A long standing tradition on the CBGXtra website, when the forums are actually up and running, has been reviewing various superhero related media.

One of the programs under this practice has been The WB's/The CW's version of Smallville.

Thankfully the show went on winter hiatus before the forums were closed for hacking prevention/maintenance/updating.

With Mr. Silver Age's kind indulgence and urging, I am resuming reviews of Smallville here, starting with the first new episode of 2011 below.

All opinions are my own. Yours may vary and are quite welcome in this space.

Now then...

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Mr. SA:

You're right. I did mistype a bit.

Dominion would make my Top 10 list of worst episodes ever. The other comments were for Prophecy.

I think Smallville's main problem(s) at the moment is that they are trying to wrap up everything they can and still be entertaining.

A noble goal that we can't really blame them for wanting to achieve, but on the other hand, when was the last time we saw any series end (regardless of the medium) that didn't leave a question or two unanswered?

Addressing the Green Arrow issue. If he really was/is under Darkseid's command, wouldn't he have subconsciously brought along anything needed to get through all the traps. After all, even if the forces of evil could not get through them themselves, they would at least be aware of the traps.

There were some very cool parts to Prophecy, including the Silver Agey Lois-gets-powers theme and the way she discovered she had them.

I like episodes with a clear comic boon antecedent, the sillier the better.

That water-rights thing did not make sense to me. I don't see how owning those individual businesses allows them to control Metropolis' water supply.

Yeah, that had me scratching my head, too. Other than that, I’m curious to see what they do with Smallville’s own “Legion of Doom.”

I think Smallville's main problem(s) at the moment is that they are trying to wrap up everything they can and still be entertaining.

I saw it more as wanting to revisit their greatest hits. I don't know that either the Phantom Zone or Toyman were loose ends needing to be tied up more than they were. I'm not sure what the mumbo-jumbo at the end was supposed to do to really, fully, completely wrap up the Zone that wasn't done before the episode started. If that was their way of wrapping up the Zone, Kara and Jor-El for good, I wasn't impressed with the send-off.

It seemed that Toyman was more of a catalyst for something that will happen in the final episode, ideally drawing in all of the heroes. At least, I hope so. I really hope they don't intend to pull an off-camera update on them all, as they've tended to do recently. If they can bring back Zod and Metallo for one final bow, not to mention Lex, surely all the heroes will get their moment, too!

The return of Courtney bodes well for that. I think they've got lots of options for spin-offs that would retain a lot of the audience, although obviously none of them would be as iconic as Clark and Lois.

-- MSA

 

After faithfully following Smallville for the first seven seasons, I  grew tired of the show and have only watched a handful of episodes the last couple of years. I happened to catch Prophecy and what stood out the most to me was the improved performance of the actress portraying Lois (can't recall her real name at the moment). The final scene when she returns Clark's ring was pretty impressive. For the first time I actually believed that this Clark and this Lois belonged together.

Good news, everyone: TV Guide indicates that the Smallville finale will be rerun on Thursday (May 19th) at 8 p.m. EDT.

-- MSA

Smallville’s FINALE 2-hour episode wrapped up the series and the characters’ plot threads. Lois confronted her fears of marrying a super-hero, Oliver Queen dealt with his dark side, Tess and Lionel Luthor resolved their father-daughter conflicts, Lex Luthor returned and reformulated his life’s goals, and Darkseid and his minions were confronted.

From my perspective, the episode had some good moments—it’s really hard to screw up Clark Kent ripping his shirt open—but it was a major disappointment. Way too much teen-age angst for such older characters and too much standing around talking over things that should have been resolved long ago. Way too little action and way too easy ways of overcoming these gigantic menaces that had loomed all year.

I have no idea what that opening and closing sequence with Chloe was supposed to mean, except that DC will be keeping its comics’ prices at $2.99 for seven more years. Likewise, the final scene was pretty cool, but seven years in the future? You cannot be serious!

Raise your hand if you think Lex Luthor could go through the media scrutiny it would take to be elected president. I think he’s got a few too many skeletons in his closet (like formerly secret labs blown to smithereens) to pass scrutiny, beyond that “being dead and reanimated by his alternative-universe’s father’s heart” thing. I think that shot was a nod to more recent creators, and I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t read the story, but Lex seems more like the power behind the throne kind of guy than the figurehead.

