‘Superman And Lois’ Needs To Flee The CW For HBO Max
Superman and Lois is heading into its season 1 finale next week, and after watching how the back half of this season has played out, I’ve come to a pretty clear conclusion.
This show desperately needs to escape the clutches of the CW.
Warner Bros. has had a pretty regular thing going for a while now with many of its CW shows, mainly the deal they made where they go directly to Netflix one their seasons are wrapped. I’m sure that’s earning them a pretty penny.
And yet the Arrowverse is slowly dying. Arrow is long gone, Supergirl and Black Lightning are ending, Legends and The Flash and Batwoman are losing cast members frequently. The lone bright spot is Superman and Lois, spun out of Supergirl’s version of Superman, and it seems like a quality notch or two above the more soapy, lower budget Arrowverse series that preceded it.
Superman and Lois, however, is being totally hamstrung by the fact that it remains a CW show at its core, running into two familiar problems that many of these shows endure. The CW is stuck with the concept of very, very long seasons. Perhaps not the 20-24 episodes they used to be, but close to it. Superman and Lois is on the shorter end with “just” 15 episodes, and yet that too has felt too long. It felt like the season finale happened four episodes ago, and the rest has just been stretched out for no real reason. Most streaming series these days are no more than 8-10 episodes a season, and while all CW shows would benefit from slimming down, Superman and Lois is better at baseline than the others, and really only being hurt by this formatting, as the production value and performances (mostly) are there.
The other part of this is the shattered schedule of the CW, which takes frequent breaks that feel absurd in the age of streaming. No, not every show needs to be a day one, one-season binge. But it feels incredibly dated to break up a season with missing weeks, and it has absolutely crippled the last portion of this season of Superman and Lois, with two missed weeks in the last four episodes alone. Plus, there was a huge gap in the middle, another CW hallmark. This series started in February, and it’s just ending in a week in late August. This should have been a tight 10 episode season that ran for no more than two and a half months, not seven. Blame the pandemic if you want, but this is how most CW shows usually go.
Superman and Lois is already half an HBO Max show, developed in part to air on that service post-release (also in weird chunks). But it needs to fully make the transition now that rival DC shows are cropping back up on Max like Titans and Doom Patrol. You can air it weekly, but cut these seasons down, and air them in a row with no breaks. This CW schedule is a nightmare, and if the rest of the Arrowverse can’t be saved, at least extract its most promising series from it.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series, and The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also on audiobook.