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Somebody Save Smallville! November 23, 2008

Posted by Ted in : Heroes, My Name is Earl, Reviews, Sci-Fi, Smallville , trackback




(Editor’s note: I was two episodes behind when I wrote this post, so it does not reflect the most recent developments of the show. I just watched the last amazing episode before the mid-season break, and it contains lots of new developments. So, even though I’m a little out of date on this post, I like to think of it as marking a specific moment in time.)

Attention all readers: It’s time for us to jump in the phone booth, put on our tights, and save Smallville, the WB’s long running saga of Superman. “Who me?”, you ask. “I’m just a shoeshine boy, how on earth do I save the most powerful hero in DC comics?” Well, it’s not as hard at it seems. Just watch the WB on Thurdsay nights. After enjoying several episodes of what has been hinted to be Smallville’s FINAL SEASON, I can say with certainty that this show needs to be saved! I would even argue that it beats the current season of Heroes. Gasp!

I admit I had gone splitsville from Smallville for the last couple of seasons. The storylines seemed like retreads of the same old territory: meteor-powered villian captures Chloe, Lana, or Lois. After being temporarily debilitated by the kryptonite studs on the villian’s sneakers, Clark bounces back just in time to save the damsel or dude in distress. I started to wonder if the writers were running out of ideas, or had just stopped caring. I found it hard to warm up to some of the new characters like Oliver Queen (a.k.a. the Green Arrow) and Kara (Supergirl). Most of all, the romantic entanglements were making the show unwatchable. The Lex and Lana debacle drove me to watch My Name is Earl instead. Even the show’s original producers finally lost interest and called it quits.

This time around I decided to give the show some unconditional love and return for its eighth and possibly final season, for which I was amply rewarded. With the ever-brooding Lex and the eternally conflicted Lana out of the picture, the show has a newfound spring in its step and a shine on its shoes. After seven seasons chronicling Clark Kent’s youth, the show has finally reached several pivotal moments in the Superman mythology, such as Clark beginning his job at the Daily Planet, and contemplating his role as a superhero.

The best part of this season has been the lively banter between Lois and Clark. The two characters seem more real than ever before. Kent’s chemistry with his friend-turned-coworker is off the charts. In earlier seasons they sparred like sibling rivals, but their friendship has evolved into something much spicier. They still seem to be in denial about their feelings for each other, although rumors say that could change later in the season. In keeping with the comic book tradition, Lois still doesn’t know about Clark’s superpowers, even though he’s saved her life several times.

The other vital character on the show is, of course, Chloe Sullivan, Clark’s best friend and all purpose computer guru and rogue journalist. A lot of us reclusive, aging Smallville fans like to think that Chloe is a real person. When we’re writing our blogs we ask ourselves, “What would Chloe write?” She has now made it onto her own hypothetical wall of weird and developed meteor-based mega intelligence. As a result of the upgrade, she has turbocharged hacking skills, super memory, and can multitask like nobody’s business. I’m not so crazy about this development. First of all, it makes her a target. She has already been captured by Luthercorp, who sought to exploit her ablilities for their own devious purposes. Even worse, in recent episodes we have seen signs of impending villianhood for Miss Sullivan. When she used her brain to hot wire the Kryptonian thingamajig, her eyes went white and she became super strong. Also, she killed somebody. This will not do. I want the old Chloe back. She was smart enough without the super powers. They should donate her extra intelligence to somebody who really needs it, like Earl’s annoying brother Randy.

Aside from this minor complaint, Smallville is better than ever this season. If you’ve never seen it, now is the time. Together we can boost the ratings and save this great show. The citizens of Metropolis are depending on you.

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1. Joe GoldsteinNo Gravatar - November 24, 2008

My question would be, at what point does the Smallville show turn into more or less just another television version of Superman? It seems to me they’re getting pretty close to that point. Or maybe that’s the reason for this to be the last season, since the Smallville town history is mostly no more than a footnote of sorts for the traditional (that is, pre-Smallville TV series) Superman storyline. I mean, with the old Superman TV shows from the past, you had these kind of somewhat independent episodes that didn’t follow any particular chronological order, and with Smallville, you have an evolving story spanning totally connected episodes. In any case, once the storyline takes the show completely out of Smallville and totally into Metropolis, it seems to me that they’ll either have to change the name of the show or end the series. Ironically, as you have pointed out, it seems that they are doing some of their best writing after the original producers threw in the towel. I don’t know. Maybe when they feel that they kind of have practially nothing to lose they allow themselves to be more creative and take more risks with the material. Well, we can hope that those talented writers and actors are given a chance to continue on with Smallville’s successor series called METROPOLIS. Who knows, maybe somebody out there could be working on that one.

2. EricNo Gravatar - November 27, 2008

Just another television version of Superman? Surely you jest! No need to cancel the show just yet. I feel like it’s finally living up to its potential this season. I like the idea of changing the title to Metropolis, though.

"Won't you tell me where my country lies?" said the unifaun to his true love's eyes...