George Reeves has been in my mind the iconic Clark Kent if not Superman.
The show was a simple half hour program with most episodes aimed at kids. I say most because the first season of the show (filmed in black & white) was made up of little “crime noir” dramas, that were very much aimed at an adult audience. Still to this day “The Haunted Lighthouse” still creeps me out a bit and the episode “The Evil Three” is just crazy. In these first season episodes you really believed that the cast of characters of Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane and Perry White, where is danger for their lives.
The second season, saw Noel Neill join the cast as Lois Lane, and a toning down of the violence on the show. Still in Black and White, and still with some pretty dramatic episodes, some later adapted to the comics such as “Panic in the Sky” and “Around the World with Superman”. Also the second season introduced Kryptonite to the television episodes. During this season Jack Larson’s Jimmy Olsen character was starting to take on a more comedic role, and due to his popularity a new Superman comic was created “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen.
The Third season introduced cutting edge technology to the program “Color”, although originally aired in black and white the producers of the show, were thinking ahead. Brilliant move on their part, this is very much part of the reason that the show has been in syndication all these years. It is noted that the third and fourth season were released in the same box set, since both were only 13 episodes long. With the these seasons all the edge had finally been eliminated from the show making into a “kid program”. Although there are still quite a few gems to be found in this season as well. By the third season, this cast also melded perfectly and it shows on the screen.
The fifth and sixth seasons were released in one box set as well and like the previous two seasons they have a much similar tone. However some of the worst episodes can be found in this last box set, but there are also a few classics as well.
Also all the box sets include a special documentary and box sets one and two (seasons one and two also include a couple of audio commentaries)
The Documentaries are Adventures of Superman from Inkwell to Backlot (S1), The first Lady of Metropolis (S2), Adventures of Superman: The Color Era, Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: The Special Effects of Adventures of Superman, Look Up In The Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman (excerpts) (S3,4) and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (S5,6)
The video quality of the episodes vary, some are crystal clear and brilliant in color and other appear muddy and washed out. The content however is magical, and wondrous. This is a great set for any Superman fan, especially if you grew up with this being your first Superman !
My Top 10 Episodes
The Haunted Lighthouse
The Stolen Costume
The Deserted Village
The Evil Three
The Defeat of Superman
Superman in Exile
Panic in the Sky
The Big Freeze
The Mysterious Cube
The Perils of Superman (Directed by George Reeves)
Through the Time Barrier
Mr Zero (This is Awful)
The Gentle Monster