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Smallville, Mid-Season Report Card


Whew, Finally!

Ya know, this sounded like a good idea at the time, but given how much time its taken me to do this, I have to second guess myself.  I decided to do a full rewatch of the S10 eps thus far.  I had only seen Ambush and Luthor after my initial review/screentime minute count.  I don't think my overall feelings on the season changed much, though I found myself liking some eps more then I did initially (Shield, Homecoming), and liking some eps less (Lazarus, Harvest, Supergirl, Patriot).  Back in the day, I used to watch SV eps over and over again.  I have no clue how many times I've seen favorites like Exile and Transference.  But now, I feel like its a real chore to sit through them repeatedly.  And that ambivalance about the show makes it harder and harder to find the words to explain why I feel that way.  Its sort of like this....I was hoping to see and feel something different, but I'm not, and what I'm seeing is just so Meh!

Maybe I have DARKNESS in my heart. Heh! 

But, OK, lets give this a go


And away we go...

THE STORY THUS FAR (an abridged version):

 Clark died, but not really because Lois saved him.  AI Jor-El is still an asshole, and still thinks Clark sucks and disowned him, and took away the Superman suit Martha gave him.  Clark had/has darkness in his heart, but a reformed Brainiac showed him the error of his ways, and his happy future, and now he’s committed to Lois, and is going to marry her, so he’s better. Oliver and Kara went public, Clark didn’t.  Kara also made a public save, while flying, while wearing her red and blue costume, and adopted a secret identity complete with glasses…but this shouldn’t have any impact on Clark’s eventual emergence as Superman *coughBULLSHITcough*   Chloe and Oliver are the loves of each other’s lives,  and Oliver mopes a lot about missing her.  Tess is a Luthor, and wanted to save little clone Alexander, but then didn’t want to save little clone Alexander when he turned into not-so-little-clone Alexander, and starting having Original Recipe Lex’s memories (and some memories that Lex wouldn’t have had, which remains unexplained), but then wanted to keep him alive again because he’s family.  Lois wasn’t sure she would fit into Clark’s life, but now she knows she does, and she’s been welcomed into the superhero inner circle.  She also found the videos left behind by her dead mother, Ella,  and the messages contained within convinced her to mend the rift between Clark and AI Jor-EL.  Clark saw a recording of his dead Kryptonian parents, and found out stuff he mostly knew already, and nothing seemed to change.  General Sam Lane showed up and gave Clark a lot of shit, while Lois stayed quiet, but eventually she sided with Clark.  Clark won him over in the end.  A DARKNESS came through the portal Clark opened, and is now corrupting people, who are weak-willed, or lack faith…or, something like that.  Truth be told, I have no freaking clue, but Clark is vulnerable because of his DARKNESS, while Kara and Lois are not because they are “pure”.  Our heroes started to suffer the backlash from the public,  fueled by corrupted radio shock jock, Godfrey, and a new Vigilante Registration Act was born. But is was actually a smoke screen to capture the heroes and run by a zealot named Slade, who has also been corrupted by the DARKNESS, as evidenced by the tatoo on his skull which Clark saw via X-ray vision.  A shadowy group of vigilantes called the Suicide Squad fought back against the government with terrorist tactics.  They also kidnapped Oliver, and traded him for Chloe, but then she faked her death.  They also gave all our heroes really cool skull tatoos to track them, all in the name of recruiting them to their side of things.  Clark and company were stuck fighting both the shadowy government VRA goons, and the Suicide Squad.  AC showed up with his new wife Mera, and threw around more sports metaphors then anyone should have to endure in a lifetime.  In the end, he decided to endorse Clark's way of doing things, and both he and Mera gave Clois their seal of endorsement.   Clone Lex is on the loose, as is a vicious Lionel Luthor from an alternative reality, but no knows about the latter.  Chloe is MIA.  Tess is Watchtower now, and she found out she used to be in an orphanage run by Granny Goodness.  Carter Hall, aka Hawkman, was killed while saving Lois from Slade, until he’s reborn at some point in the future.   And Clark, Lois, Oliver and Dinah ended the season unconscious in the desert felled by a pyramid thingy.  Overall Grade:  C+

THE CHARACTERS:

Clark Kent, aka The Blur:  Aside from a brief loss of faith brought on my a dickish AI, and an unsupportive cousin, Clark has mostly remained steadfast on his heroic path.  While not exactly blazing new trails, he has settled into a leadership-like role amongst the other heroes in the clubhouse.  He's been a good friend to Oliver and Tess for the overwhelming majority of the time.  He's completely devoted to Lois, and has committed to her fully, and this brings him happiness.  However, Clark's heroic exploits as The Blur seem to be taking place entirely off screen.  He still seems to need others to spell things out for him, or push him in the right direction before he acts.  He adopted a new more colorful suit, but aside from Cat suggesting that a hero wearing red and blue would be more inspirational then one wearing black, we really don't know why.  And we don't know whether the public has noticed the change.  Several episodes featured a Clark that seemed to be very underwritten (except in areas related to Lois, usually).  In the 10th and final season of the show, Clark remains a mostly reactionary character, who rarely seems to make a decision without some major catalyst/inspiration or suggestion.  It would seem that Smallville writers are firmly in the "It Takes A Village To Raise a Superman" philosophy, and this year seems heavily focused on Lois' contribution to that cause.  While Clark has had highpoints  in several episodes, I remain frustrated and disappointed in the writing for him, and I wish that the writers would put as much time and effort into illuminating the other aspects of Clark's life as they've spent on Clois.  Grade:  B-

Lois Lane
:  The writing for Lois has been, overall, very strong.  She's been shown to be smart, self-sacrificing, forgiving, understanding, heroic, and so on, and so forth.  She's fully embraced the supportive girlfriend/fiancee role when it comes to Clark.  While we don't see much of her as the crusading reporter as we should, the show does a far better job of selling her as budding DP superstar then they do Clark.  Lois has been a good friend to Oliver, and seems to have made peace with Tess.  And while her allowing her father to act like a dick to Clark in his own home was not her best moment of the season, she did eventually side with Clark and stand up to the General.  Still, Lois' arc apart from Clark seems to be rather nonexistent, and it feels like she's almost been made to be too perfect and understanding, robbing the character of some of her personality.  Grade: A-

Oliver Queen:  Oliver started out this season naked and tied to a chair.  Once released, he seemed to be in permanent mope mode over Chloe for several episodes, and seemed to have come to some truly head scratching conclusions about why Chloe left (she couldn't handle his secret?).  While Oliver's public announcment that he was the Green Arrrow might not have been the best strategic move, I have to admire his bravery and conviction.  After some initial bitching at Clark, he seems to have settled into a decent friend.  Same with Tess, where his initial nastiness towards her finally abetted, and they seem mostly friendly now.  After a very annoying and rocky start to the season, Oliver has gotten some truly decent writing in the latter few eps before the hiatus, and his character appears to be on an upswing. Grade:  C+

Tess Mercer
:  Possibly having the most meaty storyline this season, Tess has encountered Lex clones (and tried to mother one for a bit), found out that she spent time in an orphanage in the care of a scary old lady named Granny Goodness, and eventually found out she was the illegtimate daugher of Lionel Luthor.  She also found herself welcomed into the inner circle of the hero club, and took on the mantle of Watchtower.  She seems to have forged a solid friendship with Clark, and is on friendly terms with Oliver and Lois.  She has been stuck in the role of Chlollie pimper in a few unfortunate moments.  Being the shows true wildcard probably allows her character more flexibility, which might make her a more appealing character to write for SV modestly talented staff.  Grade:  A

VILLIANS:

CLONE ALEXANDER:  The biggest risk in going here was the lack of certainty on the pay-off.  Which means if they didn't have Michael Rosenbaum signed, sealed and delivered, I'm not sure that this arc will ever feel satisfactory.  Bringing in the actors that have played the young Lex in the past is a nice touch, but its still not the real thing.  Also, I'm not sure that these clones have been explained very well.  They were created to "heal the creator", but how?  And since Lex seemed to perfect the clone thing with Grant Gabriel, why are these so fucked up?  And why do they have memories of things Lex shouldn't have any clue about, i.e Zod?  While I do see the value, and maybe even necessity, of making Lex Luthor a part of the shows last season, and this is the only villian arc that feels uniquely connected to Clark,  I have doubts about the road taken.  Grade:  C

