Warner Archive helps fans of the Man of Steel celebrate 75 years of the superhero with the release of "Superboy: The Complete Second Season" and "The Adventures of Superboy: The Complete Fourth Season." Strangely, the third season of the syndicated TV show was put out before either one of these. Each set contains all 26 episodes of its respective season on three DVDs.
"Superboy: The Complete Second Season" saw many changes occur in regards to the cast and quality of villains the hero came up against. Gerard Christopher took over the role of the Boy of Steel from John Haymes Newton after salary and legal disputes tainted his attractiveness to the show's producers. Actor Scott Wells was replaced by Sherman Howard as Lex Luthor. His change in appearance was explained through the use of plastic surgery. Clark also got a new roommate in the form of Andy McCalister (Ilan Mitchell-Smith).
Many familiar super villains from the comic books made live-action appearances in Season Two of "Superboy." They included Metallo (Michael Callan), Bizarro (Barry Meyers), and a character fashioned after the Toyman named Nick Knack (Gilbert Gottfried). Metallo is reduced to being a thief who is transformed into a cyborg with a kryptonite heart by a mad scientist. I prefer him as a government-issued weapon of mass destruction the military uses to try to battle Superman, but that might be a bit too serious for this campy and light-hearted take on the Last Son of Krypton.
Season Four of the series saw it retitled "The Adventures of Superboy." This last chapter in the series continues where Season Three left off, with the action moved from Shuster University to the Bureau for Extra-Normal Matters. There are no major changes in the cast and we get guest spots from Noel Neill and Jack Larson, who played Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen in the 1950s TV show "Adventures of Superman."
"Superboy: The Complete Second Season" and "The Adventures of Superboy: The Complete Fourth Season" are clean fun for everyone. They're entertainment you can sit down and watch with the whole family. I only saw one questionable scene that takes place in a strip club, but there's no nudity. If you're kids are allowed to watch the 1970s and 1980s "Superman" movies, then they'll be alright here.
It's unfortunate that "Superboy: The Complete Second Season" and "The Adventures of Superboy: The Complete Fourth Season" don't feature any bonus material. As dedicated to the role as Gerard Christopher was, I'd be surprised if he wouldn't be open to doing an interview about his time in the tights and cape. I can't believe that any of the actors from the show wouldn't take the time to talk about it.
"Superboy: The Complete Second Season" and "The Adventures of Superboy: The Complete Fourth Season" both reflect the style and tone of Christopher Reeve's two outings as the Man of Steel from the 1980s. Those looking for the seriousness of Zack Snyder's latest incarnation of the character aren't going to find this TV series satisfying to your taste buds. If you enjoyed the cheesiness and humor of "Superman III" and "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," then these two DVD sets will bring a big smile to your face.
"Superboy: The Complete Second Season" is available on DVD.
"The Adventures of Superboy: The Complete Fourth Season" is available on DVD.