Friday, October 24, 2008

Believe It, Or Not

I have a long history of shaking my head at the CW's (previously the WB's) super-hero teen soap, Smallville, but despite giving up on the show in its third season I still kept up with it in the off-chance that it might pull itself out of soap-opera hell and return to some semblance of watchability. I think I finally gave up in the middle of season 6 after enduring things like the coming of Lois Lane, Lana becoming a mystical avatar for Jane Seymour who happens to be her boyfriends mom and a witch, the on-and-off-and-on-and-off-and-on again relationship dance of Clark and Lana, seeing Lana eventually hook up with Lex, seeing a junior Justice League form, and Lana's pregnancy to name the ones I can remember off the top of my head. As far as I was concerned, I was done with the show, even as a guilty almost pleasure. And hearing that Supergirl joined up in season 7 had me thinking I made the right choice.

So, why am I posting about Smallville now?

The other night, I watched Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut for the audio commentary and it got me in a Superman sort of mood. I thought about it for a bit and decided that I was going to track down which episode I left off with and, at the very least, finish off season 6 for better or for worse.I thought I would take it on an episode-by-episode basis and after the first major irritation I would just pack it up and be done. If the hankering ever hit me again, I'd pop in the old Adventures of Superman with George Reeves or Lois & Clark for my fix.

Turns out that episode 14, "Trespass", was the next on the list so I threw it on hoping I didn't regret the decision. The plot revolved around a stalker following Lana around and continued developing the politics and relationships between the main cast members until the stalker's identity is revealed and Clark, as usual, saves the day. Surprisingly, this was a decent episode even though every fabric of my being is opposed to the Lana/Lex pairing (not that I ever wanted her with Clark, I just think the other two are wrong on so many levels), the pregnancy, and Clark still being hung up on her. I think what ultimately saved this one, though, was the fact that it was Clark and Chloe playing detective and not having to deal with a lot of super-soap-operaish stuff. It made me think that this is what I would have liked more season 1 & 2 episodes to be like. Chloe should have learned Clark's secret loooong ago, I'm telling you.

The lack of Erica Durance as Lois (one of the most awkwardly shoehorned characters into the show from her debut onward) probably helped, too.

That episode was followed by "Freak", then "Promise" and "Combat" (which I just finished today) and I have to say, I'm still enjoying them. Every one of these last handfuls of episodes heavily feature the Clark/Chloe dynamic, are light on co-stars, are a mixture of genres and we get to see Tom Welling portray more than one emotion (I love Lana so much...sob) and it works for both him and the character. Lana has gotten downright medieval (and not in a Jane Seymour witchy sort of way), Lex is acting like Lex Luthor should be acting (duplicitous, powerful, calculated, prone to rages), Oliver Queen is mentioned but never seen and Lois makes only one appearance in all four shows. Not a bad formula, as far as I'm concerned.

There are four or five episodes left to the season so I'm likely to finish it. I'll probably come back on and give an post-season wrap-up report, see if I lasted through to the end or if Gough and Millar finally take me over the edge and I gouge my eyes out.



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