DARKSEID
:  The supposed Really Big Bad of S10, Darkseid's influence has been poorly explained, and got short shrift when it comes to airtime.  His minions, Godfrey, Desaad and Granny Goodness, all show promise as villians, but just haven't gotten much facetime.  Granny's furies were a total letdown, and not particularly intimidating at all.  Desaad was, apparently, cut from his initial episode.  This looming menace is sort of a yawn, and is just a muddled mess to this non-comic book reader.  Clark was supposed to be a target for Darkseid, yet Clark was in the clutches of one of his minions, and no one seemed to care or notice.   Supposedly, the idea was for us to feel the DARKNESS creeping up slowly, but all I felt was that it was doing something in Offscreensville that I wasn't privy to.  Grade:  D

THE VRA/SLADE:  Slade, another comic book character that I have no clue about, is a character that should feel menancing, and intimidating, and yet comes across as John McCain's less stable brother.  Even not knowing what his comic book persona is like, its not hard to see that this role is filled by a talented, but miscast actor.  I also find the heavy Nazi imagery employed for the VRA to be in bad taste, and offputting.  I mean, really, the uniforms?   Ridiculous.  I'm also uncomfortable with the political idealogy that seems to seep through into this fictional world.  But, I do see the merit in the idea of this, and I do find it to be a credible hurdle for Clark to overcome, winning over the more paranoid military types who will fear his power.   Still, this arc is very much a "JLA threat" rather then something personal and particular to Clark, and I think thats a problem with the show overall in this season.  I also think this storyline suffers a bit from the underdevelopment of the Darkseid stuff, which its connected to it.  Grade:  B-

THE SUICIDE SQUAD
:  The most intersting and successful villian arc the show has going on right now, due mostly to good casting, and a much more basic and easy to follow arc.  Suicide Squad members Rick Flagg, Deadshot and Warp made interesting impressions in small roles.  I've been thoroughly entertained by them, and hope to see more.  But, this is another arc where the villians threat is not something personal or unique to Clark, making it more of a general JLA thing.  And I'm not interested in watching a JLA show.    Grade:  A

RETURNING GUEST STARS
:

Succesfully Done:  Jonathan Kent, Carter Hall, Brainiac, General Sam Lane, Emil Hamilton, Courtney/Stargirl. Greg Arkin/Bugboy

Successfully Done, but with a caveat:  Lionel Luthor.  Did we really need to have him back for several eps?

Mixed Reviews:  Plastique (not enough there to judge), Lucy Lane, Dinah (but only because we only got a cameo thus far), Alexander

Unsuccessfully Done:  Kara, Jor-El and Lara, AC 

NEW GUEST STARS:

Successfully Done:  Rick Flagg, Deadshot,  Warp, Cat Grant, Ella Lane,  Granny Goodness, Godfrey, Desaad (big impression in tiny scene)

Unsuccessfully Done:  Slade, Mad Harriet, Mera, aging Lex clone

RELATIONSHIPS:

CLOIS:  Well, lets be honest here...if you're a big Clois fan, there are lots of lots of reasons to be thrilled.  If you are not, then this season has to bit more challenging for you.  I think thats something everyone can agree on.  Its nice to see Clark and Lois happy and in love, and secure in their relationship for each other.  However, I wish the writers could take a bit more of a relaxed approach to their development, rather then this milestone checklist approach they've taken.  And while I'm happy that Clark has love and support in his corner, I bristle at the subtle, and not so subtle, writing that seems to suggest Clark could never have become Superman without Lois.  I have no problems with Lois making Clark a happier and more fulfilled Superman, I do have a problem with Lois making Clark Superman.  

CHLOLLIE:  I didn't buy it last season, I don't buy it this season.   Having Oliver go on and on about stuff that never even remotely occured on screen doesn't make this love of a lifetime remotely credible.
  
BEST MOMENTS:

Clark catches the DP globe (Lazarus), Clark tells Lois that he's The Blur (Isis), The Future (Homecoming), Tom's Clark Luthor (Luthor), Cat stabs Lois with a pen (Isis), Oliver and Carter (Icarus), Clark and Tess have a heart-to-heart (Luthor), Clark stands up to General Lane (Ambush), Clark gets himself out of trouble (Abandoned), Tess reads Peter Pan to little Alexander (Isis), Clark and Jonathan's reunion (Lazarus), Greg Arkin delivers a surprising message to Lois (Homecoming), Tess' reaction to Cat thinking Lois is The Blur (Isis), Clark and Oliver ask Tess to be Watchtower (Isis), Frisky Clark and Lois (Ambush)

WORST MOMENTS:

Kara's public save (Supergirl), AI Jor-El tells Clark he sucks (Lazarus), The village of blue-K infected religious crazies (Harvest), Carter completely gives up Clark's secret (Shield), Mera and Lois get catty (Patriot), Lois and Kara pass the pure of heart test, Clark doesn't (Supergirl), Tess, Oliver and Lois do battle with Clark Luthor...off screen (Luthor),  S&M bondage (Supergirl), Clark is failing Oliver as a friend (Homecoming), Lois finds an Egyptian necklace in her bag (Isis), Lucy kisses Clark (Ambush),  Clark escapes from a Kryptonite cage...off screen (Patriot), Sports metaphors (Patriot), The book of Rao gets forgotten (Lazarus), Candles! (Harvest)

I was going to post some lines from episodes which I think are indicative of some of the problems with the shows writing, but quite frankly, I've run out of Smallville steam.  Maybe I'll do that another time.  

So, there ya have it.  The opinions expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone, and I make no claims that I speak for others.   Opinions on a fictional television show are subjective, not objective, and people are bound to feel differently about things.    




Comments

( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
jlvsclrk
Jan. 10th, 2011 11:17 am (UTC)
I was rewatching Supergirl on Friday and just kept shaking my head over all the things that went wrong. My sister didn't originally have any problems with it, but by the end she was even more negative than I was. Just a symptom of what's wrong with this season.

Homecoming is the personal highlight of the season so far, even if it doesn't make a lick of sense.
jeannev
Jan. 10th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
Supergirl will forever remain a complete WTF for me. I just Do. Not. Understand. Why did anyone think that was a good idea? Why was it even necessary? There were so many good ways to bring Kara back, and they chose a way that makes me not want to see Kara ever again. And I don't care how its wanked, or rationalized, I do think her emergence as Supergirl (which is what it was, lets be honest) impacts Clark's emergence as Superman. When he shows up in red and blue, flying around, saving the day, people can look up and think "Oh, another one!"

Ambush, followed by Luthor, followed by Shield were my highlights. But I do understand why people loved the future stuff in Homecoming so much.

And I love your avi. :)
asha14
Jan. 10th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
I think you are a very fair grader and I agree with your report. Imo don't think that it has been suggested that Clark becomes Superman because of Lois (maybe a better Superman because of having that support his adopted parents had with each other and that has been a storyline for Clark from the very beginning which is nice. I however want more DP action for both characters) that belongs to another character and that is why I am thinking really really hard about watching the second half. The first half good have been better for the character of Clark Kent however I don't think he has been all about Lois while imo Lois with the exception of that wasteful episode of Super-girl has been all about Clark. she has been shown to be his only emotional support system and that is where I think the imo miss place accusations of the character making him Superman are coming from. In the early seasons Clark had his parents, and also his friends even if they did not know about the "super" half of him. Clark now only has Lois for emotional support: Chloe, Lana, Lex, Pete, and Parents are gone...Oliver is too envious of him and Tess, (whom Clark supports emotionally not the other way around and not because Tess does not want to support him emotionally; I think its because Clark is learning how to compartmentalize his two identities now) whom Clark keeps at emotional arms length and this season she is being used for JLA business. I think that Tess has been used wonderfully this year and the actress has truly shown what she can do. It seems the writers have finally found a place for this character and now imo she is more consistently written. As for Oliver my OTP on this show is not Clois its Oliver/Star City.
jeannev
Jan. 10th, 2011 03:06 pm (UTC)
I hear what you're saying, and you make a lot of great points. I think what really stands out for me are certain lines like Hawkman saying "He can't do it without you" and "You have everything you need" when looking at Lois. Its that she's linked to his floating in Homecoming (and I have no doubts she'll be equally linked to his flying). Its the talk of her as "Co-captain" in Patriot. Its her matching leather jacket outfit while being front and center at a funeral attended by all superheroes in costume.

