Lois & Clark- Teri and Dean and thier Superman Legacy

by Kate Blake, admin CCC Superman Fans

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman has taken a lot of ribbing over the years and has been belittled by many in the comics world who didn’t like the way that ABC turned what could have been a great superhero show into something kind of ordinary. I have to admit that I was not a fan of the show when it aired. LNC premiered at the same time as The X-Files and I was immediately hooked by The X-Files and its superb special effects, uber intelligent cast and dark twisty storytelling. A light romantic comedy with cheesy music and hokey special effects never caught my eye. I actually picked up LNC a decade later when I had begun watching Smallville. With an eye toward knowing that the effects were cheesy and deciding to focus on the storytelling I found myself enjoying the series in a way I would not have guessed ten years earlier.

Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain are engaging as Lois and Clark. He has the bumbling bit down countered by a kind manner that he uses with children and the innocent whom he protects as Superman. The Kents are fun. Martha Kent is a riot. She has one of the best explanations in Superman history for why nobody recognizes him when Clark takes off the glasses and dons the suit- ” Well- nobody will be looking at your face!”

Lex Luthor has hair. Cat Grant is on for one season and the Jimmy Olsen who I liked from season 1 was replaced by a younger 90s guy for the rest of the series. Perry White is obsessed with Elvis and provides ongoing comic relief and yet seems to be very much like every other version of Perry we have seen on TV and film even with this eccentricity.

One thing I really like about Lois and Clark is that many of the bad guys they work on taking down are just people. No freaks, no meta-humans- just bad guys and organized crime bosses. As a series this worked well for keeping costs down but it also allowed the show creators to focus on dialog and storytelling over gimmick. The last season the show was under pressure from the network regarding costs and it hurt the show. This was around the same time ABC was pulling the same thing with its critically acclaimed cop series NYPD Blue. Jimmy Smits left Blue and swore he would never work for the network and parent company Disney again and he has stayed true to his word. Teri did not hold the network in such rancor as she is starring on their number one comedy “Desperate Housewives”. It is worth nothing that DH is not an ABC/Disney production – it is a Universal Studios production which is why she is on Jay Leno so often.

Dean Cain made a noteworthy guest appearance on Smallville this season as a creepy immortal Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde type. Dean has worked on a number of film and TV projects since LNC including a long running post as host for the SciFi Network’s Ripley’s Believe It Or Not series. He has also done a number of TV movies for Lifetime. For those of you who are not familiar with Dean and his background, he graduated from Princeton and was their star quarterback. He is a single dad and has made a point of choosing family fare in his career for the most part. One exception was his notable role as Scott Peterson in the docudrama The Scott Peterson Story about the Modesto fertilizer salesman who killed his pregnant wife Lacey and dumped her and their unborn child in the San Francisco bay. Dean was chilling as the charismatic sociopath.

I mentioned that Dean played Clark Kent with a certain kindness. Dean himself toned down his own natural enthusiasm and played Clark as a soft-spoken Mid-Westerner who as Superman would use a firmer tone of voice and really changed his posture and demeanor , separating his two identities with more than just a pair of glasses and some spandex. Superman as the protector to the innocent- not just his friends but his entire adopted city and the world was a heavy responsibility he carried with seeming ease, but Dean let us know that Clark was never overly comfortable with all of the acclaim that Superman got. He accepted it but never expected it. Modesty as one of Superman’s virtues was in ample display with Dean Cain in the role.

Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane was feminine but driven, a career gal with short skirts and great gams and not afraid to do anything to get a story. Teri was the first woman to get the title of “Most downloaded woman on the internet” . This certainly helped the popularity of the show!

Some of the best episodes of LNC involved Lois undercover. The famous chicken dance comes to mind along with her rocker chick with hair that required an entire can of Aquanet to hold in place. Teri’s Lois is more openly vulnerable than we had seen in the past. She is established in her career and not sure if this is all there is when she meets Clark Kent. Clark and Lois become friends- really good friends right away. He likes her romantically immediately but she thinks he is a dork. Then she sees him a a nice dork. Then a good friend. Then more than a friend. Did we mention that Dean Cain has his shirt off a lot? Lois shows her legs too giving the audience equal opportunity ogling. When Lois and Clark finally do get romantic their teamwork and relationship is enhanced by her knowing his secret.

