TV on DVD is one of the fastest growing segments of the home entertainment
market. Who would have thought that consumers would be so excited about plunking
down their hard earned dollars on something that they first watched (and could
be continuing to watch on reruns) for free?
Well, the studios for one. Some really smart suits realized that they had a
veritable wishing well of paid-for product that could help inject even more life
into their already prodigious revenue stream. They began by testing the waters
with "classic" shows of yesteryear—and when those went flying
off the shelves they started digitizing and repackaging everything in sight.
Some are worthy additions to anyone's DVD libraries; others of special interest
to hardcore fans; while others still are, well, television shows.
Lois & Clark—The New Adventures of Superman hit the
airwaves in the early '90s and soon found itself a fan following. Not just
superhero aficionados either. People from all walks of life were drawn to the
interplay and chemistry between the two charismatic and impossibly beautiful
main characters. They couldn't wait to tune in every week to see Lois and Clark
dance around their feelings for each other and would sit there hoping beyond
hope that these two would finally see the light and get together.
Lois & Clark—The New Adventures of Superman—Season
Two is all about the mating ritual. Sure, there's still a guy in spandex
flying in to save the day every so often, but even more than that, it's about
two people inches away from finding the love of their lives with all sorts of
obstacles (of the regular and super variety) blocking their way.
Clark (Dean Cain) questioned his duel life and its possible effect on
family, friends, and the woman he loved. Lois (Teri Hatcher) questioned exposing
herself emotionally to someone who takes off in the middle of important moments
at the drop of a hat. And we question whether Lois & Clark—The New
Adventures of Superman—Season Two deserves a place of honour in your
Like the first season set, Lois & Clark—The New Adventures of
Superman—Season Two comes in an annoying gatefold format with an even
more annoying (and getting progressively more common) staggered disc deployment
method. Otherwise what appears on screen is visually clean, colourful, and
crisp—and that holds true of the sound as well.
Where this set is suspiciously slim is in the extras department. There's a
Dean Cain commentary for "Season's Greedings"—the first episode
he wrote for the series—which is pleasant but not exactly groundbreaking
or insightful in any way. There are also two featurettes that don't really add
anything to the whole package. The first is called "Secrets of Season
Two." It's short, sweet, and focuses on new cast member Justin Whalen
replacing Michael Landes as Jimmy Olsen as well as the romance brewing between
Lois & Clark. The second is called "Marveling Metropolis: The Fans of
Lois & Clark," and it discusses the balance between listening to the
fans and following the show's vision.
Luckily these lightweight additions don't diminish the incredibly high
guilty pleasure factor as you plow through Season Two:
• "Madame Ex"
Lex Luthor is dead…but his
influence continues. An ex-wife nobody has ever heard of integrates herself into
the Daily Planet and the lives of Lois and Clark—and you just know she's
up to no good. Fun episode highlights include: Denise Crosby as Lex's loyal
doctor; a Lois on Lois catfight; and watching Superman play word scramble.
• "Wall of Sound"
Holy Super Sonics, Superman! An
aging rocker (played by Michael Des Barres) harnesses the power of sound to take
it straight to the man of steel. Fun episode highlights include: Lois dancing in
leather hot pants, and watching Lois get down with some serious Kung-Fu
• "The Source"
When Lois gets the inside scoop on
sabotage and her source (played by Peter Scolari) is intimidated enough to
change his tune, can the Daily Planet avoid a massive lawsuit? Fun episode
highlights include: Lois fixing a photocopier machine, and Superman doing
housework as only a man of steel could. Sadly, the ending fizzles.
• "The Prankster"
Lois starts getting gifts from
a secret admirer—problem is all the gifts suck and they're from a
psychotic bad boy (played by Bronson Pinchot) whom she helped send up the river.
Fun episode highlights include: Clark getting jealous; Lois freaking out; Clark
and Lois getting a little closer (without Big Red gum); and Lois going for a
• "Church of Metropolis"
Someone's trying to buy
up all the real estate on a street where Lois's Uncle owns a
restaurant—and they won't take no for an answer. Fun episode highlights
include: Lois getting jealous over Mason, Clark's new potential love interest;
the introduction of Intergang (headed up by Peter Boyle and his lawyer, Bruce
Weitz); Clark going shirtless (oh my); and Martha Kent discussing the merits of
• "Operation Blackout"
Where would we be without
technology? Find out when a criminal from Lois's past (played by the late
Charles Rocket) takes out Metropolis's power grid, and Perry decides to publish
the Planet the old fashioned way. Fun episode highlights include: Lois meddling;
Clark getting all granola on your butt; Lois using white-out; Perry getting
nostalgic about the good old days; and Lois hanging from a pole.Rating:
• "That Old Gang of Mine"
There's such a fine
line between good science and bad science. Like when you come up with a way to
clone dead tissue but use it to bring back legendary criminals (like Al Capone
played by William Devane) from the past—don't you just hate that? Fun
episode highlights include: Meeting Barry, the Superman look-alike; Clark
getting riddled with bullets—right in front of Lois no less; Jimmy
sucker-punching Clyde Barrow; and Lois cat fighting in a cake with Bonnie
• "A Bolt from the Blue"
Imagine having the
powers of Superman. That's what happens when a poor schmuck gets hit by
lightening while touching the Man of Steel. And guess what? He wants da bling,
baby! Fun episode highlights include: Clark getting mowed down by an
SUV—right in front of Lois no less; x-ray vision being used the way it
would be used; watching Cindy Williams play Mrs. Abraham Lincoln; Superman
getting bitch-slapped by a super-broad (played by Denise Crosby, playing Lex's
loyal doctor); and Lex Luthor doing his best impression of Walt Disney.