As anyone who read my earlier posts will guess, I was disappointed not to see any of the other heroes referenced, much less appear. All that set-up last episode with all those super-villains was one more wasted image that didn’t fufill its promise.

The notion that Clark thought he had to let go of all of his past made little sense to me, considering how much he credits his parents and his upbringing for making him who he is today. So that was a lot of time spent convincing Clark of something he should have known already.

The wedding had nice touches, including the suspense over where Clark was and the walk down the aisle--and the fact that it didn't come off as it should have. Gee, what were the chances? Oliver’s conversion back to the light was okay and anticipated. Oliver picking up and throwing Clark through the window before all the guests were very far away seems a bit hard to explain, but it wouldn't be the first such thing like that.

I assumed when Chloe and Oliver split up so he could “go be a hero,” she was going off to call in the cavalry. What a disappointment.

Oliver cleaning up the minion mess with three simultaneous arrows was a major letdown. That’s all it took? If he had gathered the metal that those arrow tips were made from in the cave where Orion’s bow was destroyed—and they seemed to be something special from the camera work, but if so, I missed what it was—that quest might have made sense beyond explaining why Kara hadn't been around. As it was, it just seemed to be one of many anticlimactic moments that were over in flash after lots of buildup.

The Lex-Tess-Lionel part was okay, but once again had way more dialog than needed (as did the Granny Goodness/Tess scenes). And in her confrontation with Lionel, Tess really should have learned, when you’re killing a major evil, you’ve gotta tap twice.

I'm glad they addressed how Clark could possibly operate with Lex being back and knowing his identity. The glasses still don't work for me, but that's the way it goes. 

It also would've been cool if the newspaper in the final scene had shown Superman, with Olsen complaining that he's just never able to get a very clear image of his face, using the notion that he blurs his face a little bit. I like that better than any other option for how he gets away with the glasses.

Turning back on Jor-El was a surprise, although he basically said what I suggested he should have said before he got turned off. The final clip review was pretty good, as those things go.

Lex’s big speech seemed off the mark, more in keeping with Mr. Glass from the movie Unbreakable, who was driven by the usual comic-book scripts, than be Lex. Lex needed a personal hatred of Clark, a desire to see him destroyed while also vaulting himself to the top. The notion that Lex thinks he needs Clark to make him mythical and vice versa was bizarre. Lex's motivations seem purer than that.

Then there was the ending. What a massive letdown. I understand not wanting to give us a good, lasting full-on image of Clark in the super-suit (he may not have looked all that iconic in it). And the flight alongside Lois’s plane was pretty good. But how the heck did he defeat Apokolips? And what made all those omega symbols disappear? The people on the ground saw nothing happen—just like us!

What we needed was something like this: The omega-infected people trying to infect others or destroying Metropolis, whatever, and GA and the other heroes arriving to stop them and convert them back one by one as they see the heroes being heroic against overwhelming odds. Clark flying into the sky to confront Apokolips (which was a heck of a special effect, I’ll give them that) and taking all of his efforts to push it back while it tried to infect him. And, finally, he wins and pushed it off, which looked like what happened, kind of.

Then Clark hovering over the city as Apokolips retreats and shouting down something to the effect of “The danger is over! I am here to help you protect yourselves! Believe in your inherent goodness! So says Superman!” And all the rest of the omega signs slowly vanishing as people believe.

What we needed was more effort to defeat the season’s major villain—and one that was gigantic in nature and really needing a visible Superman to defeat it, so it had a nice set up. We needed more teamwork among all the heroes who are inspired by the Blur. And an official announcement, even if the suit is shown from a distance, of who he is and what he's going to do to be inspirational. But we got none of that.

The ending seemed extremely rushed, which is why all the angsty “am I really cut out to be a hero” stuff early on was worse than just the usual filler, it took up time that was needed elsewhere. My first cut: Granny and Tess in the mansion. That set had already been amortized and added nothing.

