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Author Topic: Superman Series  (Read 204 times)

Offline Nyte Dragon

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Superman Series
« on: February 09, 2021, 03:29:46 PM »
 With the newest iteration of Superman coming to the small screen soon, (Is it the 23 yet??) I thought I'd see how folks feel his past TV exploits ranked. Both live action and animated qualify for this purpose. BUT they have to be made for TV originally, and be solo Superman series. So no Super-Friends or JLA/JLU, no Fleischer' Superman', or Kirk Alyn 'Superman' (They were film serials).

 So that leaves us with (in no order yet):

  - 'Lois and Clark'
  - 'Superman :TAS'
  - 'Smallville'
  - 'The Adventures of Superman' (George Reeves)
  -"The New Adventures of Superman' (late 60s cartoon series)
  -'The Adventures of Superboy' (another late 60s cartoon series)
  -'Superman' (Late 80s toon by Ruby-Spears)
  -'Superboy' (late 80s/early90s live action series)

 That is all the shows, live or animated, I could remember or find. If I missed any, feel free to let me know. Just make sure they fit the qualifications. Now onto my ranking. I'm going to explain why each is where they are on my list, but no one else has to. (Be kinda cool if you did, but hey, no worries.)

 And one last thing, this is all OPINIONS! No one is right and no one is wrong in how they feel these should go. It's subjective to each person. Just keep it within the guidelines.

 1. Smallville - Yeah, it's the most recent, but it still hits #1 for me. They checked all of the boxes for me. Clark as a person instead of Clark as a Superhero? Check. Johnathan and Martha being realistic, loving parents? (And none of that 'Maybe you should have let the bus full of kids drown' crap! Really ZS, WTH! Pa Kent would never suggest Clark should let 20 some kids die! Seriously, WTH!! You had it on point with the weepy 'I just want to be your son.' *grabs and hugs Clark* 'You are my son!'. Annnd then you biffed it! WTH!!  :oops: Uhmmm... sorry, I kinda got into a bit of a rant there.)  Hell, you even felt sorry for Lex at time. Yeah, it may have drug on too long, and sometimes it got a bit messy, but at it's heart was Clark learning to accept his role in this world.

 2. Lois & Clark - Dean Cain might not have been the best Superman, but he definitely is one of the best Clark Kents going. This show understood one of the basic principles of Superman. 'The man should always be more important then the super.' They even have a line that I think sums it up so nicely in the show. In a fight between Lois and Clark, he tells Lois "Superman is what I can do. Clark is who I am.". Yeah, the show was cheesy (They had Howie Mandel play Mister Mxyzptlk. Still better then creepy stalker Myx on Supergirl.) and corny, but it still was fun. John Shea gave the first live action modern version of Lex Luthor. All in all, it might not be the best Superman show, but like Dean Cain, it was the best Clark Kent (as an adult. See Above lol)

 3. Superman :TAS - Two words. Lex 'Flippin' Luthor! Yeah this is part of the famed DCAU. Yes it managed to almost, ALMOST, have a theme as good as the movies. Yes the rest of the voice cast was, dare we say, Super. But Lex Luthor! They say that the villain defines the hero. That without the villain, the hero has nothing to measure to. And boy howdey do they deliver here with Lex. Like Mark Hamill being the definitive voice of the Joker, Clancy Brown IS the voice of Lex Luthor. (And also, Mr. Crabs.) This toon series fires on all cylinders for me. They even get Mr. Myx perfect. Come on, if you wanna have an annoying imp, he should have an annoying voice. Gilbert Godfrey, yes please!

 4. Superboy - The series wasn't that great, the effects were good... for TV. They pulled a Darrin and switched Superboy actors between seasons. But the reason this ranks where it does, is this was the first time I got to see my favorite hero live on TV. It wasn't a movie that lasted for 2 hours and then I'd have to wait years for a new one. I got 30 minutes of new story every week and it was cool. So even with the warts and all, I loved it. Plus, Stacy Haiduk, as Lana Lane.  :wub:   

 5. The Adventures of Superman - The first live action Superman TV show. No super villains, hardly any special effects, Superman taking bullets shot at him, but dodging a thrown gun. Yeah, not great. But George Reeves had something special. When he put on that suit, he understood, even back then, that he was representing an ideal. He wouldn't smoke around children and even quit the habit altogether. And the rest of the cast, even with the lackluster scripts, managed to infuse the show with charm.

 6. Superman (80s toon) - I barely have any recall of this series. But I do remember watching it on Saturday mornings. Oddly, even as big a Superman fan as I am, I remember the Plastic Man cartoon (with Woozy, his girlfriend/Wife? Penny, and Plasti-Baby) even more so.

 7 (TIE) - The 60s Superman/Superboy cartoons - Never watched them, can't rank 'em.


 So anywho's that's my rankings (and whys) for Superman TV series. So what about you? How do feel? Which show is your #1?
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Offline Tomato

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Re: Superman Series
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2021, 03:57:08 AM »
So I haven't seen most of these shows, so I'm only going to comment on the ones I've seen and rank them, specifically Smallville, TAS, and Lois and Clark.

