JD reviews the Smallville Series Finale!

“Whelp, that was 10 years of my life wasted.”- My direct quote after turning off the television, but realizing that I couldn’t turn off the memories of all the cheese that show spread on my brain-bread. But let me be honest. Despite my hatred of all the terrible one-liners and “clever” writing that the scribes behind the show no doubt thought they were producing, I came back to this show time and time again. So clearly there must have been something worth-while, some qualities that projected the gravity-like pull this show had on me, and that’s true enough. The show hasn’t been all bad, there have been glimmers of hope spread throughout, just enough to make me hungry for more, but I’ll save that for a future article.

An old friend of mine and I had started watching this show when it originated 10 years ago and quickly realized that it was terrible, but with the hopes that eventually it would start to even itself out and find it’s footing. I would say that finally happened around Season 8, wherein we finally saw a sort of Justice League start to take form, and guest character after guest character invaded the show. That was what finally made me start to enjoy the show. Up until that point, I watched it with my buddy in order to mock it MST3K style. We basically watched it to tear it apart. And I would say that as far as I’m concerned, Seasons 2 through 7 didn’t really exist except for some of the awesome work by Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor. But after awhile, I could see just why he decided he needed to leave the show. His character became poorly written and there was simply nothing left for the writers to do with him.

But now he’s back, just in time to see the show reach it’s climax. Was it good? Well that depends on your definition of good, doesn’t it? This series finale wasn’t the best episode this show has offered, but it most certainly wasn’t the worst. There was the pleasure of finally seeing the 10 year journey from the Smallville Clark Kent to the mild-mannered Clark that we all know from the comics, and that alone was satisfying. Let’s start with the negatives.

1. The endless monologuing that everyone does to Clark throughout this 2 hour episode. If you cut out most of it, you’d have a 30 minute episode. There are even times when characters who have already monologued our ears off COME BACK and DO IT AGAIN, and say almost the same thing! For most of this episode it’s people telling Clark what he should or shouldn’t do. Hell, that’s been most of the SERIES. “You need to let go of the past Clark, you need to look ahead.” “Wait, what are you doing Clark, you have completely let go of your past, and are only looking to the future. You need to remember where you came from.” So on and so forth, ad nauseum.

2. The CHEESE factor that enveloped most of these monologues. There were really heartfelt moments in this show, especially the first Ma Kent bit, Lois’ “the world needs you and I shouldn’t take that away from them by being selfish” bit, and Lex’s nice twist on the old “a hero is only as strong as his greatest villain” speech. But per usual, this show is rife with soap-opera quality moments that are what I like to call Meat-Fisted. Just a dude with two ham-sized appendages bashing a message into the audience’s faces.

3. How easily the villains of this season were vanquished. Granny Goodness, Desaad, and Gordon Godfrey, and the biggest Superman baddie of all DARKSEID are all dealt with in the simplest of manners. They were basically poked out of existence by either Green Arrow or Clark. Also, we never actually SEE Darkseid himself. I was so impressed with the Doomsday makeup from before, that I was sure we’d eventually see a bad-ass Darkseid. But nope. He just body-hopped like Horace Pinker from Shocker, or Jason Voorhees from Jason X (both of which the world is trying to forget).

4. Seeing Clark as Superman. This is a positive as well, but we’ll get to that later. The negative though is that we get really wide angle shots of Superman flying around here or there, but for never see Tom Welling actually wearing the entire suit. Even close-up shots are REALLY close up, where you see Tom’s face with a bit of CGI cape fluttering into shot here and there. Was the suit not created well? Did he just not look regal enough in the suit? What was the problem? After 10 years, how could they not show Superman in all his red and blue glory?

5. The whole LEX thing. And by this I mean Tessa’s resetting of Lex at the end. Lutessa (ugh, that name. Shudder) Luthor smears a bit of goop on Lex’s face which goes through his skin and wipes his memory. Of how much? EVERYTHING. We watch as Lex’s memory, from childhood, is erased. I understand WHY they went this route with Lex, so that he wouldn’t remember that Clark is Supe..I mean The Blur. But if every memory is gone, how is he still a functioning member of society, let alone PRESIDENT 7 years later? Every lesson he ever learned, understanding how to eat, walk, etc. He has none of these memories. I would understand if this gloop only erased the last 10 years of his life, but everything? It’s ridiculous and just provides more questions than answers.

6. The Comic Book as narrative device. So this episode opens with Cloe reading a comic book to her son. The comic’s name: Smallville. It shows Clark as, well…Clark, and then closes showing Clark as SUPERMAN. This one comicbook has just revealed to the world that Superman is Clark Kent. Which would be fine if we were to assume that Clark has, within the past 7 years, revealed his secret ID to the world, but we KNOW that’s not the case, since we then see Clark and Lois at the Daily Planet where it’s obvious that they are still trying to keep up Clark’s secret. And why does Clark call her Ms. Lane? Everyone there knows that they were engaged and standing at an alter at one point. They’ve all forgotten that and now think that L and C don’t even call each other by their first names?

7. What’s in a name? Unless I missed it, we never once hear anyone call Clark SUPERMAN. WTF? One of my biggest curiosities has been how they were going to handle the switch from the super-hero monikers from The Red And Blue Blur (blessingly shortened to just The Blur, thank god) to Superman. How did they handle it? They didn’t. A simple solution would just to show a paper with a front page article that says SUPERMAN SAVES WORLD FROM APOKOLIPS! Written by Lois Lane. But nope. Nothing.

