Adventures of Superman, The Complete First Season (DVD)
Look! Up In the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman! The classic "Adventures of Superman" episodes from the 1950s starring George Reeves set the tone for how many people still think of Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent works for the Metropolis Daily Planet. But with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, he also battles for truth and justice as Superman. In season one, Superman rescues Lois and Jimmy repeatedly while performing heroic deeds all over the country in these earnest, comic-inspired stories.
In 1952 Superman flew right into the hearts and minds of the American TV audience faster than a speeding bullet. Though most people were already familiar with man of steel through his comic books, as well as the popular radio show, it was the new medium's Adventures of Superman that transformed our resident Kryptonian into a timeless icon. For many young baby boomers, Superman was the ultimate symbol of truth, justice and the American way. After watching this nostalgic trip back in time it is easy to see why: George Reeves. Reeves is the quintessential Superman. He is kind, confident, smart, always does the right thing and can literally do anything physically. Even Reeves' Clark Kent is cool, even cocky without any of the trademarked shy, clumsy and hickish traits the character has developed over the years. And then there's Phyllis Coates as the Lois Lane. Coates portrayal of Lois is surprisingly one of the stronger female roles in '50s television. She is one tough cookie able to stand her ground against criminals, fight off bad guys and is not afraid to outwardly express herself. Sadly, Phyllis Coates would be replaced by Noel Neill in subsequent seasons.
Adventures of Superman also stands the test of time well as one of the best shows from the early days of television. A lot of it has to do with how the writers, producers and actors approached the making of the show. This first season, as well as the second, were made as if they were making a serious show suitable for kids and adults. Instead of being a kids' comic book show, the episodes have a strong "mini-serial-crime-movie" feel, are very story driven and include loads of elements from the popular film noir style of the 1950s. This is evident in such classic episodes such as the season opener "Superman on Earth," "The Stolen Costume" where Superman has his costume stolen by a burglar, and the tense horror-noir "The Haunted Lighthouse." Also included on this DVD set is the 1951 theatrical release Superman and The Mole Men which later became the televised two-part episode "The Unknown People." --Rob Bracco
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