• "Season's Greedings"
Getting fired at Christmas
sucks. So is it any wonder someone (as played by Sherman Hemsley) might want to
take revenge on an entire city by ruining it for everyone? Okay, well every one
except maybe Jewish people, Muslims, and Hindus. Fun episode highlights include:
Lois acting all humbug; the Jeffersons together again (welcome back Isabel
Sanford); Dick Van Patton as Santa Claus; Clark sucking snacks like a
super-stoner with the munchies; Perry doing the twist; Lois having a Charlie
Brown Christmas moment; Superman stealing Rudolph's thunder; and Clark earning
serious brownie points with Lois.
This episode has a commentary by writer/actor Dean Cain. Here's what we
learn: Christmas is his favourite holiday. He wanted to keep Denise Richards on
as a recurring character but the producers didn't agree. He began his career as
a writer. At first the producers were adverse to the idea of him writing a show,
but after seeing the idea for this show, they relented. Teri Hatcher is fighting
Dean Cain's mom over the space-rat. He's completely obsessed with fake
snow—"It's foamy foam snow. There's that foamy foam again. See that
snow? Not real snow—it's foamy snow." Okay all ready—we get it.
The ending was not what he wanted—he wanted to show Clark in Smallville
with his family, friends, and loved ones while Lois is all alone in Metropolis
with her sad little tree—until it's revealed that Clark had left
Smallville to spend the rest of the night with her. "You're going to get
stuffed" means something quite different in Australia. Not exactly an
insightful commentary, but he obviously enjoys watching the episode and has
affection for the series.
Lois's Sister, Lucy, is dating a
small-time criminal punk who gets shot on a heist. Luckily his partner in crime
sells his dying body to a couple of scientists who attach his living, yet
dim-witted brain (head attached) to the body of a cyborg—powered by green
kryptonite! Fun episode highlights include: Scott Valentine (Malorie!) as the
lead baddie; Lois getting protective about her kid sister; Jimmy begging for a
raise; Clark performing some super self-surgery; and Lois starting putting
"the pieces" together.
• "Chi of Steel"
Superman goes Zen as he attempts
to track down and fight a mystical martial artist who steals from the rich and
gives to the poor. Fun episode highlights include: Brian Doyle-Murray playing
Perry's financial advisor; Lois standing up for equal rights; Jonathan and
Martha Kent switching to-do lists; meeting the Chinese Clark Kent; a
cross-dressing Lois infiltrating a men's only club; Jimmy becoming Perry's new
financial advisor; and Superman in one of the lamest kung-fu fights you're ever
going to see.
• "The Eyes Have It"
While trying to regain a
piece of technology he can use for nefarious reasons, a scientist creates a
device that robs Superman of his sight. Fun episode highlights include: Lois
channeling Rain Man; Mason propositioning Clark; a cross-eyed Superman; and a
touching moment between Martha Kent and Superman.
• "The Phoenix"
Lex Luthor (John Shea) returns
from the grave with the help of his loyal doctor (Denise Crosby), and he wants
to pick up exactly where he left off. Fun episode highlights include: Lex
channeling his inner Dracula; Clark asking Lois out on a date—a real date;
Lex starting his descent into Hair Club for Men territory; Clark enjoying a
silhouette that pops his cork; and Lois enjoying a silhouette that leaves her
• "Top Copy"
Raquel Welch plays a hot TV reporter
who also happens to be a former Intergang assassin, learns Superman's secret
identity, and tells the world. Fun episode highlights include: Robert Culp as
the head of Intergang; Clark screwing up his second chance at a date with Lois;
Superman succumbing to Ms. Welch's kryptonite charm; Mason and Lois admitting
that they don't like each other; and seeing Clark and Superman in the same place
at the same time with Lois looking on (and not completely buying it either).
• "Return of the Prankster"
(Bronson Pinchot) is back and he's after the President of the U.S. of A. Fun
episode highlights include: Lois being flash frozen in her living room for the
second time this season; Lois crashing on Jimmy's couch; Jimmy exploring the
joys of cross-dressing; and Lois pulling the pants off the Prankster.
• "Lucky Leon"
Jimmy is accused of murder.
