15 May 2013

Super History of Superman: Superman (1988)

The 1988 Superman show is an oft forgotten animated series produced by Ruby-Spears Productions which ran for just 13 episodes. Developed as a 50th anniversary tribute to the Man of Steel, the series also incorporated music from Superman: The Movie and opening narration from the 1950s Adventures of Superman television series. While it may not have been the classic series fans were hoping for, it was a huge course correction from the abysmal Superman IV the year previous.

If anything, this series was a victim of the reverence producers clearly had for Superman: The Movie. In being so respectful of the film, this series seemed almost afraid to step out of the shadow of what had come before and was consequently fairly forgettable. There were plenty of homages from similar scenes to musical cues, but the series lacked much identity of its own and while not really bad was quite bland. Strangely, even though there were just 13 episodes, it sort of felt like they were already out of ideas, or that they were almost out of ideas when they started.

This series launched after DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths saga which relaunched the DC universe. Thus, Lex Luthor was now presented as a corrupt businessman rather than an evil scientist. The series also offered the first official animated appearance of General Zod as well as a rare guest appearance by Wonder Woman.

Each half hour segment of the series included one 18 minute Superman tale paired with a 4 minute "Superman Family Album" short involving Superman as a young lad in Smallville. While these shorts were pretty much universally awful, there were a few gems among the main episodes including a deep space adventure in The Last Time I Saw Earth which is well worth seeking out.

Check back next week for another chapter in The Super History of Superman.

No comments:

Post a Comment