A fond(?) farewell to Smallville

So last night was the finale of Smallville, and I witnessed the train wreck first-hand. I decided to sleep on it before blogging, plus it was a late night of laughing at ridiculous crap with friends.

Now Smallville isn’t all bad. I actually watched and liked the first couple of seasons — unironically, even. It was silly and campy, but it was a fun spin on the character with little winks and nods at the Superman mythos. Those first few seasons, they were obviously having a good time with it.

As the seasons drew on, it became a little inundated with Lost syndrome. They had no end point, so they clearly had no idea how to make the character arcs that a show like this needed. We needed a way for Lex to slowly transition to evil, but it felt like they were trying to do that over and over, every season. We needed Clark to become Superman, but they had no idea when it would end, so they kept introducing new villains. I stopped watching several years ago. I’m not convinced that the writers would’ve had the chops to pull off a good character arc even if they had an end-point in mind, but they could’ve at least had a framework.

This year I’ve been reading the summaries on Chris’ Invincible Super Blog, and laughing at how insane the show has gotten.

To be honest I didn’t understand about 25% of last night’s show. Apparently Lex has a sister who worked for the good guys, Chloe married Green Arrow and headed up Watchtower, Lionel was back and alive, Lex was dead but had made clones of himself, Clark and Lois were engaged to get married, and Darkseid was taking over people’s souls. I’m not making any of this up.

On the whole, it was a terribly-scripted mess, with some truly laughable lines and deliveries. It’s clear they were trying to lead into the regular Superman mythos, but it was all so clumsy and on-the-nose. Lois’ scene talking to the President was particularly bad, as she talked about the importance of trusting in heroes. But she never mentioned who she was talking about, or what he could do, and she didn’t know he could fly. So instead of the intended “Superman will save us,” it was “My boyfriend is pretty awesome, it’ll be okay.”

Several scenes dragged on with this terrible melodrama — which I wouldn’t have minded so much if not for the planet getting ready to crash into earth. Not the time for conversations, guys.

Some of the necessary steps to segue into the Superman mythos were flat-out ridiculous. Lex got poisoned with magical forget-everything juice, so him not knowing that Superman is the guy he just spent 10 years befriending would make a lick of sense. Did he not take any pictures? Lois and Clark’s wedding got interrupted, so they waited another seven years to tie the knot, because they’re not supposed to marry until he’s well-established as Superman. Sigh.

It seemed like the last ten minutes was written at the start of the show. With lines like, “your kryptonian heritage gave you your powers, but it is your time in Smallville with Jonathan and Martha Kent that made you a hero,” they were pounding the series’ themes home a little strongly. Jonathan Kent(‘s ghost, I suppose?) actually said the line “Remember Smallville!” when he handed Clark his Superman suit. Which, by the way, his suit was just sitting there in the Fortress of Solitude the whole time? What?

It was nice to see the flying, and the effects were pretty good considering the limitations. The last few minutes were a cute homage to regular Superman continuity. I didn’t even mind that they always kept Superman tiny and far away. It ended where it had to. And, to its credit, it tried to capture the spirit of Superman being an idealistic bringer of hope. His real power is bringing out the best in people, and they at least attempted to communicate that — however awkwardly.

One thing still bugs me, though. The show began with Chloe reading a story to a kid that she apparently had with Green Arrow. At first, I thought this was supposed to be a little meta-reference. Like, the entire Smallville continuity is this separate story and this woman with a kid was reading it to him the whole time. That would’ve actually been preferable.

Instead, this was in regular continuity, Mom-Chloe really is the Chloe from the show, and she’s reading her son a comic book that literally explains who Superman is. Why would that comic book even be published? Is Clark just unconcerned about a comic book that totally tells the world who he is? Even if it doesn’t mention his name, it has drawings that look exactly like him and talk about the town he’s from. One quick look through the Smallville High yearbooks and you’d be like, “Oh, it’s this Clark Kent kid.” Idiotic!

  • I’m a little surprised that MK beat Portal 2, but I’m assuming it was a close call. If we factored in Steam sales, I’m sure GlaDOS beat the crap out of the Kombatants. Not that Mortal Kombat is a bad game, it’s actually quite good. I finished the Story mode yesterday and loved it.
  • Nope. Still don’t care.
  • This seems to indicate that Beyond Good & Evil 2 is safe — but I’ll still feel more comfortable when they actually show some of it.
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