The first season of My Adventures With Superman offered a surprisingly heartfelt and touching version of the Kal-El mythos. It wasn’t just Clark Kent who was humble and awkward, but Superman was, too. His relationships with the characters, especially Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, were the emotional center of the show. This is why the My Adventures With Superman Season 1 finale was good, but also why it wasn’t great. The epic showdown with alien ships and robots was fun, but it was a missed opportunity.
Earlier in the season, a multiversal force of Lois Lane helped this universe’s Lois save Superman from Mr. Mxyzptlk. However, the 5th Dimension imp escaped their clutches and delivered Lois an item meant to make her life complicated. Yet, what really complicated things in the Season 1 finale was the Thanksgiving dinner she was attending with Clark’s parents and her own father. Few were surprised to discover that the General menacing Superman this season was actually Sam Lane. Yet, rather than focusing on the elements that make My Adventures With Superman shine, the character’s stories and the device Lois carried with her all but caused an alien invasion. It was a beautifully animated action spectacle, but viewers likely lamented the shift away from the tense (and funny) family dynamics at play in the episode. The series went big to end its first season, but it just might have been a little too big.
Superman, Lois and Their Parents Were Big Enough for the Season Finale
The Season 1 finale completely does away with Superman’s secret identity for anyone who is close to him. Also included in that group now is General Sam Lane. My Adventures With Superman has Snyderverse parallels, and this is another one. The General walks away from the Kent Farm, knowing “this man is not our enemy.” There is even a momentous scene when the General holds a gun on his own daughter as Lois pleads for Superman’s life. It was an emotional moment, but it may have had more impact if there had been less fighting Kryptonian robots all of a sudden and more emotional examination of the family dynamics at play.
Superman adaptations often fail Jonathan Kent by not making him a reflection of the person Clark became. Both Ma and Pa Kent are perfect, supportive to a fault of their little Super-boy. This relationship is in opposition to the distance and tension between Lois and the General. While watching Superman fight his own Kryptonian ship was interesting, it might have been more interesting to see Lois and her father dance around both Clark’s identity and their own troubles. Instead, all audiences really know is that General Lane feared alien invasion, which cost him a relationship with his daughter. There is also the holographic version of Jor-El in the mix. This served up the potential for a story with mirroring themes to play out for both Clark and Lois.
Also, like in The Man of Steel, Jor-El uses his program’s integration into Kryptonian systems to help his son stop the invading ship. However, he and Superman have no actual moment of communication. An impressively thrilling animated sequence shows Jor-El and Kal-El flying through the ship and wrecking the defending robots. It’s just the Season 1 finale of My Adventures With Superman skipped over the part of this story where Superman first bonds with his father. The Thanksgiving setting could’ve been a backdrop for intense character drama. Watching Lois and Clark both navigate emotional turmoil with their biological fathers would’ve been equally satisfying.
My Adventures With Superman’s Missed Storylines Could Struggle to Find Space in Season 2
The other reason the diversion into an alien invasion, the start of which would have made for an excellent cliffhanger, hurts the story is because of where it ends. There is no question that the Kents’ secret is out, at least with respect to the invasion. People from miles around would’ve seen those ships. Even if the Kents are exposed to the government or civilians, Clark and his friends won’t be able to gather there again, especially with Lois and her father. Instead, it’s more likely Superman and General Lane become allies behind Lois’s back. It’s also unclear if Superman lost the chance to see and, potentially, speak with his father, Jor-El.
My Adventures With Superman mirrored another classic film, Richard Donner’s Superman, as well as Zack Snyder’s debut with the character. Superman fights rogues, robots and other baddies, but he’s mostly just a guy who zooms around Metropolis and helps people. He even rescues cats out of trees! Given the revelation of his origin and lack of context, because he never spoke to Jor-El, Superman may now become a guy who’s training to fight a war for Earth. He may end up working with both the General and Amanda Waller, which should make for good character development and tension. Yet, there’s no room left for the family reckoning that could’ve happened pre-invasion at the Kent’s farm.
A TV series should never be criticized for what it “isn’t,” and My Adventures With Superman is a fantastic series. It blends humor, genuine character stories and action seamlessly. The Season 1 finale was a good episode. It paid off many of Season 1’s mysteries while setting up plenty for Season 2 to explore. However, if My Adventures With Superman told a slightly smaller, more character-focused finale story, it would’ve been great. Not just a satisfying arc for a Superman cartoon, but one of the better Superman stories in over 80 years of them. Still, My Adventures With Superman had a triumphant first season. With it and Superman & Lois continuing, there are so many great Kal-El stories happening as fans wait for James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy.
My Adventures with Superman Season 1 is now streaming on Max.
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