And I know these are just moments, but they feel like a bit too much for me. I understand how mileage varies.

As for Oliver my OTP on this show is not Clois its Oliver/Star City.

LOL, Love it! I'd be fine with his going away, even though he's gotten a lot more tolerable for me as the season has gone on.

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wingster55
Jan. 10th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
Supergirl was just grade A crap.

I still don't get Homecoming..didn't Greg Arkin die? I still think it's ridiculous and a bit of a cheat to show Clark his future..it's as if he only embraces it because it's unavoidable.
Free will and all that jazz..out the window.
jeannev
Jan. 10th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)
Supergirl was just unforgiveable to me. I think, over time, I've just been worn down by these types of episodes, and after a while, it just becomes too hard to let them slide. It matters and I think it robbed something from Clark and his journey that he can't get back, no matter what they do with the end of the season.

Greg Arkin certainly seemed like he died. Here's the funny thing...I liked his reappearance, and his one scene with lines was really emotional for me. However, of all the meteor infected people Clark went up against, Greg wasn't really one of the ones he tried to save, or had an impact on. So, he was an odd choice for the episode.

Showing Clark his future was a cheat. And I don't understand how people can dismiss the line "As you can see, the future is just fine..." and say that its still an unknown. How do those 2 things reconcile?

Being shown a happy and successful future isn't a guarantee for Clark, I agree. But it does give him an advantage most people in the world never get, and I find that problematic.
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goodvibe
Jan. 11th, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC)
Re: general comments
//Why is his Blur stuff all happening offscreen? Why hasn't he had a single DP assignment that he's actively pursuing onscreen? Why isn't he going on the offensive in dealing with the way the VRA has turned public sentiment against vigilantes? If I compare S9 to S10 in terms of which features a more well-rounded and proactive Clark, I'd give the hat-tip to S9, frankly. At least Clark was actively trying to deal with Zod/the Kandorians and dealing with Blur activities onscreen while also trying to pursue a relationship with Lois. In S10, the only place he really shines at all is in the Clois aspect.//

Yes, exactly. I have to give a lot of credit to S9 in retrospect too, not only like you said, in terms of Clark' characterization, but also wrt how the storylines in general shaped up. I know there are still 11 eps left, but I feel the Zod/Kandorians storylines, while really picking up momentum in the 2nd half had still, atleast set a solid foundation in the 1st half. So far? This season has been a mess with all its juggling, dangling, half baked plots and storylines.
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jeannev
Jan. 10th, 2011 05:05 pm (UTC)
Re: the grades: part II
I think you owe me a neck massager, because I think I pulled something while nodding in agreement. We disagree somewhat on eps like Homecoming and Icarus, but overall, I think you've really articulated well my problems with the episodes of this season, and why this season grades rather low for me.

I especially loved what you had to say about Abandoned, because while its in the middle of the pack for me for this season, it really bugs me. And just take out the Lois in the FOS, Jor-El/Lara stuff, and I think you have an episode that is just a ton better.

So many times this season, I've watched an episode, and thought there were some decent ideas there, but the execution, in script and direction (sometimes performance) was just lacking.

You mention that you believe that Sparling doesn't find Clark as interesting as other characters, and I agree, but I sadly think she's not the only one. I was literally stunned at how Septien/Meyer's script also had such a severely underwritten Clark, and thats even more shocking when you consider that Meyer was directing the episode (I'm expecting NOTHING from Septien's directing debut on Scion).

[quote]I really think a big part of why this season is largely underwhelming for me (seriously; I graded it as a C overall, which you'll see in a few minutes) is that Clark isn't proactive and central enough. The writing for him is strongest and most engaged when it involves his relationship with Lois. And while the Clois shipper in me loves that, I'm interested in more than just Clark's relationship with Lois when it comes to him. Why is his Blur stuff all happening offscreen? Why hasn't he had a single DP assignment that he's actively pursuing onscreen? Why isn't he going on the offensive in dealing with the way the VRA has turned public sentiment against vigilantes? If I compare S9 to S10 in terms of which features a more well-rounded and proactive Clark, I'd give the hat-tip to S9, frankly. At least Clark was actively trying to deal with Zod/the Kandorians and dealing with Blur activities onscreen while also trying to pursue a relationship with Lois. In S10, the only place he really shines at all is in the Clois aspect.[/quote]

I agree with all this, which exactly why Clois becomes a focal point for criticism. Because it feels, at least to me, like the writers think the most important thing they need to do with Clark is have him show his devotion to Lois. And while I would never imply that doesn't have importance, I just feel like its priority in regards to Clark is unbalanced when so many more important things need to happen in the shows final season.
la_belle_isa
Jan. 10th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
I admire your thoroughness, especially with the villains, their storylines are not easy to follow. Just to get Chloe and Oliver out of the way, I don’t care if their love is the greatest ever. It both gives them something to do that isn’t damaging to Clark and I can fast forward without losing anything about Clark.
Rambling ahead:
The actual premise for the season (Clark has darkness in him therefore, the suit is taken away from him until he deserves it) doesn’t make any sense for me. Clark never said that he needed a new suit to begin with, and that he needed that suit to be red and blue. Martha sent him a suit in S9 and that’s it. The meaning of that suit for Clark was never established and I doubt it ever will be. Or do we need a PhD in comic books to know that? Why would Jor-el know its existence and why would it care about it? The suit is supposed to be a big deal, but the show just skipped on Clark’s point of view once again. It’s all happening over his head. Martha sends a suit that Clark didn’t ask for and Jor-el takes it God know how, and Clark is supposed to claim it. I know: the suit=comics=70 years blah-blah-blah; I just don’t know why Clark would ever want to wear that particular suit in SV. I don’t know if I’m the only one to care about that. For me, it’s a major plothole.
Of course, the darkness stuff doesn’t make any sense either. I think it would have been much better if the premise was that Clark was the choice target of Darkseid and since he’s vulnerable to Darkseid's powers, he has to find a way to overcome that threat. Instead, since this show is half-girlie show, half-DC revival, we get: “the girls are pure and perfect but Clark sucks”. Isn’t that obvious that Clark would be a primary target because of his powers? Why do we need for him to suck?
I’m actually in a SV re-watch and I’m in the middle of S2 and the difference in Clark’s character is distressing. In those early days, Clark was able to deduce, find solutions and apply them all on his own. He didn’t make inconsidered moves that got him his BDA reputation in later seasons; only once in Nocturne, in an episode written by S&P, what a surprise.
Seriously, the only time I watched Harvest, I saw Clark treated like a beast by the villagers and he looked like one, waiting in the background while Lois was doing the talking and then taking her in his arms like King Kong took Fray Wray. It just how I saw that scene. It reminded me of King Kong. What a pity. At least, S10 did a good job of showing Clark getting closer and closer to becoming Lois’ husband. The only thing is that it’s not why I’m watching the show.
Lex said to Jonathan in S2 that he was through listening to his sanctimonious platitudes. Well, it’s all we’re getting now. Clark listens to sanctimonious platitudes from those boring DC has-been and really, I can’t take it anymore. And I’m sure more is on the way with GJ vanity episode.
“Kara also made a public save, while flying, while wearing her red and blue costume, and adopted a secret identity complete with glasses…”
Do you think we’ll see that for Clark? Honestly, I’m not sure. We’ll never get an explaination about why the showrunners thought Supergirl was a good idea. My only explaination is that to attract some guest stars, they have to give them what they perceive as a glorious storyline for their character and that’s how we get Supergirl and Superlana. Both actresses were thrilled with their arc. Now let’s see what they do with Superchloe.
I just re-watched an interview with Tom when he said “All people are talking about is “the end the end the end”.” But with all due respect, the showrunners decided that we would get the super stuff about Clark only at the end so that’s why people are eager to get to that part. I really think it’s a mistake to wait until the very end. It will be too little too late.
Honestly, with all those balls in the air story-wise, I’m nearly 100% sure that the finale will be a mess because there’s no way that the writers will be able to juggle all of them effectively. I expect a crowded mess where every character gets to shine on Clark’s podium. I’ll be thrilled to be wrong.

jeannev
Jan. 10th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Wow. Just Wow! You said so much in this that I just want to quote and agree with, because it describes so well how I'm feeling.