Superman steals nuclear weapons from the U.S. Government. And none of it really
matters because Lois and Clark go on their first real date—with explosive
results! Fun episode highlights include: Robert Culp back as the head of
Intergang; Clark and Lois getting ready for their big date; Clark pulling a Jim
Carrey; one of the sweetest first dates you ever did see; Superman making the
biggest, most gullible, utterly moronic and totally illegal mistake you could
ever imagine; and Lois and Clark finally sucking face. To Be Continued…
Continuing where the last
episode left off, Lois and Clark begin to investigate and find a heinous plot
that includes escaped convicts and faked deaths. Fun episode highlights include:
Curtis Armstrong playing sniveling minion to a crazed scientist; Lois waking the
dead; Lois considering another prospective suitor; Lois going to prison in a
trashy red outfit; Lois going to a cemetery dressed like Herb Tarlick from
WKRP; Lois's prospective suitor really starting to screw up her
burgeoning relationship with Clark; and Lois walloping a little person.
• "Tempus Fugitive"
If you watch only one episode
this one should be it. H.G. Wells drops by the Planet and takes Lois and Clark
on a whirlwind ride into the past to save baby Superman. Fun episode highlights
include: Lane Davies playing a snarky villain from the future; Don Swayze (yes,
Patrick's bro) playing Jesse James; Clark meeting his 19th century ancestors;
seeing baby Kal-El in his space ship; Clark meeting his parents before they
found him (truly touching); Lois opening up a can of some serious whoop ass;
Superman showing Jonathan and Martha Kent the way; and, of course, Lois saying
the word "shmutz."
• "Target: Jimmy Olsen"
It seems that the United
States government was experimenting on infants in order to turn them into the
perfect covert assassins—and one of those infants was Jimmy Olsen. Fun
episode highlights include: Michelle Phillips playing a nympho; Erick Avari (The Mummy) playing a would-be dictator; Lois
dismissing the merits of modern art; the Chief laying down some fatherly advise;
Lois beginning to choose between chocolate and rocky road; Jimmy going psycho on
Lois; Clark screwing up yet another chance with Lois; and Lois finally deciding
to try Rocky Road.
• "Individual Responsibility"
Green K kills
Superman. But what does Red K do? Well, it seems to take away his will to help
people—which is a real bummer when Perry gets kidnapped right before the
big guy's eyes. Fun episode highlights include: Bruce Campbell hamming it up as
the new leader of Intergang; Superman talking himself out of stopping an
armoured car hold-up; Clark getting increasingly jealous over Dan, Lois's
prospective suitor; Superman flirting with a ditzy blonde; Superman consulting a
shrink; Jimmy running the Planet while Perry's away; and Clark finally
verbalizing his emotions to Lois.
• "Whine, Whine, Whine"
Superman saves a guy, and
the ungrateful bastard decides to sue him. Fun episode highlights include:
Martin Mull as a TV nature host; Ben Stein and Frank Gorshin as stereotypical
lawyers; Adam West as a Jerry Springer-like talk show host; Lois visiting a
shrink; Jonathan and Martha Kent's unconditional love; Lois giving Dan the boot;
and the kiss you've really been waiting for.
• "And the Answer Is…"
A criminal learns
the secret of Superman's secret identity and uses it to blackmail him into
stealing for him. Not a big enough reason? Okay, then how about kidnapping Ma
and Pa Kent just to be sure. When Lois steps up to the plate to help, Clark
can't believe he's waited so long to pop the question—and does! Fun
episode highlights include: Clark practicing the "I'm Superman"
moment; the future and the past coming back to bite Clark in the ass; Clark
telling Lois his secret—almost; Superman sniffing his way across
Metropolis; Lois feigning a healthy mental attitude; Clark breaking into a vault
to steal a mess o' diamonds; Lois standing by her man—big time; and Clark
getting down on one knee.
For a large part of the population, Lois & Clark—The New
Adventures of Superman will always be about a guy who wears his underwear
over his pants and not give the show a moment's notice. That's just a shame. The
fact is, Lois & Clark—The New Adventures of Superman truly
comes alive when the cape gets folded away, the tie goes on, and the glasses
The chemistry between Dean Cain as Clark Kent and Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane
is palpable no matter what kind of scene they're in. As actors they may be
playing in a world where a man can fly, but their emotions are definitely
grounded in reality.
The rest of the cast does an equally bang-up job. Lane Smith's Perry White
is as three-dimensional as they come, especially in his scenes with surrogate
son figure, Jimmy Olsen, played with zeal by newest cast member Justin Whalen.
And there's just no way you could find two better actors than Eddie Jones and K
Callan to play Clark's beloved Jonathan and Martha Kent.
These characters and the relationships they have with each other just work.
You care about them when they're in each other's company. You are about them
when they're in physical or emotional danger. You care about them when you can
see a plot device coming a mile away. Hell, you even care about them when the
scripts get downright silly.
The point is here's a fun show about friends and family where one of the
characters just happens to be a legendary comic book figure from 1938 who can
leap tall buildings in a single bound. Of course there are times, like in "
Tempus Fugitive" where the two conflicting identities come together in
perfect unison to produce pure magic. If there is one episode in the entire run
of Lois & Clark—The New Adventures of Superman that best
illustrates the reason why this show inspired the legion of fans that it did, it
has got be this one.
So to all those people who can't see farther than the big red "S,"
there's only one thing to say: there's always Batman.