Lois and Clark Season 4 Review

  • Series Title: Lois & Clark The New Adventures of Superman
  • Season: 4
  • Episodes: 22
  • Discs: 6
  • Cast: Dean Cain, Teri Hatcher, Lane Smith, Eddie Jones, K Callan, Justin Whalin
  • Original Network: ABC
  • Production Network:  Warner Brothers

The fourth and final season of Lois and Clark opens with a two-parter that wraps-up the season cliffhanger, with the result that Clark leaves New Krypton (he never quite gets there, but does see the palace in the sky), and returns to Earth and Lois. In the third episode of the season, Lois Lane and Clark Kent finally get married. Most of the rest of the season is single self-contained episodes, with the occasional two-parter that’s self-contained from the episodes around it.

Lois and Clark’s relationship as newlyweds takes center stage and is very well written. The series does not change focus to be completely domestic, though, but returns to it’s roots with Lois and Clark both working as investigative reporters for the Daily Planet. In between investigating and reporting on stories, they discover and talk about issues common to new couples – such as should they buy a house?, meeting in-laws and celebrating holidays, and finally, as the season winds to it’s conclusion – thoughts on children.  The discussions between Lois and Clark about children become more and more frequent as the season and series get closer to its end. Finally, Superman sees Dr. Klein at STAR Labs to see if Superman can have children with an “Earth woman”. Although early tests seem promising, in the end Clark tells Lois – he can’t have children. He and Lois aren’t biologically compatible. Lois breaks down in tears – in an extremely impressive, well-written, and beautifully handled scene. Lois’s inability to have children with Clark is not written off with a one-liner or a bad joke, and the writers and series creators must be given their due.  Clark mentions adoption on more than one occasion – pointing out he’s adopted and it worked out OK for him. However, the scene between Lois and Clark and an adoption pre-sceener is awful. Lois is given a very low score – because apparently smart, intelligent, professional women can’t be mothers. (Yeah, really – they did that. So sad.) However, in the final moments of the last episode of the season – a baby is left with Lois and Clark.

Overall, I enjoyed watching all four seasons of Lois and Clark. The series is fun and light – even in it’s more serious moments – there’s a sense that everything will work out – eventually. Teri Hatcher is simply brilliant as Lois and has both great comic timing and wonderful romantic chemistry with Dean Cain. Dean Cain is sweet and very good-looking and plays Clark perfectly – not as a nerd but simply as a very nice guy, who’s maybe even a bit naive. Cain does a great job as Clark and a very good job as Superman. The rest of the cast is very good – and I really liked seeing Clark’s parents, Jonathon and Martha Kent, on a regular basis, and played by excellent actors.

The effects – well, they did what they could on a 1990s TV budget – but it’s still pretty impressive and never distractingly bad. The effects don’t over-power the human story, while at the same time they aren’t so bad or out-of-date as to throw the viewer out of the story. I recommend this series, especially if you want to watch a lighter Superman story.

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Lois and Clark Season 3 Review

  • Series Title: Lois & Clark The New Adventures of Superman
  • Season: 3
  • Episodes: 22
  • Discs: 6
  • Cast: Dean Cain, Teri Hatcher, Lane Smith, Eddie Jones, K Callan, Justin Whalin
  • Original Network: ABC
  • Production Network:  Warner Brothers

Season 3 of Lois and Clark has no major cast changes, Justin Whalin is still Jimmy Olsen. Lois Lane, however, gets a really bad haircut – which in the first few episodes is not only very short but spiky as well.  It does not look good on Teri Hatcher, who with her classical looks and high cheekbones, looks better in a longer cut – not something so top heavy. As the season went on, they got rid of the spikiness and curls and let her hair go back to it’s natural straightness – but it was still short. Towards the very end of the season the slight curl on the ends comes back.

The first episode picks up exactly where season 1 ended – with Clark proposing to Lois. Lois takes off Clark’s glasses and asks – who’s asking, “Superman or Clark Kent?”.

Despite Clark’s obvious love for her – Lois isn’t immediately ready to commit to marriage and doesn’t accept the proposal right away. When she’s ready – Clark nearly blows the whole thing by wanting to call it off and not marry her to “protect” her, thinking evil-doers will use her to get to him. Eventually though the two work it out and start to make wedding plans. We meet Lois’s mother, played wonderfully by Beverly Garland and her father makes a reappearance.