In so many ways, I think Lazarus started off the season on the wrong foot. Everything you said about the Superman suit is spot-on. The show didn't do anything to explain why Martha gave it to him, why Clark would want to wear it, why it has any significance at all, or why Jor-El would take it. They just knew people would go "Oh, look, its the suit!", and thats about as much explanation as they bothered to put into their writing.

And thats such a huge problem for them in so many areas. Darkseid, as a villian, should be resonating for the viewers due to whats occuring on screen, not what they know of him from other versions. And the best, and surest way, to make Darkseid a more credible threat on screen is to tie him more closely to Clark. That Clark would be a particular target for Darkseid is understandable, believable and menancing. That Clark should be particularly vulnerable due to some trumped up DARKNESS is bullshit.

And really, Clark doesn't seem to be overly concerned with a DARKNESS that he's never experianced before (or so he's been told), and thats just odd to me. Heck, he even discussed it with Lois off screen.

Harvest is awful, and despite Clark rescuing Lois (even though that didn't make much sense), I still don't believe he was written well in that episode. Lois has gotten a number of BIG moment speeches this year, Clark has gotten...less.

Even if we see Clark flying around in the red and blue, and wearing the glasses, I'm not sure how effective that moment will be anymore, since they've done so much to water it down. I don't care what anyone else says, there is something to being FIRST! Clark might do it better then Kara, but she still blazed that trail before him.

I'm looking ahead, and seeing the spoilers, and knowing that there's a Chloe arc coming, not to mention an episode so Johns can wank himself, and I'm just wondering where I see the time and effort into ending Clark's story the way it should be ended, not to mention tying up the villian arcs.
goodvibe
Jan. 10th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
Excellent review!

After my rewatch, sadly, I've found the season even less appealing than before. And certain aspects of eps that seemed promising, now just seemed flat and dull.

Your character assesments are spot on. I'd say the only place where there's perhaps a slight variation in opinion is the extent to which certain things bothered me about Clark and Lois' characterization - just the little things / missteps that bothered me far more on rewatch.

You're a bit more generous on the villains, but overall, I think we agree that collectively the villains this season have been a mess.

I really don't need to add anything to the guest stars list - complete agreement.

I can definitely see your issues with Clois this season. Personally I feel its been a mixed bag with great highs but equally great lows.

I'll have to think about the best and worst moments, but I have a suspicion the worst might outnumber the best, I'm afraid.

Back with more thoughts later, though, really, you've done a terrific job summing the season up.
jeannev
Jan. 10th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
It was such a chore to rewatch the season thus far. I mean, it was really joyless. I think thats definitely an indicator that you're ready for it to end. And its so depressing, because I was so looking forward to a last season that got me back to being excited.

Honestly, I think I was a bit generous overall, but I was trying to find some merit in things.

Looking forward to your thoughts when you return!
tjw_jaypat
Jan. 10th, 2011 05:21 pm (UTC)
Wow, I almost thought I was on a wrong site. New layouts tend to baffle me! :))

Great summary of the season! I agree with almost everything. A few minor differences are not worth mentioning. My ratings may just be a tick worse than yours.

I agree that Clois has been overdone a little this season. On the other hand, I prefer watching Clois romance over watching Clark being beaten or tortured. And, yes, Chlollie is not convincing to me at all: it´s a lightswitch relationship.

This season is a mess. There are way too many villains and returning guest stars around that need to be fitted in. It´s just a good-bye orgy that does not do much to further Clark´s story. He´s just around and, as you rightly say, reacts to the things around him. And as la belle isa said above, I am also very, very afraid that the finale will be a crowded mess. I can already see and hear myself screaming in despair: "Ten years of Smallville for THIS???!!!". And after 11 episodes of this final season, my hope that I get refuted for once is almost zero.
jeannev
Jan. 10th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
What do you think of the layout? I'm trying it out for a day or two, and seeing what I think. Input is welcome.

Initially, I had done a far longer summary of the season thus far, and including some of those details was just depressing me, so I shortened it quite a bit.

When I think back on my favorite TV couples over the years, I've realized something. I tend to gravitate more towards couples that aren't an issue in every single episode. I think I lean more towards strong individuals who come together, but never quite get to the whole "I don't know how I ever lived without you" sort of stuff. But then again, I'm not a romantic at all, and my more cynical nature often rears its snarky head. LOL

I've been struggling a lot with the question of what more needs to be told in Clark's story before he becomes Superman. And though I keep thinking "A lot", I'm having a hard time articulating it. But I think, for me, and despite how much I love the character, I don't watch Clark and think "worlds greatest hero and protector". I just don't, and its such a bummer. Here's the problem with making your hero so reliant on others...it introduces the question of what and who he would be without those others. And I guess I was just looking for a much stronger, confident, forceful, proactive Clark to emerge this season. Last season sort of set the stage for that, and then this season seemed to hit the stall button. Again.
audrey229
Jan. 10th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
For some odd reason, I found this line extremely funny. I actually laughed out loud:

"AI Jor-El tells Clark he sucks (Lazarus)"

I shouldn't be laughing at that. Because that moment, in Lazarus, was a moment that made me upset, nervous and angry in a way that I didn't expect to be in the season premiere. But I feel like all I can do is laugh at it right now.

I think this is a fair report card. I have a few disagreements and, in general, I like the season more than you do. But overall, I understand where you are coming from even if I don't seen things exactly the same way.

Obviously, I'm a Clois fan so I admit outright that I have really enjoyed a lot of their scenes this season. I've had a few minor complaints and there have been episodes (like the main plot of Harvest) where I would have written them quite differently but on the whole...I've enjoyed the Clark/Lois stuff.

However, I really, really miss the Daily Planet dynamic and I do feel a bit of dissapointment that the show basically dropped that entire plotline for both of them in the first half. Don't get me wrong...I love the Clois romantic stuff. I love it. I am a romantic at heart. But I also feel like if you eliminate the Daily Planet partership and you eliminate the snark between Clois....you eliminate half of what makes them....them. Yes, they are the kind of couple where it becomes a "I will die without you" kind of thing. There is no getting around it....that is Clark Kent and Lois Lane in the mythology. They are probably for all intents and purposes the most intense couple in the comicbook world. BUT--they are also the most FUN.

Two of my favorite Clois related lines from the season were Clark saying, "You mispell words. Simple words. At an ALARMINGLY frequent basis." And Lois saying in "Homecoming" that Clark shouldn't gloat because she was going to re-switch the order of their names on the door as soon as she got the chance. So for this Clois fan? I want them back in the Daily Planet. I want Lois to be her wonderfully supportive self but I also want her to be the pain in the ass that she is driving him crazy. Because, call me crazy, but I think that's part of why he loves her. That's the missing link for me, right now.

I'm also in agreement that Clark has been underwritten for much of the season. For the most part, I think he's been written very well with Lois. However, although I am a Clois fan, that is not enough for me as someone who loves Clark. Clark should be written just as well and with just as much love and care in every scene that he's in. He should be written with care as lover, friend, hero, journalist etc etc. He should be written to be just as proactive with a villian as he is with his lover.

I do appreciate the way you structure your complaints about the writing for Clark in a way that actually addresses the issue yet still remains respectful to the role Clois plays in the story. It's upsetting to me that the way Clark has been underwritten this season has turned into an excuse for people to bash Clois. And I think that's really sad. I think it's very unfortunate that show's mistakes in other areas of Clark's life have basically turned Lois and Clois into the scapegoat. The real issue is that Clark needs to be written well ALL THE TIME. The Lois and Clois stuff is going to be there and it's going to be important regardless because it's an important piece of this story. If Clark is written well in every area of his life then the show has balance. When he's not written well in other areas, the show starts to feel unbalanced. But I think you said it in a way that addressed what the real issue was as opposed to twisting it.

jeannev
Jan. 11th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
Nothing drives me more bonkers then the AI Jor-El stuff, and I feel like I'm going to lose my mind when I see people justifying it, or trying to rationalize. And I realize thats their right, and I respect that, but I'm like "OMG, are you kidding?" LOL Sometimes, its best to just realize that there are some things you can't talk rationally about. LOL

I expect that people really into Clois are going to be enjoying the season more then people who aren't. But I tried in this post not to make that a big issue, because thats the story the show is telling. So, I tried to look more in how they are telling the story of that relationship. And really, its fine. Its too over-the-top for me personally, but thats a personal perspective.

