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The Adventures of Superman - The Complete Second Season



DVD Release Date: January 17, 2005 (Warner Bros. Home Video)
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 683 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 24:09 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Subtitles in English, French and Spanish (episodes *only*); Closed Captioned is available.
Special Features: "The First Lady of Metropolis" documentary; Commentary on two key episodes by Noel Neill and Jack Larson; "Stamp Day for Superman" special episode.


Up in the sky! It's a bird!? It's a plane?! It's SUPERMAN! Faster than a speeding bullet--more powerful than a locomotive. Those words introduced us each season to the Man of Steel. "The Adventures of Superman" was an incredibly popular syndicated series that ran for 104 episodes over a course of 6 years (1952-1958) and 6 seasons. The first two seasons were broadcast in black and white. The first season had a total of 26 episodes, while this set, the second season, had a total of 26 as well. All future seasons would have just 13 episodes. Accomplished actor George Reeves stars as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, who transforms himself from small-town boy into big city crime fighter Superman. It was also this season that Noel Neill joins the cast as "Lois Lane," the Daily Planet reporter. Jack Larson stars as Jimmy Olsen. The late, great John Hamilton co-stars as gruff Daily Planet editor Perry White while Robert Shayne recurs as Detective Henderson and Willard "Bill" Kennedy serves as the announcer of the series.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The second season produced another set of stellar episodes. Such stellar episodes include: "Five Minutes to Doom" in which the race is on to stop an innocent Death Row inmate’s death with the electric chair. "Shot In The Dark" in which a photographer snaps some incriminating photos, one of which suggests Clark is you-know-who! "My Friend Superman" in which a diner owner boasts of being pals with Superman. "The Clown Who Cried" in which an imposter clown robs a kids' charity telethon. "The Boy Who Hated Superman" in which Clark is temporary guardian of a crime-connected youth who secretly plots revenge against the reporter. "Semi-Private Eye" is the one which Jimmy Olsen takes center stage when he poses as a trench-coated private eye to stalk kidnappers. Also, "Panic in the Sky" which Superman saves Metropolis from a plummeting asteroid - and loses his memory in the process. And finally, "Around the World with Superman" in which his x-ray vision helps a surgeon restore a girl’s sight then he flies her on a world tour.

Some guests include: Dabbs Greer, Hugh Beaumont (Ward of "Leave it to Beaver"), Hayden Rorke (Dr. Bellows of "I Dream of Jeannie"), Doris Singleton (Caroline Appleby of "I Love Lucy"), among others.


The cover art is in color. It has George Reeves as Superman, with the logo. Metropolis can be seen behind him. It's a simple, but effective design. The case is flip-fold and you open it up to reveal all of the episode descriptions and the discs they are on, plus the discs themselves. The overall theme of the design is made out to look similar to a comic book. Each disc is designed the same way (the logo, the episodes on that disc and a black and white picture of a cast member). Disc 1 features George Reeves as Superman. Disc 2 features George Reeves as Clark Kent. Disc 3 features Noel Neill as Lois Lane. Disc 4 features Jack Larson and Jimmy Olsen and Disc 5 features John Hamilton as Perry White. Disc 1 contains Episodes 1-6; Disc 2 contains Episodes 7-12; Disc 3 contains Episodes 13-18; Disc 4 contains Episodes 19-24; and Disc 5 contains Episodes 25-26 and the bonus features for this set.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menu is a very cool one. It starts off like the opening credits do (you see the planets and the sky) but then it turns into an almost live comic book, so to speak. The selections you are given are "Play", "Episodes," "Special Features," and "Languages." And to clarify the "live comic book aspect" each of those selections has a couple of seconds video that plays and it loops. It's a little hard to explain but it's a really awesome design. The "Play" option lets you play the entire selection of episodes. "Episodes" takes you to another "page" (like a comic book) that lists the episodes. The "Special Features" selection also takes you to another "page" that either gives you a list of what's available, or tells you to go to another disc to find them. And finally, "Languages" lets you choose between English as the Spoken Language, or English, French and Spanish Subtitles. And to add, there is a "more" option after the list of languages that takes you to another page to reveal the disclaimer. Heh.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video is overall, very good. At times you get a little fuzziness (such as on "Stamp Day for Superman"), but for the most part, it's a really good picture. The audio itself was a tad low, but not bad, as in some older show releases. The episodes all run for about 26-27 minutes in length, so they are definitely unedited! There don't seem to be any chapter skips, though. Of course, there is on the Play All option.

Special Features:

For the episode "Panic in the Sky" (Disc 2) and the episode "Semi-Private Eye" (Disc 3), series stars Noel Neill and Jack Larson have recorded commentary tracks. I can't tell you how awesome that was to have those tracks. They are definitely a must "see" in this set.

* Documentary "The First Lady of Metropolis" (approx. runtime: 6:56 minutes)
This is located on Disc 5, these special documentary profiles Noel Neill, who starred as Lois Lane from Seasons 2 through 6. It features interviews by Neill, of course, as well as Jack Larson, Leonard Maltin and others. It's a really nice feature that does Neill as well as Lois justice. I highly suggest watching it!

* Stamp Day for Superman (approx. runtime: 17:53 minutes)
Located on Disc 5, this is an actual episode that aired back in 1954. From what I can tell, it's not regularly aired in syndication reruns. But before the episode begins, there is an introduction by Jack Larson. And to add, throughout the episode, the picture is good, but there is clear fuzziness, which is probably a result of the episode sitting so long on the shelves and never being restored for syndication. Of course, that's just my assumption. Nevertheless, fuzzy or not, it's a thrill to finally be able to see the "lost" episode. The episode itself was used to promote savings bonds back in the 1950s.

Final Comments:

Wow! My first review for The Adventures of Superman (Season 1 wasn't available to us). I was so impressed by the design of the box as well as by the design of the menu. It's simple, effective and appealing. The inclusion of the "lost" episode "Stamp Day for Superman" was a huge plus, I think, for fans. The commentary is wonderful. I'm a big fan of that, especially for older series, and not to sound bad or anything, but because the cast won't always be around and it's fun to hear their take on things and hear little stories and anecdotes, etc. Overall, I really have to give Warner Brothers credit for an amazing release. They always do such a knock out job with their sets! Here's looking forward to the next 4 seasons! Up, up and away!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

- Reviewed by TVJunkie101 on 01/12/06.

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