8 of this popular TV show were supposed to represent a fresh start for the
series. With new producers on board, several major long-standing characters
were dumped (Lex! Lana! Supergirl!) as the action finally moved to
Metropolis as a young Clark Kent joins the Daily Planet as a cub reporter.
After all, the show has become mired down in its own clichés - that pointed
"discussion" Clark and Lex Luthor has at the end of each episode as Clark
has just spoiled another of Lex's nefarious schemes and the whole "are Lana
and Clark meant to be together?" thing even though everybody who hasn't so
much as opened a comic book in their entire life will know that Clark Kent /
Superman ends up with Lois Lane! Things were going nowhere fast and Clark
were becoming the sort of guy who couldn't let go of his high school glory
days, still hanging around his old hometown like the bad smell in your
refrigerator . . .
Change is much needed. When comic book writer Geoff Jones makes one
time-traveling character remark in an episode from this season that Clark
(Tom Welling) is nothing like the Man of Steel he knows of, comic book fans
know exactly what he means. Smallville
may be the ?longest running live-action Superman
TV series? as Rosemary Markson, WHV Vice President, TV and Special Interest
Marketing has recently said, but no matter how many geeky breadcrumbs the
writers may throw the fans, Smallville feels more like Buffy
(sans the post-modern irony of course), the show which has inspired it more
than Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's famed creation ever did. (Ironically,
with a ninth season about to air, Smallville has already outlasted
Buffy, which ran for only seven seasons).
However, like a recalcitrant junkie Smallville can't stick to the
program and brings back Lana Lang (Kristen Kreuk) halfway through this
season to rehash her and Clark's whole indecisive, dysfunctional teenage
soap drama shtick for one last time (hopefully) - as if audiences didn't
have enough of it over the past seven seasons! No matter how hard they try,
the show's writers also can't escape their dependence on kryptonite as plot
device whenever they want to inject some "suspense" into the proceedings.
One day someone will discover that kryptonite isn't meteorite fragments, but
a natural resource found in abundance on the planet! Clark even keeps a
chunk of the stuff in his own drawer fer crying out loud!
The fact that so much of the action is still set in Smallville instead of
Metropolis itself (which means that most of the characters have a four-hour
daily commute!) means that either the producers wants to save on sets or are
unwilling to inject the much-needed change that this show needs to retain
audience interest . . .
THE DISCS: All twenty-two episodes from this season are contained on
four discs. A special featurette "In the Director's Chair: Behind the Lens
and Calling the Shots" has star Allison Mack (Chloe) speaking about how she
made the transition from actor to director. There is a behind-the-scenes
look at the creation of Superman's most notorious foe, Doomsday, as well as
various cast and creator commentaries. There are also unaired scenes.
By the way, am I the only person who finds Blu-Ray's so-called "standard"
menu structure annoying? Was there any real need for this? Except for a
handful of poorly designed DVDs, the onscreen menus on most DVDs are easy
and intuitive to navigate. It sounds just like the sort of thing that Sony
marketing people insisted that their engineers implement so that they can
have an extra bullet point on their PowerPoint presentations!
After your standard FBI Warning of Doom, the episodes on these discs merely
start playing while the user fiddles around trying to figure out how which
episode they last watched. On smaller screens the menu text are especially
On the plus side, the packaging manages to squeeze in four discs into one
standard-sized box. It may seem more insubstantial than your average DVD box
set packaging, but if you're short of shelf space it's a blessing.
WORTH IT? Season 8 left Smallville
fans divided. For some change meant pain, but for others there wasn't enough
change. At its heart the show remains the same. Good-looking young people
with perfect teeth barge in on each other with no regard to property rights
or personal boundaries on a regular basis. (New character Tess Mercer played
by Cassidy Freeman pops up out of nowhere with alarming alacrity - where
does she find the time? Doesn't she have a major corporation to run?) All of
this makes it Friends - but without the one-liners . . .
RECOMMENDATION: Season 8 is recommended for completists who have
stuck to the show throughout the long years. Personally we're still hoping
that they change the show enough for it to be titled Metropolis
instead, but Season 8 is too timid for Clark to finally don the famous
spandex outfit. Heck, he doesn't even fly yet and still runs around like The
Flash instead . . .