Review: Superman and Lois season 3 is a compelling triumph

Superman & Lois -- “Closer” -- Image Number: SML301fg_0010r2 -- Pictured: Tyler Hoechlin as Superman -- Photo: The CW -- © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Superman & Lois -- “Closer” -- Image Number: SML301fg_0010r2 -- Pictured: Tyler Hoechlin as Superman -- Photo: The CW -- © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Superman and Lois season 3 is just the most recent example of why the DC TV series remains the best superhero show on television.

Superman and Lois is one of the best shows on television. It’s certainly the best superhero show on television, with its high production values, cinematic shots, and big-budget CGI setting it apart from the rest of the shows in its genre. But let’s be honest, that was never Superman and Lois‘ greatest quality. No, that belongs to its writing, heart, and performances. And I’m happy to report that hasn’t changed in its upcoming third season.

Set weeks after Ally Allston tried to merge the world with her Bizarro World, season 3 is all about aftermath, moving on from what came before, starting over, and growing. And growing closer, which is something that the Kent-Lane family is already pretty good at, so to see some wonderful family-focused scenes between Clark and Lois, Jonathan and Jordan, and all four of them early on makes for a meaningful reminder that this show is at its strongest when it’s all about family.

Family is something that is on Clark and Lois’ minds in the premiere, as they plan Jonathan and Jordan’s 16th birthday party. It’s an event that brings the whole town together, at the Kent Farm of course, and it’s great to see some of the truly great dynamics explored as a result (and in a celebratory way as we celebrate the boys with the rest of Smallville). It’s also a great way to introduce some new dynamics, which is something I particularly appreciated about the first two episodes in general, as we see characters that haven’t shared the screen much before get the opportunity to interact here.

We can’t really move on until we discuss the new Jonathan Kent a little bit. Michael Bishop steps in to replace Jordan Elsass (who left the show after season 2) and he’s an instantly welcome addition to the cast. He feels like part of the Superman and Lois fabric very quickly, channelling Elsass’ portrayal but also adding a little something of his own. It’s different, but familiar, and that’s the best kind of transition we could hope for. He’s really charming, and so is his chemistry with on-screen brother Alex Garfin. The Jonathan and Jordan dynamic is such an integral part of the show’s success, and that bond remains clear from Bishop and Garfin’s first scene together.

Superman and Lois, Superman and Lois season 3, Superman and Lois season 3 episode 1,
Superman & Lois — “Closer” — Image Number: SML301a_ 0096r1 — Pictured (L-R): Alexander Garfin as Jordan Kent and Michael Bishop as Jonathan Kent — Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW — © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Speaking of Jordan, we knew going into this season that his storyline would once again be focused on him growing into his powers. That’s been where his story has been going since the beginning of the show, and the season 3 trailer confirmed that would continue in the new episodes. It’s not as much of a focus early on as it has been, but it’s there, just enough to ensure we’re ready to dive back into it later in the season when we need to.

His relationship with Sarah, though, does have some of the same struggles that it had in season 2 in that some of the conflict doesn’t really land (it’s been hard to know what the show is trying to do with this pairing after season 1). But I think that’s just the fact that both characters are settling back into each other’s orbit after spending a lot of time apart last season. Thankfully, the chemistry between Alex Garfin and Inde Navarrette is strong that you can overlook it, and the two share some great scenes together in the second episode that make up for it.

Generally, the kids have some great scenes together, and the show could benefit from more storylines involving Jordan, Jonathan, Sarah, and Natalie just being teens, because the first two episodes have moments (particularly in Jonathan and Natalie’s storylines) that just feel incredibly authentic for teenagers, and that’s when Superman and Lois serves its young characters best.

Meanwhile, Lana Lang is settling into her new role as mayor, and now feels like a good time to say that I’m ready for Emmanuelle Chriqui shine. She’s been such a force with the show’s quieter family-driven arcs over the first two seasons, and it’s exciting to see her at the center of her own story involving the town – because that’s what she is: The heart of Smallville.

Superman and Lois, Superman and Lois season 3, Superman and Lois season 3 episode 1,
Superman & Lois — “Closer” — Image Number: SML301fg_0010r2 — Pictured: Tyler Hoechlin as Superman — Photo: The CW — © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Smallville won’t be the only setting we’re exploring in season 3, though, because we’re going back to the big city too. As the trailer also revealed, some of the season will be set in Metropolis, and that’s already clear from the first two episodes. Yes, that means we get to see the Man of Steel fly back in his original stomping grounds, bursting through the sky and over the beautiful Metropolis cityscape. And it wouldn’t be a superhero show without some action, so yes, you can expect to find Superman at the center of some impressive action set pieces – another reminder of the cinematic big-budget quality of this show.

Chad L. Coleman is thrilling to watch as Bruno Mannheim. The character has been set up in such a way that the mere utterance of his name is enough to send chills down your spine, so his introduction needed to follow suit. It does, as Coleman commands the screen with a formidable performance that makes you eager to see more of him. In just two episodes, he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Superman and Lois, Superman and Lois season 3, Superman and Lois season 3 episode 1,
Superman & Lois — “Closer” — Image Number: SML301b_0090r3 — Pictured (L – R): Emmanuelle Chriqui as Lana Lang Cushing, Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent — Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW — © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Speaking of forces, Elizabeth Tulloch delivers a performance deserving of an Emmy this season. She’s long-been one of the best performers on television, but she shatters those already-high expectations here. Her portrayal of Lois Lane is quite possibly the greatest we’ve ever seen, and season 3 plans on building on that. Tulloch is stunning.

All in all, Superman and Lois maintains everything that earned it such adoration in the first place, while promising to take the show in some new and unexpected directions. The central storyline is compelling out of the gate, but it also has legs, which is good because it’s clear that the show has plans to let it grow throughout the season. The action is high quality and incredibly satisfying. And the performances of its cast are strong as ever.

I’d say that Superman and Lois is a story worthy of the big screen, but it’s better than that. It’s a reminder of how incredible television can be, pushing the boundaries of what we’ve seen in both the superhero genre, and TV in general – and it does it all with heart. It’s quite possibly the best Superman story ever told, and season 3 is just its latest chapter. If it continues in the direction that it’s going, it could be its best.

Grade: A

Superman and Lois season 3 premieres on The CW on Tuesday, March 14, at 8/7c.

Want to hear more about the Superman and Lois season 3 premiere? Watch The CW Spiral’s review of the episode. And for more Superman and Lois news, reviews, and updates, subscribe to their YouTube channel here.

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