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Lois and Clark
Played by: Dean Cain
- Adaptation Personality Change: At the time of airing most people's perception of the Clark Kent/Superman characters were from Christopher Reeve's portrayal in the film series - Clark being incredibly dorky and irritating and Superman being almost inhumanly masterful and charismatic. Perhaps mindful of just how grating a "dork" Clark would be over an entire series and wanting to make the romance elements more believable the TV series Clark is much more assertive, confident and charismatic.note At the same time Superman is far more down to earth, making the two personalities much more similar than the film incarnations. Also, the makers incorporated into the show:
- Adaptational Superpower Changes: His powers are toned down for the series compared to his film and comic book incarnations. He's still very powerful but more vulnerable to high-tech countermeasures, Kryptonite is more effective and it takes time for him to recover from it's effects and generally it's easier for his opponents to provide a reasonable challenge without getting flattened in five seconds flat.
- The All-American Boy: Clark had this kind of childhood and is clearly grateful to Jonathan and Martha for it.
- Ambiguously Brown: Clark passes for this. Showrunner Deborah Joy Levine points out that Dean Cain, who is 1/4 Japanese, has an unplaceable look to him that made him stick out in a crowd.
- Badass Armfold: Superman does this often, Clark Kent so rarely it might be part of his disguise (rather, Clark is likely to be seen with his hands in his pockets, very much like George Reeves). Flanderized in later seasons to the point of Superman strutting around with his arms folded.
- Badass Bookworm: Being Superman, that's a given.
- Beta Outfit: He goes through a similar set of trial costumes (with and without masks and hats), but the S-shield isn't added until the end. Ma Kent jokes that the underwear means that nobody will be looking at his face. At one point he even puts on what is obviously a Captain America costume (at least the bodysuit portion), but using a Superman color scheme.
- Big Eater: Lois notes after spying in his fridge that he eats like an eight year old and looks like Mr Hardbody. This recurs at other points with Clark constantly snitching donuts, sometimes with superpowers. It seems he does not even have to eat. In a S4 episode, Martha Kent is shown carrying a huge bag full of junk food and candy to stock up the larder with, because she's missing her boy and wants to welcome him home just right, with all of his favourite foods. Another episode opens with Clark fixing breakfast in the morning with eggs (cooked with heat vision, of course), coffee, and a big jug of milk, and another episode confirms that even after all that he goes into work and starts snacking on doughnuts.
- Chick Magnet: Clark attracts an obscene amount of women throughout the show's run. (Superman more so, but even when he is just plain Clark.) Even the city's crooks are avowed fans of Superman: In the episode where Superman is arrested, the police take extra mugshots to give some streetwalkers a chance to pose with him!
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Do you even need to ask? Clark is actually diagnosed with "Superman Complex" after he saves Lois from being hit by a car, later as Superman he tries to stop an asteroid and ends up losing his memory, doctors reasoning he burned himself out doing good. Season two has Intergang try and threaten who Superman knows so he keeps out of their affairs: he reacts by dressing as a cop and fighting them so that Superman is not involved.
- Cincinnatus: In this—as in all incarnations of Superman—Clark has the power to amass great power and wealth if he chooses to, and could easily be the world's most feared villain due to his sheer power, but instead chooses to fight for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Quite a few have attempted to do this; all have failed miserably and often end up on the receiving end of a hilarious put-down by Clark.
- Cover-Blowing Superpower: All the time. It was basically a Running Gag of how he will find some way to justify mild uses of his power, from finding a weak link in his hand-cuffs to "the force of the explosion must have pushed us away."
- Deadpan Snarker: One of the most enjoyable incarnations ever.
- Disapproving Look: Lawbreakers that didn't warrant a Death Glare usually got this.
