Monday, May 30, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
MY 5 BIGGEST REGRETS FROM SMALLVILLE:
As you are all well aware I love SMALLVILLE and almost everything about it. However, there are a few complaints that I have about the show. Now, I have lived my life without these things but every now and then (I’m sure like most fans of any long running TV show) I think, “Man wouldn’t it have been cool if . . . “ Or I think “I wish they hadn’t . . .” Let’s dive in, shall we?
5) LEX LUTHOR’S MINDWIPE – Don’t get me wrong. I totally get the logic behind this decision. Obviously Lex couldn’t know
Clark’s secret or else it would potentially ruin the relationship that Superman and Lex Luthor have in the comics/movies. But let’s face it – having Lex know about Clark is a really cool twist and if the show was ending anyway why not let him remember? It’s not like it would affect future seasons! Plus, in my mind, it kind of makes Lex’s journey on the show obsolete. It’s the same reason I was not a big fan of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. Shooting with an adamantium bullet and forget his past? Dear God, why?? But I digress . . . Now I have two theories post-SMALLVILLE that help me cope with this decision. One is that since it’s a “clone” body of Lex, the real Lex is dead and his memories went with him. The second theory is that since it’s a “clone” body of Lex that maybe it can one day remember everything or he never forgot anything at all. After all, as I said, had the show continued that would be something to set it apart from just about any other interpretation of Superman. Oh well, maybe if that SMALLVILLE SEASON 11/METROPOLIS SEASON 1 comic I’m hoping for ever happens it will be rectified. Logan
4) CLARK NOT WEARING GLASSES/FLYING – Throughout the whole show, Clark (Tom Welling) never wore glasses except for a few instances such as WHISPER (Season Three), NOIR (Season Six), APOCALYPSE (Season Seven), IDOL (Season 9), and finally almost full time in MASQUERADE (Season Ten). Now let’s look at that list. There were 218 episodes of SMALLVILLE. I mentioned five episodes and two of them were “alternate reality” episodes. That’s a lot of not wearing a “disguise” yet
Clark did a lot of (pun intended) super things. You’d think at some point he would rescue someone and they would say, “Wow, Clark! It’s me Billy! We went to Smallville High together!” Now I believe, and this is a stretch but try to suspend your disbelief, that since Clark was kind of an outsider and didn’t really have a lot of friends in high school that he could have gotten away with it and people would mostly forget about him post-high school. Plus, in my mind, since Superman shows his face most people wouldn’t think that he has a secret identity. I don’t know if that’s ever really been discussed in the comic books but that’s what I think. Also, Clark only flew in a select few episodes. I was cool with it for the first few years but after a while it’s like, “Come on dude. You’ve been saving the world for years. It’s about time you started stacking up some frequent flyer miles.” But I have to say that between the flying and the glasses I would have taken the glasses because that moment in the finale when he finally did fly and save the world from Apokalips was a great moment I wouldn’t have traded for anything J
3) SUPERGIRL/KARA – I want to make this very clear right off the bat – Laura Vandervoort was phenomenal as Kara Zor El/Supergirl. She is one of my all time favorite superheroes thanks to Jeph Loeb, Michael Turner, and Ian Churchill. If they had done a spin off and she had played that character I would have watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it. But she just never seemed to fit in the world of SMALLVILLE. I think part of the reason is that they made her so old. The story is the same in SMALLVILLE in the comics – Kara is found in a ship that has been lost for many years. She was supposed to find the baby Kal El and watch over him. However, since her ship was lost Kal El grew up without her protection and she was in suspended animation for decades. Again, I love Kara and Laura did a great portrayal of the character. But at the time they introduced her she was only about 2 maybe 3 years younger than
