June 22, 2006

DVD Review: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman - The Complete Third Season

Lois & Clark ran four seasons and starred Dean Cain as the Clark Kent/Superman and Teri Hatcher, who has since returned to superstar status on Desperate Housewives, as Lois Lane. This season also introduced a new Jimmy Olsen, Justin Whalin taking over for Michael Landes, I remember when during the original broadcasts, I didn't care for the change, I liked Landes. Watching now, I think my old thoughts were unfounded, Whalin does a fine job as the comical shutterbug.

This is the first time I've watched any of these shows in the decade since they originally aired, so I was a little worried as to how they would hold up. Watching the first episode, "We Have a Lot to Talk About," both confirmed and negated my fears. It is true, there is a certain amount of corniness that creeps in, but it is a charming corniness, the leads pull it off nicely. I was also surprised to see the duo of Peter Boyle and Bruce Campbell as the bad guys, can't do much better than that!

I found this series to be very enjoyable. It starts off with a wedding proposal from Clark, and the revelation that Lois knows Clark's secret. This kicks off a series of adventures for them as a couple. Lois gets in on the act of helping to cover up Clark's mysterious disappearances. There is also the interesting dynamic that develops between them where Clark wonders if they should really be together due to the potential of her becoming a bigger target against Lois' saying she can take care of herself. The relationship is front and center as we wonder what Lois' eventual answer will be, what problems will stand between them and their wedding day, what manner of bad guys will need to be disposed of by Superman, and which foes will be exposed by Lois' investigative reporting abilities.

If you couldn't tell, and the title is a dead giveaway, this series focuses primarily on the romantic interaction, and less on the powers. Of course, the powers are there, but this is definitely a different take on the tale. I like it. Some of it seems dated now, dialog is a little funny, but it is still very enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the final pair of episodes which introduce a new pair of Kryptonian refugees who seek to bring Kal-El home to New Krypton where he would regain his noble lineage.

The acting is fun, Hatcher and Cain have excellent chemistry, and Cain may be the most charming of the Supermen, and Hatcher is definitely easier on the eyes than Margot Kidder. They have Lane Smith as Perry White and the previously mentioned Justin Whalin as Jimmy Olsen, backing them up at the office. Those two have some fun exchanges. Backing up Clark are Eddie Jones and K Callan as Ma and Pa Kent, a supportive parental duo always ready with some advice for their beloved adoptive son.

Video. The season is presented in its original broadcast ratio of 1.33:1, and it has probably not looked better, even better than the original airing. The colors are crisp, the colors are bright and distinct, and the black is deep. Overall, this transfer looks very nice.

Audio. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. It sounds good, dialog, which is the most important part of a television audio mix, is always crisp and clear. No complaints here.

Extras. There are a couple of extras here.
-"Lois & Clark: A History of Romance." This brief featurette takes a look at the history of the couple through their various incarnations.
-"The Man of Steel Trivia Challenge." This is a ten question quiz of your Superman knowledge, hosted by Dean Cain.
-"Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman." This is an excerpt of the documentary from Kevin Burns and Bryan Singer.

Bottomline. Watching these disks has brought back pleasant memories of watching this show a decade ago. It is fun, bright, and chipper. It leaves the cynicism at the door and is a fine example of television for the family. I guess I should go get the other seasons now.

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