While there is plenty of variety on The CW’s roster of DC universe TV shows, it’s hard to argue that they are not all action-first. Whether it’s The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, Supergirl, or , these series spend the majority of their time with superheroes in colorful costumes saving the universe time and time again. While that’s not a bad thing, , which premieres on February 23, is looking to change up the formula.
While the series, which sees Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch reprise their roles as Clark Kent and Lois Lane from a variety of crossovers, is set in the same universe and will definitely see Superman flying around and battling evil, it’s first and foremost a family drama. In fact, when developing the series, showrunner Todd Helbing wasn’t looking at another superhero series for inspiration.
“From the first conversations [executive producer] Greg Berlanti and I had, it was really, you know, ‘How do we make Superman, in general, different?’ And we talked a lot about shows like Everwood and Friday Night Lights,” Helbing said during the TCA winter press tour. “[It’s] a family drama that has Superman in it.”
For Tulloch, focusing on the family drama, as Clark and Lois raise twin sons, is what she hopes will allow viewers to more deeply connect with these characters. “Part of what I’m hoping audiences respond to in our show is that this couple, even though she’s this dynamic journalist and even though he’s Superman, are incredibly relatable and they’re dealing with a lot of the same issues that normal people deal with, whether it is lost jobs or having hormonal teenagers who are pushing back against us at every turn,” she said. “It should feel, and I think it does feel, really, really grounded, like Superman and Lois Lane could be your next door neighbors.”
More than just focusing on the family life of these iconic characters, Superman & Lois is attempting to create a new visual style for the Arrow-verse, one that takes cues from higher-budget shows. After all, while The CW’s superhero shows should be commended for the visual effects they manage to pull off on limited budgets, it can be hard to compete–visually–with many of the biggest shows on TV.
“We’re competing with these shows on streamers and cable networks, and we want to do that and to be able to offer the audience something [of] an equal quality,” Helbing explained. To that end, the show is also taking inspiration from the big screen, be it through cinematography choices or even the aspect ratio being used.
“It looks like a movie,” Tulloch said. “It’s very cinematic. It’s just beautifully shot, the lighting is extraordinary, the writing was wonderful. I’m so proud of this cast and our entire crew.”
Superman & Lois premieres on The CW on Tuesday, February 23.