8. Jimmy Olsen. That motherlover DIED. Stabbed and then buried. But wait, now we have a new Jimmy Olsen who is presumably the first Jimmy’s little brother, who is miraculously now an adult seven years later, and working for the Daily Planet with Clark and Lois? Horseshit. If the actor needed to leave the show, just have him leave and then come back like Chloe. This doesn’t make any damn sense.

Well, now that I’ve spewed my venom on some of the most glaring problems, let’s get on with The Good.

1. The best actors on the show return. Annette O’Tolle, John Sneider, Michael Rosenbaum. Easily the actors who have handled themselves with the most dignity even on a show that has tried time and time again to strip it from them. Bravo, you three. I’d also like to include John Glover, who was also pretty great, but hammed it up a bit too much this season. His early work on Smallville should not be forgotten.

2. Speedy. I liked that we saw Chloe’s and Oliver’s son look over at his toy arrows. (But where was Oliver in this scene? Whatever.)

3. “See You In the Funny Papers”. I actually liked this little bit of 4th wall breakage. It’s a nice little goodbye from Alison Mack to Tom Welling, while refencing the fact that Chloe Sullivan is now a part of the DC Comics universe proper, and not just an invention of the T.V. show.

4. The effects. Seeing Clark zip around in the sky, saving Air Force One and sharing a moment with Lois while airborne and the bad-ass Apokolips planet were all pretty impressive.

5. The conversation between Clark and Lex. There was some pretty good stuff here and I love the bit where Lex comments on the way that Clark says his name. Also a nice bit of 4th wall breakage.

6. Erica Durance as Lois. When she first showed up, she was annoying as all hell. The smarmy one-liners, the way she constantly attacked Clark. But over the years, once she started to realize that she, in fact, LOVED Clark..she finally found something that she could hook her acting claws into. Especially in this season, whenever she would talk to Clark and be vulnerable, and her eyes would kind of tear up..it was actually kind of heart-warming. I could feel the love that Clark and Lois are supposed to share. She grew into a really excellent Lois Lane.

7. Seeing Clark as Superman. While the specifics of this were in my negative list, it was also kind of a rush to finally see him don the tights and do some flights. 10 years we’ve been waiting for this, and just having it happen was pretty rad.

This show had it’s ups and downs..mostly downs…but that didn’t stop me from watching and actually growing to enjoy certain aspects of it. I’m glad that it ran it’s course and finally got where it was going, and it’s kind of amazing that we got 10 years of a super-hero t.v. show! That had not only our fave Superman characters, but also Zatanna, Green Arrow, Impulse, Martian Manhunter and hell, even the Legion of Superheroes (thank you Geoff Johns for being the best writer this show had the pleasure of employing), and that’s none too shabby.

-Johnny Destructo

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5 Comments to “JD reviews the Smallville Series Finale!”

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  1. Bobby says:

    The existence of this show is a testament to the good will engendered by the original Superman Movie which still lingers in the audience’s memory til this day. The kid-reading-the-comicbook narrative device and the rousing score at the end of this episode are all callbacks to that. After Ten Seasons of a medicore show and a failed restart of the film franchise- WB is still coasting on the iconic Chris Reeves preformance- I think his family deserves a payout like the Seigels/Schusters. Also, thank god for the co-opting of Jack Kirby’s 4th World or Superman would be completely bereft of any interesting villians.

  2. JD (Host) says:

    Agreed, that the classic Superman film mythos still lives on, but possibly not for much longer, depending on how this Zach Snyder remake goes. I’m happy to hear one thing..that Krypton won’t be made out of cold rocky crystals anymore. What a terrible place to live! I want to see a Krypton that looks a little more beautiful.
    However, the comic-book thing didn’t make any damn sense in this context. In the original, it’s a kid in OUR world reading that comicbook..in Smallville, it’s Chloe’s kid. It doesn’t make any technical sense in this instance as it gives away Clark’s secret in that world. It may be nitpicking on my part, but it’s just lazy writing on their part.

  3. Mark Mackner says:

    Do you honestly think Zack Snyder’s movie will replace Donner’s original in the hearts of the fans as the definitive live action interpretation? 30 years later, and we still consider the 1st Superman movie to be among the best comic book adaptations ever. Do you think that, in 30 years, the children of today will look back on Zack Snyder’s movie with the same reverance? I’m not saying it won’t be fun, that it won’t deliver on the action that so many of us feel was left out of all sequels/reboots after Part 2, but come on. I don’t think anyone’s expecting a genre-defining experience from the guy who’s passion project/labor of love was SUCKER PUNCH, which was essentially PAN’S LABYRINTH by way of Michael Bay (All flash and effects, no emotion, no unforgettable performances, etc).

  4. JD (Host) says:

    Well, considering we’ve actually MET, Mark, that’s a pretty silly question, and you’ve misquoted me, I never said anything of the sort. You know how highly I regard the original. Of course I know how highly past generations held the older versions of Dracula and Wolfman. Can’t say I’ve ever sat through either of those films all the way through. Time keeps going, sir, and like it or not, future generations may not hold your dearest in as high a regard as you’d like. Maybe this will be the definitive Superman for the next generation. Is it likely? Not so much, but it’s not impossible either.

  5. Mark Mackner says:

    Ha, no, I’m not questioning your devotion to Superman: The Movie. Sorry, I was having a hectic day at work, and so I felt like venting my anger at Zack Snyder for some reason.. Don’t mind me. But yeah, you should totally check out Dracula and The Wolfman sometime. The old Universals are barely over an hour each..

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