Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Discuss: Smallville


Karen: The series ended a few months back. What are your thoughts on it as a whole? For me, it was always a maddening show, in the sense that it was so very uneven in quality. It seemed like every time I was ready to give up on it (particularly after a string of bad episodes), then they'd pull off a really cool scene or set something up so I'd come back for more. All in all, while I enjoyed it on some levels, I can't rank it up there with other series that I consider to be truly great. What do you all think?


12 comments:

Anthony said...

I would also agree it was too uneven in quality. In the end I believe the bad outweighed the good. Too much soap opera and not enough action.
But I think the thing that nailed it for me was they failed to capitalize on surefire story lines or characters adapted from the comics. How can you go wrong with Doomsday or Darkseid ?
Some highlights included the Legion episode, the introduction of the Justice Society and James Marsters as Brainiac. Another bright spot was Laura Vandervoort as Supergirl. I loved the way they first met and the fact that she could fly while Clark could only leap tall buildings. The Zatanna episodes were also guilty pleasures.

dbutler16 said...

I've hardly ever watched this show, but I defeinitely agree with Anthony about it having too much soap opera and not enough action.

CoryJay said...

Loved it. Great characters, great finish.

J.A. Morris said...

I never got into it, like other said, too soapy. I probably saw a couple dozen episodes , never connected with it.

And I'll admit that it was just a bit too much of a departure from what I think of as the DC Universe.

Has everyone seen this video of a fan reacting to the last 5 minutes of the Smallville series finale? It's insane:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z07MMlFqGvQ

david_b said...

Sorry, never watched.

Inkstained Wretch said...

I never saw a single episode. Maybe I missed a great show, but the mixed reaction from the other posters suggests to me that I wouldn't have gotten into it anyway.

I find it hard to get into any live-action superhero TV show and film. It just never seems to work for me. Granted, they have gotten a lot better in recent years -- I have generally liked all of the "Avengers" films -- but even those are never truly satisfying to me.

For some reason there is something about real, live people running around in tights and masks that is inherently ridiculous and takes me out of the film.

It is strange. I mean, I don't have the same problem with vampires or werewolves or robots or aliens or anything else that isn't "real" but somehow costumed superheroes just strain my ability to suspend disbelief too much.

At least big budget films have the special effects to help pull off the illusion. TV series generally don't.

I think animation is the medium that works best for comic book heroes. I have gotten a lot more pleasure out of the Justice League and Avengers shows than I got out of any live-action series or film.

William said...

I tried many times to watch this show, but I could never get into it. First of all Tom Welling didn't work at all for me as Superman (young or old). Whenever I saw him, I just couldn't wrap my brain around the notion that this guy was supposed to be Superman. He simply didn't look like any version of the character from the comics or animation I'd ever seen or imagined. So, that alone sort of took me out of it from the beginning.

Second, the whole premise didn't make any freaking sense (at least from a comic-book perspective). Here we have Clark Kent running around meeting Lex Luthor and Lois Lane, Perry White and others that he didn't meet in the comics until he was an adult. So, now he's meeting them years earlier without his "disguise" on. So, what happens a few years later when he shows up as Clark Kent wearing his glasses, and then shows up as Superman without them. Are all these people just going to suddenly forget what he looked like when he was eighteen?

Finally, there's the whole soap opera aspect of the show. Smallville was clearly designed to be the Superman version of a "chick flick". They got a pretty boy Clark Kent/Superman and wedged him into "Dawson's Creek" type plots. The whole damned thing just seemed "wrong" somehow. It worked even less when other heroes started showing up. It just all seemed so disjointed and out of place. It would be like watching an episode of "Melrose Place" and suddenly Aquaman and Green Arrow show up. You'd be like WTF??? That's how I felt the few times I attempted to watch "Smallville."

I actually can't believe the show lasted as long as it did.

david_b said...

Inkstained, William:

Agreed on current television super-heroes. I believe the only superhero shows I actually enjoyed in the last 20-some years have been the first year of Batman-TAS and 'The Flash'.

I liked some of the Titans anime series, but could only take in small doses (loved the catchy theme song..)

Dougie said...

I watched Smallville fairly regularly for the first couple of months. I was baffled by the approach: "let's do a Superboy tv show but since super-heroes are silly, let's try to make it a cross between 90210 and X-Files." If the 90s Superman show as "dramedy", this was teen soap.

I dipped in and out over the next few years and followed it more regularly over the last couple of seasons- from the Legion episode onwards. Sometimes I enjoyed it; often I found it rather dull. The more comic-booky it was, the better I liked it.
Anyway, I feel the predeliction for naturalism in genre film and tv (not to mention comics: Millar/Hitch yawnnnn...)stultifying and a bit foolish.

ChrisPV said...

Darkseid was a murder of smoke-crows. Roll that notion around in your head for a bit. A creation of Jack Kirby, the one that some folks hold up as the pinnacle of his creativity (and this is a man who in part gave us Doctor Doom, Ben Grimm, Captain America, and the X-Men), and they did him as a murder of crows.

The acting was abysmal more often than not, the scripting was horrendous, and the show itself was just, well, stupid. And Clark? That was not Superman. That could never be Superman. Not in the appearance, but in the whiny, self-absorbed, self-pitying demeanor. Failure on almost all levels. Also, their Johnathon Kent was a total tool. Railed about how awful Lex was just because he was rich and a Luthor. No real reason.

Yeah, I'm bitter. More so by the fact that in the last ten years, even with it's TERRIBLE ratings, more people were exposed to my favorite superhero through this show than any comic in the last decade. I find that so, so sad.

Anonymous said...

In the few times I attempted to watch, I thought Smallville sucked beyond belief. The dialogue was so horrible, that even if the actors could act, you'd never know it from this show. That being said, I don't think Smallville was ever intended for critical males in their 40's. It seemed like a soap opera for teenage girls to me. The comic book elements were just a backdrop for that. And there's nothing wrong with that. They need shows to watch, and if Smallville fit the bill, so what? I can find plenty of other shows to enjoy. They may not have Green Arrow or Aquaman in them, but there's always Walter White.

I thought Tom Welling was particularly bad as "Superman". The few times I watched, he just seemed mopey and indecisive. He doesn't look or sound right.

Strange to think that the vast majority of the DC universe had their live-action debuts on Smallville. At least Green Lantern dodged that bullet.

James Chatterton

William Preston said...

As was said in the blog post, occasionally there'd be a scene or an ep that worked so well, I thought they'd finally figured it out. But, in the end, it's best forgotten. The strongest actors were Lex and dad. Lois was quite good, but since all the characters except for the Luthors talked in the same kind-of-clever (like, if the Gilmore Girls had been written by people who weren't terribly well read) alliterative way, even Lois never got to distinguish herself as a character. Several actors were actually terrible. I thought Welling was weak for most of the series, then he got to be okay (and actually rather good in the comic scenes), but the dude playing Green Arrow lacked all talent.

I didn't mind the soap opera aspects, but the stiffness carried over to the progression of stories, which never moved along in any reasonable way. Even the best stories felt terribly stiff at certain points.

In addition, entire years were absolutely awful. (So I would tune in briefly, then back away slowly, horrified.) The show always baffled me the way a lot of things that remain on television baffle me. As Flannery O'Connor said, to be successful in America, you need to be really mediocre. That says it all.

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