13 REASONS Warner Bros. Discovery Needs to Stream ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN

PODCAST ALERT: A new George Reeves Superman rewatch podcast begins…


On September 19, 1952 — 70 years ago today — Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves took flight with “Superman on Earth,” a punchy, efficient telling of the classic origin story that rocketed across Krypton, Smallville and Metropolis in 25 minutes. From the unheeded warnings of a desperate scientist, to the kindness of a Midwestern couple, to a daring midair rescue by a “red and blue streak,” the episode featured all the hallmarks of that familiar tale.

Curiously, the second episode aired was the Jimmy-centric: “The Haunted Lighthouse,” where Clark does not even appear until deep into the episode! However, by the show’s third outing, the show established its formula. While the atmosphere of the series would change, becoming far more colorful (both figuratively and literally) as the seasons wore on, its impact on generations of fans – including late converts like yours truly and 13th Dimension’s E-i-C — is undeniable.

In fact, I have just launched a rewatch podcast called Another Exciting Episode in the Adventures of Superman (a title borrowed, of course, from the iconic opening narration). Every episode, my guests and I break down another installment of the Reeves show, discussing each scene as well as examining the episode’s place in both the series and the larger Superman mythology. Check out my “Superman on Earth” discussion with Always Hold On To Smallville host Zach Moore right here.

Unfortunately, despite the show’s influence and milestone anniversary, it remains frustratingly absent from HBO Max’s streaming lineup. Back in the glory days of the DC Universe app — you know, the non-Infinite version that had comics AND television shows and movies — Adventures of Superman was among its offerings. All six seasons stood side by side with the Superboy television series and the first Kirk Alyn movie serial, all of which failed to make the leap to HBO Max when the DC app became solely a comics reader.

In the interests of fairness, perhaps there is truly a technical, financial or legal issue that precludes adding AOS to the DC hub on HBO Max. Or perhaps the corporate assumption is that there isn’t an appetite for this 1950s series. And that, frankly, would be a damn shame.

(As far as other ways to watch: Currently, the series is available for digital purchase on various platforms, while the DVD sets are largely out of print and fetching premium prices through third-party sellers. It also airs on small networks like Heroes & Icons and Decades.)

I won’t waste this plea on HBO Max, as that platform doesn’t seem long for this world after the Warner Bros./Discovery merger. But when the dust settles on whatever the newly formed company’s streaming app turns out to be…

Here are 13 REASONS Warner Bros. Discovery Needs to Stream ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN:

13. Honest George. A list like this can only begin and (spoiler alert) end with lead actor George Reeves, whose winning portrayal of Clark and Superman continues to resonate. Recently, I made my way through the Kirk Alyn movie serials. While Alyn undoubtedly broke ground and brought much to the role, particularly in how he differentiated his Clark and Superman, I was never able to forget that I was watching a guy run around in a costume. Reeves, however, possessed an innate, ineffable presence that made you feel like you were watching SUPERMAN.

12. All Ages. Admittedly, the gritty crime drama of the first season was surprisingly dark at times, but it’s still tame compared to today’s offerings, and the successive seasons were aimed squarely at a younger audience — making this a fine viewing option for the whole family.

11. Evolution. This one cuts both ways, but the series changed considerably across its six seasons, eschewing its early noirish mysteries for more lighthearted, child-friendly escapades (a change mirrored by the show’s switch from black and white to color). While the color seasons represent my least favorite era of the show, the shift across seasons is a curiosity worthy of experiencing.

10. Precedent. Had the show never streamed or been made available digitally, I might chalk up its absence to a technical impediment of some sort. But it streamed on DC Universe within the past few years, suggesting that the mechanism to make it available anew is already in place and that the barrier to making it available is a relatively low one.

9. Chicken or Egg. Let’s assume Warner Bros. felt there wasn’t an audience for the show when HBO Max launched. At a certain point, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: Is the show MIA because no one is interested, or is there a (real or perceived) lack of interest because the audience lacks access to the material?

8. Content, Baby. In the ever-competitive streaming wars, a robust back catalog can help keep subscribers engaged in between new drops of big shows. At a whopping (especially by today’s standards) 104 episodes, AOS fits the bill.

7. Quality, Too. The series told smaller, more grounded stories than most other Superman adaptations, and that’s ultimately a good thing. Though a product of its time, it still holds up, in part because it leaned into the limitations of its budget and the technology of the day. Rather than attempting characters, plotlines, and settings beyond its means, AOS consistently delivered small but satisfying stories built around Clark, Lois, and Jimmy investigating a case and ultimately needing a climactic rescue from Superman. The show proved the old adage that constraints make the artist, and when it did go big (like in the series-best “Panic in the Sky”), the show really made it count.

