December 11, 2006

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

This final season of Lois & Clark is easily the weakest of the bunch. That said, it is not bad, it just fails to really draw any fire. The problem is that the romantic tension that was always at the core of the series. This season is a perfect example why romantic tension should never be resolved on a show. Whether you want to admit it or not, romance, and the related troubles that come with it. Early in the fourth season the tension is resolved with the marriage of the titular characters. Thus begins a season that is fraught with a lack of excitement and just a little touch of annoyance in between the moments of superhero justice.

The season picks up where season three left off. Other Kryptonians show up to take Kal-El home to take his rightful place upon the throne of New Krypton. It turns out to be an offer that he cannot refuse, and leaves to lead the Kryptonian troops. This opening arc is not all that great, it veers down the road of camp a little too much, taking it away from what makes the show what it is.

From there we move onto the wedding, which has been in various stages of progress since season three. While it gets the show back to the basics that were lost in the opening arc, it still loses that previously mentioned tension. As soon as Lois and Clark become a married couple there is no longer any question of will they or won't they, they just are. Of course, there is some interest in how they will live as a couple, it doesn't have quote the same zing.

While the relationship aspect is a losing battle in terms of show interest, the show is not without its share of enjoyable episodes. Among my favorites are "Ghosts," which features guest stars Drew Carrey and Kathy Kinney, "Twas the Night Before Mxymas," with Howie Mandel as the meddlesome Mr. Mxyzptlk, and "Bob and Carol and Lois and Clark," where our stars look to make friends with another married couple who turn out to have a similar secret.

As the series comes to an end, it does leave a lasting mark on the superhero genre of television. It was a successful series that appealed to a wide audience with its blend of romance and action. It successfully translated the Man of Steel in a way that felt right without having to rely on big screen effects to effectively show the superpowers. Dean Cain has left a mark on the character, convincingly filling the suit and armed with plenty of charm and charisma. Not to be left out Teri Hatcher made a fine, self assured yet vulnerable, Lois Lane. All told, the cast was pretty good all around.

Audio/Video. Both of these important elements are done in fine fashion on this six disk release. This is easily the best it has sounded and looked since their original broadcast, and probably better than that. Colors are vibrant and I did not detect any artifacting or other issues, while the audio was crisp and clear.

Extras. This area is decidedly lacking. The sole extra is "Kryptonian Kronology," which is nothing more than a series of Super-facts navigated via remote and bookeneded by clips of Dean Cain.

Bottomline. This is a decent set of episodes, despite it being a little lackluster compared to what came before. If you are a Superman fan, you will definitely want to check it out. It is presented in fine fashion, and is a lot of fun, to the point that I wish we still had a fun live action comic book based series on.



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