Lex Luthor in Other Media - Live-action Television - Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

In the television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993–1997), Lex Luthor is a multi-billionaire portrayed by actor John Shea. In the beginning of the series, Lex is described as having recently become the world's third richest person. In the eyes of the public, he appears to be a beloved humanitarian, but Superman knows the truth. During the shows first season Clark Kent/Superman spends a good deal of time trying to prove that Luthor is corrupt, while Luthor tests Superman to find his weakness. He also comes up with dangerous plots to turn the public against Superman. At the end of season one, he manages to acquire a rare piece of kryptonite; he then devises a trap for Superman that almost kills him, but Superman narrowly escapes when Luthor leaves him to his fate. Just as Luthor is about to marry Lois Lane, the truth about his evil nature is exposed and he takes his own life rather than face imprisonment. Ironically, due to exposure to Luthor's kryptonite, Superman's powers are too weak and he cannot save him.

Following the season one finale, Lex's corpse disappears from the coroner's office. Later on, the body resurfaces in a lab where his ex-wife Arianna Carlin (played by Emma Samms) with the help of a devoted scientist called Gretchen Kelly (played by Denise Crosby) freezes Luthor's remains and labors to bring him back from the dead. Blaming Superman and Lois for Luthor's death (Superman for not saving him and Lois for "driving him to his death" by saying No to him at the altar) Arianna uses subliminal messaging to turn part of Metropolis against Superman, and uses plastic surgery to make a henchwoman look like Lois Lane. Lois is then framed for several acts of law-breaking, and she tries to make it seem like Lois is having a mental breakdown. Lois is then kidnapped after meeting her double, bound and gagged by Arianna, and drugged before Superman arrives. Superman is shot by a kryptonite bullet and the criminal places the gun in Lois's hands, hoping to frame her for the murder. Superman uses his heat vision to send water from a fish tank onto the face of Lois, reviving her and enabling her to remove the kryptonite. Arianna and the double are then jailed leaving Gretchen behind to care for Luthor's body. The scientist eventually succeeds, but as a side effect of his resurrection, Lex loses his hair (thus bringing him in line with Luthor's usual look). However the effect was only temporary and a year later his hair grew back. He is quickly disenchanted with the changes that have happened during his absence, particularly the emergence of Intergang, as well as the loss of his personal fortune. Lex hides underground, again seeking kryptonite. But after kidnapping Lois in an attempt to reclaim her, he is traced to his sewer lair by Superman. This time however, Superman prevents Lex from taking his own life again to "cheat justice" and sends him to prison to serve a double life sentence.

Luthor later escapes after a whole year in prison, through an elaborate plot involving clones; first using a clone of the President to grant him a pardon, then kidnapping the real Lois Lane and replacing her with a clone just before her wedding to Clark. Luthor hopes to transfer the minds of himself and the genuine Lois into clone bodies so they may never be found. Although he tricks Lois' clone into divulging Superman's secret identity, he still fails in destroying Superman, and is killed in the destruction of his lab in his underground subway hideout.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Luthor has illegitimate children, two of whom try to kill Superman over the course of the last two seasons. The first one Jaxon Xavier who was also a top scientist in one of Lex's companies called Lex Labs, entrapped Lois and Clark in a virtual reality world to steal information for mind control before the two with the help of Jimmy Olsen tricked him into letting them out by stealing his wrist watch escape window leaving him stranded. He crashed the system leaving his mind trapped inside his virtual world forever. The second one (played by Keith Brunsmann) is facially deformed and disowned by his father, reduced to living in a furnished sewer/transit station beneath Metropolis. Lex Luthor Jr. hires a handsome stand-in (played by Patrick Cassidy) to impersonate him. The impostor poses as Lex Jr.'s public persona as he murders the CEOs of his father's old companies and rebuilds LexCorp. While Lex Jr. and his impostor manage to get their hands on a recording of the elder Luthor (John Shea's voice) made before his death; a journal which include Superman's secrets. Both men are later killed in an explosion that levels the crypt. Lois is initially sceptical that Lex could have fathered these adult men, but Clark insists that no one can be sure of Luthor's true age since he was "a master of deception."

Although Lex only appeared a few times after the first season, he is mentioned a great deal throughout the rest of the seasons which reveals him as still a very important character.

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