Season 3 is also the season of the over-the-top supervillain. Some of the actors playing guest villains do a brilliant job of chewing scenery – such as Genie Francis (General Hospital) and Jonathan Frakes (ST:TNG, now a director) as two super-rich “collectors” who collect Superman. But the super villain story lines also make season 3 more “out there” in terms of story lines – and there’s much less of the two reporters working together on stories to improve Metropolis or expose corruption of the first two seasons. And I liked the crusading reporters stories.

Then about halfway through the season, we get the wedding – and the show takes a sharp left turn into a super-powered Twilight Zone. The wedding episode has Lois and Clark looking into the theft of exotic frogs, which turns into exposing a conspiracy to replace the president and the head of his secret service details with clones. Lois and Clark successfully stop the plot, but not before, unknown to them, a presidential pardon releases Lex Luthor from prison. Clark and Lois are married by Perry White (a minister of the “church of blue suede shoes) but it isn’t Lois that Clark marries – it’s her clone. Lois, meanwhile, has been kidnapped by Lex Luthor. And the episode ends on a cliffhanger showing the audience but not Clark that Lois is a clone.

Cliffhangers will be a theme – as the rest of the series is one big story, and every episode ends on a cliffhanger. So Lois is kidnapped by Lex Luthor, and Clark is married to a clone of Lois. Clark quickly realizes his bride isn’t his bride. Lois escapes Luthor – but in running towards Superman, who’s arguing with the clone (who insists on calling him Clark even when he’s in his uniform) doesn’t see Lois. Lois is hit by a car, bangs her head, and ends-up thinking she’s “Wanda Detroit” heroine of her two-year-old unfinished romance novel.

Wanda, trying to escape Lex, is picked up by a truck driver and taken to the docks, where she gets a singing job as Wanda Detroit. With a few diversions – she’s picked up again by Lex whom she thinks is “Kent” one of the heroes of her romance novel. Kent convinces her that Clark is “Clark” the nasty dude in her romance novel. Lex gets Wanda to help him in a robbery of Star Labs and tries to convince her to transfer her mind into a clone body (as he will to his own as well). Superman rescues Lois from the nightmare and Lex dies. Lois’s clone who’s formed a friendship with Clark also dies.

Things seem to be going fine, as Lois was starting to realize she wasn’t Wanda, but she’s hit by a rock as they escape. Lois then loses her memory completely.

Clark and Perry White admit Lois to a medical facility to have an expert help her regain her memory. Unfortunately for all concerned – the “medical facility” is only slightly better than Arkham Asylum, and one Doctor is brainwashing patients to kill people, then killing the assassin himself but making it look like a stroke (the first two “patients” are elderly). He tries to do the same thing to Lois but Superman and Clark rescue her and the doctor is arrested. However, Lois’s therapist – who claims to have no knowledge of what the other doctor was doing – is quite literally the world’s worst therapist. He instantaneously falls in love with Lois (what is it with Lois anyway?) So he starts pushing back at Clark, telling him to not tell her he’s her fiancé. He limits Clark’s visits to Lois and eventually tries to stop him from seeing her entirely. The “therapist” also stops anyone else from seeing Lois. Now that’s the exact opposite of what he should be doing – he should encourage as many friends and family who know her to visit her in the hopes that it stirs her memory. When Lois tries to start investigate the various strange stories at the facility – he also keeps discouraging her, when, really, doing something familiar should help her. Lois and Clark’s relationship goes back to the season 1 sparking, where Lois doesn’t realize she’s falling for Clark and she also doesn’t know he’s Superman (as she did earlier in Season 3). Lois’s therapist also hyponises her to fall in love with him. Finally, Clark and Perry find out what’s going on, the therapist is stopped, and Lois recovers her memory. She and Clark get engaged again.

There’s a filler episode with Lois’s school reunion and a “Incredible Shrinking man/woman” plot.

Lois and Clark start making wedding plans again, although Lois wants to elope – which might not be a bad plan considering their track record. Anyway, suddenly two Kyptonians show-up. The woman, Zara, played by Justine Bateman (Family Ties), claims she is Kal-El’s wife (they were married at birth as a way to unite royal families) and he must return with her to stop Nor, an evil dictator, from conquering New Krypton as well as civil war. New Krypton has a red sun and harsh physical conditions – so Lois won’t be able to go with Clark. Clark is torn – everything he knows is on Earth, but if he stays he’s condemning a whole planet and his own people to death and destruction. Clark decides to return to New Krypton. For the second season in a row – the show ends on a cliffhanger.

