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I actually prefer John Haymes Newton in the first season. Gerard Christopher was probably the better actor, but Newton brought a little cocky attitude--and a unique sexiness--to the role, never seen before or since in any interpretation of Superman. It added a new dimension to the character. A good example is the Newton episode where a bad guy drew a gun on Superboy and said "Freeze!" Superboy smirked and deadpanned "Good idea!" and then encased him in a block of ice with his super-breath. I think he may have come across to some people as too much of a "bad boy" for the role, but it really did work.
The Christopher episodes were fun, but they lacked something.
Overall, the show really deserves better treatment than it has received. I hope it resurfaces somewhere soon.
I think that some people didn't realize the potential this show could have. Considering it was BEFORE L&C and Smallville...
It was the first step since the 1950's to bring The man of Steel back to the small screen...
For anyone who is unfamiliar with Superboy, originally he was just a spin-off of the Superman comic, showing Clark's adventures as a fully powered teenager. Well in the 80's, they got rid of that character and had the teenage Clark more along the lines of the character you watch in Smallville (which is getting steadily crappier). Now, when those crazy Salkind guys bought the rights to Superman, they also bought the rights to Supergirl, Superboy and (sigh) Superpup. Well, to make a long story short, the Salkinds sold the rights to Superman to those fools who made Superman IV. But they still had those rights to Girl, Boy and Pup. In 1984, Supergirl tanked, so that was no-show. They'd have to be pretty thick to make a live-action show about a dog with super powers, so they also gave that one a miss. But what about a boy? Better yet, a teenager, or better still, a college student with super powers? That could work...
And so, a show was born.
The first season saw John Haymes Newton as the boy of steel. Many claim that Newton was a bit too one-dimensional in terms of acting despite the fact that he looked like he had just walked off the face of a comic book. The stories in the first season generally revolved around social issues, largely because there wasn't much of a budget for fancy special effects (I'll get to that in a sec'). A lot of these episodes were also based upon events that happened in the comics or even in the movies. For example, just like in the comics, Lex loses his hair in a chemical accident and just like in the movies, Kryptonite is discovered in Addis Ababa. Another thing I liked about the first season was the fact that it was really 'Generation X' in the sense that it really tried to appeal to teenagers as well as the traditional Superman audience of kids and adults. If you listen to the first season Superboy theme tune, there's a really cool guitar solo in there. It also really reflects the style and tone of the late eighties which is kind of cool. The other seasons were more timeless and didn't have that eighties feel.
The second season brought in Gerard Christopher as Superboy because John Haymes Newton had portrayed Superboy as too much of a 'badboy' (which I kind of liked, but anyway) and he had also been getting in a bit of trouble with the law off screen. Gerard Christopher played Superboy as the Superman stereotype. He was cool, calm and collected and only ever got angry around villains. His Clark was a clumsy goofball, much the way he was in the movies, only more so. A new, older Lex Luthor was brought in as well, to tie in with a really silly story about Lex making himself look a famous inventor so that he could steal the inventor's weapon and (you guessed it folks) kill Superboy. Because the first season had brought in a bit of dough, the second season had more of a special effects budget and here's where things get really interesting. We got to see villains like Metallo and Bizarro for the first time ever off the pages of a comic. Sadly, we also got a load of silly villains like Dracula (?) and Microboy (a rival superhero in a big yellow foam suit), which made the second season look like a cross between the old Batman show and Power Rangers.
The third season became really dark and sophisticated, despite the fact that it was a show about a cheerful hero. This tone was probably to do with the release and success of Burton's Batman movie. It worked quite well, because it made Superboy look sort of out place (which is sort of cool, because Superman is out of place in today's modern, vice-filled society of sex, drugs, rock and roll and computers). The fourth season was probably the only season which didn't bring anything new to the show. The episodes were in the same dark tone as the third season, but if it counts for anything, they were written better and the overall acting was improving. But then, Warner Bros. came along and got rid of the show, because they didn't own it and it was starting to make some serious money. They took it off the airways for good and it is quite likely that it will never be seen on television ever again. But there is talk of bringing it out on DVD, so don't despair.
Overall, this show is quite good and it is worth noting that this is the last show that focused solely on a character that has been appearing in comics for over sixty years. Lois and Clark and Smallville are both attempts at updating this timeless character. It is definitely worth a watch if you can find some episodes of it.
