Superboy – The Jewel of Techacal

by Alan Rapp on February 22, 2014

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Superboy – The Jewel of Techacal
  • IMDB: link

Superboy - The Jewel of Techacal

With a new Superman now out on Blu-ray and DVD every now and then I’ll continue to take a look back at the hero’s more memorable moments on both the big and small screen. After Christopher Reeve‘s final Superman film but before Lois & Clark: The New Adventuresof Superman , DC offered Superman fans a low-budget syndicated series aimed at a younger audience while featuring the college adventures of Clark Kent (John Haymes Newton – who would be replaced by Gerard Christopher at the beginning of Season Two), Lana Lang (Stacy Haiduk), and Perry White’s son T.J. (Jim Calvert) at Shuster University in Siegelville, Florida (named for Superman’s creators). In the show’s premiere we’re introduced to Clark and Superboy when Lana Lang’s estranged archeologist father (Peter White) makes a visit with his latest discovery which gives the episode its name.

Rather than offer an origin story (the show’s original Pilot episode would air later in the season covering the hero’s first public appearance), “The Jewel of Techacal” works the introduction of all the show’s major characters, including a college-aged Lex Luthor (Scott Wells) who comes off as a bad-tempered frat boy (and would also be replaced in Season Two) more than someone who will eventually grow into the role of Superman’s nemesis, into the episode’s storyline which involves Lex’s attempts to steal the jewel, Lana’s inability to reconnect with her father, and the odd occurrences cased by the cursed stone that leave several characters, including Superboy, injured.

The special effects aren’t great, and although the show’s budget improved over time the first few episodes we’re certainly made on the cheap. In the first episode we see Superboy fly unconvincingly against an obvious blue screen and perform minimal heroic actions (such as slightly lower the stuck landing gear of a plane, grabbing a box away from Luthor, and doing the bare minimum to stop a falling beam from landing on a scientist). The 80s influence of the show is also very pronounced making certain aspects of the episode (paticularly in the hair and clothing styles) leaving the series feel dated in ways that Lois & Clark (which only premiered four years later) carefully avoided.

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