hair slicked back and shellacked down and Clark’s fall more naturally on this show.”

    It’s because Lois & Clark was, like the comics post-Crisis, running with the idea that Clark was the actual personality. He wasn’t a bumbling act put on to make sure that people didn’t realise that him and Superman were different people. He was a fully-rounded person who could act confidently, look professional etc and that people wouldn’t supsect he was Superman because, at the time, no-one thought that Superman had a secret identity. Notice that Clark has weights in his room in the show, no doubt to provide an excuse as to why he has a good physique.

    It was summed up in one episode:

    “Superman is what I can do. Clark is who I am.”

  • Josh says:

    I dunno, my Dad once or twice walked in on me watching Lois & Clark and was perplexed as to how nobody noticed that Clark and Superman had the same squeaky voice.