Synopsis: While Lois Lane, an average gal, is striving to be a superwoman, Clark Kent, a superman, is trying just to be an average guy.
Review: I've never been privy to such a meeting, but I imagine loud groaning and sighing when a writer pitches yet another Superman television series. The producer might ask, "Superman, the man who cannot be stopped by bullets or laser guns. What are you going to use as a plot point? Kryptonite?" Nor do I know what is going through the producer's head when he okays a series such as Smallville when I'm sure the writer must have emphatically shook his head yes to Kryptonite.Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman took a different route which will make it forever stand out as one of the best Superman series of all time. Clark Kent is not the secret identity, Superman is. Clark just happens to have super powers because he was born on another planet, but he desperately wants to be an average guy who can get a job and have a girlfriend.
Lois is no damsel in distress. She is a motivated woman who is attracting a lot of attention as an investigative reporter. What else would you expect from a 90's television series? The dynamic between Lois and Clark, the titular characters, is spot on from the very first episode. Lex Luthor, Perry White, and Jimmy Olsen add a bit of spice to the mix also, but Lois' sister Lucy seemed absolutely useless in the pilot.
A pilot is all about character interaction, and this pilot scores high marks in getting the characters and dialogue right. Unfortunately, it does not score as high with plot. Lex Luthor is a creepy bad guy with lots of promise for future episodes, but sabotaging a space station really did not capture my attention bringing this episode down to an 8 out of 10.
So why did this Superman series work while Smallville is such a disappointment? My opinion: it's all in the approach. Deborah Joy Levine, who created Lois and Clark, states in the special features of season one that she was fearful the whole time she penned the pilot of alienating Superman fans. She wanted to create a fresh series that remained true to the classic character. Robert Butler, who has directed episodes of classic series such as Star Trek: TOS, Hogan's Heroes, Mission: Impossible, and, The Fugitive, was the perfect choice to give the pilot of Lois and Clark the classic Superman feel. The very purpose of Smallville is to appeal to young adults by making Superman soapy in feel rather than maintaining the classic, pulpy spirit of the great superhero.
Objectionable Content: It's hard to imagine that I was only seven when the pilot originally premiered on ABC. I remember enjoying this series as a kid. Other than a few obscenities, there was not much in this episode that would have made my parents cringe back then.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)