I have also come to realize that the more I hear about comic book Clois, the more I think it definitely wouldn't be my cup of tea at all.

But, whatever the case with Clois, my real focus is how Clark's story is being told aside from Clois, because I feel thats just as important. And thats where the show has been really disappointing for me this season. Thats really where most of my issues stem from.

And also, I realized upon my rewatch that I've really hit the ceiling with bad dialogue, bad direction, and dealing with important scenes in Offscreensville. I know a lot of that has been a part of the show for a long time, but I no longer have the patience for it.

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tasabian
Jan. 11th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
Nice summary!

It would seem that Smallville writers are firmly in the "It Takes A Village To Raise a Superman" philosophy, and this year seems heavily focused on Lois' contribution to that cause. While Clark has had highpoints in several episodes, I remain frustrated and disappointed in the writing for him, and I wish that the writers would put as much time and effort into illuminating the other aspects of Clark's life as they've spent on Clois.
S10 reminds me a lot of s6 in that the only plot the writers seem to care about or expect the viewers to care about is the romantic plot: Clark's journey redacted to Clark's dating. S6 was essentially soap opera with sparse action; S10 is romance with sparse action.

S10 frustrates me because all these great villains & potential plotlines are just slotted in around the romance stuff. No proper introductions to Deadshot, Desaad, Deathstroke...we're just meant to know who they are, filler moments until the next Clois scene.

That's fine for the viewers who only care about the romance but that's not every viewer. There hasn't been a single exciting action episode this season, which is disappointing. Rabid is an episode that manages to balance all the elements: action, suspense, lots of Clark, romance. Why can't they manage that this season?

My Top 5 moments:
Clark Luthor's first appearance & Tess's reaction
Clark standing up for himself to all the Lanes in Ambush
Lois in Icarus "I HATE slides!"
Tess to Oliver, deadpan: "Oliver. You're like Christmas."
Clark's ultra stylish rescue of Cat, complete with cafe au lait and newspaper.

Bottom 5 moments:
Darkseid informing Kara and Lois that they're pure, unlike that corrupted Clark.
Brainiac 5 spoonfeeding Clark his future, thus removing all suspense & excitement from an already less than exciting season.
Clone Lex babbling exposition in Lazarus
Every appearance of every incarnation of Jor-El
Mr & Mrs Aquaman telling Clark he needs a co-pilot.
jeannev
Jan. 11th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
I remember a post I really liked a while back on K-Site, where someone was talking about how romance is used on SV. And they sort of compared the show to a meal, and posed the question of what would you prefer to be the "meat" of the episode, and what do you like as desert. For me, I prefer the heroic stuff to be the "meat" with the romantic stuff as the desert. And I've also come to realize that part of my preference is for it to be a bit seperate, just as the main meal and desert is. I mean, not totally, they're all part of the same meal. But rather that I don't want the whipped cream dumped on my Filet Mignon, ya know?

OMG, thats too many metaphors. The writer of Patriot must be wearing off on me. LOL

I've also been VERY vocal, and stand by my opinion on this, that the show seems to be gearing itself towards the comic book crowd, and those of us not well informed can just suck it. There's a real conceit in dropping all these comic book characters, but not spending much time and effort to flesh them out, or even explain them. I think they are relying on the fact that Darkseid is, apparently, cool in the comic books and cartoons to give him menace and substance in the SV world. And it feels so lazy to me.

But I also think this same mindset plays into the reasons for Clark being so underwritten too much of the time. Because the conceit by the writers is that we already know how he's going to end up, so not much effort needs to be made along the way.

I though Ambush had a nice balance of story, and romance. And while not a big fan, I'd say the same for Homecoming. I thought Shield did OK with it too. But an episode like Patriot, which should've been straight up hero stuff felt like the main focus was in the wrong place.

How could I forget the Tess/Clark Luthor scene? Yes, one of my Best Moments too. As was Clark's rescue of Cat.

I also should've added Clark's reaction to Cat saying "Who would want to kill me?" in Shield, because that was one of those great little Tom Welling moments.

Ditto on all your bottom 5 moments.
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goodvibe
Jan. 11th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
part-I
I'm ba-aaack.

Episodes:

Ambush: (A+) This is so head and shoulders above everything else this season, I feel like it's in a league of its own. If it's possible, I think I enjoyed it even more the 2nd time. Everything worked - the Suicide Squad storyline was exciting and engrossing, Ironside was awesome, and even the Tess/Ollie scene towards the end worked well. I also think Clois was written the strongest in this ep than in any other this season. But the real reason I want to hug this ep is because of the absolutely exceptional writing for Clark - he's everything I expect and want our SV!CK to be.

Homecoming: (B+) The parts that bothered me about the ep still bothered me, but on the whole, the ep still still left me with a smile on my face. And I enjoyed the future!Lois/present!Clark scenes even more than I did the first time round, particularly Lois' hilariously adorable glasses gesture and their rooftop kiss - which IMO is their hottest kiss yet, second only to the one in 'Salvation.'

Luthor: (B+) As with 'Homecoming', the aspects of the ep that bothered me the first time, still did so. But on the whole, I was as impressed with certain aspects of it, if not more, upon rewatch. The ep is elevated truly by the exceptional acting, and the strength of a couple of very powerful scenes.

Shield: (B-) This is an odd one. I found myself liking the Clark/Cat scenes even more and disliking the Lois/Carter ones even more upon rewatch. But it's not just my appreciation of the former scenes that elevates this one to my 3rd best of the list - it's also the writing for Clark that does it. He's smart, caring, comfident and capable.

Isis: (C) The main plot remained as cheesy as ever on rewatch, but there are a few gems tucked away that save this from the disaster it could've otherwise been - all of Cat' scenes, for one thing. Plus, that awesome reveal scene at the end, which remains as delightful to watch as it was the first time.

Abandoned: (C) Like with 'Shield', I ended up enjoying one subplot more and disliking the other more than I did the first time. On rewatch, I thought the Tess/Clark/GG subplot led in very well to the final reveal. But the Lois/FOS scenes dragged on far too much, because I'm yet to understand the point of any of it.

Lazarus: (C-) I liked it far less on rewatch. The AI pissed me off more than I'd like to admit, and I cringed at some of the writing for Clark, Lois and Clois. But the Jonathon/Clark scenes are absolutely as lovely to watch as they were the first time, and there's a nice action moment in there for Clark, so I wouldn't call this a waste of my time. Just a disappointment, overall.

Icarus: (D+) Upon rewatch, I liked this far less. I think probably because the firt time I was unspoiled so I appreciated the ride of it all a bit more, including the cliffy at the end. Now, that I knew where it was all headed, I couldn't help noticing the flaws a lot more, and IMO, there were many. Most of all? I was quite bored watching it the 2nd time. But there are a few good moments in there, and because it's better than what's below it - therefore the + to the D.

Patriot: (D) The awful? Got even more awful on rewatch, including the mostly atrocious writing and acting. What elevates it above other eps below it is the writing for Lois and some good moments for Oliver.

Harvest: (D-) I found very little redeemable about this one upon rewatch, including the Tess/clone!Alexander storyline which I actually mostly liked the first time. I just found it way too non-sensical this time round - incredibly so, in fact. And the less said about the Clark/Lois storyline and the writing for them both, the better. The only somewhat shining aspect that I still appreciated the second time round was the acting by CF and Connor Stanhope.

Supergirl: (F) Nothing redeemable upon rewatch.
jeannev
Jan. 11th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
Re: part-I
I think if I did a report card using this sort of format, mine would look very, very much like yours. Perhaps a slight difference here and there, but mostly we're right in line with our opinions of the SV eps this season.

Is there something below an F we could give Supergirl?
(Deleted comment)
goodvibe
Jan. 11th, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC)
part -II
When you're watching something on rewatch, in far quicker succession than do normally, there are certain things you tend to pick up on that you may have otherwise missed the first time round, and I definitely found this to be the case with my assesment of the characters.

