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SV S7 Official Companion Review


Yes, I got my official companion as soon as it came out, and then tore through it with much enthusiasm.  Let me start off my review by saying that I adore these books.  I adore the early ones, and I adore the ones that were written by K-Site's Craig Byrne.  Even when they piss me off, confound me, frustrate me, and generally work my last nerve, I adore them.  I think you learn so much from these books.  Not only what goes into making SV, but also what goes on in the minds of the SV writers and showrunners.  And I believe knowing that is absolutely key to having a clear picture of what you're watching on screen.

So, lets get into the particulars....

With the S6 companion, I was very vocal about what I perceived to be neglect of the character of Clark Kent, and neglect of the actor who plays him.  And to me, that just does not compute.  SV doesn't exist without Clark, and Tom Welling playing him.  He's the engine in this choo-choo.  He is the reason for the season.  So to read a book, and not have anyone on the production/creative side even talk about the guy just seemed crazy to me.

So, having said that, I'm very pleased to be able to say that I think this book offers a lot more for the Clark/Tom fans.  There are several comments from the writers that convey an interest in Clark Kent as a character.  And there are many comments by writers about the excellent job Tom did, particularly when playing Bizarro, and when directing and acting in Apocalypse.  I was very disappointed to see Tom's direction of Hydro ignored in the S6 companion, so it was especially gratifying to see credit where credit is due for the job he did with Apocalypse.  Here, Tom gets complimented by Caroline Dries, Holly Henderson, Turi Meyer, Al Septien, Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, off the top of my head. 

Of course, the big exception to this is Al Gough.  Now, there isn't a ton of Al in this book, and no Miles at all.  Which is a pity, because Miles is, by far, the more palatable member of that duo.  But in typical Al fashion, there are a few comments that are immensely irritating (a jab at the character of Pete seemed particularly mean-spiritied), a few comments that are actually on the money (commenting on how Fierce was terrible), and then some comments which just seem to hint...to me anyway...at some behind the scenes problems.  But on the latter, I admit I may be projecting.  I was sorry that Al's comments about Sleeper didn't make it into the book, because I seem to recall Craig saying that Al had some choice comments for that episode, LOL.

The forward is provided by Laura Vandervoort, and while she doesn't have the wit that Justin Hartley displayed in the S6 companion, she more then makes up for it in sweetness, and an endearing genuine way of expressing herself.  My impression is that both Michael and Tom made a huge impact on her, and she seems very fond of the both of them.  As well as Erica.  And her gratitude towards the fans is very cute.  I

Unfortunately, after reading this book, I get the feeling that Kara was a character that wasn't carefully thought out, and I think they just stopped being able to figure out what to do with her about halfway through the season.  I'm not sure the impact she was supposed to have on Clark's life was ever truly realized.  Not to mention that some of their intentions for her don't seem to ever have been conveyed to the audience.  According to writer (and now co-showrunner) Darren Swimmer, Kara "was supposed to find the baby" (Kal-El), "and destroy him".  Huh?  When did we find that out?  There was a throwaway comment about that in Apocalypse, but nothing else though Kara's run.  Doesn't that seem, oh I don't know, IMPORTANT?

Also, Al tells us that a Kara spin-off was never in the cards, and he believes the show has already gone on too long to do a successful spin-off of anything.  Interesting.

But this isn't the only storyline comment that left me wondering why the idea never translated to the scene on the screen.  For Fierce, Holly Harald tells us that Clark was "justifiably angry" when Lana reappeared from the dead.  He was?  When was that conveyed in the writing?  Never.  They just rushed right through his reaction.  And they explain that the Chloe/Lana reunion was cut because they didn't have enough time to do the scene justice, and the one they filmed didn't cut it.

I don't know, that whole explanation just left me scratching my head.  But again, thats why I say its great to be able to get the writers perspective.

and now to spare everyone a long main post, I'm going to put the rest of my comments behind the cutType your cut contents here




OK, now where were we?....

We covered Clark and Kara, so now its on to the some of the comments about the other characters...

I wish there was more Michael stuff in here, since S7 was his final season.  But has become the norm, he gets a few very witty lines in there.  I especially laughed at his comments about every year including a "crazy, psychotic Super-Lana", and Michael being amused at the amount of times Lex has been shot.  But even  as he jokes about the latter, its my impression here (and elsewhere), that he was tired of Lex taking a beating.  And Michael always has great insights into Lex, and this book is no exception.  My feelings on his comments here are the same as I've read many other places...he was ready to move on.