- Distressed Dude: Mostly because he was hanging around with Lois when she got them captured. This also means that he has to figure out a way of escaping that does not involve her figuring out what his true identity is, at least until she figures out his true identity.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: He's generally very careful, but a few times you see him underestimating the durability of items. Once when antsy, he crushed a pencil to dust. In another episode exposure to a Red Kryptonite beam causes him to lose control of his powers, thus when using Super Speed to catch a criminal half a block away he ended up "in the next county". In that condition he accidentally injured Lois just giving her a hug. And then the time he gave Perry's hand a shake, and accidentally crushed his interviewer's fingers. Whoops.
- Dogged Nice Guy: He can definitely take what Lois dishes out but she does boss him around and take advantage of his nice guy behavior to the point where this trope is noticeable.
- Fake Defector: Clark pretends to resign from the floundering Daily Planet and join a rival paper, The Metropolis Star, in "The Rival".
- Faking the Dead: In "That Old Gang of Mine", Clark is left with no recourse but to play dead after being shot in public.
- Good Is Not Dumb: As Superman, occasionally. Comes up with his more intelligent but vain foes who think Superman can be simply maneuvered around, such as those involved with Intergang. Occasionally, he runs into characters who think they take advantage of his honor as if it were naivete, but as Clark is quite quick witted he is easily able to Take a Third Option.
- Happily Married: During the final season, to Lois.
- Hidden Depths: Lois is quite surprised as she gradually learns that Clark has more to him than meets the eye.
- I Do Not Drink Wine: Superman once tells Lois that he doesn't need to eat, but he likes to. Which is fairly evident since his pantry is stocked with almost nothing but junk food. He also never misses the morning donuts at the office. This ties in to the OTHER DC comics TV adaptation on the air at the time, the much overlooked and quite excellent Flash which also portrayed Barry Allen this way.
- In-Series Nickname: Jimmy abbreviates Clark's name as "C.K."
- Lovable Jock: In keeping with the Post-Crisis interpretation Clark was a star athlete in high school and college. Lois was, by contrast, a nerd.
- Momma's Boy: He's an unrepentant momma's boy and proudly proclaims to anyone who asks (and some who don't) that his mother made his costume for him.
- When an enemy blows up his secret closet where he keeps his Superman suits and they're all ruined, the first thing he says is "Mom's gonna kill me."
- One of the Kids: This interpretation of Clark is a tad childlike, as befits Superman, and he never talks down to them.
- Only Sane Man: Compared to the rather extreme personalities around the Daily Planet (hyper-competitive Lois, insatiable sexpot Cat, naive, girl-crazy Jimmy, and Elvis-obsessed Perry) Clark's relative "mild-mannered" laid back personality stood out.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: In addition to a disguise his glasses identify him as the "brain" in his partnership with Lois as the "mouth."
- Unexpected Virgin: Subverted, as Clark was indeed a virgin when he and Lois got married (this was less due to Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex concerns, but because she was the first woman he'd ever trusted with all of his secrets).
Played by: Teri Hatcher
- Always Someone Better: She's frequently jealous of Clark's journalistic accomplishments and tried to hide her jealousy by dismissing his stories as trite.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Clark allows that his partner is brilliant, but adds that "there is a fine line between genius and lunacy." She is easily the most tactless, suicidal character on the show, but Perry gives her free reign to do as she pleases — as long as she meets her deadlines. He comes down like a ton of bricks if she fails to deliver.
- Butt-Monkey: Gets on the receiving end surprisingly often.
- Da Chief: Lois briefly gets promoted to Editor-In-Chief after Perry gets Kicked Upstairs. They both end up wanting their old jobs back by the end of the episode.
- Damsel in Distress: Once per Episode (at least). She does put up some good fights, and at times breaks out of bonds without the help of Clark.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Type 2.Lois: I only know three recipes, and this is the only one that doesn't involve chocolate.
- There are multiple remarks about how bad her cooking is.
- In season 3 while Clark is cooking and Lois is fawning over him, he suggests that her not cooking is due to lack of time. She tells him flat out it is due to lack of talent. Subverted at the end of "Ghosts", in which she inherits cookery talent from the spirit of a housewife who possessed her.
