‘Superman and Lois’ Looks Like It’ll Repeat the Mistakes of Other Arrowverse Shows

Superman’s track record on the big screen has been mixed in the last 15 years, with Superman Returns, Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Justice League all struggling to match the success of the 1978 Superman movie. His exploits seem to go over better when the screen is smaller. 

There have been several Superman TV shows over the years, from the classic 1950s series with George Reeves to the 90s take on the Lane/Kent romance with Lois & Clark. Now the couple gets a new TV show thanks to the Arrowverse, but some fear it will repeat the mistakes of earlier Arrowverse shows. 

Tyler Hoechlin smiling in front of a green background
Tyler Hoechlin | Jennifer Lourie/Getty Images

What is the Arrowverse?

While many DC characters have struggled on the big screen in the last few years, the heroes and villains have seen more success thanks to the series of shows called the Arrowverse airing on the CW. This is a series of seven interconnected shows that got started nearly 10 years ago, with the shows overseen by primary creative head Greg Berlanti and his team. 

First out of the gate was 2012’s Arrow, an updated version of Green Arrow. The Flash followed in 2014. Both of these shows had aired on the CW, so Supergirl was a bit of an anomaly when it started on CBS in 2015. For season 2, Supergirl migrated over to The CW, where it joined Legends of Tomorrow. Then came Black Lightning and Batwoman

All of these shows are still running except Arrow, which wrapped up just last year. Supergirl, too, will enter into its final season later this year, making Superman & Lois the new kid on the block. Superman had occasionally appeared on Supergirl and in the Crisis on Infinite Earth crossovers. Now he gets to be front and center again, though optimism about the show is guarded, because TV already tried to make Lois and Clark a mainstay, and it didn’t stick around very long. 

This isn’t the first Lois and Clark show 

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While there has always been a “will they or won’t they” element to Lois Lane and Clark Kent, that romantic edge was not the reason for being for most Superman stories – not until Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman came along in 1993 on ABC. The book Superman vs. Hollywood called their chapter on the show “Krypton by Moonlight,” a riff on the will-they-or-won’t they show of the ’80s, Moonlighting

The new show would emphasize the romantic trials of Lois and Clark while not focusing as much on the speeding bullet/locomotive/single bound action, and at first, it seemed to work. The show led by Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher started strong, but viewers got frustrated with the elongated teasing over whether the couple would actually marry. 

Eventually, according to Screen Rant, season 4 climaxed with a baby in a Superman blanket. It was meant to be a cliffhanger, but it turned out to be a finale, with ABC pulling the plug. Susan Nathan, a member of an ad agency, said of Lois & Clark, “It’s pretty stunning for a show to go from being very popular and having a buzz to all of a sudden being in the toilet.” 

How could ‘Superman & Lois’ go wrong?

Now, Superman & Lois aims to try again with the couple angle, with one difference being that the couple, played by Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch, are already together and with children as the show starts. However, as Screen Rant notes, the show’s trailer reveals that the kids don’t know about the whole superhero angle, and for some, the whole secret identity trope has become tiresome in the Arrowverse.

By contrast, over in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, most of the heroes don’t have secret identities at all, with Spider-Man being a notable exception. The very first MCU movie, Iron Man, climaxed with Tony Stark revealing publicly that he was the man with repulsor rays. However, what works for Marvel does not necessarily work for DC. 

Superman & Lois is set to premiere on February 23. Supergirl has managed to last six seasons, which is longer than Lois & Clark. Time will tell how the man of steel, along with his wife and his kids, fare.