I was very gratified to see them talking about the amazing Clex scenes from Descent.  Especially that great shot in the beginning, when Lex identifies Lionel's body, and you can just make out Clark in the background, and then they sort of mirror each other.  I thought that was one of the most memorable moments from all of S7, and I was so pleased to see it mentioned here.  Credit is given completely to director Ken Horton for that.

This book seems very Lana-lite.  Which is a sharp contrast to the S6 companion, which is very Lana-heavy.  There is near complete justification for the things Lana did early on in the season from the writers, with the excuse that she was so terribly hurt by Lex.  Not surprising.  I don't get a great sense that there was a lot of interest in Lana from the writers for this season.  They acknowledge her dabble in darkness, but don't seem terribly invested in fleshing that out.  They talk about the Clana relationship, but seem to acknowledge that it was in its death throes, and there's really no discussion about why Lana would just disappear from important eps halfway, i.e. Traveler, Fracture.  The good-bye video seemed to be borne out of necessity, but not something anyone actually liked.  One interesting tidbit in regards to Lana, Swimmer refers to Lana putting "all of the settlement money that she got from Lex" to "good use", which seems to totally forget that she actually embezzled the money from him.  But I guess that was considered a minor detail?

Lots of stuff about the character of Chloe in here, and some interesting comments from Allison.  Not necessarily ones that a lot of Chloe fans would want to hear though, LOL.  I don't think her comment about Jimmy "not holding her back" but "her relationship with Clark holds her back from her relationship with Jimmy" is going to be terribly popular.  Allison is clearly a Chimmy shipper, and the intention seemed to be to transition her character from DP reporter to more of a superhero sidekick/superpowered person.  I do believe that Chloe is very popular with the writers, and Allison is very much loved.  And I think they like the new directions they are taking Chloe very much.  They describe her as "evolving".  I just don't think I agree with them.  According to Holly Harald "Chloe is the coolest". 

Also, there is an interesting comment about what worried them the most about a potential Chloe-less S8.  The fear that Clark would become "an island", and that would become a critical obstacle in writing the episodes.  I thought that was interesting because it seemed to be less about the Chloe story they would lose, and more about the difficulties that would present in writing Clark. 

Just for good measure, Al does repeat that Chloe becoming Lois was never a part of the AlMiles plans for the shows end.

Now, Lois.  Lots of Lois in this book.  And lots of Erica stuff.  She's very enthusiastic about her character.  I think the thing that struck me most was that the writers really like their Lois, and how they're writing her.  They seem to find her fun, and spunky, and really enjoy her human foibles.  I think what some people would see as major flaws in the character, they just don't!  The affair with Grant is dismissed as not a big deal, and they are adamant that it had nothing to do with her being hired, or staying employed.  They loved being able to play out a more traditional Clark/Lois dynamic in Apocalypse (which I think is evident in what we're seeing this season).  And they loved the irony of Lois saying she couldn't be with a superhero, because according to Holly Harald "she will be able to handle the secret of a double life with Clark someday".  And according to Slavkin, Erica is "the best Lois Lane in history.  I go on record as saying that."

Lots of Jimmy stuff, but I think I'll just sum it up this way....they seem to really dig him, and they seem to love Chloe and Jimmy together.  I think they are completely out of touch with the fans on Jimmy, and the way they write him.  I can't think of anything that stuck out for me in regards to Jimmy and Clark being friends.  It doesn't seem to be a blip on their radar.

Justin Hartley says some very gracious things about the regular cast members.  Phil Morris says incredible things about Tom.  Craig, if you read this, just a suggestion...Phil Morris would be an awesome person to do the forward on the S8 book if you get to do one.  His enthusiasm, and love for the role and the comics is terrific.

Oh, one part of this book guaranteed to give many fans fits....the stuff on Lionel.  While they do seem to acknowledge that Lionel did terrible stuff, and even did bad stuff in S7, there can be no doubt that they were going for a redemption arc with him, and they truly considered him reformed, and devoted to Clark.  John Glover is wonderful, as always, but I just don't know what to say with the Lionel stuff....

Juding from the AlMiles comments at the very end of the book, I think they took their plans for the series end with them, and whatever we see will be ALL PS3. 

Of course, there were many questions I would've loved to see asked, and more details I wanted to know, but I don't think its a bad thing at all for the books to leave you wanting just a bit more.  As it is, I think there's a ton of amazing information here, and its really a trip getting some insight into the SV writers minds.  As I always say when I read these books, I don't think it means what you think it means.  In other words, I think the writing for SV is a lot more basic then many of us would like to admit. 

