Superheroes have been dominating the cinema box-office for well over a decade, and they have also been making inroads to taking over TV too.
Now BBC1 is getting in on the act as it brings us Superman & Lois, which focuses on one of the oldest and most iconic characters of all.
Superman (along with his mild-mannered alter ego, Clark Kent) made his comic-book debut in 1938, and was quickly brough to the screen in a series of animated shorts in the 1940s (voiced by actor Bud Collyer). A live-action version soon followed, with George Reeves in the title role.
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In 1978, Christopher Reeve starred in a big-budget-movie take on the character, which led to three sequels. His big screen-successors were Brandon Routh in Superman Returns in 2006, and Henry Cavill, who made his debut in 2013’s Man of Steel.
On TV, there has also been Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, which starred Dean Cain and aired in the 1990s, and Smallville, which cast Tom Welling as the young Clark Kent.
That’s a lot of history, but the latest incarnation, Tyler Hoechlin, is trying not to be too weighed down by it – mainly because it seems he hasn’t actually seen a lot of the previous versions.
The former Teen Wolf actor, who first played the superhero in the TV series Supergirl and reprised the role in The Flash, Arrow, Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow, before getting his own series told Glitter: “I don’t really have any exposure to any of the other Superman projects that are out there. I’ve seen like an episode or two of Lois & Clark when I was a kid with my mom, I think, and that was about it.
“So, for me, I’ve kind of purposefully stayed away from anything just because it’s a lot easier for me to show up to work and have the instinct to do something and not have to run through the big catalog like, ‘Wait, did so and so do that…’ or ‘…did they not do that?’”
Perhaps it helps that Superman & Lois is also putting a slightly different spin on the character.
After years of dealing with megalomaniacal supervillains, monsters wreaking havoc on Metropolis and alien invaders intent on wiping out the human race, Clark Kent and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) are now dealing with a new, even bigger challenge – raising two teenage sons. That’s difficult for anyone, but they have the added problem of not knowing whether their kids might grow up to have superpowers.
So, the couple leave the Daily Planet and head back to Clark’s hometown of Smallville.
The idea is they will get back to Clark’s roots, wind up some Kent family business and raise their children somewhere a bit quieter than Metropolis. However, they discover that even in their new home, they can’t escape trouble as they are followed to the town by the notorious business mogul who recently bought their old newspaper. And then there’s a mysterious armoured stranger who will stop at nothing to destroy Superman.
Oh, and Lois’s dad General Samuel Lane (Dylan Walsh), is also keen to keep them abreast of all the latest threats to humanity…
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