The CW’s new Arrowverse series Superman & Lois makes its debut next week, and reviews are finally starting to fly in offering some insight into what fans can expect. The big takeaways? It’s dark in ways fans might not expect, and finds ways to infuse some of that trademark CW teenage angst for good measure.
The series stars Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent/Superman and Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, versions of the characters fans should be fairly familiar with from The CW’s Supergirl series. They’re joined by their teen sons played by Jordan Elsass and Alexander Garfin (a tweak to the universe made in the wake of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event). One son is a star athlete, while the other struggles with depression and anxiety, and critics say the Super Sons get a good bit of focus in the narrative.
So what’s the take from critics? Generally positive, and it sounds like the show should definitely appeal to fans of the Arrowverse and The CW’s trademark brand of action drama. The show apparently puts Supes through the emotional ringer (hence the references to Zack Snyder’s notoriously grim-dark take on the character), from parenthood to guilt over leaving behind his original home in Smallville at Kent Farm.
It sounds like the show also struggles a bit keeping Lois Lane engaged, though there’s apparently some set-up for some trademark journalism investigating, so hopefully that pays off.
Here are the critics highlights:
“[I] hope Superman & Lois lives up to its ambitions, even though I worry it's taking on a lot. High-flying action, scenes from a marriage, cosmic twists, teen romance, Recessionary ruin, the notion that young Clark Kent liked Soul Asylum, global stakes, the American cultural divide: Superman himself couldn't carry all that weight. Which, after all, is why he needs Lois.” - Darren French, Entertainment Weekly
“For one, we simply haven’t seen this live-action Clark and Lois story before, as struggling parents. And because of that, it perhaps never dawned on anyone that Clark could be, well, a bit of a crappy dad, regularly missing family events and gravitating toward the (preternaturally?) athletic son. Those dicey topics, and the way the first episodes get into them, are different and interesting.” - Matt Webb Mitovich, TV Line
“Based just off the first episode, Superman & Lois doesn't seem to know if it's part of the Arrowverse or if it's just the cheaper cousin of Zack Snyder's movie fare. Either way, the show as a whole suffers for it. Future episodes may start to rectify these issues, but we're not particularly hopeful given how much controversy has already come out of the writers room before a single episode even aired.” - David Opie, Digital Spy
"The series may share a bit of Flash's DNA, but it's striking just how little Superman & Lois feels like "another Arrowverse spinoff." It abandons a lot of the tired tropes that have really started to become grating in shows like Batwoman. There's no backup team of snarky, attractive tech dorks ready to pitch in, just Clark's gruff father-in-law, General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh). It helps that Lois and Clark are themselves established veterans, long past the usual romantic and professional struggles facing the Barry Allens and Kara Danverses of the Arrowverse." - Jesse Schedeen, IGN
Superman & Lois premieres Tuesday, Feb. 23 on The CW.