6. History. At the risk of sounding naive: Warner Bros. is more than the corporate holder of an asset. It is also the custodian of a global icon with an 84-year history, within which AOS played a formative role. Not only was this the first instance of Superman on television, but Reeves’ depiction loomed large for decades before Christopher Reeve arrived. This show is an indelible part of an ongoing mythology, and its contribution to that history should be honored, not hidden.

5. A Great Metropolitan Newspaper. You won’t find a bigger Smallville fan than yours truly, and the CW’s Superman & Lois is better than it has any right to be. However, surveying the modern era of Superman on television, it’s been 25 years since we had a series set at the Daily Planet, providing a lane for AOS.

4. Rewatch Podcasts. All right, this is purely a selfish one, but it sure would be nice to tell listeners of Another Exciting Episode… that they can easily follow along with us.

3. Golden Age Glory. My heart remains with the modern onscreen Superman — the more introspective superhero trying to find his place as a teenager (Smallville), adult (Man of Steel), and father (Superman & Lois). At the same time, there is something endlessly appealing about the unburdened Reeves incarnation and his Golden Age-inspired clarity of purpose. Room exists for more than one flavor of Superman, and current audiences might even be surprised by the no-nonsense directness of the ’50s Man of Steel. 

2. Not One, But Two, Great Loises. Season 3 of Superman & Lois will welcome a new Jonathan Kent, Superboy swapped out actors playing the title character(!), and seven decades ago, Noel Neill replaced Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane beginning with AOS Season 2. Both delivered quintessential takes on the intrepid reporter that deserve to be seen. (For this writer, Coates’ tough-as-nails Season 1 Lois remains my preferred depiction.)

1. Reeves Redux. It all comes back to George Reeves. His natural athleticism and reassuring smile brought Superman to life in a way that was both thrilling and comforting, while his self-assured, borderline-impatient take on Clark infused the character with integrity and weight. It’s an all-time classic performance and the linchpin to the series’ charm and continued appeal.


— The TOP 13 ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN Episodes – RANKED. Click here.


Anthony Desiato is a documentarian, podcaster, and lifelong Superman fan. He hosts the Superman podcasts Digging for Kryptonite and Another Exciting Episode in the Adventures of Superman. His most recent documentary film, My Comic Shop Country, is out now on Amazon, Apple TV, and CuriosityStream. Visit Flat Squirrel Productions for more film and podcast projects.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. This series IS the definitive version of Superman!!! And it holds up so well because it’s done on a small scale. I think that is when a super hero series can work the best, because these heroes aren’t out saving the planet on a daily basis 24/7. That’s a lesson learned as well from the 1966 Batman series. Thank you for this article!!!

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    • George Reeves the picture of Superman cannot be out on by any other actor. He left such indelible Mark in my mind that it’s shaped my life. I have everything that I think a person could collect about George Reeves articles photographs autograph and every $0.10 comic book from the Golden age of Superman. I even became a reporter photographer and rescue person most of my life because of George Reeves. I love the man so much that there’s no measure to compare it to.

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  2. Great list, thanks! Just a nerd note: in the photo accompanying #3, Supe is portrayed by a stuntman and not Reeves. This kind of switch out is quite visible on our posti1950s viewing apparatus, and occurs several times in the first season.

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  3. My first and all time favourite Superman series, actually my favourite Superhero series period.

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  4. Unfortunately HBOMAX doesn’t give a crap about what you want. I don’t know why DC Infinite doesn’t just take back the shows and deal with the DC fans the way the Max has no interest in. I sure have no interest in having “Discovery” shoved down my throat.

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  5. I love this show, and bought all of the DVD sets as they were released. People my age and younger just find the show to be hokey, but that’s the cynicism of others rubbing off on them. Left their own devices, they could possibly really enjoy the show, as I always have.

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  6. *applause* Very well said.

    George Reeves was a wonder as Clark/Superman, exceeded to this day only by Christopher Reeve, and that only barely. Reeves’s natural charm and charisma made him an active delight to watch, whether in the show’s gritty first-season noirs or its kid-friendly late-series larks.

    I watched “Adventures of Superman” in syndicated reruns when I was a kid, and rediscovered it decades later on MeTV. Those great old episodes were responsible for launching me into a young-again Superman fandom that continues to this day.

    You can count on me as an eager listener to your new podcast, Anthony.

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    • Thanks, Joey! Much appreciated, and I hope you enjoy the podcast. First one’s out now!

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  7. I could (and still can 60+ years later) recite the opening narration as easily as I can say the Pledge of Allegiance. When the DVDs arrived, I bought. Always been a big Superman fan and still am.

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  8. George Reeves was the greatest incarnation of Superman ever.. period! He left such a indelible Mark in my mind that it influenced my life to become a news reporter and photographer, fire department person for many years, risk my life saving six people in different situations. And it influenced my mind to collect every golden age Superman comic book I could get my hands on. Also I have collected as much George Reeves articles and books and photographs and signatures of all the main characters except for John Hamilton. May George live in the hearts and minds of everyone forever.

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