DVDs: Faces of Superman

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman: Season 1 Warner
Series •••½ Picture/Sound ••½ Extras ••½
Smallville Season 4 Warner
Series ••½ DVDs •• Extras •••½
With an impeccable cast and excellent effects, TV's Lois & Clark amiably updates the Superman legend as a romantic-comedy adventure. The sexual tension between Clark Kent/Superman (Dean Cain) and Lois Lane (Teri Hatcher) is palpable, Lex Luther is suave in John Shea's smooth performance, and editor Perry White (Lane Smith) scores big points as an over-the-top Elvis fan. The 21 episodes from the debut 1993-94 season on this six-disc set have rich, deep colors, but images are short on fine detail. The sound is clean but lacks bass. Skimpy extras consist of an introduction and commentary for the two-hour pilot and some self-congratulatory featurettes.

Earthbound in script and execution, Smallville has none of the charm of Lois & Clark. After a promising first season, the show degenerated into teen angst, with brooding Tom Welling as an unconvincing hero and Season 4 (2004-05) is especially stale. Images in all 22 episodes are colorful but often soft, and the anemic sound mix makes little use of the surrounds. Extras include cast-and-crew commentaries, two featurettes, and deleted scenes. A bonus disc offers an episode from The Flash, a pallid superhero series from 1991-92. Lois & Clark: [NR] English, Dolby Digital stereo; full frame (1.33:1); six dual-layer discs. Smallville: [NR] English, Dolby Surround; letterboxed (1.78:1) and anamorphic widescreen; six dual-layer discs.

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