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Lois & Clark - The New Adventures of Superman - The Complete Fourth Season
Ever since Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1932 the Man of Steel has appeared in countless forms of media. From comic books to cartoons, theatrical films, radio, and even TV shows the adventures of Clark Kent have captivated the world. The most recent endeavor was Superman Returns but back in the 90's it was Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman that was making the big splash.
As the series progressed it became quite evident that it was a super-powered soap opera rather than being more faithful to the comic book. Starring Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain as the title characters, the show expanded upon the Superman universe and fleshed it out in ways that appealed to an audience beyond the comic. Purists of the printed form may have scoffed about this and that, but when you got right down to it you couldn't argue that Lois & Clark was entertaining.
Since the show was based around the characters of Lois and Clark, the show became more about their relationship rather than Superman flying off to beat up bad guys. This put Cain and Hatcher center stage. The first two seasons were strong but as the third and fourth rolled around it began feeling like the writers ran out of steam. Solid chemistry wasn't enough to save it and inevitably the show was cancelled by ABC.
In the last episode of the second season Clark proposed to Lois. After that the third year was one emotional rollercoaster after another and a steady stream of sub par episodes. What else can you say for a season that introduced Clark's lovechild, made a clone out of Lois by using a frog, and thawed some super Nazis with intent to take over the world? The worst part was that between each of these episodes we were supposed to care about the character's relationship and whether or not they would get married. Needless to say things were starting to go downhill.
The downward spiral of the third season climaxed with a finale that saw Clark flying off into space with some fellow Kryptonians in order to rule New Krypton. Because Clark is of royal blood he was betrothed to another noble at birth and is forced to choose between living with Lois and ruling his people. That storyline spills over into the fourth season and brings Clark back to Earth in order to save it from Nor, an evil Kryptonian hell-bent on ruling our planet. There are many holes and cheap ways out of this plotline but to be honest it wasn't the worst that this season had to offer.
After that hoopla it appeared that Lois and Clark would have finally had their day at the chapel. That was at least until the Wedding Destroyer (Delta Burke) is sprung from jail. Yes, you heard me, the Wedding Destroyer. If you couldn't figure it out yet, she is basically a bitter villain who goes around destroying people's weddings. All of this was lame to say the least, but not nearly as lame as what came next. Lois and Clark are married by God. Ok, so in the episode they call him "Mike" but with the way they handle it there's no way around this character being a higher being of some form. Whatever the case, it was weak beyond reason and a cheap way out of an already exhausted plotline.
If you can't sense a trend yet, then let me just say that the fourth episode "Soul Mates" was equally as disappointing as the three prior ones from this season. In this particular episode H.G. Wells travels into the future to prevent the newlyweds from having sex, because if they do Lois will die. While part of me wanted to begin quoting Mallrats' Superman ejaculation theory the reasoning behind this plot wasn't anything as interesting. Instead of biology, the episode basically puts it out there that Clark and Lois' souls are meant to be together but somewhere in history there was a curse placed upon them. It's up to Wells to take them back into time where they relive the days of Robin Hood and the old west.
The rest of the season goes on to fluctuate wildly in the quality department. Admittedly in just about every episode there were some cute moments between Lois and Clark but even those can't allow a viewer to overlook the flaws. No matter what kind of banter happens, no matter how charming Lane Smith is as Perry White, and no matter who shows up to kick Superman's butt (I'm sorry, but Howie Mandel as Mr. Mxyzptlk? Please!), this season was an overall failure. Add to that frustration a final episode that wasn't really a finale and you've got a prime example of a great show going with a whimper instead of a shout.
Lord of the Flys Battleground Earth Swear to God, This Time We're Not Kidding Soul Mates Brutal Youth The People vs. Lois Lane Dead Lois Walking Bob and Carol and Lois and Clark Ghosts Stop the Presses Twas the Night Before Mxymas Lethal Weapon Sex, Lies and Videotape Meet John Doe Lois and Clarks AKA Superman Faster than a Speeding Vixen Shadow of a Doubt Voice from the Past I've Got You Under My Skin Toy Story The Family Hour
The fourth season of Lois & Clark began airing ten years ago. Presented with the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio the DVD holds up pretty well under scrutiny. The image quality has been improved with a noticeably better picture than the show aired with. Some soft scenes, grain, speckle, and edge enhancement are apparent at times but most of those have more to do with the source material than the transfer featured in this set. Overall this release is decent looking, if not better than the previous seasons.
Just as you'd expect the audio presentation for Lois & Clark comes in the form of Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. For what it is the quality is decent though you obviously can't expect too much from the soundstage in terms of technical brilliance. Dialogue and music tend to drown together at times and voices offer very limited directionality between the two channels. French and Spanish subtitles are the only ones available here, so if you were looking for English you're just out of luck.
The special features for Lois & Clark have been pretty disappointing thus far. Very little has been included on the previous seasons and unfortunately the fourth follows suit. The only things that you'll be seeing this time around are a trailer for the Justice League Heroes video game and bit of trivia about the Man of Steel. These nuggets of information are passed along by Dean Cain and amount to about 33 different topics. Some of them are interesting but for the most part if you have been a fan of Superman you probably know most of this information.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman I loved watching this show. I was a big fan for the first two seasons but as the third began to go on, I found myself making less excuses to watch it. My experience with the fourth season was scattered at best and as I watched it on DVD I began to recall why I stopped.
What was once a great show with a world of promise became reduced to a superhero soap opera that became more like a live-action cartoon. The writers seemingly ran out of ideas, the production values suffered, and practically every actor (apart from the main cast) did a poor job. In the end, the fourth season will only hold satisfaction for diehard fans that are able to look beyond the negative and just see the positive. And there was a lot of positive in Lois & Clark; unfortunately very little of it is found in this set. Rent it if you are a fan but don't bother if you're a casual viewer.