What's truly lamentable is that there has never been a serious television study of how Superman became an American icon, recognizable the world over. Superman's golden anniversary was a prime opportunity to look at the history of the character from its humble beginnings in the hands of creators Siegel and Shuster. They had a sound bite from John Byrne, the artist/writer credited with restarting and revitalizing the Superman comic the year before, but anyone who wasn't a reader wouldn't have known who he was and the special didn't bother to explain. There were plenty of clips from the various screen incarnations of Superman, but no context. They could have given Kirk Alyn more time, noting he made an uncredited cameo in the 1978 Superman movie. There was so much they could have done. Indeed, during the 50th Anniversary celebration, anyone who walked into a comics store was bombarded with a surfeit of magazines and books celebrating and analyzing the Superman phenomenon. Even Time magazine had a cover story on it. But there was not a single television documentary. Only this waste of a perfectly good primetime hour. 50 years of material to draw on and they decide to write their own. I can only hope someone will do better during Superman's diamond anniversary in 13 years.
UPDATE 2006: Forget this piece of trash. Watch "Look! Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman" instead. This is what they should have done 18 years ago. Respectful, well done, if a little self-serving with executive producer Brian Singer's extensive Superman Returns promotion. More clips and trivia than you can shake a Kryptonian crystal at. No terrible jokes. Two minutes of that had more hard, interesting information than this entire anniversary show, and it goes on for two hours! I liked it much more than Superman Returns. That's what I'm talking about!