Saturday, May 25, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Lois and Clark - Season 3

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Character development and just plain fun
Cons: The clone story arc
The Bottom Line:
Very strong romance
Make these characters real
Alas, there are clones

"A Little Louder.  I Don't Think They Heard You in Gotham City."

Season 3 of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman continues to very human take on the comic book characters.  It also heats up the romance even more, if that is possible.  Unfortunately, it does get uneven in the final third, but overall it is still a strong season.

It starts exactly where season 2 ended.  Clark Kent (Dean Cain) has just asked Lois Lane (Teri Hatcher) to marry him.  The response is the last thing he expected, "Who's asking, you or Superman?"  Yes, Lois has figured out Clark's dual identity as Superman.  They actually have some fun with that over the course of the season as Lois begins to help come up with excuses for why Clark has to duck out for every emergency.

Of course, there are the usual villains around town.  Intergang tries to make a resurgence in the criminal element.  A mad man is trying to prepare for the next flood.  A woman claims that her super powered son is Superman's love child.  Lois winds up with Superman's powers while Superman is ordinary.  And one of Lois' classmates tries her best to get the popular kids to notice her now.

But with all the secrets finally out in the open, and romance between Clark Kent and Lois Lane really takes off.  After a few pumps, they start to plan the big day with all the usual complications - cold feet, an overbearing mother of the bride (recast and now played by guest star Beverly Garland), bad weather making travel the day of the big event hard, clones....

Clones?  Yes, this season introduces the now infamous storyline as a way to keep the couple from getting married.  I remember hearing about it at the time and all the people who were upset by the turn of events.  I thought maybe I would be okay since I knew it was coming.  And I'll admit the first few episodes of this 5 episode arc were fine.  But as it progressed, it just got more and more ludicrous.  It felt like something from a soap opera.  I was thrilled when it was over and we could get back to the true heart of the show.

And if you wondered what that was, this season ends all speculation.  There is a reason they called the show Lois and Clark.  When they actually do start talking about how important they are to each other late in the season, it doesn't come across as forced or dishonest.  I can't help but believe it.  The writers continue to do a great job of humanizing the characters, even Superman.  And the actors run with the great material.  I have a hard time picturing anyone other than Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain in these roles as written here (or anywhere else, but that's another issue).

The supporting cast is great as always, too.  Lane Smith still has fun as Perry White, although I'm not a fan of the storyline they give him this season.  Justin Whalin continues to make a great Jimmy Olsen.  It's not a big part, but he continues to make the character interesting.  They don't use Eddie Jones and K Callan as Jonathan and Martha Kent in every episode, but they are always used to great effect.  Those chats with his parents are what make Clark and Superman seem so human to me.

The final two episodes of the season dig the most into Superman's Kryptonite heritage of anything they've done so far.  If you love these characters, be prepared to be emotionally moved even if the writing isn't the best here.  That's how good the performances are.

Season 3 consisted of the standard 22 episodes, and they are all here on six discs.  The picture is full frame and the sound is stereo.  No, this isn't going to look or sound impressive on your modern entertainment set, but it still looks good for the original source material.  This set was released not too long before Superman Returns came out, and you can tell with the extras.  There is a six minute teaser from the Superman documentary Look, Up in the Sky! that somehow manages to plug that new movie several times.  Lois and Clark: A History of Romance focuses on the romance between this pair in all their various incarnations.  Finally, there's a fairly easy trivia challenge that again plugs the movie a couple of times.  None of these extras are very long and only moderately interesting.

Other than that one story arc, I really enjoyed the third season of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.  If you like your superheroes human (as everyone seems to given the current superhero movies), you absolutely need to check out this series.

Season 3 Episodes:
1. We Have a lot to Talk About
2. Ordinary People
3. Contact
4. When Irish Eyes are Killing
5. Just Say Noah
6. Don't Tug on Superman's Cape
7. Ultra Woman
8. Chip Off the Old Clark
9. Super Mann
10. Virtually Destroyed
11. Home Is Where the Hurt Is
12. Never on Sunday
13. The Dad Who Came in from the Cold
14. Tempus, Anyone?
15. I Now Pronounce You...
16. Double Jeopardy
17. Seconds
18. Forget Me Not
19. Oedipus Wrecks
20. It's a Small World After All
21. Through a Glass, Darkly
22. Big Girls Don't Fly

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