On a purely technical level, the book is very well organized, well written, and a fast, enjoyable read.  There are some nice pictures, and especially fun are the Warrior Angel comic book covers.  Craig has written and compiled another terrific companion book, and I very much recommend it as a must-have for any diehard SV fan. 

 

Comments

( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
svgurl
Oct. 28th, 2008 02:48 am (UTC)
I was considering getting the companion books ... never have before but I now know where to start!

Yay for lots of Clark/Tom love. Tom does a wonderful job in directing and they always give him toughies so it's good that that he gets some recognition. You know, from people who aren't his adoring fans. ;D

I like Laura ... I wish her character had been used better, instead of thrown into a triangle.

For Fierce, Holly Harald tells us that Clark was "justifiably angry" when Lana reappeared from the dead. He was? When was that conveyed in the writing? Never.

Seriously? That would've been awesome if he had been upset! But like you said, it was never shown.

I'm totally with you on Allison being a Chimmy shipper. Even at that last con, Allison was making comments on how Chloe would be lucky to end up with either Jimmy or Clark and how Clark is "high maintenance". She clearly wants Chloe to move on and I knew that if Chimmy is still together, Allison had something to do with it, considering how much she bargained before resigning.

Just for good measure, Al does repeat that Chloe becoming Lois was never a part of the AlMiles plans for the shows end.

Never doubted that for a second.

The Lois love makes me very happy! Yay for them standing up for their Lois. I love Erica so much because she really likes the character of Lois and gets her, just like Tom understands Clark. &hearts

Juding from the AlMiles comments at the very end of the book, I think they took their plans for the series end with them, and whatever we see will be ALL PS3.

I'm perfectly okay with that. I like this season. I'm actually excited for Thursdays again!

Thanks for the great review! I enjoy reading your thoughts. :)
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:39 pm (UTC)
If you're considering it, I highly recommend them. Especially this one, and probably the S6 one, because I know you are a big fan of Clark, Lois and Oliver.

Laura is completely darling. But I her character was a case of "wouldn't it be cool if..." without a lot of long term thinking. I personally thought bringing her in diminished Clark, but Swimmer does address that in the book.

I think Allison has some very clear ideas and desires for her character. I just don't think they match up with most Chloe fans that I know.

I felt that there was a bit of sticking up for their Lois going on here.

I'm also very glad that AlMiles have left the building. After years of reading their comments, and reading Al's here, I really think they have an active dislike of the character of Clark, and I think they truly see him more as the loser of the story, rather then the hero. And I just don't get that at all.
legendsinlove
Oct. 28th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
I really do hope to purchase these someday.

I'm happy to hear that so many writers had good things to say about Clark and Tom. He deserves all the praise and more.

Also, there is an interesting comment about what worried them the most about a potential Chloe-less S8. The fear that Clark would become "an island", and that would become a critical obstacle in writing the episodes.

This is worrisome to me and, quite frankly, it's the writers fault. They cut Clark off from every person who knows his secret except Chloe. What did they expect? But I hate that they "need" another character around to write Clark. The Superman character has always had a supporting cast. But none of them have been crutches, which is what it seems like Chloe is to the writers.

As I always say when I read these books, I don't think it means what you think it means. In other words, I think the writing for SV is a lot more basic then many of us would like to admit.

Heh. I always figure that the symbolism we see on the show isn't always symbolism. Sometimes it's just coincidence. If it's really subtle, then it's probably an accident. If the writers wanted something to mean something, they tend to knock you over the head with it.

Thanks for this writeup. Very informative!
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
I hope you're able to purchase them. They're so much fun!

This is worrisome to me and, quite frankly, it's the writers fault. They cut Clark off from every person who knows his secret except Chloe. What did they expect? But I hate that they "need" another character around to write Clark. The Superman character has always had a supporting cast. But none of them have been crutches, which is what it seems like Chloe is to the writers.

I actually agree with you. This worries me on 2 fronts. One which you've mentioned, but also in terms of Chloe's characterization. Now, my suspicion is that this was addressed before AM re-signed, and its one of the reasons you are getting more seperation between Chlark this season. So that Allison isn't just playing "the sidekick".

But I do believe the writers should be creative enough to write Clark with or without someone in the know.

The whole comment was a big of "Hmmmm..." to me.