1. Superman TAS- I'll be the first to admit that STAS is probably one of the weaker series in the DCAU... it starts out strong, but for a bit it does sort of devolve into Superman and his amazing guest stars for awhile. But even with that, I'd still put STAS head and shoulders above the rest of the series I've seen in most aspects. That cast is pitch perfect. I've been exposed to a fairly wide range of actors in those roles, but I still hear most of the STAS cast as the voices for most of Superman's supporting cast and many of his villains. The origin is well done and probably my favorite take on Krypton to this day. The finale with Darkseid and the death of Dan Turpin is gut wrenching.

2. Lois & Clark- Admittedly, I have a major soft spot for this series, probably more than it really deserves. The show started airing when I was pretty young, and even more than Reeve, Dean Cain was my live action Superman growing up. The Superman costume they ended up with, with the dark glossy blue with the bright red just... pops in a way I don't feel like any other live action Superman ever has.

On the side of the actual show, while I think it noticeably dips a few seasons in, what appeals to me most about it even now is just the characters. As ND says, the show is hands down the best look at Clark Kent as an actual human being. That first story where he has to earn his job at the planet just really set the mood for Clark Kent as a character better than any other series I've seen. None of this "oh, he uses Superpowers to type fast, lol" nonsense, this Clark goes out, builds a connection with another human being, and writes an article for Perry that's legitimately well written and emotionally powerful. I think Teri Hatcher's Lois is a bit too childish (I prefer a Lois Lane more like STAS) but it works in the show and I like her chemistry with Dean Cain. Most of the supporting cast is solid, and I appreciate what they tried to do with Lex Luthor.

3. Smallville- Hrm. Look, it's been a while since I watched the show, but if I feel like L&C dragged by the end, it didn't have anything on Smallville. The first couple seasons of the show were decent enough, if a bit soap opera-y. You had Clark pining for Lana, Lex obsessed with Clark's rescue, Lionel trying to force Lex down a dark path while the Kents were decent parents... it all mostly worked. But then you had the flip flopping on Jor El (is he a decent father or is he a jerk, all depends on the season!) and the latter 5 seasons just hanging on this edge of "we're almost there guys, he's in Metropolis, Lois is his love interest now, he's almost there" that they just draaaaaged out beyond the point where the journey was interesting anymore. I legitimately got tired of the show multiple times, would get dragged back for one reason or another (JSA showing up was one I remember offhand) would binge to whatever season it was in, then drop it again until the next thing that happened. Finally, they were ending with season 10 and I'd already watched 8 seasons so whatever, guess I'll finish it off.

That said, I'll admit my age probably played a role in that. I was 12 when the series started, and 21 when it ended. By season 5 I was almost an adult, and the more soap opera "will they won't they" nonsense and general camp the show was rife with just did not appeal to me as a young adult. Add to that the fact that Rosenbaum, probably my favorite actor in the series, left in season 7... I was just kinda over it tbh.

If I'd been just a bit younger or even possibly older when the series started, I'd probably remember it more fondly. As it is, I mainly remember it as that show I forced myself to finish just because I had already watched so much of it, which kinda soured the whole experience. Wouldn't say I hated it, but I didn't love it either.

Offline Nyte Dragon

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Re: Superman Series
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2021, 04:21:57 AM »
:roll: You're top three is the reverse of my top three!! Too funny.

But I love how we both hands down agree on L&C. And I agree with you about the voices from S:TAS, and Turpin, that wasn't gut wrenching, that was a straight on Gut Punch with a kidney kick chaser. (I never would have saw it coming, especially since he was a pretty big supporting character at the time.)
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Superman Series
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2021, 07:03:39 PM »
Fun idea!  Reading y'all's descriptions brought me back, ha.  I haven't thought much about several of these in years and years.  I agree with a lot of what y'all have said.  It's interesting; we've actually had some pretty great Superman shows over the years.

  • Superman TAS: Obviously.  Like almost everything else from the TImmverse, it's pretty definitive.  'Mato says it's one of the weaker shows, and that's true, but it's all relative.  It's weak compared to JLU and B:TAS, but those are two of the greatest superhero shows of all time.  So, that isn't much of a black mark.  The Superman show brought all of the elements of his mythos together in the pretty much definitive fashion, doing what the Timmverse almost always did, drawing from all of the material and bringing the best, most powerful,l and most enjoyable elements together in one place.  Their take on Brainiac is, to my mind, one never equaled anywhere else.  As 'Mato said, the cast is perfect, and, of course, Lex is the star of the show.  Clancy Brown's performance is up there with Mark Hammil's and Kevin Conroy's.  The show isn't as compelling as B:TAS, and it doesn't have the over-arching structure and growing complexity and power of JLU, but it is still quite good on average and great at times.  It is pitch-perfect on Clark and his world.  My appreciation for it has definitely grown over the years.
  • Lois and Clark: This is a tough one, as I haven't seen this or the next one in over a decade.  But I remember really enjoying this show, and the descriptions each of y'all have given it have reminded me why.  It did some important work for the characters and helped to cement them in our zeitgeist more than I realized.  Now I want to go back and rewatch it!
  • Smallville: So, same as above.  I really don't remember them well enough to offer a definitive judgment, but I think that L & C was just better and less CW-y, for however corny it was.  Still, Smallville was a great show, and one I enjoyed as a teenager, though I lost interest as I grew up and it got further and further away from the comics.  There was some legitimately good story and drama in the earlier seasons, and I have come to really enjoy the relationship that they established between Clark and Lex.  Whatever the case, I am fairly certain that this show should have ended long before it did, and that hurts it a bit.
  • Superman (80s): I had actually never even heard of this until about a month ago, so that makes its appearance in this list sort of a delightful surprise.  It's surprisingly good, and it comes from a really interesting time, right at the very beginning of Byrne's reinvention of the character, so a lot of things are still in flux, but it is still a pretty decent and surprisingly modern version of Superman.

