Thursday, February 23, 2012

Smallville: Less Is More

       I remember it like it was yesterday, the premiere of Smallville. The show that chronicles Clark Kent’s journey from teenager to “super” man. It was a dream come true, to finally see Superman as a kid, roughly my own age. It was unlike anything on television at that time (2001), the meteor shower alone was spectacular. It was safe to say that Smallville showed promise. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, but some series are smart enough to throw in the towel while they’re still on top, not Smallville. They figured, “let’s just see how long we can go with this”. A decision, most of the fans, would regret they made.

         The idea was flawless, perfect, and original enough to gain great reviews. Superman was now just Clark Kent in the minds of many young viewers watching the show, a kid that could never talk to his high school crush or was bullied at school, a kid who many of us could relate to; more then we could with Superman. First season gave us a great look at the origins of Clark and his parents, his friends and even Lex Luthor and newly created character, Lionel Luthor. We also saw a strange but unique friendship grow between Clark and Lex. The series added a new twist by including the fact that the meteor rocks could give certain residents of Smallville extraordinary powers, giving Clark and his friends a new threat in every episode.

         Season two and three expanded on Clark’s kryptonian heritage, by introducing Jor-el and the cave. Honorable mentions include a look at Lex’s twisted past with his father and even Clark’s first meeting with Perry White. Season four, in my opinion, was the big one. Clark is finally introduced into football, while simultaneously being sent on a mission by his father to collect the kryptonian stones, which eventually form a crystal used to create the fortress of solitude. At this point in the series, I expected Smallville to have one good season left in them. We just witnessed Clark graduate from high school, become friends with Lois Lane, and “embrace his destiny”, sort of.

         I figured it could work; one more season of Smallville would make five all together. They could start a relationship between Clark and Lois, have him go to college to study journalism, find out more about krypton, hell, maybe we see him fly, but the creators and writers got a little too greedy, and by a little, I mean they made six more seasons when all they needed was one.

         In the last six seasons of the show we were introduced to so many characters from Superman’s universe that should have just been left alone. There was a pretty big hint given to the writers too: characters from Superman’s universe, not Clark Kent’s. We saw Braniac, Zod, Kara/ Supergirl, The Legion of Superheroes, Doomsday and even Darkseid. The way I see it, if Clark Kent defeats all these villains before he’s 20, then why the hell would we even need Superman? Sure, Lex is still around, but I doubt he has enough evil schemes to carry the load by himself. I will add that if you’re going to include Doomsday in a season long story arc, don’t have his final showdown with Clark last about three punches, I know it’s a TV budget, but I’m just saying.

         In fairness, Smallville had a lot of highlight episodes, from every season; the characters were great even if about 90% left eventually, but congrats for Tom Welling and Allison Mack to stick around for a decade. I enjoyed the show, I’m a huge fan and I was a little sad when it came time for shows to start their new seasons in September and Smallville wasn’t there, but when it comes to the success of a TV series, less is more. The term “quit while your ahead” may not make much sense to the creators and writers of a series, seeing as they’re the ones making money, but as a fan, I’d rather have five seasons with every episode being amazing, then ten seasons, with 50% of episodes that I could have lived without.

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