As for symbolism, I have no doubt at all, whatsoever, that sometimes a cup of coffee is just a cup of coffee.

dm_wyatt
Oct. 28th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
Well, I would think that in keeping Chloe they did a very smart thing.

No, in a real world Clark doesn't need anyone to be the hero. However, in terms of presenting stories for a TV audience the struggles he goes through have to be externalized to an extent.

He can't come up with this stuff out of vacuum and his journey to becoming Superman shouldn't be an easy one...

Added to this, he *has* to talk about things for our benefit as the audience, he has to struggle with the hard decisions to make the resolution more satisfying and we have to see that struggle. Sometimes it's no easier way to demonstrate that than through dialogue, he has to have someone to talk to about things.

His parents are gone, Jonathan dead and Martha is unavailable, so who would he talk to about the issues that come up if Chloe weren't around?

Ollie?

No thank you. I think Chloe as the go-to person for acting as Clark's sounding board is the right way to go.

jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
I think given how they structured the show, and the characters they've lost, you're probably right. But I'm not sure they go about it correctly for the majority of the time. There's a difference between giving Clark someone he can be open with, and talk to, and giving Clark someone to do the work for him, and tell him what to do. They seemed to have lost the balance with Chlark in S7. I'm happy to say that I think they got it back so far this season. But I'm cautious.

I personally think adding Phil Morris as a frequently recurring character would've been a great move.
dm_wyatt
Oct. 28th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
I can see that, with last season they really went too far into the Chloe-centric world where Clark was the BDA and Chloe knew all....

I don't know why they didn't have MM be the go-to guy for this, without the fortress especially, there's no one he can talk to about this kind of stuff aside from Chloe.

I think for the most part they've gotten the Clark/Chloe balance right... he's the brawn, still, and she's far more intellectual, but he's not depending on her as much clearly.

So, that's a good thing.

*thumbsup*
serenography
Oct. 28th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
Thanks for the write-up. Nothing you've said surprises me. I am glad that Tom is getting more recognition this time around though.

Btw, gorgeous icon.

jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Polytikal made it. :)

The Tom stuff made me very happy. I'm easy like that. LOL
tariel22
Oct. 28th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
Awesome review, and I agree with everything you say! Thank you so much for writing this. You cited all the same quotes I would have! I love that we find the same things noteworthy. *is a dork* And your suggestion to have PM write the foreword is genius! I love him, and he not only adores Smallville, he's wonderfully articulate.

This volume is much better with regard to Tom and Clark. Craig was true to his word there. I was gratified to read most of the quotes from everyone. And of course Michael had something lovely to say about Tom, as always.

I kind of couldn't believe what Allison had to say about Clark and Jimmy and even Chloe. Clark is holding her back from Jimmy? Um, okay. I think she sees Chloe differently from how a lot of Chloe fans do, which is interesting, to say the least. But I agree with what you've been saying, that the storyline she has in S8 is the storyline she wants, and if that's so, more power to her. After seven years she deserves to have a final year she enjoys, just as Tom does.

I was surprised by the Lionel stuff as well. That quote about the light above his head forming a symbolic halo made it clear what they meant to say about his character.

Like you, I love these books. I love the wealth of information included, the insights offered, the way they're organized, all the pictures, the fun extras, and everything else. I think Craig and the publishers do a fantastic job, and I refer back to them all the time. I think anyone who loves this show should have them all.
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
We agree? *GASP* What are the chances? LOL

No, really, that makes me feel better, because I do always wonder "Am I crazy here?", so a bit of confirmation is nice.

Doesn't PM awesomely rock? I love him. And I love him even more for his adoration of Tom.

I think Michael's affection for Tom always shines through. I thought the same when I watched Michael's appearances at the recent Con's on youtube. I think they forged a very real, very deep friendship. In fact, I thought Michael's affection for all his fellow cast and crew was evident here.

ITA on the Allison stuff.

OMG, the halo comment...that was crazy, right? And they totally talk about how Clark should've seen Lionel as an ally and protector. They just don't seem to get why thats so nuts.

I think anyone who loves this show should have them all.

Totally!!
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
I think you'll enjoy them a lot. Though, be prepared to scratch your head and think "WTF?" a lot too.

I'm getting a "Princess Bride" vibe from that quote, I think it was Ingo Montoya who said that. "Hello. My name is Oliver Queen. You killed my father. Prepare to die." LOL. Nevermind me, I'm a goof. =)

You? A goof? INCONCEIVABLE!! ;)

Quoting Princess Bride is always welcome here.
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Oct. 29th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, no argument from me about Al. He probably should limit his interviews to almost nothing.

