The CW has put away its Kryptonite. According to Deadline, who first exclusively reported that this would happen before it was officially announced, the beleaguered network has renewed Superman & Lois for a fourth season. It will be a slightly shorter season, however, with the superhero show airing for ten episodes instead of thirteen, like this season (which is also down from the fifteen episodes of seasons 1 and 2). It will also have a lower budget, as its costs were the reason it was on the bubble; that means some of the cast (whose options are about to expire) will be cut, and there will be less superhero action and more family drama. It was renewed alongside All American: Homecoming, two of three bubbled CW shows, with the third, Gotham Knights, getting canceled. Superman & Lois will be the last remaining DC Comics show on the network, with The Flash having ended its run three weeks ago.
I’m not as excited about this as I would have been a year ago. Superman & Lois had an excellent first season, a decent second season, and is almost done with a disappointing third season. What was at first an exciting, heartwarming, optimistic look at what makes Superman great and how he influences those around him – be they strangers or his family – has devolved into a tedious melodrama with typical modern tropes like the shrill wife and the dopey husband, and with little to no superhero action. Season 4 sounds like it will be even worse if they’re lessening the Superman side and focusing on the family stuff even more than they already are.
I also like a lot of the supporting cast on Superman & Lois, so it’ll be a shame to see some of them leave. I think Chrissy is the most obvious cut; she adds little to the story, and she’s often not in every episode. The Lang/Kushings would make sense as well; Lana Lang is a Smallville staple from the comics, but she and her family’s side stories mostly feel like distractions now. I hope they don’t get rid of John Henry Irons and his daughter Natalie, but realistically, if they’re trying to save money, they’ll probably want to lose the other superhero in the show and get rid of the expensive special effects that turn him into Steel. What I’d rather see is John Henry’s tech get destroyed, so he builds a new suit from scratch – a suit closer to his comic book look. Whatever happens, I hope they somehow get the show back into fighting shape, although I don’t see that happening.