The show has finally been green lighted for a DVD release for seaon 1 being released June 20th, 2006. Warners is basing future season releases on the sales of Season 1. All superman fans aware of this release will be waiting in line on the 20th to get this set. Searching this show on the net, you will see that the show got better with each season, another rarity in television, so buying all successive seasons will only deliver better material as the rest of the seasons are released and purchased.
I never was very much into Superman and related movie adaptions or TV shows such as "Lois & Clark" or "Smallville". Since the show never aired in Germany, watching the DVD set was my first encounter with "The Adventures of Superboy". And I have to say after a few episodes I really started to like it! In fact, this show reminds me of some of the low budget TV shows I used to watch when I was younger. And I used to watch a lot TV back then! Sure, "Superboy" lacks great special effects or expensive production design and the acting is sometimes rather silly - but nevertheless this show lives of its originality. Even someone without a comic book background can see the true love and passion that went into this show creating a genuine comic book adaption despite obviously limited resources. And this is what TV or film making in general should be all about: staying true to your idea and being dedicated to create something original.
Well, I had a lot of fun watching this stuff and I can't wait to get my hands on the consecutive seasons.
Superboy is much more in the realm of the Superman movies and not as dark as Smallville. Which I prefer.
Then there's the girl who plays Lana Lang. Ouch! Stacey Haiduk is hot.
Did anyone else like that Dracula whatever episode with the black Lear Jet? Awesome.
WARNER BROTHERS. WHEN IS SEASON 2 COMING TO DVD? AND SEASON 3?
Gerard Christopher looked fine, but the series, in my view, became surrealistic. Every episode seemed to me to be about Lex Luthor having Superboy trapped in another mind game -- VR -- and I didn't like that or the actor who portrayed Luthor as a grinning maniac.
I'm probably in the minority in liking JHN. I am probably NOT in the minority in thinking that "Lois and Clark" turned into a soap opera. It was cancelled quickly after that.
A few years ago I saw Gerard Christopher (the second Superboy) at a convention selling some episodes on tape, and I was compelled to buy them. I think the ten year old boy in me was star struck and couldn't resist. The episodes were not bad. Not great, but not bad.
Recently I picked up the original pilot at another convention, the one starring John Haymes Newton. This was HORRIBLE. Aside from the fact Superboy had a heavy east coast accent, the writing and dialogue were on par with the first season of Power Rangers.
During the first season I remember reading articles saying this show was supposed to be tied in with the Superman movies, but if that were the case, there wasn't even an effort made to do so.
This show was syndicated for one year after its initial four year run but rumor has it that Warner Bros. put a stop to it when Lois and Clark premiered. Whether or not anyone will be able to see it again (legally) remains to be seen.
Superboy was made for a younger audience and yet it is great for adults and made for family. Superboy, especially after season 1, is fantastic. Fun good nature yet subtly dark. Many episodes have death and gunshots yet works well. Gerard Christopher is probably the second best Superman ever behind Christopher Reeves and this show might be the second best adaption behind Superman 2 in terms of TV/Movie entertainment value.
This is about Superboy without the teenage angst. Yes he loves Lana but it is never forced. Gerard Christopher plays Superboy like a young Chris Reeves; he is very goody as Clark Kent in a good way. This was heroes before the modern bad boy heroes started. It is good natured, well acted, fun, and very entertaining.
Superboy is a 10 out of 10 after season 1. The actor who played Supes is not as good as Gerard Christopher. This is a must see and you should start with season 2 if you are trying to get into this show. Seasons 2-4 were way better than season 1 due to Christopher. Excellent show and the second best Superman actor ever.
The third season of "The Adventures of Superboy" takes the junior superhero to another city and a new job as he comes out of college and moves into the real world. Actor Gerard Christopher treats the character with all the respect it's due. You can also see where his portrayal of the character could lead right into Christopher Reeve's depiction of an older Clark Kent and Superman.
The same could be said about Lex Luthor as played by Sherman Howard. I wouldn't say he channels Gene Hackman for the role. However, he is obsessed with his wig and surrounds himself with idiots much like the character in the Richard Donner and Richard Lester films.
The special effects are what you would expect from a TV series created on video in the 1990s. They look rather cartoonish and I'm almost positive I saw a wire at one point when Bizarro flew across the screen.
BEING THE POST Christopher Reeve entry into the long line of Superman adaptations, it appears to have benefited from the trail tat was cleared for its inception. Simply stated, it had some ready made Publicity.
IT ALSO HAD that certain look that was in evidence throughout the four Reeve SUPERMAN films. Unlike so many of our current Super Hero movies, revisionism is minimal, if not non-existent.