I'll be interested in reading your review. :)
theninthdoctor
Oct. 28th, 2008 09:58 am (UTC)
If there's ever anything you want answered for S8, let me know, provided I'm doing the book - I assume I will be doing it; the top question is really if sales will justify a Season 8 volume. I always get worried because they almost stopped at Season 3.

Phil Morris is amazing, and he was one of my top choices for the Foreword for Season 6, if Justin hadn't worked out. He loves the show and is just an incredibly informed, appreciative, nice guy. I think he knows more about John Jones and the lore than most comic book professionals even do. I like him, and especially after this past week, I wish they'd have brought him on as a series regular.

For the intro for Season 8, there are so many choices that it would all really be up to availability. I'm starting to feel that maybe I should have asked Allison Mack if she was interested, considering she had been on since Season 1, but I'd always been too shy. The new actors - Cassidy and Sam - might be good "ask"s, too; and who knows, PS3 might want to take the reins. After all, Al & Miles always wrote the intros before I came along and started getting the actors to do them.

(I had asked Michael to do one of the intros in the past, also; unfortunately, it was around the time he had back surgery, so he really either was not interested or truly just didn't feel well enough.)

Al's comments about "Sleeper" were classic, though I can see why the editors and publishers cut them. "It's bad when you're watching the show and thinking 'what the hell was I thinking when I approved this'" was one of the quotes; or something like it.
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
Well, if you're taking notes, the 2 biggest questions I'd want answered at the moment are "why put Clark in the DP without any attempt at an explanation for how he got the job?" and "why are there never any references to Martha Kent?" The Martha question is so troublesome to me. It hurts my heart that the show seems to suggest that Martha has totally abandoned her baby. I just don't believe the character would ever do that. :(

Anyone you get for the introduction, I'm sure it will be great. Hey, I'm never going to stop hoping that you might get Tom. If this is the last season, you just never know. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you (and me too).

I have no doubts that Al's quotes about Sleeper were pretty damn funny.
theninthdoctor
Oct. 28th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
I'm very curious about the Martha thing too. How hard would it have been in "Odyssey" for Oliver or someone to say "Dude. You need to call your mom, she's worried about you."

I thought Clark's lack of concern over Kara not being around was equally weird, just as much as I think it'd be easy for a throwaway line explaining why Gabe Sullivan isn't walking Chloe down the aisle.

I sometimes wonder if these things just slip their minds as they are writing so many scripts in that window of time. Not that it's really an excuse, but just a thought.
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, definitely, the lack of mention of Kara would be something I'd love to see covered in a S8 book. I always thought they should've had Kara be part of his flashback sequence in Odyssey. Just something, ya know?

And lack of mention of Gabe is equally puzzling.

So, those would definitely be great questions to ask :)

And you realize I was just joking about the "taking notes" part, right? I just realized that I didn't put a smiley face or anything to indicate I was joking. :)
carolandtom
Oct. 28th, 2008 10:01 am (UTC)
Thanks for the write-up. I love your enthusiasm and I appreciate that, apparently, Craig put more effort in having more Clark and Tom on this book, after knowing how disappointed many fans where with his previous one, but I'm still not convinced to buy this one either.

And Michael always has great insights into Lex, and this book is no exception.

For once, allow me to disagree with you on this one.

This is a great read but may I ask you if it'd be possible to learn more about what the writers say on Clark? Thanks a lot!
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
Its always OK to disagree with me :)

I think Michael sees his character strictly from Lex's POV, if that makes sense. Meaning he doesn't try to see others POV's too much, he just focuses in on the character he plays. I think a lot of the actors do this. Its one of the reasons I'm sorry we don't hear from Tom anymore, because he always seem to have a real interest in the POV's of other characters. Its probably what makes him such a good director.

I'm at work, so I don't have the book with me to quote from, but the gist of the comments from the writers was them talking about talented Tom is, especially in his ability to play more then one character, and give them the subtle differences required. They also talk about how awesome he is as a director, and how its so difficult to be able to direct, and appear in almost every scene, and he did it so incredibly well. And there were lots of insights into Clark as a character.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 28th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
Thanks for the review Valerie.:) I enjoyed it. Though it can be a little difficult to buy The Official Companion S7 here, where I'm living, after of reading your review I'm determined to get this book. And your review was very helpful for me to make this decision. Thanks for it. :) Lis.
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
I hope you're able to get it. Its totally worth the money for the great,and informative read.
voldything
Oct. 28th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the review!!
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
You are very welcome. :)
eeyore1017
Oct. 28th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
But in typical Al fashion, there are a few comments that are immensely irritating
Yes!