Clark. That to me is bad because the point of the character is that she is supposed to be 16 and he is 30ish. That’s a fun dynamic to play off of. Now, some of the stories with her in the show were great but it’s clear the writers couldn’t find too much of a purpose for her since she was not in Season 7 a lot and for a good chunk of it she lost her memory or was “in the past” with Brainiac. Even though that really felt like a very classic Superman storyline. But still every time the character came back it still felt forced and odd. BLOODLINE (Season 8) she was practically a different character and I really felt bad that it seemed like Clark made little to no effort in trying to find her after he destroyed Brainiac. SUPERGIRL & PROPHECY (Season 10 for both) it felt like she was only brought back because they were bringing back a lot of recurring characters from previous seasons. And then at the end of PROPHECY she just up and leaves without saying anything to anyone. Why bother bringing her back at all? She could have done that either in BLOODLINE or SUPERGIRL and Clark would have at least known she was OK and safe. Also – did it seem to anyone else like Clark could’ve have cared less about her? She disappears TWICE in one year and, as I said, Clark makes little to no effort to find her. It’s like – Dude, way to treat your family like crap. Oh well, like I said Laura’s performance was always true to the character so I can let these things slide (for now . . . )
2) NO SUPER-FIGHT WITH DOOMSDAY – The truth is – I really, really liked the character of Davis Bloome. Making him a weird doppelganger for
Clark was a very bold, risky, but ultimately rewarding choice on the producers’ part. However, they faced so many limitations with the character of Doomsday himself that it almost seemed not worth it. As I have said before, one of my favorite episodes is BRIDE (Season 8) if for no other reason than I thought that Doomsday got a great entrance into the show. Portraying him in a very CLOVERFIELD-like manner and having Clark not be able to stop him was very true to the character. But the problem with Doomsday is that he probably cost the show so much money just to have the actor put on that costume they couldn’t do much with him. Also, after re-watching DOOMSDAY (Season 8), it would have looked a little silly for Tom Welling to be punching a stunt double in a Doomsday costume. Even that short fight in that episode looks a bit off-putting. Again, probably just because the costume itself had its own limitations. However, even if it had just been Sam Witwer (Davis Bloome) in some sort of makeshift half-Doomsday costume duking it out with Clark I would have enjoyed it a lot more than just a 2 minute fight. They had a little fight in BEAST (Season 8) which, to me, was much more of a superior episode to DOOMSDAY. But again, being an optimist, we can say that Clark got off easy just fighting Doomsday/Davis for a moment so he might get cocky thinking he can stop him easily in the future. Little would he know that the character WILL kill him.
1) BRUCE WAYNE – As much as I loved seeing Arthur Curry, Bart Allen, Oliver Queen, Zatanna, John Jones, etc they still fall short of the one man I always wanted to see on SMALLVILLE – Bruce Wayne. Batman is my all time favorite superhero. I do realize that he would not have been Batman in his appearance but it still would have been cool to see him in some fashion. Granted in the episode FORTUNE (Season 10) Chloe mentions she’s discovered a “billionaire with lots of gadgets.” That was a cool moment for me and also in the episode REUNION (Season 6) one of Oliver’s old friends mentions going back to
Gotham. But still, it would have totally made my life if Bruce Wayne had paid a visit to SMALLVILLE. And there were so many opportunities for it! He could have been a classmate of Lex and Oliver! Clark’s parents could have known Bruce’s parents! Or he could have just been in town to do some random “Batman in training” thing! I don’t know! I read an interview with former show runner Al Gough where he said they wanted to introduce Bruce Wayne and they had some ideas but they never were able to do it due to legal issues. Here is my question – WHAT F*#@$ING LEGAL ISSUES? Batman and Superman are owned by Warner Bros! Warner Bros produces SMALLVILLE! And don’t say because Christopher Nolan made BATMAN BEGINS. Bryan Singer was still allowed to make SUPERMAN RETURNS while SMALLVILLE was still on the air. No excuse! Being the optimist that I am I will justify this decision by saying that it’s Ok that Clark never met Bruce Wayne because it’s probably better that he met him later in life as Batman after he becomes Superman. But then again, Adam Knight was the closest thing we got to Bruce Wayne on SMALLVILLE. Some argue Oliver Queen/Green Arrow was at first but that was not the case for me. He was his own character and true to it. Oh well . . . if I had to sacrifice Bruce on SMALLVILLE for BATMAN BEGINS then so be it! J Wayne
Sunday, May 22, 2011
How do you sum up ten years of your life in a few paragraphs? That’s the issue I faced when sitting down to write this essay (if ya wanna put a label on it). SMALLVILLE has been my favorite TV show for the last ten years. It’s gotten me through high school, my “taking a year off” hiatus after that (which turned into four years but let’s not get into that), my move from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, and through multiple issues in my life that existed in between those things. So why did I stick with SMALLVILLE when so many people seemed to abandon it? One reason – it always remained a wonderful show to me.