Lois and Clark Season 2 Review

  • Series Title: Lois & Clark The New Adventures of Superman
  • Season: 2
  • Episodes: 22
  • Discs: 6
  • Cast: Dean Cain, Teri Hatcher, Lane Smith, Eddie Jones, K Callan, Justin Whalin
  • Original Network: ABC
  • Production Network:  Warner Brothers

The second season of Lois and Clark makes a few casting changes. The actor who played Jimmy Olsen, is replaced with Justin Whalin and the character of Cat Grant as played by Tracy Scoggins is dropped. Cat’s disappearing act is no great loss, but it takes a bit to get used to Whalin’s Jimmy Olsen – who’s younger and more enthusiastic. However, by about mid-season Whalin settles in and works in the part.

Having decided she didn’t want to be with Lex Luthor anyway, even before his death – Lois is ready for romance with Clark. The second season gives us more romance – but both Lois and Clark have other people vying for their affection. Clark has Mayson Drake, a district attorney who throws herself at him – but who also detests Superman. Towards the end of the season, Lois meets a handsome maverick DEA agent, Daniel Scardibno – who pursues her in the last six episodes of the season. Despite the other opportunities, Lois and Clark seem closer than ever – and even go out on a successful date. Clark considers telling Lois the truth, that he’s Superman, but always seems to get interrupted or to find some reason not to tell her.

The second season also has more science fiction elements to it, than the first season which concentrated on Lois and Clark being reporters and investigating rather normal stories for the planet. From the first few episodes, where a female Dr. Frankenstein manages to resurrect Lex Luthor for a short time, to robots, to gangsters from the 1930s brought back from the dead to time travel – season two has it all. But the season has a light touch and the SF/Fantasy elements aren’t over done. “Tempus Fugitive” still remains one of my favorite episodes with HG Wells showing up at the Daily Planet, and Lane Davis as the time-travelling villain, Tempus. His explanation that Clark is Superman to Lois is classic (puts on glasses – “I’m Clark Kent”, takes off glasses – “I’m Superman”; then repeats it – then tells Lois she must be “galactically stupid”). Unfortunately just as Lois and Clark start to deal with the situation – and they manage to “Back to the Future”-like prevent Tempus from killing baby Superman with Kryptonite; it’s actually HG Wells who arranges things so neither remember the whole thing.

The other major thread and reoccurring villain for Season 2 is Intergang. The international gang of criminals is the villain behind the scenes in most of the episodes. A number of famous actors play Intergang members and leaders – including Robert Culp, Rachel Welch, and Bruce Campbell. It’s fun to see the guest stars of the week; and Intergang’s actions – such as control of the press, big business, and the stock market make them an interesting villain. Intergang is also nearly impossible to stop, any one who’s caught is simply replaced – and often die before they can testify. It’s the ultimate mafia. It’s Intergang that ultimately kill Mayson Drake.

Clark’s parents seem to be less of a presence in Season 2, but they are still there – and they are important to Clark. Lois is also comfortable with Clark’s parents. Season 2 ends on a major cliffhanger, which I won’t reveal.

I enjoyed Season 2 of Lois and Clark. I liked seeing the couple’s romantic relationship progress. Clark needs to tell Lois who he is – though in the episode with Tempus, everyone knows Clark was Superman’s secret identity – and Lois is also revered as a hero. The show is light and fun and enjoyable to watch.

Lois and Clark Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: Lois & Clark The New Adventures of Superman
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 21
  • Discs: 6
  • Cast: Dean Cain, Teri Hatcher, Lane Smith, Eddie Jones, K Callan, Michael Landes, John Shea, Tracy Scoggins
  • Original Network: ABC
  • Production Network:  Warner Brothers

Lois and Clark takes the Superman story and turns it into a romantic comedy. This isn’t meant to put down the series, or Superman for that matter, but Lois and Clark emphasizes the relationship between Lois Lane and Clark Kent and the third member of their romantic triangle: Superman. In the first season, there’s another rival for Lois’ affections – Lex Luthor. Lois and Clark is pure fun. Made when CGI was in it’s infancy, and without a budget for a lot of effects – this series emphasizes character and story over effects – and the effects are limited to wire work, green screen, and other minor effects (such as Superman’s heat vision and freeze breath). Yet it is a joy to watch. And because effects are de-emphasized, it’s still a very watchable series.