I get the feeling that Kara was a character that wasn't carefully thought out, and I think they just stopped being able to figure out what to do with her about halfway through the season.
I agree. I think what they actually accomplished with Kara and what TPTB THINK they did with Kara are 2 completely different things.

Kara "was supposed to find the baby" (Kal-El), "and destroy him". Huh?
Exactly. I always thought that she was sent to Earth to protect Kal-El.

I wish there was more Michael stuff in here, since S7 was his final season.
Me too. It did seem very Michael-lite. I know that KK didn't participate in the book, but like you said, there wasn't a lot of Lana stuff either.

Swimmer refers to Lana putting "all of the settlement money that she got from Lex" to "good use", which seems to totally forget that she actually embezzled the money from him.
Yeah, what was up with that? It was a pretty noticeable plot point that she stole that money...

and the intention seemed to be to transition her character from DP reporter to more of a superhero sidekick/superpowered person.
Which I hate. She's not a superhero!!!

Lots of Lois in this book. And lots of Erica stuff.
I wonder if this is Craig's bias coming through. He's a big Erica/Lois fan (right?) so maybe even unintentionally or subconsciously he included more of her. Or maybe her anecdotes were just more interesting?

Oh, one part of this book guaranteed to give many fans fits....the stuff on Lionel.
Yes, the stuff on Lionel definitely annoyed me. Maybe they were going for a redemption arc, but they didn't execute it well at all in my mind.

Juding from the AlMiles comments at the very end of the book, I think they took their plans for the series end with them, and whatever we see will be ALL PS3.
And Al sounded a little snippy about that too. "Screw you guys, I'm going home."

I think the writing for SV is a lot more basic then many of us would like to admit.
Which is why if more people realized this, I think it would save them so much frustration and hair-pulling and arguing.

Thanks for the great review!




jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
I agree. I think what they actually accomplished with Kara and what TPTB THINK they did with Kara are 2 completely different things.

I actually think they know they didn't quite pull it off, but they were trying to make it sound better then it actually turned out.

Which I hate. She's not a superhero!!!

Well, no, she shouldn't be. I think she was pretty cool when she was just average human Chloe. I don't agree with the direction they took the character. She was more then enough as she originally was.

I wonder if this is Craig's bias coming through. He's a big Erica/Lois fan (right?) so maybe even unintentionally or subconsciously he included more of her. Or maybe her anecdotes were just more interesting?

Well, I won't answer for Craig, but I don't think he's any bigger an Erica/Lois fan then he is an Allison or Kristin fan, or a Chloe fan. I'm not sure how he feels about Lana.

I just think that Erica seemed to be very enthusiastic about discussing her character (I felt the same way about Aaron in fact). And I also think the writers seemed motivated to defend their Lois. I think the combo is what makes the book seem Lois-heavy.

And Al sounded a little snippy about that too. "Screw you guys, I'm going home."

LMAO, he totally did.







goodvibe
Oct. 28th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you did the review, Val. :-) I'm very pleased to know Clark/TW is more well represented in this years companion. It really shouldn't be any other way, IMO.


//(a jab at the character of Pete seemed particularly mean-spiritied)---and then some comments which just seem to hint...to me anyway...at some behind the scenes problems.//

What did Al say about Pete? Poor SJIII. Came back for an ep a)only to be saddled with that bad an ep and then b)actually have Al talk smack about his character. Typical Al. ::shakes head:: I'm also curious about the comments about the bts stuff?


//My impression is that both Michael and Tom made a huge impact on her, and she seems very fond of the both of them. As well as Erica. And her gratitude towards the fans is very cute.//

LV really improved over the course of the season, as an actor. And she had decent chemistry with all three of these actors mentioned, particularly TW. Shame about how Kara was utilized though.


//He was? When was that conveyed in the writing? Never. They just rushed right through his reaction.//

Exactly. Which is what the writers often do, wrt Clark, and it pisses me off.


//I was very gratified to see them talking about the amazing Clex scenes from Descent.//

'Descent', IMO is truly one of the most definitive eps of SV - and I agree, so much of the credit goes to its director for that. Sure, the Clex chemistry was smoldering, but some of the scenes and the way they were structured - simply brilliant. I remember I couldn't gush enough in my review about the Clex scenes from the ep. Scenes like that make me miss MR.


