Smallville is still my happy place

18 Nov

Recently, Smallville celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. I was inspired to spend that weekend (one where I happened to be under the weather) vegging on the couch rewatching the series. I initially decided that I would jump around, skipping episodes, but then I got caught in a season I hadn’t watched in a long time and it’s been a full binge ever since. Let’s just assume there be spoilers here for anyone who hasn’t watched the series…

I’ve read a few articles recently about how with anxiety, some people find comfort in rewatching series, rather than starting something new. I can say the same is true for depression. There’s comfort in knowing what is going to happen. And there’s a bonus in rewatching something you haven’t seen in a while, because you forget some details but you know that it is safe because the larger storylines stay with you.

That’s me and Smallville.

Smallville-1

I decided to start in season 4, with the first appearance of Lois Lane. Then I skipped a few and watched a few to get to the end of the season and the start of the next. In season 5, I opted to do the same. Bouncing through episodes, skipping ones I didn’t have the energy for (I have a love hate relationship with the middle of the season and the loss of Jonathan Kent). If I’m truly honest, I skipped a lot of the Lana episodes. There’s way too much Lana and she is the worst character. Especially after Lois is introduced. Anyways… that basically got me to season 6. Where I started a true binge. I realized that in my recent rewatches, I hadn’t made it passed season 5… and often not passed the death of Jonathan.

Here are a few observations that I’ve made…

  • Lionel Luthor’s constant good guy/bad guy switches makes my head hurt. But John Glover is amazing in the role. You feel empathy to him while at the same time… wanting to strangle him. Until the mirror!Lionel comes on the scene…
  • I have said this from the first time I watched the show (as it aired) but… Lana Lang should’ve died in the twister in the season 1 finale. The only thing she does for Clark is cause him to always look like he’s about to cry. His character has very little growth during her arcs.
  • Speaking of which… I thought the new Sups, Tyler Hoechlin, had the monopoly on emoting with his eyebrows, but Tom Welling speaks so much with just his eyes in the middle seasons. Always on the verge of tears when dealing with Lana, always on the edge of exploding with Lex Luthor or Lionel, and alight with something when dealing with Lois Lane or Chloe Sullivan.
  • Speaking of Chloe… I thought it would be hard to watch Alison Mack in the role because of the NXIVM with her arrest related to the sex cult. I mean, I can’t watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer anymore, and not just because of the Joss Whedon stuff. It’s actually more the Nicholas Brendon stuff having had a peripheral connection to some of it. I know that because Buffy was such an important part of my early adulthood, and he/they were only one cog in the system, I should be able to see past it but… I am angry on behalf of others and that’s makes it impossible. For now. So, with that, I thought it would be harder to watch Chloe/Alison. But it’s not. Though… the farther I get in the series, the more time I watch her to see if her connection to it can be seen…
  • Lex Luthor got shafted. He should’ve had a better arc as the true enemy of Clark but it’s basically two episodes at the end of season 7 and then some jumbled stuff in season 8. And honestly… the season 8 stuff was such a waste except for the turning point for Oliver- which could’ve been done other ways. It would’ve been better if they had found some proof Lex was dead and then just had the clone in the final eps. It is blessing that Rosenbaum returned in season 10 to truly give an end to his character as only he could.

smallville-lois-clark

  • Lois Lane is a force of nature but she gets shafted as secondary for waaaaaaaaay too long. Even when Lois and Clark finally start having a relationship, she still ends up being less than in several episodes. On one hand, it makes sense because the show established so many characters that they cannot all possibly be the focus of every episode, but they wait so long to bring Lois into the secret, she gets pushed aside for too long. Especially because, out of every relationship Clark has, Lois is the one that gives him She lightens him.
  • Season 9 gave us Callum Blue as Zod. He was delightful. Except for one detail… he’s mumbly. I remember watching the series once with a friend and nicknaming him “Marbles” because “he has marbles in his mouth”. But… at least the audience has a connection to this Zod as opposed to the character of Doomsday/Davis from season 8, whom if I could fast forward through just him, I would (btw, it’s not the actor… when he shows up in Supergirl as Agent Liberty I kind of love him). There’s just no emotional connection to the character. Probably because he tries to mess up Chloe and Jimmy Olson and that’s just not acceptable.
  • I know everyone was opposed to it but I liked the relationship between Chloe and Oliver. It was casual until one day it wasn’t. They had their priorities straight based on what they were committed to- the mission.
  • Checkmate was a waste in season 9. Either we focus on Zod and the Kandorians or we focus on Checkmate… too many big bads. Especially because is Checkmate a big bad? Yes. But also no. It’s pre-suicide squad, but essentially has the same mission. To save the world (good) by doing whatever it takes (mostly bad). I feel like they should have been hinted at in season 6… and then been a recurring issue from then on. Then when they become a bigger issue in season 9, the audience isn’t overwhelmed by the new baddie. And besides, the way it is, they went poof in season 10 with nary an explanation.
  • The JSA addition was phenomenal. That’s the stuff that should’ve happened years earlier, but Lana was in the way.
  • Who the heck is Tess Mercer? I mean, I know but… this character literally sheds a new identity every episode. Seriously. She was involved in every possible group, family, job, etc. This is the kind of person who joins everything, is perky, and made me watch to punch them in high school. Tess basically became the scapegoat for everything because she had her paws into everything. My head was spinning.
  • Clark makes so much progress as a hero once he starts at the Daily Planet. I appreciate that the farm is still important to him after high school but he wastes a lot of time stuck in that life. Trapped by Lana, honestly. (I’m sorry, but I said it earlier… she should not have survived season 1)
  • Another thing I enjoy about the Lois and Clark relationship is that they have hurdles. They both know this is it for them, but they’re scared. Every step they take is bound by caution because ‘what if it’s the wrong step?’ As they struggled to move into the relationship and then with each milestone… Lois counts the PDAs on each date, so as not to rush things. It’s the sign of someone who has been burned before. And it literally keeps going until the finale… right up to that walk down the aisle.
  • Martha and Jonathan Kent were very well cast and did a great job of parenting an alien superhero. They instilled critical thinking (at least enough to make Clark question things and go to smarter folks for help) and strong morals and values (this was also seen in Man of Steel right up until Sups killed Zod…) Clark will not kill, not even his arch enemy, because he understands that he cannot commit that act if he is to be a beacon of hope to the people.

I was sad and happy to get to season 10. Sad because I knew it was almost over (again) and happy because that season was a return to lightheartedness. Not saying that the episodes lost quality (not that every ep was amazing, mind you) but I laughed so hard at a variety of things. Actual jokes. Good deliveries. Little things thrown in for the fans. The season was full of them and I belly laughed at each of them. It was a big change, especially after binging through seasons 8 and 9 which had a few laughs but were mostly dark and depressing.

smallville

I remember when the series started back in 2001- I have a perfect memory of watching the pilot with my brother, while we recorded it on the VCR, and then immediately watching it again when mom got home from rehearsals (probably for Christmas Carol if I remember correctly). And even when we lived apart, it was one of the nights of TV that became family night and everyone converged at moms house to watch. Even after I moved to Chicago and then down to LA… we still had to discuss the episode after viewing. I always had questions because unlike my brother I didn’t live and breathe comic books. So there’s a comfort in the series even more than just knowing what’s going to happen… it’s like coming home. Spending time with family… even if they are aliens, billionaires, meteor freaks, etc.

What do you think?

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