3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Irresistible and charismatic leads, inspiring and entertaining story, delightful fan service and immersive production (Bonus : versus Smallville)
igoatabase from France
1 October 2012
While following Smallville I noticed some references to Lois & Clark
but more important I couldn't help comparing both shows. When you're a
teenage boy resisting to a weekly dose of Clark Kent/Superman and Lois
Lane is an impossible mission. It's specially true considering how
excellent Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher were in their respective roles. I
have tremendous respect for Tom Welling and Erica Durance but this very
pilot proves that Cain and Hatcher's chemistry eclipsed theirs. The man
couldn't be stronger and the woman is both smart and gorgeous. To sum
things up, they're just irresistible as Clark and Lois !
Beside the timeless duo as its title implies the series is also a lot
about Superman. It's the key difference with Smallville as even in its
finale we don't really see Welling suited up as the Man of Steel. It
leads us to his nemesis, Lex Luthor, played by John Shea. He's actually
17 years older than Cain and it's definitely a quality as his maturity
makes his character far much more believable. A worthy villain ?
Absolutely ! That's probably why I compared his performance to John
Glover, Lionel Luthor in Smallville, and not Michael Rosenbaum's one.
But their respective stories are entirely different as in this case
Clark and Lex are everything but friends. The cliffhanger clearly
states what the first season is about.
Flying with Superman is one thing but in my heart I have always been
more into the romance between Lois and Clark. In Smallville their
relationship is slowly developed when here the pace is way faster. I
understand that the writers intention was to seduce the audience but I
wish things had been a bit more subtle. Still even if the working girl
and new guy in town are clichés I instantly related to them and
developing an empathic connection with these two is natural. Clark
finds a job way too easily in my opinion but in Smallville it's the
contrary. However I prefer struggling characters, inspiring and
realistic ones. Otherwise this Kent is not a teen, it's a fully grown
up man who's ready to embrace his destiny. Don't get me wrong it's
obvious he doesn't know yet where he belongs, as Hercules (1997)
almighty protagonist, but he definitely has what it takes to become
Superman. And during his journey he can count on his parents, Jonathan
and Martha. The performers are so nice and complementary that you can't
help smiling when they're on the phone with their son. I don't know how
their work compares to the comics but it's slightly sitcomesque, so
miles away from John Schneider and Annette O'Toole in Smallville.
However in both cases Jonathan incarnates the father figure a superhero
needs, with strong moral values and a stimulating wife.
In order to support the talented cast and entertaining story the show
is enriched by many other elements. The first of them would be Lane
Smith. His performance as Perry White is both energetic and hilarious.
He also demonstrates how superior an intergenerational cast is compared
to the "all young and pretty" people hired in the last seasons of
Smallville. Phil Morris appearances as Martian Manhunter weren't
numerous enough and with Schneider and Glover gone the show failed to
fully educate its younger audience. An other thing I enjoyed was the
production quality. Don't expect an episode aired in 1993 to blow your
mind but most sets are well designed and the visual effects are decent
in general if you're not too demanding. All in all it's immersive and
it's all what matters. Moreover it's not everyday that you can see
Superman on TV ! It leads us to Clark Kent's transformation because
it's what the pilot is mostly about. I found it awkward and not just
because I'm a huge fan of Smallville. I mean how is it possible to
forget installments like Identity ? As for the Pretty Woman (1990)
sequence it was entertaining but not respectful of the seriousness
surrounding the myth. Even the way CK dealt with his glasses was quick
and dirty. Why didn't they decide to make them fall as he was taking
off for instance ? Something like that. At the opposite I really
enjoyed the way the beginning and ending mirrored. Indeed Lois first
appearance can only wow if you haven't already seen the pilot. All
along the episode there're breadcrumbs to help Clark shape his new
identity. Let's also not forget the cult dialogs and scenes. Most of
the ones between Lois & Clark are funny, like at his apartment, when
the parts involving Lex are darker and smarter. The scene featuring a
cobra is quite intense and reveals him as a fearless predator. The
diner was in the same vein and served as a pivotal character developer.
To sum things up this pilot has aged well and not just because the two
lead performers are exquisite. Cain fueled his character with strength,
wit and wisdom. As for Hatcher focusing on her gorgeous body, from head
to toe, would be a fatal mistake as her Lois is feminist, cunning and
curious. Add humor to these qualities and you get two of the best role
models on TV !
Note : This review was first posted on Kritikenstein, my weblog.
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