"The Adventures of Superman - The Complete Second Season" is an essential for fans of the original series, it's star, the unforgettable George Reeves, and anyone who would enjoy seeing a series 'at the top of it's game', when it was a genuine national phenomena!
The back story is truly amazing; the first season, filmed in 1951, had taken two full years to finally reach the entire country (television, at that time, was still in it's infancy, and just beginning to spread throughout the nation, as the FCC issued licenses for new stations, from coast to coast). "The Adventures of Superman", syndicated and sponsored by Kellogg's, was a fresh, exciting series that many of the new stations picked up to help promote themselves, and sell televisions...and the series began an astonishing climb to a level of popularity that no one involved had ever anticipated.
Certainly, none of the cast was prepared for what happened; in the two-year hiatus, Phyllis Coates, the 'Lois Lane' of the first season, assuming the series was finished, took on other acting assignments, and was no longer available when the call went out for the second season to be filmed (her role was filled by the 'Lois Lane' of the 40s movie serials, Noel Neill, 33, who saw the role toned down considerably from the aggressive, feisty newspaperwoman of the first season). Jack Larson, 20, who had felt misgivings about the role of Jimmy Olsen from the beginning (only agreeing to the part when his agent joked that "nobody will ever see it, anyway") discovered himself typecast in the role, and his privacy lost...a situation even more acute for the series' star, George Reeves, now 39. During the series' hiatus, he had gotten a juicy supporting role in the blockbuster, "From Here to Eternity", only to see the role edited down to an unbilled cameo, as the producers feared a film featuring 'Superman' would lose it's impact as a 'serious' film. Reeves would only appear in three feature films during the series' entire run, and one film, afterward, all in supporting roles...with no film work at all, the last three years of his life...which provided 'motive' that his 1959 death was suicide (despite evidence of foul play).
Knowing what the future held for Reeves makes the second season of AOS a bittersweet experience, as he is so wonderful in the role! Still youthfully handsome, he projects even more confidence and ease than he had in the first season, and was far more 'kid friendly', as his fight scenes were toned down (as was all the violence, as Kellogg's responded to parents' concerns). With the national Superman 'craze' in full swing, he took special pains to remind children that "only Superman can fly", and his portrayal of the Man of Steel reflected his increasing sense of responsibility of being a good role model to a generation of children who adored him.
If the series lacked it's earlier grittiness, the second season offered spectacular compensations, especially in "Panic In the Sky", the most famous and popular episode of the entire series. As a huge asteroid plunges toward Earth, Superman launches himself into space, in a last-ditch effort to save the planet. Slamming into the gigantic rock head-on, all he can accomplish is to change it's course, temporarily...while being knocked into a state of amnesia by the encounter! With Earth's destruction imminent, can Superman regain his memory in time...AND find a way to stop it? Despite some primitive FX, the episode is STILL riveting, after a half-century!
This is DEFINITELY a 'Must-Have' collection!