Lois and Clark begins with Clark arriving in Metropolis and getting a job at the Daily Planet. At first, Perry White doesn’t want to hire Clark, thinking he lacks experience, but when Clark covers a story that Lois had refused as a “puff piece” and does an excellent job – he gets hired. Perry assigns Lois as Clark’s partner – and a great partnership is born. The first season emphasizes the two working together, as journalists. They investigate and write stories – real stories. Some are even read aloud on screen. I loved seeing reporters as heroes, and as people who care about their city. Superman usually appears once or twice an episode – to save the day. However, that doesn’t get old because the plots and characters for the most part are well written. Yet, in this series – Clark is Clark first and Superman second.

Another aspect of Lois and Clark that I really liked was that Clark has parents – parents he gets along with, whom he loves and who love him. Clark calls home regularly, and flies home on visits. When he has a problem, especially when it concerns his identity as Clark intersecting with his identity as Superman – Clark turns to his parents first, in part, because he has no one else. The older couple playing Martha and Jonathan Kent, K Callan and Eddie Jones are marvelous in their roles.

Lex Luthor in this series is a complete sociopath. He’s cold, unfeeling, and willing to kill to get his way. He falls for Lois Lane – but he wants to possess her completely rather than be her true partner, like Clark. Superman and Luthor are rivals, as Superman quickly discovers that Luthor is behind much of the evil, crimes, and disasters that happen in Metropolis. In the two part finale, Luthor proposes to Lois, sees to it that the Daily Planet newspaper is about to go under, buys it, then has the building bombed. He then frames the young street kid, Jack, that Clark had brought to the paper for a job. Everyone loses their jobs. Lex offers Lois a job working at LNN, the Luthor News Network on cable. She takes it, but her heart isn’t in it. She also accepts his proposal. However, at the last minute, Lois decides she can’t marry Lex – just as Perry, Jimmy Olsen, Jack, and eventually Clark (whom, as Superman, Luthor had imprisoned in a Kryptonite cage) burst in with the news that they have evidence Luthor framed Jack, that he was involved in much of the organized crime in the city, and various other things. Luthor escapes custody, then jumps off the balcony of his “Lex Tower” – the tallest building in Metropolis, supposedly to his death.

I don’t think I caught Lois and Clark first run, but I remember watching it in re-runs, and enjoying it enough to buy seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. It’s a series I’ve always meant to watch all the way through, and I just recently bought seasons 3 and 4, so now I can see the whole thing. Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher have great chemistry, and Teri Hatcher is funny, smart, cute – and perfectly cast as Lois Lane. Dean Cain is, well, he’s cute – very cute. But he also does a really good job as Clark/Superman, and he’s also a joy to watch. Together, Cain and Hatcher just sparkle, which is another part of the magic and timeless quality of this series. Recommended.

Tomorrow Never Dies

  • Title:  Tomorrow Never Dies
  • Director:  Roger Spottiswoode
  • Date:  1997
  • Studio:  United Artists / MGM
  • Genre:  Action
  • Cast:  Pierce Brosnan, Teri Hatcher, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yoeh, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn, Samantha Bond, Colin Salmon, Geoffrey Palmer, Vincent Schiavelli
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format: R1, NTSC

“Mr. Jones, Are we ready to release our new software?”  – Carver
“Yes, sir. As requested it’s full of bugs, which means people will be forced to upgrade for years.” – Jones

“Gentleman, and ladies, hold the presses. This just in. By a curious quirk of fate, we have the perfect story with which to launch our satellite news network tonight. It seems a small crisis is brewing in the South China Seas. I want full newspaper coverage. I want magazine stories. I want books. I want films. I want TV. I want radio. I want us on the air 24 hours a day! This is out moment! And a billion people around the world will watch it, hear it, and read about it from the Carver Media Group.” – Carver

Tomorrow Never Dies is my favorite Pierce Brosnan James Bond film, and it’s one of the best James Bond films in the modern era because for once it has a relatively realistic premise – told in the high-action style of James Bond, of course. The film is about Elliot Carver, a media mogul played brilliantly by Jonathan Pryce, who isn’t merely reporting events, or even spinning events to fit his own point of view, but actually causing the events his media group reports.

For once the opening gambit of a James Bond movie actually fits with the rest of the plot. One of the items up for sale at a terrorist bazaar in Russia is a satellite encoder, which can influence (or change) GPS data. James Bond manages to locate the bazaar, and launch and take away a plane loaded with nuclear missiles prior to the British Navy’s missile destroying the bazaar and the terrorists who are shopping there. However, though the analysts see the encoder, and recognize what it is – they don’t realize it wasn’t destroyed and that Henry Gupta – a hacker for hire escaped with it.