- Green-Eyed Monster: She hits the ceiling after Clark beats her out for a journalism award... despite already winning the same award three times consecutively. Clark is gracious enough to escort her to the party, though not above rubbing it in.Lois: So how did I rate as a date?
Clark: Oh, A+.
Lois: I hung on your arm decoratively...
Clark: You did.
Lois: Fawned appropriately...
Lois: ...And just faded into the background during your big moment.
Clark You were beautiful yet invisible.
Lois: (cooing) Mmm, make me go through another night like that, and I'll rip out your spleen.
- Anytime a woman shows interest in Clark\Superman, really.
- The Grinch: She hates hates, hates, hates, hates Christmas. With her family, you can't blame her.
- Happily Married: During the final season, to Clark.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: For the first season and part of the second she is very deeply in denial about her attraction to Clark.
- Hidden Depths: Clark soon discovers that Lois's hard shell is there to protect her hidden emotional side.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Played for Laughs in the scene following Lex's public disgrace and suicide, when Lois opines that she's "always been such a good judge of character!" As we'll see in later seasons, this is not even close to being true.
- At one point Clark breaks up with Lois on the grounds that if they move forward this will just put her in more danger. She promptly gets drawn into a relationship with a man plotting to sacrifice her, causing Clark to realize that she attracts homicidal maniacs, and the only way to protect her is to have her close.
- Important Haircut: She changes her hair after discovering Clark's secret identity.
- And again after being struck by a car, hitting her head on a fire hydrant. She loses her memory of who she really is, and believes she is "Wanda Detroit," the lounge singer character from the crappy novel she began pounding out a few years ago.
- This is followed by yet another 'do in Season 4, after Lois clears her name. The Wanted Posters of her face spread all over town convinced her that it was time for a change.
- Intrepid Reporter: She seems to have taken this to a new level. At one point Clark pulls out a multi-sheet, multi-column single-spaced printout of the people who she has been responsible for putting into jail through her reporting, and from what he says this is limited to only the scientists whose nefarious actions she has exposed. There is mention that 200 people have threatened to kill her because she has exposed their actions leading them to jail.
- Knight in Sour Armor: This is literally half of her personality. Most of the jokes in the first two seasons surrounding her involve her being cynical or critical about something while partaking in it or something similar to it herself.
- She's Got Legs: Boy howdy. This became an ironic echo when Lois karate kicked a goon who previously complimented them. For the first two seasons (that is, the seasons that got the most mileage out of the Will They or Won't They? dynamic) the image of Lois seductively propping her leg on Clark's desk was everywhere.
Remember there's no perfect sunsets. There's a little crack in every cloud, but that's what gives you your silver lining.
Played by: Lane Smith
- A Father to His Men
- Catchphrase: "Great shades of Elvis!" This was even transferred to the comics for a while.
- Cool Old Guy: "Jimmy, I did not become Editor of a major newspaper because I can yodel."
- Da Editor
- Disappeared Dad: In Season 4, we learn that he was an absentee father to his sons, which likely led one of them (Jerry) to a life of crime.
- Reluctant Retiree: Invoked twice. First, when faced with the closure of the paper, and later when promoted to an executive. Both times, Perry is despondent at having nothing to do.
- Geeky Turn-On: Jimmy often has this reaction when anything technology-related is involved.
- Plucky Comic Relief
Played by: Tracy ScogginsCat Grant is the Society columnist of the Daily Planet and is well-connected to the world of high society and celebrity. She acts somewhat flaky and is always on the lookout for her next sexual conquest, trying (and failing) throughout the first season to entangle both Clark and Superman. She and Lois don't particularly care for each other.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: She was dropped after Season 1.
- Put on a Bus: Justified in that The Daily Planet was closed towards the end of the first season and then reopened under new ownership and a promised overhaul of content. This would explain the absence of Jack, the orphan whom Clark recruited as a copy boy.
- Really Gets Around: And how! One of the most blatant examples and surprisingly overt for such an otherwise family-friendly show. She dressed like she was headed for the club at all hours of the day, hurled herself at Clark, Superman...and nearly every other male who crossed paths with her for more than a second.
