Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Boy Of Steel

The fine folks at Warner Archive have recently released the third season of the 1989-1992 syndicated (The Adventures of) Superboy television series on manufactured-on-demand DVD. I've written about the series here on the blog before, so you already know that I'm a fan of the show. I dig it's Silver Age-styled stories (the writers understood Kal El's character a lot better than his current corporate and creative custodians, that's for sure) -- honestly, I'd rather watch this show over Smallville any day.

The third season was - as I recall - the best, with college students Clark Kent (Gerard Christopher) and Lana Lang (Stacy Haiduk) going to work as interns for a government agency known as the Bureau For Extranormal Matters. The tone (and cinematography) of the series got a lot darker (probably influenced, like the prime-time Flash series of the same vintage, by the success of Tim Burton's Batman the year before), and the stories were a lot more interesting, including a few where Superboy travels to alternate Earths and discovers different paths he could have taken - in one, he's killed Lex Luthor (Sherman Howard) and in another, he rules the Earth as the tyrannical "Sovereign." He also encounters an adult version of himself, played by Ron Ely (TV's Tarzan and the big screen's Doc Savage)!

The picture quality on the DVDs is pretty good, but suffer from the late-80s production methods of shooting on film, but transferring the footage to video for editing and post-production special effects. This results in an unavoidably soft image overall. Still, it's great to see these shows again, since, due to a bunch of legal wranglings in the 90s, these shows never aired in U.S. after their original run.

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