Clark: You know what pisses me off? That Clark only really got two standout eps so far ('Ambush' and 'Shield'). Out of 11 eps, 2. If this doesn't reflect how the writing staff feels about the character, a character whose very show this is, that too in its final season, I don't know what does. I found his lack of presence in eps like 'Patriot' and 'Icarus' even more disconcerting this time round and I was actively annoyed by writing in eps like 'Lazarus' with his inability to recognize that Lois now knew about him which just msde him look stupid, plain and simple. And in 'Isis', with his questioning whether or not to tell Lois just one ep after 'Homecoming' where things are literally spelled out for him, btw. What also bothers me is the lack of Blur activity this season. It's all been very internalized this season, and I'm not sure I like that as a direction for a final season. But, I do have to say, Clark is magnificent in 'Ambush.' He stands up for exactly what he believes in, doesn't waver, yet is so incredibly Clark-like, while at it, with his sincerity and genuineness, and there's So.Much POV from him, that like I said, I want to hug this ep. He's also terrific in 'Shield', but this just saddens me even more - why can't he be written like this all the time?

Lois: I think Lois' standout eps this season have been 'Ambush', 'Patriot' and 'Icarus.' What separates her writing in the former than anything else this season is how incredibly layered it is - she's far from one note, and is instead a flawed human being with both strong points and weaknesses, yet ultimately recognizable character that you can understand, even if you don't always agree with. In the latter two, meanwhile, she's portrayed as very capable, very competent, and her investigative side comes out too, which is always a pleasure to watch. What I felt bothered me about the writing for her on rewatch was the often one dimension-ness of her characterization. She's the perfectly supportive girlriend. Great, but where's the kickass reporter side? She's at the DP. Great, but where are the stories? Even just a hint of the stuff she's working on would be nice, like we used to get quite a bit of back in S8, remember? There's been very little balance, ultimately, in her characterization. Her worst ep this season, IMO, was 'Harvest.'

Tess: I think the Luthor reveal has done wonders to now, finally create a believable backstory for her, and so upon rewatch, I appreciated her characterization even more. Because now? There are actual stakes - and they're set quite high, as far as the evolution of dynamic between Tess, Clark and Oliver is concerned. Her storyline hasn't always made sense, but it has resonated most of the time. Her emotional moments in particular, this season have really been impactful, adding a layer to her characterization that we hadn't witnessed before.

Oliver: On rewatch, I actually think the writers did a pretty solid job with him. Particularly in his dynamics with the characters - Clark, Tess and Lois. Post 'Homecoming', he's written, for the most part with purpose, and I can tolerate, even appreciate on occasion an Oliver like this.
jeannev
Jan. 12th, 2011 12:23 am (UTC)
Re: part -II
I don't know about you, but I found getting through the rewatch to be such a chore. So many eps I just didn't think they were worth watching again as a whole. I knew my issues with the show have been developing for a while, but I never expected to feel this way in the final season. Its such a damned letdown!

I very much agree with your character assessments, except you might be a wee bit more generous towards Oliver then I am.

And this
I was actively annoyed by writing in eps like 'Lazarus' with his inability to recognize that Lois now knew about him which just msde him look stupid, plain and simple.

YES! So much YES! He did look stupid. He thought Lois wasn't going to recognize his kiss? And then if she didn't recognize it, he doesn't wonder why she's getting off on telling him how hot kissing another guy was? Its stupid, and moronic, and I hated it a lot. Still do. All I kept hearing was how funny that Clois scene in Lazarus was, and I just felt supremely annoyed with both of them. More towards Clark, because he was so damned clueless.
goodvibe
Jan. 11th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
part-III (yes, I get a part III too ;-)
Clois: Like I mentioned earlier, I think there have been some real highs, but some equally great lows too. And as with the case of characterization, the relationship too, has often suffered from a certain one dimension-ness. I look at a few eps this season, 'Ambush', 'Abandoned', 'Patriot.' In each, the couple is ultimately portrayed as a caring, deeply committed one. Yet it is the former that resonates with me, while the latter falls flat because of the saccharine and contrivance. Clois are not the saccharine type, nor are they suited for contrived storylines or obstacles, and they work least for me when they are so. Which is why I feel 'Ambush' was them at their best. Believable conflict, believable resolution, each character written realistically, and best of all, not once is their love for one another ever in doubt from the viewer. Plus, they've got that super sexy opening scene, the likes of which we've gotten too less of, this season, oddly - another negative, IMO. The delayed secret reveal in the beginning of the season also really didn't help the flow of their dynamic and the dragging out of it, personally, bothered me a lot. The stilted nature of the some of their 'moments' in certain eps also felt forced - like, 'oh, here's the barn shot, so there must be a Clois talk coming up.' Clois doesn't need this. They are best when they are allowed to be what they represent, a free joyousness, as the delightfulness of their reveal scene in 'Isis' indicates. It's so perfectly SV!Clois - joyous and full of energy and spark, that I lament why the writers can't remember this essence more often.

I know I said my worst moments would probably outnumber my best, and they did, but since I've been such a negative nancy already, I'm just going to list my best moments:

1. Clark catching the DP globe to public applause in 'Lazarus.'

2. The Clark/Jonathon scene from 'Lazarus.' Incredibly heartwarming and touching.

3. The Cat/GA scenes from 'Shield' and 'Isis.' IMO, both these scenes are ep-stealers. Cat' hysterics are met with GA' deadpan calm - the perfect comedic combination.

4. The Clois reveal scene in 'Isis.'For reasons already stated.

5. Clark and Oliver welcome Tess to the WT, and Tess' reaction thereafter, in 'Isis.'

6. Tess and wee!Alexander' "I love you, Tess" scene from 'Isis.'

7. All of 'Ambush', but as far as moments go, particularly the two Clark/Sam scenes (especially, "I'm not on trial, Sam") and all the Suicide Squad scenes too.

8. The Tess-is-a-Luthor reveal in 'Abandoned.'

9. The GG/Godfrey/Desaad scene from 'Abandoned.'

10. The final Clark/Tess scene from 'Luthor.' A true testament to what Clark can and does mean to the journey of others, Aand to the beginnings of a real friendship.

11. Lois and the coffee dudes in 'Luthor.' Effortless scene stealers.

12. TW' performance in 'Luthor.'
jeannev
Jan. 12th, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: part-III (yes, I get a part III too ;-)
I know my biggest issue with Clois, aside from just feeling over saturated in it, is that whole milestone checklist they've got going. It feels incredibly stiff and unnatural to me.

I should've added Cat's headline on the Green Arrow (Shield) as one of my Best Moments. "Mean Arrow Destroys Playgound" will never not be funny.

And the coffee dudes on Luthor were really freaking funny.

I'd love for you to list your Worst Moments too.