//Not surprising.//

Not at all. I remember you and I thought so even when the eps aired. It's just the way SV writers handle these things, yet there was all that talk on certain boards of the "dark!lana arc." I don't think many who thought so realized that the writers were only ever going to go so far with an arc like that, and that it would certainly lead to no such revelation outing Lana as a villain. ::rolls eyes::


//the intention seemed to be to transition her character from DP reporter to more of a superhero sidekick/superpowered person.//

I'm one of those that feel that Chloe' transition away from a reporter hasn't come out of the blue (the seeds of it began to be laid from the latter half of S5 onwards IMO). However it's her transition ::to:: a superpowerd person/MF that has really not been handled well, and come drastically.


//Just for good measure, Al does repeat that Chloe becoming Lois was never a part of the AlMiles plans for the shows end.//

Ya don't say? ;-)


//And according to Slavkin, Erica is "the best Lois Lane in history. I go on record as saying that."//

That's some praise. I don't know if I'd actually agree (Dana Delaney from S:tas is probably my favorite) but that takes nothing away from ED herself, who I strongly feel is responsible for endearing me to the character as much she has. Her genuine enthusiasm for her role almost always shines through. I'm pleased that ED is well represented in the book. I feel she deserves that much kudos. And again, if such unequivocal approval from a showrunner isn't enough proof as to where the show stands on Lois---then I don't know what it'll take to convince some.


//Justin Hartley says some very gracious things about the regular cast members. Phil Morris says incredible things about Tom.//

::loves them:: And I second that request to get PM for the S8 foreword.


//I think they took their plans for the series end with them, and whatever we see will be ALL PS3.//

And y'know what? I'd be A-OK if that were the case.

Thanks for letting me pick your brain, btw. :-)
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
Just don't pick too much of the brain. I don't have that much to spare. ;)

What did Al say about Pete?

I don't have the book with me, but he makes some sort of comment about how Pete still can't carry an episode. And I felt like saying "Dude, thats because you wrote CRAP for him". Ass!

When they talk about Descent, they also mention the funeral scene at the end, and I think they were very proud at how those 2 Clex scenes, totally without words, were such incredible bookends for that episode.

It's just the way SV writers handle these things, yet there was all that talk on certain boards of the "dark!lana arc."

Well, yeah, exactly. Its not that I don't understand the desire for deeper and more far-reaching arcs. Its just not how the SV writers work, as far as I can tell from reading about them, and hearing their interviews. To them, Dark Lana ended with Wrath, and thats it.

And y'know what? I'd be A-OK if that were the case.

I know I'm not sweating it. There was a comment Al made about the Clex confrontation at the FOS not being how they wanted to end the series, but that being a satisfying exit for their involvement with the show, given it was a big Clex confrontation and "it didn't go well for Clark". And I couldn't help but think that would've been the way they would've approached the end of the series. They always said it would end a tragedy. With PS3, I think we might have the chance to see the series end with hope.

carolandtom
Oct. 28th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
There was a comment Al made about the Clex confrontation at the FOS not being how they wanted to end the series, but that being a satisfying exit for their involvement with the show, given it was a big Clex confrontation and "it didn't go well for Clark".

That guy surely hates Clark! Ugh!

I'm also curious about the comments about the bts stuff?

Same here. I'm sure they will make me hate AG with a little more passion.


(Anonymous)
Oct. 28th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
Great Review and Insights
That was a great review and insights into the 7th season. Whatever plans AlMiles had for the series is now gone because the ending in Arctic would've been their version of the series end.

By the way, what's happening to the Devoted To Smallville site?
jeannev
Oct. 28th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Great Review and Insights
Thanks. And yes, I do believe the show is no longer AlMiles, and I very much doubt that we'd be seeing this sort of progression with Clark if they were still in charge. Nothing I read in this book makes me believe that had a lot of interest in Clark at all.

No idea on the DTS site. Last I heard they were switching servers.
tasabian
Oct. 30th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
There was a comment Al made about the Clex confrontation at the FOS not being how they wanted to end the series, but that being a satisfying exit for their involvement with the show, given it was a big Clex confrontation and "it didn't go well for Clark".
That's very interesting. Michael mentioned at DragonCon that he wrote Lex's final line to Clark - I wonder if Michael & Tom conspired to make the final scene how they wanted it? I love the scene, though I wish it had been much longer with more lines for Tom.