This partnership changed the comics- Lois and Clark got married in the 1990s on TV and in the comics and have not been the same since. The great reporting duo became the best married duo in pop-culture and this was thanks to LNC. This legacy and the adult , mature enduring romance between Lois and Clark has continued in the comics to this day with two of them building a family that includes a foster son and absolute trust between them as partners. None of this would have ever come about if it had not been for the genuinely likable and human portrayal of Dean Cain as the Man of Steel and the steadfast partner at his side, the independent reporter with heart and integrity galore played by Teri Hatcher.

Smallville’s Lois and Clark have met an earlier point in their lives and are not yet ready for the big commitment to loving each other and saving the world , but they have started down the path of friends, then really good friends with some detours into unexpected areas along the way. We never seem to get tired of seeing this love story play out. This year marks 70 years of Superman and Lois and Clark as characters. Let’s hope we get 70 more!

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7 Responses

  1. This is a formidable view of LnC. I love the show since the pilot aired here in Brazil and always held a high respect for that show.

    Yes, the money issues and lame effects were bad but the humor, romance, Dean and Teri performances and story lines more than made up for that. I still can point my favorite season or episode.

    I was introduced to Superman as a little girl, watching Chris Reeve and Margot Kidder flying around. He is still my favorite Superman and I really love his version of Clark Kent. But Dean Cain as a modern Clark Kent is the best! I love his confidence, sweetness and the way he saw Lois. He admired his partner as a professional but also as a woman because he really could look deep inside her heart, and that was clear to the audience.

    LnC was really about Lois and Clark as partners at work and for life. The superhero thing, the villains were the background to tell us about love between a man and woman, families, friendships and kindness. And all the time we could recognize Superman and Clark Kent. Smallville is still trying to accomplish like that.

  2. Nice summation of the show and interesting to see from someone coming to it later. I’ve been a fan since the beginning (still do IRC chats and fan fests in LA) but found I also enjoyed Smallville in spite of the early kryptonite “freak of the week” rut they were in. I’ve also liked how they worked Lois in although she’s not in the original canon so early in CK’s life. Ah, and shirtless Dean….a wonder to behold. Being kind to people–same is true meeting him in person as it was with CK/Superman.

  3. I really enjoyed L&C. Its a shame that the series is basically shunned in the Superman community.

  4. Love Dean Cain. Saw you on 5th Grader show. And I think you are not so married bec you said my son and his mother. can we meet? April xxxxooooo
    (we are close in age too!)

  5. “LOIS AND CLARK” featured my two favorite villains in the entire mythos – Tempus, the time traveling villain with the snarky sense of humor played by Lane Davies; and Mindy Church, the wife of Intergang leader, who not only was smarter than she seemed but was the only villain never to be captured by Superman. She was played by Jessica Collins.

  6. I like to LNC. only now I see the season 3 and 4 and I am enjoying it even more. Superman is a good hero, demonstrating strength when you need it. In Clark’s possible to see a “human” being fantastic and often one wishes to imitate him, but not Superman, we think impossible, but that reporter trying to make more than a simple matter, who cares about the world and with people. The relationship of Lois and Clark see a lot of our relationships and we can learn from it too. I like and love. It is a series that is current, speaks of values, morals, things that we need today.

  7. Hey King- if you quit watching Smallville in season 5 you are not alone. Pick up season 8 on DVD and skip the middle episodes with the return of Lana and watch this season. The show has grown up and has been fun and adult in nature. No more teen angst. I don’t think we will ever see an LNC reunion unless 10-15 years from now it is with Dean and Teri starring as the Kents with a young Kal-El in some distant movie….I would be happy to get them to take part in a big Superman retrospective at Comic Con.

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