UNLIKE THE ORIGINAL Superman TV series, this time around, many of the villains from the Comic Books were evident on screen. In addition to Luthor*, the series showcased Bizarro and Mr. Mxyzptlk (as portrayed by Michael J. Pollard). This was a very good touch and added to the stature of the Comic Book-Movie cross pollination.
AS WE HAVE previously posited, the series centered on a "Joe College" Superoy; being more properly called a young Superman. The comics stories of Superboy had a variation of ages of young Clark Kent from boyhood to High School teenager.
ONLY SOME FEW short years later, the editorial policy called for the elimination of any stories of a young Clark Kent's being the super hero in "The Adventures of Superman when he was a Boy!"
NOTE * Luthor was the name from 1940 to circa 1960, when his given name was "revealed" as being Lex.
While the first season was a little rough, I'm still fond of it for copiously serving up the cheese. John Newton, no offense to the guy, was particularly amusing as the titular character that seemed to be invoking his inner Stallone whenever in the tights. I especially liked his flying pose which made it seem like he was always about to be punched in the face. As for the special effects, they were also pretty laughable. Yet, somehow, they were always good enough to propel the story. In short, while these early episodes were noticeably threadbare, they were still entertaining. However, starting with season 2, the show started becoming less unintentionally amusing and more genuinely enthralling.
First and foremost, this was due to Christopher Gerard being brought aboard to play Clark Kent/Superboy. He knew the character inside and out, bringing a spot on portrayal of the character to the small screen. The dude just looked the part and, even better, sounded it. With the bump up for the lead character, there was also an accompanying upgrade in the F/X. Gone were the days of "oh my God" what were they thinking. Hello were the days of "oh my God" I can't believe they were able to do this on such a small budget.
The story lines also became more intriguing and daring. I mean daring in the "how are they going to be able to afford this" kind of way. Let's see, there was Mr. Mxyzsptlk, Bizarro, Metallo, alternate reality Superboys, Lex Luthor, and many more. "Smallville" is a decent enough show. But even with a much larger budget, running time, and almost twenty years later, it has yet to come close to this level of energy. Of all the villains featured on "Superboy", my favorite was Mxyzsptlk. Easily as powerful as the Boy of Steel, whenever he was the featured adversary one thing was a givenintentionally, gut busting laughter. Throw in the ever bubbly eye candy known as Stacey Haiduk, playing a faithful and true to her roots Lana Lang, and you're dealing with dynamite in fuel tank.
"Superboy" went on for four years and was a genuine hit. However, just as the Salkinds were readying to negotiate terms for a fifth and sixth season, it was cancelled because of a lien put against it by Warner Bros.for reasons I can't ever hope to explain within the 1,000 word limit given by IMDb. This brings me to the point of my review.
"Superboy" was a surprisingly addictive show. But it's not "Smallville". It's an entirely different animal altogether. Therefore, Warner Bros., can't you lift the lien against it already? Is there really a reason you can't release it from the vaults, and allow it to get airtime on something like the Sci/Fi Channel, ABC Family, Spike, G-4, or even WAM? They're always on the lookout for older shows like thisand it would probably do well there, without taking anything away from "Smallville". I get that there may be some bad blood between you and the Salkinds, but it just seems like there is room for more than one Superman show at a time, especially when the two are separated by over a decade and have next to nothing to do with each other.
In the seventeen years since "Superboy" went off the air, there has been "Lois & Clark" (1993), "Superman: TAS" (1996), "Justice League" (2000), and "Smallville" (2001). These programs have done fairly well during their original runs, in syndication, and on DVD. Hell, even the old George Reeves show has seen a warmer reception from you, Warner Bros., and it's almost unwatchable. This being said, why can't "Superboy" get any of the love? Instead, you release the first and weakest season of the program on DVD and let it flounder? That's a lot like pushing a one legged man out of a wheel chair and then kicking him in the ass, while he's face down, just to watch him cry. Please let this show, which so many have fond memories of, finally get some airtime on basic cable. If the entire run of the series, from its questionable beginning to its wholly remarkable later seasons, gets the exposure it deserves, it will increase the demand for later DVD releases and most likely net you a pretty penny in the process. It would be a win-win, and isn't that what smart business is all about? As for anybody else reading this, if you remember this show, thought it was cool, and want to see it on the air again, write Warner Bros. Sooner or later, "Superboy" will probably be back on in syndication. But, if it's going to be sooner and not later, we've all got to speak up and let the W.B. know just how much we want it back now.