The final scene, with the original Superman music, was pretty cool. But it does indicate that everyone seems to agree that nobody is ever going to be a better Superman than Christopher Reeve or create a better movie than Superman I and II. So why bother trying?

The last couple of years of Smallville in particular impressed me that they were going to do a series finale that would do Superman proud. They didn’t do that, IMO. Granted, not everyone will agree with all of my opinions here, but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking it was way more disappointing than satisfying.

All that said, I'm going to miss it. Heck, I've watched it for 10 years, and that it survived so long is a testament to how much it did right. I liked most of it way more than I was annoyed by it through the years, and at least the final images were what they should have been. And considering a staunch "no flights, no tights" rule, that's saying something.

-- MSA

Mr. Silver Age said: "But it does indicate that everyone seems to agree that nobody is ever going to be a better Superman than Christopher Reeve or create a better movie than Superman I and II. So why bother trying?"

 

Exactly. That's why I have zero interest in Warners' upcoming attempt to reboot the movie franchise. But I am looking forward to "Green Lantern" and the possible "Flash" movie.

From my perspective, the episode had some good moments…

I was going to say, “It had its moments,” and leave it at that, but I agree with nearly every point you made.

Raise your hand if you think Lex Luthor could go through the media scrutiny it would take to be elected president… I'm glad they addressed how Clark could possibly operate with Lex being back and knowing his identity.

But didn’t Lex also lose all of his memories? How did he become President so short a time after that?

But how the heck did he defeat Apokolips?

Wow, wasn’t that anticlimactic?

My wife is familiar with Apokolips as far back as the WB cartoon, but it wasn’t until fairly recently she learned how it’s spelled. Ever since then, she takes pains to sound out every sylabelle: A-Pok-O-Lips. When Granny Goodness came on screen and pronounced it exactly that same way, Tracy nearly busted a gut laughing so hard… stomping her feet, tears streaming down her face, etc. That was the most memorable part of the final episode for me.

Granted, not everyone will agree with all of my opinions here, but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking it was way more disappointing than satisfying.

We’ll have to agree to disagree about the relative merits of the Reeve films, but I agree with your assessment of the Smallville series finale 100%.

Okay. Met my deadline on my first book. Hugh Monn, Private Detective (about a private detective who works on another planet in the far future) will be out sometime this fall from Pro Se Press.

I have a couple of days to rest before I have to get back to my next project (an original all prose superhero novel) so I'm trying to play catch up with the Internet right now.

While unfortunately I still have yet to see the finale and so cannot comment on same (sorry Mister SA. I still have your link, just haven't gotten to it yet) the new fall schedule for the CW has been announced since I was here last.

There is alas no direct successor to Smallville in the immediate TV future. Nikita will be moving to Friday nights before Supernatural in Smallville's place, and some witches themed show will be taking over its time slot on Thursdays before The Vampire Diaries.

We will just have to wait until early 2012 at the earliest to see what (if anything) the CW does next, especially in light of the new "branding" moves that DC/Warner Brothers is making that are currently being discussed elsewhere on this website.

Between July 8 and 15, the CW is showing the Smallville finale as a two part episode.

I got to see the first hour (part 1) and my comments are below.

 

As the grand Finale begins, prewedding jitters abound between Lois and Clark, although for different reasons.

A lot of dramatic tension building towards the big moment manages to be resolved in relatively record time, only to have the big event interrupted by the ultimate wedding crasher: DARKSEID!

Clark manages to escape the villain's trap, with a little help from Chloe, and regain Oliver's friendship; only to have Apokolips loom upon the horizon in more ways than one as the first half ends.

 

Who the child Chloe was reading to in the opening, who kidnapped Tess, and how everything will resolve itself by the end of part 2 this Friday are questions that remain unanswered at the moment.

I did like how they managed to work John Schneider into the story to help close out the series, although it does make one wonder about the current mental states of Clark and Martha.

Also, the fact that Apokolips is apparently mobile was a neat idea, but I don't know if it's in a trans-dimensional or conventional sense.

 

In any event, will see how everything turns out this coming Friday night with the rerun of Finale: Part 2.

And yes I also know I still have to finish my thread about how things went at Pulp Ark this past May when I get the chance.

Novels unfortunately don't write themselves.

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