It always bothered me when people would say, “Oh SMALLVILLE sucks!” “He’s not Superman!” “He doesn’t even fly!” “That show’s still on?” It’s hard for me to understand why those people hated the show so much. The show wasn’t always great but it was never so bad that I never wanted to watch it again. Of COURSE he’s not Superman! That’s never been what the show was about. Although, the flying I kinda have to give to those people. Not like it was a HUGE deal but it still would’ve been cool. Although, there were many times when
Clark would do a “tall leap” so in a way the show was more faithful to the original Superman comics than anything that came before it. However, I don’t wanna dwell on the negativity. This is meant to celebrate SMALLVILLE’S life on TV.
I remember when the show premiered 10 years ago. I had heard that there were plans to create a Bruce Wayne TV show. I remember thinking (and I still think this) that it would hard to pull that off because, at least to me, the show would have to take place all over the world to match Bruce Wayne’s training to become Batman. Then they decided to scrap that idea and go ahead with a Clark Kent TV show. In the end it ended up being for the best because the Bruce Wayne TV show sounded kinda dumb. Granted I still would’ve watched it. Anyway, I’ve always been a huge superhero fan and was excited to see what happened. Not long after that previews started showing up on the WB network for SMALLVILLE. At the time I was big into BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL. I was very excited to see what would happen with this show. The previews were really cool. I remember thinking, “Hey that lady was in SUPERMAN III! And Lex is that one guy from URBAN LEGEND!”
Then on October 16, 2001 I sat down with my sister and watched the first episode of SMALLVILLE. I was completely blown away. It was so different and interesting but still felt like Superman to me. I was in love at first sight. I never lost that feeling. Tom Welling really felt like Clark
to me. Michael Rosenbaum was so different as Lex it was hard to get a read on him. Was he a villain? A hero? I pretty much had a crush on Kristin Kreuk for a good long while throughout my adolescence. Also, John Schneider and Annette O’Toole were the greatest parents anywhere could ever have. Kent
The funny thing about the show was that sometimes I would get so frustrated that was still not Superman. Then I would watch the show and get so swept up in the action, drama, romance, etc that I would forget all about that. The producers always did a good job of keeping the show so interesting that, at least for me, it never really bothered me that
Clark was not Superman. Although to be honest it did bother me that he didn’t wear glasses! Oh well, nothing I can do about that now . . . ;)
I remember one day I was driving and thinking about the show. It suddenly occurred to me that the main reason I was OK with Tom Welling never technically portraying Superman is that the show really felt like the greatest love letter that anyone could write to/about Superman. Also, as the seasons progressed it became more and more of a Superman show anyway. In season 8-10 especially the show shifted gears and really became about the classic Superman we all know and love. From a budding romance with Lois Lane, to team ups with the Justice League/Society, dealing with villains seemingly more powerful than himself (Doomsday, Zod, Darkseid), working at the Daily Planet (without a college degree?), and even more frequent appearances from Superman’s rogues gallery (Metallo, Toyman, Bruno “Ugly” Manheim, Silver Banshee, Parasite). The series became increasingly more like a Superman show every week.
SMALLVILLE has been a big part of my life and something that I will always hold near and dear to my heart. As I write this I realize that I have never missed a season premiere. The show has always found a way to impress me. Ten years and I loved it every week. My favorite years are definitely seasons 6 and 9. They felt the most “Superman” to me. But they also had the best episodes of any year. Episodes like PROMISE AND CROSSFIRE that were very much about Clark’s love life and how it’s never easy whether you’re from Krypton or from Earth. Or even episodes like JUSTICE and ABSOLUTE JUSTICE that were superhero extravaganzas! Not that the other seasons were bad, but in my opinion 6 and 9 were the best.
The show began with a “freak of the week” vibe not unlike how BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER began but the show quickly found out that whatever monster/alien/meteor freak was thrown at
Clark his biggest enemy was always himself. Luckily, Clark managed to break free of his personal demons and become the world’s greatest hero – SUPERMAN.
I certainly hope that DC plans to continue SMALLVILLE in some fashion such as a “season 11” comic book ala BUFFY SEASON 8 comic book by Joss Whedon. That would certainly be something I would be very interested in. I don’t know if there are any plans like that now but maybe someday. Either way, SMALLVILLE remains the one show I have followed and loved closely for a good chunk of my life. I feel lucky that the show remained loyal to the fans as the fans remained loyal to SMALLVILLE. Maybe we will meet again someday. But for now, I will be happy knowing that it went out with a bang! Or should I say UP, UP, AND AWAY!