TV Madness: Clark Kent Playoff

Clark Kent – a superhuman from outer space sent here to keep us safe, all the while being the world’s most awkward news reporter. Which TV version of the character will move on to the TV Madness tournament?

After carefully scouring the annals of television history, I think that I’ve narrowed the choice for Clark Kent down to five main competitors. There may be more, but these are the ones I think most people will know. A couple of them are pretty obscure anyway, so I think I’ve got the character covered as much as I possibly can.

John Newton (‘Superboy’, 1988 – 1989) – ‘Superboy’ opened to a cheesy green-screened flight that featured Newton grinning at the world below while a ‘Miami Vice’-like theme song blared on the soundtrack. The entire show is so utterly laughable that I’m not sure why you’d ever pick John Newton as your guy to go into the tournament.

The best part of the show, by far, is the completely terrible acting from Sherman Howard as Lex Luthor. Skip ahead to about the 02:00 mark in the video below. There’s some comedic gold to be found there.

Strengths: Besides the fact that he can change behind a luggage cart without anyone noticing, I’d say he’s pretty amazing at folding down broken landing gear.

Weaknesses: Did you even watch a few minutes of that show? Yikes!

Gerard Christopher (‘Superboy’, 1989 – 1992) – Picking up in the second season, the role of ‘Superboy’ was recast and given to the well-quaffed Gerard Christopher. Christopher gave Clark Kent more of a pretty boy vibe, which should be counted against him. Along with all his world-saving antics, this version of Superboy also had time to ref high school basketball games. Seriously, it’s a wonder this show lasted four seasons.

Strengths: Can fly while refereeing basketball games and burn up incriminating pot-smoking photos with his laser vision.

Weaknesses: Has absolutely no clue that a referee shouldn’t stand in the paint during the game.

Tom Welling (‘Smallville’) – It’s so obvious after seeing the ‘Superboy’ clips that ‘Smallville’ just copied that fine program. Clark Kent as a young high school student doing high school student things? Come on, guys, think of something more original. However, I don’t think that Welling ever refereed a high school basketball game, so I guess Christopher has a leg up on him there.

‘Smallville’ ran for ten seasons. Clark dealt with everything from troubles with his high school crush to losing his Earth Dad. He had staying power, I’ll give him that.

‘Smallville’ clip. Sorry, this one’s not embeddable.

Strengths: This version of Clark survived a lot of fights with quite a lot of famous comic book villains.

Weaknesses: As I was reminded by the first part of the video, he also got the crap kicked out of him a ton.

Dean Cain (‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’) – In many ways, ‘Lois & Clark’ was just as cheesy as ‘Superboy’, but how could you miss any episode when Lois was played by the once voluptuous Teri Hatcher? No, I didn’t tune into ‘Lois & Clark’ because Cain was a great Clark Kent or Superman. Truthfully, his acting left me laughing most of the time. If you forgot how droll he could be, just check out the clip below.

‘Lois & Clark’ clip.

Strengths: Got to get it on, repeatedly, with TV’s hottest version of Lois Lane.

Weaknesses: All that power, but no intimidation factor. The guy always looked as dangerous as a teddy bear.

George Reeves (‘Adventures of Superman’) – Clad in a stuffed suit that made his muscles look all squishy, Reeves did little flying and more jumping off screen, which insinuated that he was going to fly somewhere at some point. That’s okay, though. It was the ’50s. We didn’t expect much from our superheroes. A good smile, plow him through a couple of cardboard walls, and we’re on-board.

Strengths: Fast forward to 0:50 in the video. Dude can take a chair! And right before that, he was cuddling a dog like a true American hero would. Heart and brawn, a lethal combination!

Weaknesses: Those padded muscles aren’t fooling anyone.

Which Clark Kent Should Move On to TV Madness?

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  1. I’m ashamed to admit that I used to watch that Superboy show. The only clear memory I have of it is the actor who played Mr. Mxyzptlk, who I’ve seen in dozens of other shows and movies, going back to the original Star Trek and ‘Bonnie and Clyde’.

    Nonetheless, I’m voting for George Reeves. Dude can rock a fedora.

  2. JM

    George Reeves’s supersmirk, in the face of getting poked by a rubber spear at 1.07, has the manliness of ten men.

    Tom Welling is fine as Supertween.

    Dean Cain should go back to ‘Saved By The Bell.’

  3. Alex

    I had to give it to Tom Welling just because he’s the one who reminds me the most of Christopher Reeve and Smallville did have a couple of good seasons in there. (Reeve even guest-starred as a Stephen Hawking-type scientist, if you recall)

    I gotta say, though, the Man of Steel is hurting for decent representation on television. You really have to go animated before you get some good stuff.

  4. CK

    I’ve only seen the George Reeves Superman, but if I can’t judge the heroes, I’m left with the villains. Considering Smallville sounds like they had several of the villains from the books, instead of just generic guys with guns, I’m leaning towards Welling. He may have gotten the crap beat out of him a lot, but that would indicate the villains were probably more challenging than some thug who thinks that flinging his gun at Superman is going to do something, when the bullets didn’t do the job.

    I don’t recognize the others as real options.

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