That could be the case. I know that the main reason people don’t remember it and it has become the “forgotten Superman series” despite being a legit hit at the time it was on and going for 4 years and 100 episodes, is because there were rights issues that held it up to the point it has never aired on TV in the US outside of it’s initial syndicated run and didn’t get released on DVD until they cleared it up in 2006 LONG after the show’s initial run. (didn’t help most people got their first exposure to the show with the season 1 DVD which was… not the shows best just to be kind… which was so poorly recieved they waited until years later to release the rest of the show’s run). So would not be surprised if there is not some kind of rights issues that have kept the comic from being made availiable. Although given it was a comic adaption of a show most people have forgotten about probably has not prompted them to hurry.
As for the show itself. Interestingly way back when DC Universe first launched it was the chance to see Superboy again, without having to shell out a ton of money for DVD’s or digital downloads that got me to subscribe to DC Universe the day it launched… and I have been here ever since.
I loved the show when it came out, although while hard to believe now seeing a live action adaption of a superhero comic was a rarity back in those days, the fact it was Superman and I was just happy to have it. I remember at one point it, Flash and Swamp Thing were all on at the same time. Seems hard to believe in the post Arrowverse universe but 3 DC TV shows airing at the same time… my mind was blown.
I don’t know if I would call it a chore to watch, I think if you can appreciate it for what it is it has it’s value. But as others have said, it is definitely a product of it’s time and especially in it’s first season had not aged especially well. Not really that there is much problematic or the like (that I remember anyway), but 80’s and 90’s first run syndication was a special breed of TV that for the most part doesn’t really hold up well in terms of production or story telling quality. They were low budget TV and Superboy reflected that, especially season 1 which felt like they must have had a budget of 30 bucks per episode.
But it is an interesting take on the character, and over the cource of it’s run in addition to Superboy and Lana Lang, it gave us multiple villains from the comic at a time when other superhero shows shied away from using too many comic book characters. (Well, that weren’t the 60’s Batman).
I don’t think it is any kind of forgotten masterpiece, but for the time it came out and what it was I think it did a good job and definitely think people who didn’t see it should check it out. Although they would probably by wise to at least start by watching an episode or 2 from season 3 or 4 first then if they like it possibly go back from the beginning. Because I am sure a lot of people unfamilar with the show started in the beginning and gave up, as I said season 1, especially the first 2/3’s of it… not great. (althout it was oddly interesting seeing things like palm trees and swamps and the Florida coast in a Superman show. Likely due to budget the first season definitely did not try to hide the fact it was filmed in Florida).
I am glad that through TUbi (and before that DCU) the show has been a bit easier to access. I don’t think it will ever surpass Smallville, but I think it has a unique brand of camp nostalgia that could make it a worthy cult favorite. Sort of Superman’s answer to the 60’s Batman series.