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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that newcomers to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman will find the show a little campy, thanks to some corny plots and the passage of nearly two decades since its start, but overall it's fine to share this fun series with older tweens. Expect a lot of peril and violence -- mostly in the form of clashes with supervillains or human catastrophes like fires and explosions -- as well as storylines that touch on murder, kidnapping, and other potentially worrisome topics. Language is minimal, and sexual content is light compared to that of today's prime time options.
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What's the story?
LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN is a mid-'90s series that follows the evolution of Clark Kent (Dean Cain) into the famed caped crusader and his developing relationship with his crush, Lois Lane (Teri Hatcher). The story opens with Clark's arrival in Metropolis and resulting partnership with the hard-nosed reporter, Lois, at the Daily Planet newspaper. While attempting to fit in among "normal" citizens, Clark creates his lycra-clad alter-ego so he can fight crime without revealing his identity. The show also stars John Shea as Lex Luthor, the power-hungry villain who aims to undo Superman and woo Lois. During its four-year run, the series saw Superman face off with an assortment of alien and human challengers, and Clark win the heart of Lois, who initially has eyes only for Superman.
Is it any good?
A fan favorite whose abrupt cancelation after four seasons rankled many viewers left pondering a plot cliffhanger, Lois & Clark continues to entertain nearly 20 years later. Casting is one of the show's biggest selling points, starting with Cain and Hatcher as the iconic couple, and rounded out by Shea as the delightfully two-faced Luthor and a procession of talented supporting and guest cast members throughout its run. True, the show lost some of its zest toward the end and fell victim to some pretty corny storylines (all of which will seem cornier now that passing years have lessened the impact of its special effects), but that's part of what makes this series an enjoyable blend of humor, drama, and romance.
If you're brand new to the show, its campiness may make the biggest impression on you, but overlook that and you'll have a lot of fun with the story, the characters, and the great writing. By today's standards, this series' content is notably mild, with little more than the occasional swear word, a shirtless Cain (but who's complaining?), and implications of sexuality. Violence is a concern, though even it comes off as hokey thanks to dated special effects, so you're best to reserve this one for your older tweens and teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how time changes our expectations of TV shows and movies. Does Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman suffer from dated effects and costumes? To what degree do these aspects affect your enjoyment of older shows? Which classics still rank among your favorites?
Tweens: How has our sensitivity to violence on TV changed over the years? Do you think today's standards are acceptable? What, if any, effect does violence have on audiences?
Which other classic stories would you like to see extrapolated upon? In what ways does this show adhere to the classic Superman story? How does it diverge from it?
- Premiere date: September 12, 1993
- Cast: Dean Cain, John Shea, Teri Hatcher
- Networks: ABC, Discovery Family Channel
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Superheroes, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Courage, Integrity
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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