- In "Pheromone, My Lovely" where everyone was sprayed with pheromones that caused them to act like horny teenagers, Cat ends up alone in the copy room with a nerdy repairman...whom she then has sex with (complete with sounds). She then breaks the copier after he's finished fixing it solely in order to give him an excuse to stick around for round two. We figure even Cat would need to get sprayed with the pheromones in order to seduce the dumpy little guy...until later, when everyone is confessing what they did while under the influence, someone asks Cat what she did after she was "sprayed." Her answer? "What spray? I didn't get sprayed."
Played by: K CallanMartha Kent is Clark's adoptive mother and wife of Jonathan Kent. Lois & Clark's depiction differs somewhat from the traditional 'farm wife' Martha in that she is an aspiring avant-garde artist and sometimes takes adult education classes at the Smallville Community College. She and Jonathan have been married since at least the early 1960's, although Martha was unable to bear children. When the infant Clark's rocket crashed, Martha and Jonathan took him as their own son and raised him as a human.
Played by: John SheaLex Luthor is a genius businessman who is intent on controlling Metropolis, and eventually, the world. His rise to fame and fortune has been cultivated over his entire adult life, and Lex has never let anyone or anything stand in his way. When necessary, he does not hesitate to buy people off, intimidate them into submission, or have them killed. By the time of the series premiere, Luthor is the 3rd richest man in the world, with a net worth in the tens of billions of dollars. His company, Lexcorp, owns telephone service, television channels, nuclear power stations and various others: essentially, all of the things needed for a society's infrastructure. In addition, Lexcorp includes many sub-companies that make home electronic equipment, appliances and the like.
- Bald of Evil: He starts out with a full mop of curly hair, then is bald in Season 2. Explained by the reanimation process necessitated by his demise, so he can still blame Superman, albeit indirectly, for his hair loss. Actor John Shea (Lex) wryly justified it by saying that somebody as rich and brilliant as Lex would be able find a solution for hair loss. He regains his shock of hair in Season 3, either because it grows back, or because Lex is wearing a wig in these sequences.
- The Casanova: Has tons of women lusting after them—and he happily beds them—but he considers all of them trophies. The only one he actually wants for something more than a mere one night stand is a certain crusading reporter...
- The Chessmaster: And he's frighteningly good at manipulating the entire population of Metropolis like pieces on a chessboard.
- Cigar Chomper: He's rich and badass, and therefore smokes cigars.
- Decomposite Character: In the comics, Lex Luthor the First and his Australian "son" Lex Luthor the Second are the same person with the second Lex being an artificially created body that Luthor took over to cheat death. In this series, Lex Junior is real.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He ends up a Crazy Jealous Guy when it comes to Lois Lane, whom he genuinely cares about (whether that's genuine love or something much more creepy is another matter). This is either an extension of his envy of Superman or an exacerbating factor, as he is fully aware that the two of them are in a Love Triangle for who gets her hand; he doesn't hide the fact that he especially hates Superman for trying to keep him and Lois apart. Gets to the point that in his final appearance, he ends up dying after a failed plot to fake his and Lois's deaths so they can disappear together.
- Graceful Loser: Of a sort. He has an uncanny ability to see the silver lining in defeat, and even when he can't he barely ever shows rage or pettiness or acts with anything but grace - perhaps because he believes that ultimately he will be victorious. For example, his reaction upon learning that an unstoppable virus is rampaging through is systems and may ruin him (and the world) is to have a cheerful discussion about philosophy and getting back to nature with his butler, and stays chipper even after he concludes that he would absolutely hate it. Whenever Superman beats him, he essentially shrugs, tips his hat and goes on to other schemes. But on the other hand, when all of his plans go horribly, horribly wrong, he has a quite more pronounced reaction.