Re: part-III (yes, I get a part III too ;-) - goodvibe - Jan. 12th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: part-III (yes, I get a part III too ;-) - jeannev - Jan. 12th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: part-III (yes, I get a part III too ;-) - tasabian - Jan. 13th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: part-III (yes, I get a part III too ;-) - jeannev - Jan. 13th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: part-III (yes, I get a part III too ;-) - tasabian - Jan. 13th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jan. 12th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
Report cards
I have not posted here before however I have been lurking since the beginning.I enjoyed the report cards very much and frankly they helped me to remember things I had forgotten either because I repressed the memories or because I am getting old.I had nearly forgotten how many "characters" were introduced or re-introduced in this very short period of time-no wonder I can't keep it straight.I feared that this final season would be a continuance of the disappointment I felt after season 9 and boy I hate being right all the time.This tenth and final season should be fulfilling, satisfying, an opportunity to right wrongs, to mend fences, to reward viewers for their commitment and support.
And now I am going to ride a unicorn over the rainbow where there is a pot of gold waiting for me along with the "Rock" who confesses his undying love for me *sigh*
The season thus far:
CLARK:What do I love about Tom Welling?In a word; everything. What do I love about Clark?Yikes don't get me started. The writers who regard the future Superman with thinly veiled contempt continue to portray Clark as unimaginative, unintelligent, indecisive,disloyal,lovestruck? (at the expense of his character)and "DARK"???? WTF?? They just made that up so that they could say that other characters are very "Bright",whatever, I hate it. I thought the old cheesy television portrayal of Superman was pretty bad but that dude blows this Superman away!
CLARK/LOIS:Okay Lois Lane and Superman are a couple; understood.Please stop hitting me on the head, face and upper body with their perfect undying super-committed relationship because frankly they didn't spend the time before now to convince me that it exists.I am not mad at the relationship- I am mad at being told that there is a relationship,an engagement,an inability to survive without each other that must have happened eiher in off-screensville or in somebody's head and they were sure that they had written it down but really forgot.
LOIS:Kudos to Erica Durance for the consistent credible effort she has presented this season with little help from the writers. I believe it is her best season by far-she is really trying. What happened to the Lois Lane that was a bit geeky, focused, fearless, humorous, snarky, infuriating, impossible butlikeable? Now she is kinda weepy and a little boring with less spark and spunk and NOW this is the Lois that Clark will spend the rest of his life with- oooh psychology majors alert! You can go to town on that one. Again, whatever!
TESS:Love her this season, she has meaty storylines, compelling scenes and is acting up a storm. She has excellent palpable chemistry with Clark-all good.
OLIVER:I want to like him,I swear and there have been some moments that allowed me to but overall, drunky mcdrunkerson, contrite, oh poor me, I miss Chloe crap is working my last nerve and I resent the "steal" from Ironman for his reveal,creative much?
RETURNS:Don't really care if its relevant or necessary,I was happy to see Braniac,Lionel and Dad,it reminded me of the "old" days when this show was much more fun to watch.
Aquaman and his slutty, enhanced girlfriend can kiss my ass.
NEWBIES:Love Cat -period.Others? please poke my eyes out because I cannot keep track of nor do I care to know the majority of characters introduced willy-nilly this season as a nod to comic book fans? I'm guessing here-I don't really know if there is any rhyme or reason to it at all.If it advanced or enhanced the story or the development of Clark into his role as Superman(to be known in my mind as sortofokayman)then I would be on board,instead it just feels messy and contrived and forced and irritating. We have reality TV for that.
WHAT'S MISSING:Mom(she's not dead-right?),Shelby, a plot,Perry White,Clark as a reporter,daring and emotional rescue scenes-there should be one every episode,Clark as a leader,Clark as smarter than at lease "some" of the other characters,Clark becoming Superman because that is his DESTINY not because he has Lois making him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and wears silly clothes. I also miss Special effects!
Anyway,enough ranting, have to save some for when I drive to Brooklyn tomorrow.
Hope I haven't offended anybody too deeply and if I have-Whatever!
jeannev
Jan. 12th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Report cards
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I'm sure no one will be offended by your personal opinions about fictional characters which you have presented as such. Having spent the last few days being personally insulted due to my opinion on fictional characters, I swear that crap is not about to happen here!

I really do think this season feels messy, and overcrowded. And I also think that unless one is really a follower of the show, to include being plugged in through the 'net, there are probably a number of characters who just feel like a big "Who?" And that shouldn't be, because that type of writing is so damned lazy.

To me, I want to look at Clark Kent that feel like he stands heads and shoulders above all others heroes. I want to feel that he is strong, brave, selfless, capable, and decisive. SV's Clark fulfills some of those things for me, but not all of them, and I think he should. These are the last 22 eps for him to really shine, and it just feels like Souders/Peterson don't consider it a priority. And I don't get that. You describe it as thinly veiled contempt, and I couldn't say that I think you're wrong. But mostly, I think they just don't find him as interesting to write for as the people who surround him.

Thanks for coming out of lurkerdom and sharing your thoughts. Be safe on your Brooklyn drive!
tariel22
Jan. 13th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
Wonderful report card, Val! I like the approach you used, summing up first and then looking at each character's development and other important components. The way you organized and articulated your analysis really helped me to understand better what I do and don't like about this season so far. My ability to express the feelings I've been having about Smallville seems to have left me for the most part, but reading this has made a few things very clear to me.

Your "The Story Thus Far" really points out what a disorganized mess much of this season has been. Too many storylines, too many villains, and an overall theme (the DARKNESS) that has never been coherently explained, and seems inconsistent and vague at best. That bucket K&B kept talking about at SDCC was obviously filled to overflowing, and they just dumped it all over S10, with not enough regard for overall story structure or respect for their main character and hero. I keep remembering Greg Beeman when he was talking about Salvation, and how he had to fight to get the focus where it belonged, on Clark. I don't think anyone on the show fights for that, not even Tom. There have been lots of great moments this season, to be sure, but I hoped for, and expected, more from Smallville's final season.

I think what disappoints me most is the wasted potential. We've seen Clark be heroic, independent, smart, and unwavering, and Tom is nothing short of AMAZING in those scenes. We've seen Lois be the kickass investigative reporter, but only in glimpses. Ollie is likable and hilarious as the devil-may-care, capable superhero who busts Clark's chops but always has his back, and instead they give us a tedious, heartsick puppy. Tess has been pretty awesome, but there hasn't been nearly enough of her, especially with Clark. I love all the actors, and they have made me love their characters, but the writing continues to let me, and them, down, IMO. And yes, as much as I enjoy most of the Clois stuff (and I do), there is just too much emphasis on the romance. It is unrelenting, and leaves me aching for a better balance, with more focus on Clark and Lois as individuals, and the events that shape Clark outside of his relationship with the woman he loves.

I also think that the writers are introducing too much from the comic books without really explaining it. They seem to assume that the majority of the viewers will know who these characters are, and the significance of their presence in the episodes, but for me their storylines are murky and confusing. I shouldn't have to do homework to understand Smallville; the show needs to stand on its own.

It would seem that Smallville writers are firmly in the "It Takes A Village To Raise a Superman" philosophy

This is so true, and it is what devastates me about this season. It demeans Clark and the Superman he will become, IMO, and it just makes me really sad. :(

I rewatched most of the season over the past week, and Supergirl makes me almost as mad as Power/Requiem. Definitely the worst episode of the season, and one I try to pretend never happened. And I used to adore Kara! >:( As much as it breaks my heart to say so, Patriot is probably #2 on my worst list. I do think Tom was hindered by a terrible script and weak guest stars, though. I think maybe he recognized that, given all the hand-holding he evidently gave AR during filming (for all the good it did).

My favorite episode was Homecoming, just for the sheer fun of it (especially the scenes in the future), how pretty it was (thanks, Jeannot and Glen), and for everything the big budget made possible. After that my faves were Ambush, Luthor, and Shield. I realize that my comments here are all negative, I think because right now I'm struggling to move beyond my disappointment in S10 before the show returns from hiatus, but I have enjoyed lots of scenes. Every one of your best moments, and many more. Still, I'm not looking forward to Chloe's exit arc, and none of the spoilers I've read help my apprehension. I'm trying to keep an open mind, but I'm afraid I'm very close to giving up and watching just for the pretty. The best I'm hoping for now is that the last two episodes will be awesome, and that the show can at least go out on a final high note.
jeannev
Jan. 14th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words. This final version of this report card is about my 3 attempt at it. Originally, I had intended to do a much more in depth "The Story Thus Far", but I just ended up getting really frustrated and defeated, because thats how this season makes me feel.

I do think there's just too much. Its fine and dandy to want to fill your last season with "Cool" stuff, but the reality is that it takes a talented hand to manage it. And Souders/Peterson are so far away from being talented enough to handle it, they aren't even in the same hemisphere.

I also think that the writers are introducing too much from the comic books without really explaining it. They seem to assume that the majority of the viewers will know who these characters are, and the significance of their presence in the episodes, but for me their storylines are murky and confusing. I shouldn't have to do homework to understand Smallville; the show needs to stand on its own.

Yes! And Thank You. I've felt this way all season long. It seems the people who became fans of Smallville for the show itself, rather then the history of the character, just don't matter as much anymore as the comic book folks. And I think thats a shame. Especially because I think its those folks that really helped to get you to 10 years, ya know? All this Darkseid stuff has just been such a muddle to me. And when they finally do get to it (who knows when?), I have no doubt it will continue to be a muddled mess. The last season of the show really isn't the time to try out a new system with the villians. For me, they've been one of the weakest parts of the season, except for the Suicide Squad, and thats due mostly to good casting, especially the guy playing Rick Flagg.

Its interesting to me that there are many people that are totally on board with the "It Takes A Village..." approach to Superman. I found that out on K-Site. To mean, thats so completely demeaning to Clark, and really the Kents too, I have trouble even discussing it. But apparently this idea that everyone gets a piece of who Clark is, and what he achieves, seems to appeal to some. Don't get it, but I guess those are the people the show is trying to speak too.

