The GeeksverseLois & Clark and Smallville

Lois & Clark and Smallville
Published on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 by

Arrow debuts on Wed on the CW and in anticipation I have been looking back at earlier DC TV shows on my DVD shelf. The Flash caught my attention yesterday. Today I threw in a few random Lois & Clark and Smallville episodes for old times sake.

Before the new 52, television was a land of fun family entertainment versions of popular comic books. The 90s were comic shows had enough camp to roast marshmellows but they were fun. Good memories.  Like Lois & Clark, Flash was a mixture of comic and live action cartoon. Unlike the more successful Lois & Clark, this was a short lived show. It capitalizes on a little bit of story and freak of the week story telling to provide super hero events worthy of the scarlet speedster. Lois & Clark was a long running show compared to the one season red blur show.

Both Lois & Clark and Flash had an odd visual aesthetic. The Flash’s costume looks less natural than Superan’s cape. The cars and tech are an odd mix of 1940s and 1990s. Discussions of “the networks” to describe the primitive internet is fun, especially on the vintage personal and work computers. The streets are populated by Dick Tracy style cars and modern 90s cars too. It is an odd mix of the comic page befitting Warren Beaty and Madonna as often as possible.

Like Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, camp was just part of the fun. Unlike the dark and gritty attempts at superheroes on the small screen, the 90s comic book adaptations seem to reveal in the camp. Perhaps Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s comic was campier than a 90s Ninja Turtle or Flash print versions but on screen they were all having fun.

Comic book shows were still family fun and TV evening entrainment. I have fond members of watching this show with my whole family in the living room at home. Those rose colored glasses need not be taken off as I look back. I know this show is nearly forgotten for a reason. Hardcore fanatic fanboys are bothered by Dean Cain’s soap opera heroics but it was still fun. Dean Cain is higher on my list of all time favorite Superman actors than most peoples but he did a fun job with both Clark Kent and Superman. With comics needing to draw in new readers and creating such successful comic book movies, perhaps the television would be a great media for family fun comic adaptations to return.

While Superman was dying across the DC Universe in an epic arc that also slaughtered nearly nameless victims of Doomsday, television’s Superman was trying to fend of Cat while wooing Lois awaiting the arrival of more Kryptonians. Guest Stars ranged from Drew Carey to Sherman Hensley.

Years later the colorful world of Superman was replaced on television by a darker teen world on the CW. Sure, I’ve beaten up Smallville over the years for being far from perfect, but when we first saw Clark save Lex from the car or saw Clark tied up on the scarecrow post the entire world believe a man could fly. I liked the original freak of the week format for the show. I didn’t think that it would last long term that way but it was a fun formula.

I was a hardcore Smallville fan for the first few seasons. My friends and I had nearly weekly Smallville parties for several seasons. The lack of flight and overly emo high school aspect did eventually wear thin. By the end my favorite episodes were the ones that featured the entire Justice League. While I couldn’t stand Smallville by the end on weekly television I do enjoy it on DVD .10 Seasons fly by having marathons. When this show is fun it is really fun even after all these years.

For the Smallville fans that need more time with the characters they should check out the follow up comics.

My favorite character on Smallville wasn’t the Superman light Clark Kent but instead the hooded Green Arrow. I was hoping for a Green Arrow spin off that would keep the actor and setting of Metropolis but continue on without the blur. That hope faded fast. Now, the CW is bringing back another Green Arrow to television. Arrow debuts on Wed evening on the CW. Tune in to see the millionaire playboy return from the supposed grave to save a city like Robin Hood. The aesthetics look similar to Smallville from the early ads.

On Thursday when the the interwebs is full of conflicting reviews of the pilot episodes and tons of impending fanboy rage, remember the shows that have come before with a grin. Even the strangest adaptations of characters can be fun for a little while. The new Ninja Turtles seems to be netting positive reviews even with the return to campiness.

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