- Green-Eyed Monster: He admits to Superman that one of the reasons he hates him is simple envy after finally learning that he is Clark Kent.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: Once back from the dead, he's stuck wearing army fatigues and pottering around in the sewers and subways for a while, afraid of getting caught by Superman. Later, he dons a comical hat and sunglasses while trying (and failing) to recapture a loose clone of Lois Lane in broad daylight. Clois has the mentality of a pre-teen girl, exploits Superman to get rich, and eventually tries to bump off the real Lois so she can't interfere. Oh yeah, she shoots Lex, too. You really start to feel for Lex after a while.
- Human Popsicle: A postmortem example; his remains are frozen throughout Season 2 as his physician works on a "cure" for death.
- Obviously Evil: Which works against the character somewhat as he shows that he can be genuinely decent, or pretend to be, but the show went all out to paint him as a crook, gangster, psychopath, murderer and all of the above.
- Older Than They Look: Since he somehow has adult children despite looking as old as Superman. Hand Waved by Clark, who insists that Luthor is "a master of deception."
- Stalker with a Crush: Especially in his later appearances, where he's lost almost everything and Lois is much less interested in his advances.
- Vague Age: He seems to be in his late 20s or early 30s, yet he somehow has children who are apparently middle-aged. It's possible he's Older Than He Looks.
- Actually brought up by Clark in a Season 4 episode dealing with the aforementioned children. Lois questions how Lex could have kids so old, and Clark replies that Lex was such a Magnificent Bastard that his official age could very well be faked; thus the show seems to be implying that Lex is indeed Older Than He Looks.
- Villainous Breakdown: He has a pretty epic one in the last ten minutes of the first season.
Kyle Griffin / The Prankster
Played by: Bronson Pinchot
- Adaptation Name Change: In the comics, the Prankster's real name is Oswald Loomis.
- Arch-Enemy: Considers himself one to Lois, and his plans always involve her in some way. Is also one of the few recurring villains not in some way connected to Intergang or Luthor.
- Adaptational Badass: His comics counterpart is generally more of a nuisance, and certainly isn't anywhere near as dangerous as the career criminal mastermind he appears as here.
- Bad Boss: Is incredibly abusive, both physically and verbally, towards his sidekick Victor.
- Best Served Cold: He used to run a electronics company before Lois wrote an expose on his dirty dealing that put him in prison. Though he always has other, more important goals, humiliating and/or killing Lois always factor into his plans - sometimes to Revenge Before Reason levels.
- Canon Foreigner: Sort of. The character of The Prankster is adapted from the comics, but his identity of Kyle Griffin is new.
- Decomposite Character: In his debut episode, Lois investigated a character named Loomis (the Prankster's surname in the comics) but Loomis turned out to be a Red Herring.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Despite his name, he's actually very humorless (though quite sardonic). Any actual jokes he makes tend to be either more of an act or incredibly mean spirited. He does, however, get a lot of genuine entertainment out of sadistically humiliating others - especially in his second appearance.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Building weird but dangerous gadgets is his area of expertise.
- Jerkass: In his own words, he never got time off in prison for good behavior because he's just not a very nice person. He's extremely nasty just for the sake of being nasty: this is a guy who tests out his freezing weapon on a woman with a baby standing under a falling piano, then decides to leave them there just for kicks.
- Mad Scientist: In particular, he designs amazing weapons (to sell to various unsavory parties) and his assistant Victor builds them.
- Manipulative Bastard: He takes the "distraction" theme of his comics counterpart turns it into his theme as a criminal mastermind. His entire schtick is using "pranks" to misdirect his enemies' attention, while he actually uses the confusion to accomplish hidden goals.
- Stalker with a Crush: Pretends to be one to further torment Lois, then drops it in favor of taunting her about his plan to kill her. This is extremely effective.
- Surrounded by Idiots: His assistant is a mechanical genius, and a total fool. Griffin keeps him around for his expertise, but is constantly infuriated by his idiocy.
- Those Two Bad Guys: With Victor. He codified the "Genius/Mastermind and Minion with an F in Evil Duo" that quickly became this series' standard.
Played by: Lane Davies
- Conqueror from the Future: He wants to ruin the past because the utopia Superman created is boring.
