problem with Smallville isn't that it jumps the shark, but that it doesn't
jump the shark often enough . . .
When one thinks about it, no TV show should be
allowed to go on for more than four or five seasons at most. Star Trek
? The Original Series was only good two out of three seasons.
The X-Files shouldn't have been allowed to
have dragged on longer than its sixth season. The less said about when the
magic died in The Simpsons, the better.
(Did it die this century ? or the previous one?) Don't even get us started
on StarGate (ten seasons of sub-Trek
plots!). And so on . . .
Sooner or later show writers desperate to come
up with new and fresh ideas ?jump the shark? as they say and come up with
ridiculous plot ideas and stories.
(If you're out of the pop cultural loop: jump
the shark refers to when a TV show runs out of ideas and the desperate
writers dream up far-fetched and ludicrous stories. The term refers to an
episode of Happy Days in which The Fonz jumped over a shark-filled
pool with his motorcycle. The biggest shark jump moment in living human
memory was the scene in Dallas when a ?dead? Bobby Ewing
stepped out of the shower and Pamela realizes that the past don?t-know-how-many episodes was ?just a dream.?)
It was with this in mind that I just threw my
hands up in exasperation half-way
through the Smallville - Complete Season 7 DVD box set. (It Episode 14 of said season to be
exact, but more on than later.) If only the Smallville writers
DID jump the shark instead of endlessly regurgitating old ideas!
Smallville, which as you know tells of
a young Clark Kent / Superman's teenage years in his adoptive Kansas town
of the same name, has never really felt like Superman to be honest. There
wasn't any capes or blue and red spandex on display - so how could it be?
(The hunky, but wooden, Tom Welling do however dress mainly in primary
colors.) Instead the show felt like . . . Buffy, but without the
post-modernism and humor. Think about it: here we have a super-powered
teenager at school battling super-powered menaces while trying to keep his
identity secret. Sound familiar? Except Clark / Superboy didn't get to
fight vampires or demons, but Kryptonite-infected people with a range of
"If you?re watching Smallville then it means that you are
not averse to a little men-in-tights action!"
For quite a few of the early seasons
Smallville was nothing but a case of Clark vs. the meteor freak of
the week while the tired melodrama of his sometimes girlfriend Lana Lang
suspecting that Clark might be hiding something played out. Then around about the fourth season the writers must have
gotten as tired of Kryptonite-infected villains as the viewers of the show
were, because then they began to jump the shark by bringing in
supernatural villains (witches!) and other superheroes.
By the time Green
Arrow pitched up in his camp green outfit, comic book fans were going
wild! They were loving every single cheesy moment of it! After all, if
you're watching Smallville because, heck, it's Superman then it
obviously means that you are not averse to a little men-in-tights action
here! Geeks loved it, even when Green Arrow turned out to be a bit bland and
not the ?cops are fascists in blue? antiauthoritarian Ollie we all love.
Fans even dug the whole Black Canary in slut outfit thing as well as all the
other revisionist DC characters (Martian Manhunter, The Flash, Elastic Man, Brainiac, etc.) that popped up. All the new characters and situations, no
matter how outlandish, were welcomed by fans because it kept the show reasonably
fresh and interesting.
But the problem was that the writers just
couldn't bring themselves to entirely break with the show's past . . .
So roll on Season 7 and here?s our
handy list of what irks us about Smallville:
(a.) Seven years on and Clark is still
hanging out with his old high school pals and staying at his parents'
home. How lame is that? Shouldn't he be moving on? Heck, we thought
this was supposed to be Superman, but Clark is coming across as being
emotionally unable to progress in life. Is he Superboy or Dysfunctional
(b.) Clark isn't really that super at all.
Every other Kryptonian (and there seem to be a lot of them hanging out on
Earth!) Clark meets can fly - including his cousin Kara, the future Supergirl. A vertigo-stricken Clark instead prefers to run around at
superspeeds under the impression that he is The Flash. In the episode in
question a group of Army-trained commandos get the drop on Clark (with his
super-hearing, super-speed, heat vision and host of other powers) using
Kryptonite-tipped tazers. Kryptonite-tipped tazers, fer crying out loud!
How lame is that? Which brings us to . . .
Kryptonite. There seems to be larger deposits of Kryptonite on
Earth than coal or steel or gold! The stuff is everywhere! Just how did so
many meteorite rocks from a dying planet galaxies away actually managed to
reach Earth in the first place? Who knows? But the point is that the stuff
is literally lying around where you look. Clark would be trying to rescue
Lana and his pal Chloe from a rock slide only to find . . . yup,
Kryptonite lying around for no good reason. Other than the writers wanting
to create some ?tension? at that point of the story, of course. In one
point during the print Superman comic book's run it was decided to get rid
of Kryptonite altogether (all of the Kryptonite on Earth was turned into a
base metal) because . . . yes . . . readers were getting tired of
Kryptonite being used as a plot device every other issue by lazy writers.
So enough already with the Kryptonite!
(d.) Lana Lang. Don't get us wrong. We
think that Kristen Kreuk is a sexy lady. We really do. But were are
getting heartily sick of her character, Lana Lang. In the comics Lana is
Superman's old boyhood sweetheart. In Smallville she has been the
centre of everything since whenever. When Erica Durance were introduced as
Lois Lane we thought, "Great! Clark is going to get over his pointless
Lana infatuation." No such luck. Instead each episode we have to cope with
an oh-so serious Lana and her aggrieved, pained expression until one wants
to tear one's hair out. Get over it, Clark! The whole Lana thing is more
like Woody Allen and the neurotic chicks he dates in each of his movies
than The Man of Steel. Neurosis (Lana) vs. spunky and likeable (Lois)? You
decide . . .
(e.) Is He Or Isn't He Evil?