The encoder is important because it allows the next major event to happen. A British ship, HMS Devonshire, is cruising in what it thinks are international waters off the coast of China. The ship is overflown by Chinese migs who insist they are only 11 miles off the coast of China. The Devonshire‘s captain double checks their position with GPS – and then they are attacked and sunk by a stealth ship. The British ship reports they were attacked by the migs, and gives their position before calling abandon ship. The survivors are collected by Stamper, Carver’s thug and enforcer, and shot with Chinese ammo. Carver reports on the developing crisis – using the potential for war, to launch his satellite news network.

James Bond is sent to investigate – first to Hamburg, where he’s instructed to get close to Carver’s wife, Paris (Teri Hatcher), with whom he had previously had a relationship. Paris gives him some information, and is killed for her trouble by Carver. While investigating, Bond runs into a Chinese reporter, Wai Lin. Later it will turn out she’s his opposite number, an agent for the Chinese security service. Bond’s able to get the GPS encoder and escape from Hamburg.

He takes the encoder to the CIA, because it’s an American device. Bond’s CIA contact shows it to a tech, who confirms it could have been used to send the Devonshire off course. The CIA also arranges to drop Bond into the Ocean to find the ship’s wreckage. The Americans assume Bond is jumping into international waters, but one of the British naval officers on the flight realizes he’s actually jumping in to waters belonging to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Bond succeeds in his HALO jump. He find the Devonshire and runs into the Chinese woman again. The two are caught by Stamper, and brought to Carver. They escape, handcuffed together, on a motorcycle. Bond and Wai Lin end-up working together, sending warning messages to both the British and Chinese governments that Carver’s playing them against each other, then head out to locate Carver’s stealth boat.

Bond and Wai Lin plan on blowing up the stealth boat with sea bombs, but are again caught by Carver and his goons. Carver explains his entire plot – not only is he using the crisis he created to “sell papers” and successfully launch his news network – but he’s working with a Chinese general. Carver’s stealth boat will launch an attack on the British fleet (after some initial minor attacks on both fleets) it will then use one of the cruise missiles stolen from the Devonshire to attack Beijing – wiping out the current government and military leaders, except Carver’s general who will be conveniently stuck in traffic. After setting up his new government, the general will grant Carver exclusive media access in China – creating a captive audience worth billions. In short, Carver is creating events, for ratings.

Wai Lin and Bond again escape Carver’s clutches and manage to kill Carver and his muscleman, Stamper, and sink the ship before the cruise missile is launched.

Tomorrow Never Dies isn’t lacking for action sequences as well. They include: Bond and Wei Lin handcuffed together, on a motorcycle, riding through a densely-populated area while being chased by Carver’s men; Bond using a remote control built into his (rather ancient-looking) cell phone to control his car; even Bond’s escape from Carver in Hamburg; and the scenes on the stealth ship, of course. All the big action sequences one expects from a Bond film – and they are well done, technically, and because we care about Bond and Wei Lin – they work in the film too. The action sequences are not overly long, overly complicated, nor do they have effects that no longer work – everything looks really good. So the film satisfies on the level of what a Bond film should be. But what I really liked about the film was the villain and the plot. Elliot Carver is a totally unscrupulous reporter turned media mogul, who’s incredibly psychopathic. Throughout the film we see him fire people for “mistakes” that aren’t their own (such as the woman who’s fired for not knowing what caused the power outage during his media launch party) or even kill any one who gets in the way of his plans, including his own wife. And, of course, he’s willing to sink a British warship, cause a crisis, and risk world war – just to get what he wants, complete power. Throughout the film – Carver gets the best lines, as he explains how the press can not only manipulate events to suit their own corporate purposes – but in Carver’s case, cause events in the first place. Pryce is delicious as Carver.

I also really liked Michelle Yoeh as Wai Lin – the Chinese agent who’s a female Bond. Wei Lin is just as smart as James, and just as dedicated to her country. And I’d watch a film or two about her! Yoeh also plays the part brilliantly.

And, like all of Brosnan’s films, the reoccurring roles of M, Q, Moneypenny, and M’s aide, are all played by excellent regulars. I love seeing Judi Dench as M. Samantha Bond is excellent as Moneypenny. And I really like seeing Colin Salmon as Dench’s aide – even when he has little to do as in this film. Geoffrey Palmer, Dench’s frequent co-star in British comedies, also appears as a British Admiral. Having the new Bond family there, as well as Desmond Llewelyn as Q just makes the Bond film a Bond film, as well as adding that unique something they all bring to it.

Recommendation:  See it
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Next Film: Top Hat