- Large Ham: Lane Davies is obviously having a blast playing such a deliciously evil villain and hams it up at every opportunity.
- Meta Guy: Since he's from the future, Tempus wastes no time poking fun at various Superman tropes, including show-specific ones.
Played by: Howie Mandel
- Adaptational Villainy: Somewhat. Both Mxyzptlk's are villains, but while comics Mxy just wants to mess with Superman and may or may not be well meaning, this Mxy is out to Take Over the World and is accordingly crueler.
- Beard of Evil: Usually a bald character, this version has a full head of brown hair, complete with a beard.
- Evil Gloating: Most of his lines are him lording over Superman about how unable he is to stop him and how easily he can make his loved ones suffer - more excusable in his case, because the point of his whole plan is to make Superman cross the Despair Event Horizon.
- Evil Plan: Cause a "Groundhog Day" Loop, excluding Superman -> let Superman watch as people fall more and more into despair, as they are unconsciously aware of what's happening to them -> blackmail Superman into leaving with the lives of all humanity -> free humanity once Superman leaves and let them worship him as their god and ruler. Unfortunately for him, he significantly underestimated Superman's Heroic Resolve.
- The Fair Folk: Played a lot in his portrayal and general demeanor, though he isn't technically magical. The show has him be the one who inspired those legends in the first place.
- Genki Guy: Very energetic and outright chipper most of the time. Even in defeat, he's more exuberantly childish than angry.
- Godhood Seeker: His reasoning is two fold: not only can he get rid of Superman, but when he fixes the loop humanity will worship him for saving them.
- Reality Warper: Par for the course with Mxy.
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien: His fifth dimensional abilities practically make him a god - he even lampshades this trope while explaining it. He does, however, note that he would have problems taking out Superman (hence making others suffer to convince him to leave)."I'm not 3D like these mortals, I'm 5D baby! And to you, that might as well be magic."
Played by: Terence Knox
- Fantastic Racism: He has a deep hatred for aliens, for believing they think they're superior to humans.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Debatable, but he believes what he's doing is for the good of Earth.
Bill Church Sr.
Played by: Peter Boyle
- Evil Former Friend: He's a villain who used to be friends with Perry White.
- Reformed, but Rejected: Deciding he wouldn't have much of an inheritance to leave to his wife and son after reforming, they decide to frame him.
Bill Church Jr.
Played by: Bruce Campbell
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Back when his father used to be friends with Perry White, he used to carry their golf clubs. Perry holds this as a reason to believe "Billy" didn't follow into Bill Sr.'s footsteps.
Played by: Jessica Collins
- Karma Houdini: She's never punished onscreen, though a first draft of "Secrets" would've had her getting caught.
- Wicked Stepmother: Double-crosses her stepson after they team up to get rid of his father and get his fortune.
Played by: Sherman Hemsley
- Adaptational Heroism: As opposed to the comics, here Schott is more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold than outright evil, and far more sane. He eventually realizes what he's doing is wrong and makes a HeelFace Turn.
- Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: He's only referred to by his real name and never as the Toyman. In fact...
- Decomposite Character: ...his Toyman alias is used by a completely different character in the show.
- Expy: Of George Jefferson, as he's played by the same actor and his assistant is played by Isabel Sanford.
- Race Lift: This version of Schott is African American while in the comics he's Caucasian, as well as British due to the the show being based on the Post-Crisis comics.
Dr. Gretchen Kelly
Played by: Denise Crosby
- Adaptational Villainy: In the comics she was a Token Good Teammate to Lex's organization and after discovering just how ruthless he was ended up betraying him. In the show she's in Mad Love with him and willing to help him carry out any despicable thing she can to help him.
- Death by Adaptation: She's electrocuted in the show, while she was last seen turning herself into the authorities in the comic.
John Hendrix / Baron Sunday
- Arch-Enemy: Considers himself one to Clark (that is the 'Clark' half of Superman, whose arch-enemy is, as always, Lex Luthor).