I love Tom, I truly, truly do, but he made some poor directing choices for Patriot. I still can't shake the feeling that the guy has too many irons in the fire right now.

It seems to me that Homecoming, Luthor, Ambush and Shield seem to come out on top for a lot or people. And Supergirl always seems to be bringing up the rear. Not surprised.
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serenography
Jan. 14th, 2011 06:15 am (UTC)
I didn't want you to think that I didn't read this EPIC (heh) post of yours. As someone with memory issues, I really enjoyed this write-up since it's something I could never do. And it's especially nice because I agree with so much of it. I think I've enjoyed the season so far slightly more than you, but I've also lowered my expectations and see the show in a different light now. It's not that I dislike it now, not at all, but it's not the show that holds my TV viewing heart in its hands anymore. Still, there are things I desperately love about it, even if they are inconsistent.

Clark, of course. Brushing aside the far too many low-points in how his character has been presented this season, we also have absolutely breathlessly wonderful sexy and heroic scenes too. And some humor! The long neglected and underused HUMOR for Clark Kent - the moments we did have are such highlights for me.

Lois - I enjoy the Clois for it's inevitability and for how Erica really brought her A-game for this season. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but the chemistry just isn't the same for me between Tom and Erica, although once again, there have been standout moments that make me appreciate both their efforts. The big "reveal" scene could not have been more perfect. I am hoping that now that they've established Clois as a done deal, they will work a bit harder on the characters as individuals. This is not the show's strong point, as we've seen historically.

I like your point about how hard and fast they've tried to establish the DC characters. I can say from personal experience that this may have won them some comic fans' love, but it's also lost them an awful lot of viewers. The few people in my RL who did watch the show found most of the DC stuff confusing and boring. I work with one person who still watches, but thinks the show is beyond dumb now. She just wants to finish it out, and she thinks Tom is hot. LOL.

Btw, my tweet about the cruise - I'm serious!

jeannev
Jan. 15th, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)
I really wish I could lower my expectations. But what I've definitely done is understand how limited SV writers are, and how little they are capable of delivering. They just have way too many priorities that aren't about doing Clark Kent justice.

I think its highly unlikely they'll work on Clark and Lois as individuals. At this point, I don't really expect Clark to take any sort of step without clearing it with Lois in some way, shape or form. I think that its very important for them to make sure that Lois is given credit for Clark becoming Superman, so there's no way they'll allow their individual arcs to diverge in even the slighest way,

My sister finds the show a confusing muddle now, so I can confirm that non-comics readers are definitely not feeling the love.

You're serious? I'd love to get together and hang out again, but I've got a vacation plan for March already. But I'm also hoping to come to Chicago for a long weekend sometime in late spring.
(no subject) - serenography - Jan. 15th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC) - Expand
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costas22
Jan. 14th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
Late to the party, as usual. Anyway, I liked the review. I thought it was quite fair. The first line gave me a glimpse of things to come, lol. People talk about how Clark had to relearn a lesson in Luthor and how that regressed his character for a short bit. That's probably right, but imo it doesn't compare to what went on in the first 3 episodes of the season. I actually had made peace with AI Jor-El in Abyss, trying to forget what he put Clark though in the first 7 seasons. So, "we get the Clark has the darkness" arc that leads to Homecoming and honestly, that's one reason why I won't consider Homecoming an all time favourite episode of mine. Because the show took steps backwards in order to get there. And the second reason why I won't can't consider Homecoming an awesome episode(although there was nothing wrong with it as a single episode), is because I am not a Cloiser and it didn't appeal that much to me. So looking at S10 from Clark's standpoint, the darkness arc and the way Lois has been inserted in every aspect of his life would be my two gripes.

Anyway, the latter part of the first half had some bright spots for me like Ambush, Abandoned and Luthor. And I have to admit that one big plus this season is how there's less drama between the good characters. Oliver and Clark's friendship is coming along nicely, Tess and Clark's relationship has turned a corner(hopefully for good, but not too optimistic) and even Tess and Lois appear to be more civil towards each other. The biggest fail: no established bad guy. Can't bring myself to get too interested about the SS or Darkseid at the moment.

P.S. I am usually slow when some things happen on a tv show and I prefer to blame myself instead of the writers. Did Alexander get healed by Tess, even though she ordered for the entire antidote to be destroyed in Harvest? I've watched Luthor like 5-6 times and it's something I never understood. Or did Alexander found the antidote himself and used it? Since you mentioned it in your review, I thought it was a good time to ask someone. :)
jeannev
Jan. 15th, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)
I liked Luthor but the first Cless scene was definitely not written well for Clark. But SV is lazy with this stuff. They don't really care what they need to do to get to a particular place. Characterization can be thrown to the wind to serve a plot.

And yes, Clark was dragged backwards at the beginning of this season in order for them to stall him again. Honestly, I think that DARKNESS crap was a Clark Haters dream.

I think Homecoming is problematic in so many ways. I feel very out of step with the love showered on it.

I do agree with you that Clark and Oliver are in a much better place then they've been in a long time.

I think what happened to Alexander post-Harvest is vague, but it would appear that Tess was keeping him at Cadmus Labs, and taking care of him. I don't know if she gave him the cure, but she clearly seemed to be sustaining him.

Edited at 2011-01-15 04:30 am (UTC)
(no subject) - costas22 - Jan. 15th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
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jeannev
Jan. 15th, 2011 04:37 am (UTC)
No apologies necessary, especially when dealing with RL

I thought that a final season being set in stone, we'd have seen a much tighter, more focused S10. I'm actually shocked at how all over the place it all seems. And like you, I just don't believe Souders/Peterson and company are up to the task. I think they're really geared for 'shipper stuff, first and foremost. Heroic stuff? Yeah, not so much. Villains? Yeah, not so much.

Clark's story is now ALL about the JLA and Clois. Its so strange that I'm having trouble finding the Clark in the supposed Clark storyline.

Tess has been awesome this season. In so many ways, I think she's had the best material.

I think I know what to expect in the 2nd half. Its precisely why I'm very resigned to this show limping to the finish line.

Souders/Peterson, like AlMiles before them, seem unable to really take a critical look at their creative decisions. I'm sure they think they are freaking awesome. And there are a lot of fans that assure them that they are.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 26th, 2011 09:02 am (UTC)
I have to agree with most of your midseason report because the first half of the season was really weak. The only episodes in the first half that interests me were Lazarus, Shield, Homecoming, Ambush, Abandoned, and Luthor. The rest were awfully weak and it's clear that this final season was not well-planned.

I also would have a problem with the idea of Lois making Clark Superman and would have a concern about Clark's reasons for being Superman. If Lois ends up being the reason Clark becomes Superman and nothing more, then Clark would become Superman for the wrong reasons and it would negate the contributions of other characters involved in help make Clark the man he is. If Clark is all about Lois, then this is no different than his relationship with Lana.

The writers who don't write for Clark are Genevieve Sparling, John Chisholm, Al Septien, and Turi Meyer. Anne Coffel Saunders seems neutral to me. Holly Henderson and Don Whitehead have shined as writers so far in this season and they have wrote their best episodes this season. Peterson and Souders are second only because of Homecoming.

Vantheman77
jeannev
Jan. 26th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
I think you are a bit kinder then me, because I really disliked Lazarus. And I can only give Abandoned a fair grade, because while I liked the stuff with Tess and Granny Goodness, and I was fine with Lois watching the tape of her mom, I think the show severely botched the last act of the episode, and Clark seeing his parents in the FoS will never stop annoying the crap out of me for its sheer pointlessness.

Homecoming? Well, ya know, I have my issues with that ep that won't go away.

Here's the problem I have when someone, anyone, is given credit for "making Clark Superman", or human, or anyone of that stuff. The flipside of that, which is "Clark wouldn't be Superman without X,Y or Z?" Then what would he be? When you tie so much of his accomplishments to another person, and hand them off the credit, what are you really saying about Clark?

I think all the SV writers are very hit or miss. But bottom line to me, I just don't get the impression that any of them love Clark, or that they're looking out for him. Going by the eps so far this season, I do feel the love for Lois, and I do think the writers are all about proving that she's essential to Clark. But I sometimes think in their single-minded pursuit of that, they are getting lazy in other areas in regards to Clark.
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