Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

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Name: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Abbreviation(s): L&C
Creator: Deborah Joy LeVine
Date(s): September 12, 1993 – June 14, 1997
Medium: Television series
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: IMDB
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Contents

The title says it all. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was the 90s TV incarnation of Superman and it focused on the romance between Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

Show and Audience

Originally, creator Deborah Joy Levine wanted the series to be called Lois Lane or Lois Lane's Daily Planet, with Clark/Superman almost peripheral to her adventures. The series as it finally appeared was about the famous pair, their working partnership, and how they became friends and finally married. The chemistry between Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher was impressive and gave Lois and Clark's mutual attraction a realistic ambiance. The show's initial target audience was adults, primarily adult women.

Levine's ideas for Clark were taken from John Byrne's concept that Superman would have thought of himself first and foremost as Clark Kent. "Superman is what I do; Clark is who I am." In fact, Levine planned episodes in which Clark would remain Clark all the way through the story.

True to established canon, Lois was highly intelligent and insatiably curious. This often led her into dangerous situations, but she was also capable of rescuing herself without Superman's help. She was physically active and daring, and a mistress of disguise. In several episodes (including the pilot) she disguised herself as a man.

Levine was fired after the first season and the series was taken over by Robert Singer, who insisted the series should focus on "action" and "Superman-centric" stories, with an eye toward attracting teenage male viewers. Eccentric villains and improbable inventions were introduced, somewhat resembling the 1966 Batman live-action series.

>>I fail to see how the writers are blameless or how the network, albeit responsible for how L&C is advertised, is responsible for the L&C scripts beyond accepting or rejecting them AFTER after they are written or when a storyline is presented to them. Surely, ABC is not the ones who came up with the storyline...<<


Oh, Leigh, you'd be surprised what goes on in network executroid brain pans ;) According to Deborah Joy LeVine herself, in an article about women producers, she said that executives of ABC, near the end of first season told her to dump Lex Luthor and put in more Superman. She said that was not the show she had set out to do, and so was replaced by Robert Singer. The first half of season 2 reflects clearly ABC' s mandate (or as it's known in the business 'committee banging') The one thing that allowed the show to be turned around, and to refocus on Lois and Clark was the fact that the ABC's idea of what the show should be about was a major flop in the ratings. [1]

Fandom

Lois & Clark had an active fannish presence on Usenet and continues to have a small presence on its mailing list, loiscla-general-l. There was a #loiscla chat channel on IRC. Fans refer to themselves as "FoLC" (pronounced "folk") for "fan of Lois & Clark".[2] The Powers That Be -- the writers and producers of the show -- were aware of the fandom, and sometimes inserted cute references to the fans and their in-jokes.

In the episode "Oedipus Wrecks", the stock exchange marquee which runs near the ceiling of the Daily Planet main office displayed "FOLCS +3 7/8". This was meant as an apology from the writers after an excessively lengthy and extremely lame story arc caused howls of frustration on discussion boards and chat channels. The episode also had Lois remarking "Well, that was pointless. Long but pointless."[3]

Clark's increasingly lame excuses for why he had to run off were referred to by fans as "cheesy excuses". Finally, in "A Bolt from the Blue", we heard Lois say "Clark, this is important! You can get your mail later!" to which Clark replied "Yeah, but I'm expecting a shipment from the Cheese of the Month club."

As fans joked about Clark's wildly patterned ties, the wardrobe department came up with even crazier ones.

Fanfiction

Most fanfiction is heterosexual, focusing on the titular couple. Many "revelation stories" deal with Lois finding out that Clark is Superman. Other popular topics include Clark's apparent death in the episode "That Old Gang of Mine", his amnesia after encountering the Nightfall asteroid, Lois's near marriage to Lex Luthor, and next generation stories focusing on the couple's children. The hurt/comfort and angst genres are well represented in the fandom, with the acronym "WHAM" ("wistful, heartwrenching, agonizing moment")[2] often being used to describe their content. There is also an abundance of fluffy or "WAFFy" ("warm and fuzzy feeling")[2] stories. L&C is notable for its production of virtual seasons.

Well-known authors include CC Aiken, Kathy Brown, Yvonne Connell, Doc Klein's LabRat, Irene Dutch, Female Hawk, Cindy Leuch, Caroline K, Erin Klingler, Meredith Knight, Carol M, Carol Malo, Chris Mulder, Wendy Richards, Sue S, Nan Smith, Shayne Terry, ML Thompson and Tank Wilson. Reccers include Pam Jernigan and Kathryn Andersen.

Independent comic book writer/artist Thom Zahl says that Lois & Clark inspired him to create Love and Capes.

Notable Stories

A small selection of well-known works include:

Archives and Mailing Lists

The Lois & Clark Fanfic Archive, an archive for G to PG-13 rated fanfiction, was founded in 1996 by Lauren Willoughby based on the earlier mailing list run by Rhen Brink. In 1997, Kathy Brown became the editor, and the archive has been managed by Doc Klein's LabRat since 2001.[4]

As of 2011, the Lois & Clark Fanfic Archive contains over 3500 stories and is still being updated. Adult-rated works, known as "nfic" ("naughty fiction"),[2] are archived at the Lois & Clark Nfic Archive (also known as Anne's Place), a passworded archive run by Annette Ciotola. As of 2011, the Nfic Archive contains around 650 stories.

LOISCLA-GENERAL-L, a listserv, ran from August 1997 to October 2001. In the last week of October 2001, it moved to Yahoo Groups.

Awards

In the series, the Kerth Investigative Journalism Prize is a prestigious award, like the Pulitzer. Lois has won several of them in the past, and finds herself in competition with Clark when one of his stories is nominated. Sometimes a series they work on as a team is nominated or wins.

The fan fiction Kerth Awards were named for this contentious piece of crystal. They were founded in 1998 by Leanne Shawler and Pam Jernigan.[5] They are voted awards for fanfiction which take place annually, with an awards ceremony on IRC. The nKerth Awards are voted awards for adult fanfiction which first ran in 1999. They occurred annually from 1999 to 2003 and subsequently every two years. The Merriweather Awards were judged fanfiction awards which ran in 2005.

The Alt-Kerth Awards were awards for videos, fanart, websites and other fanworks excluding fanfiction. Founded in 2001, they subsequently ran at irregular intervals until 2007.[6]

Fanzines

Further reading

Clay Geerdes talks about Lois & Clark and the use of disguise in his article "Batman Was A Woman". You'll have to do a search on that title once you're on his blog, or scroll nearly all the way down the page.

References

  1. Zoomway, Reply to 'I guess I'm in the minority, BUT I LOVED THIS EPISODE!!', 24 Feb. 1996.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Lois & Clark Fanfic Message Boards: Frequently Asked Questions (Meredith Knight, 2003) (accessed 13 January 2011)
  3. This refers to an inexcusable bait and switch ploy by the network regarding Lois and Clark's wedding]. Say "frog-eating clone" to a L&C fan and watch what happens.
  4. Lois & Clark Fanfic Archive: The History of the Lois & Clark Fanfic Archive (Kathy Brown, November 2003) (accessed 12 January 2011)
  5. Kerth Awards: Kerth History (Kerth Committee, 2005) (accessed 12 January 2011)
  6. Alt-Kerth Awards: History (accessed 13 January 2011)
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