I haven't seen the other shows, so I can't comment on them.
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Offline Tomato

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Re: Superman Series
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2021, 08:46:49 PM »
Tbf, while I did say that, there's a reason stas is still my top dog of Superman shows. I think it had some issues in some spots (I'd say clark kent as a human and as a reporter is an area I think could have been developed more, but it's a cartoon for children so I do get it), but it's certainly far, FAR closer to perfect than any other show I've seen.

Offline Nyte Dragon

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Re: Superman Series
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2021, 09:00:36 PM »
 I agree with 'Mato 110%, that was the one thing I thought S:TAS was really missing. I love the interpersonal play between people, not just hero and villain, but the people around them.

 But it still strikes me how much all the three of us rank L&C in at #2. And I'm not sure how well known it is, but L&C was some of the reason for the 'Death of Superman'.
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Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Superman Series
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2021, 06:06:46 PM »
That's a fair point, 'Mato, and one I hadn't really thought about.  It nails Superman and Clark pretty much perfectly, but we don't really get much of Clark.  That being said, I really like what we do get, and their version of the Kents is just about my favorite.  I remember there's a great moment when Kalibak is wreaking the city when Pa Kent is visiting that captures the father/son relationship wonderfully well.
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Offline Silver Shocker

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Re: Superman Series
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2021, 07:32:50 AM »
Oh....I don't tend to look at polls, so I missed this one. How neat.

Outside of 1 or 2 episodes where I was on the younger side, I've never actually seen Lois & Clark. Might be neat to watch one day.

The only ones I've actually seen are Superman TAS and Smallville. I mean to check out the 80's cartoon at some point, along with its Batman counterpart (they're on U.S. Tubi)

Superman TAS - I have an interesting relationship with this show. Because it ran on Kid's WB a fair bit later than the original Batman TAS, I didn't see it at all until after JLU itself. I vaguely recall Canada airing it, but if they did, I didn't watch it. When watching Justice League, particularly any time things from Superman came up (which was a LOT) I felt left out, even as I was enjoying myself.

I had seen World's Finest, due to it being repackaged as a movie and aired on tv, and was flabbergasted at 1. Luthor's unique design (he was based on Telly Sevalas) and (you guys will love this) 2. The Joker having almost the exact same voice as the Hobgoblin from the 90's Spider-Man and 3. Seeing the end credits and learning the voice was Mark Hamill! What a cool way to learn that.

I had the chance to get the whole series on DVD a bit later from a Wal-Mart during a boxing sale, and was able to watch my way through the show in a way that felt like "research" to me.

It's not as interesting as all that. It's pretty good, and the voice cast is of course classic and definitive, but it's got kind of a easy-going episodic feel until the Apocalypse/Darkseid and Supergirl stories start coming in.

Stuff like Volcana get retconned into something more elaborate in JLU. In Superman, it's not bad, but pretty low-key.

And yet...it's a pretty cozy show. I'd probably be a LOT more generous to it upon a revisit, and I genuinely enjoyed reading the tie-in comics last year, even though they're even less interested in telling any kind of sweeping serialized narrative.

In a sense, it is exactly the Superman equivalent to Batman: TAS, but I found myself disappointed by how little Lex actually does in that show. Watching it after JLU will do that.

Quote
They even get Mr. Myx perfect. Come on, if you wanna have an annoying imp, he should have an annoying voice. Gilbert Godfrey, yes please!

Until Rebirth (and the version in the Supergirl tv series) the only version of the character I actually like is Godfried's version. My favorite Disney property (other than Gargoyles, if that counts) as a kid was Aladdin, so I've always loved his voicework (he's brilliant in TMNT 2012) and I adored his version of Mxy. I even love how outlandishly cartoony his design is.

(I really gotta read "Whatever Happened [...]" Don't I?) 

And it amused me to no end that one of the bad guys in the Aquaman episode looks almost exactly like Hun from TMNT 2003.

That being said, I kind hate Weather Wizard's DCAU costume. Surely they could do better than just a teal jumpsuit and goggles with no details whatsoever.  :rolleyes:
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