Oh, one part of this book guaranteed to give many fans fits....the stuff on Lionel. While they do seem to acknowledge that Lionel did terrible stuff, and even did bad stuff in S7, there can be no doubt that they were going for a redemption arc with him, and they truly considered him reformed, and devoted to Clark.
Definitely gives me fits! How do they reconcile St. Lionel with the Clark-torture in "Traveller", the murder of Ollie's parents, the shovel-death of Marilyn and the abuse flashbacks shown in "Fracture"? Probably just as well Glover never watched the show or he'd choke on his character inconsistencies. (Love him though!)

I think Michael's affection for Tom always shines through. I thought the same when I watched Michael's appearances at the recent Con's on youtube. I think they forged a very real, very deep friendship.
Nothing to comment her but...Awwww!

Thanks very much for the review! It sounds like you can really take credit for lots more quotes about Tom this time around: hurray for that!
jeannev
Oct. 30th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
I love the scene, though I wish it had been much longer with more lines for Tom.

I'm fond of the scene as well, though its really more of a Lex showcase then a Clark one. Clark and Tom sort of got screwed in that scene. But it was OK, since it was Lex/MR's last scene. But I thought the fact that Al found it a satisfying end when "it didn't end well for Clark" was very telling in how he saw the show, and what he thought of Clark. And I was very releived he won't actually be there at the end.

How do they reconcile St. Lionel with the Clark-torture in "Traveller", the murder of Ollie's parents, the shovel-death of Marilyn and the abuse flashbacks shown in "Fracture"?

The Clark-torture in Traveler is more-or-less handwaved off as Lionel still being the MB, even though he's good now. The things he did in the past? Well, he's redeemed now that he's become devoted to Clark. Thats pretty much their rationale.

I don't think I can take credit for lots of quotes about Tom, but I'm very grateful that Craig took the criticisms of the lack of Tom to heart, and made the effort to include more material on him. :)

psychme
Oct. 30th, 2008 11:28 am (UTC)
Thanks for the detailed review of the book. I don't own any of these Official Companions, but your review has gotten me interested. If you don't mind, if one is a fan of the Lois character, which companions would be good to have? This 7th season sounds like one, based on your comments above. :)
jeannev
Oct. 30th, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC)
I totally recommend them.

If you are looking for Lois material, I'd definitely recommend the latest one, S7. After that, probably S4. This would be my order, I think..S7-S4-S6-S5. :)
psychme
Oct. 30th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
Great. I'll start with 7 and make my way down that list. Thanks so much.
shardsofblu
Nov. 4th, 2008 08:18 am (UTC)
Is there any particular quote(s) about TW/Clark from the writers that you especially love? And it's definitely very heartening to know that there's a lot about the guy in the companion book this time aound -- sometimes I think SV is probably the only show on the planet that got this aversion on talking about its own lead character.

Juding from the AlMiles comments at the very end of the book, I think they took their plans for the series end with them, and whatever we see will be ALL PS3.

I think it definitely fits with what they're always saying about SV being a "tragedy" in the end (i.e. Clark's relationships with Lex and Lana) and Arctic is perfectly fine with me for that purpose and as a season finale, but as something to close off the SERIES? *horrors*
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
A particular quote? Since I dont have the book with me, I'd have to think off the top of my head, but I think what Phil Morris had to say about Tom was really impressive to me. When it comes from an actor like PM, who has been around, and worked with hundreds of actors, and who is quite a bit older then Tom...and he's just gushing about what a nice, smart, interesting and talented guy Tom is. That has a lot of impact on me. Because actors like PM, who have been in the biz as long as he has, generally don't suffer fools gladly, and certainly wouldn't bother to praise a younger actor that they didn't care for. I add PM to that group that includes Rutger Hauer, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Ironside, James Marsters.

I also was very moved by something Michael said..."he's always the first to laugh". I find that so touching. Because we know MR likes to be a cut-up. And lets be honest, a lead actor could decide he doesn't want to be bothered with that, and be a real dick about that. But instead, Tom is "always the first to laugh". I love that.

I think SV is probably the only show on the planet that got this aversion on talking about its own lead character.

Quote for truth. But I'm very convinced that was an AlMiles thing, and the writers were following that lead. Still, it was pretty unforgiveable. And I still haven't forgotten or forgiven the fact that PS3 all but ignored Clark (and I don't think they mentioned Tom at all) at Comic Con. Can't blame that one on AlMiles.

I am very glad that the ending of SV is no longer in the hands of AlMiles. I have no doubt that if they were still in charge at the end of the show, Clark would've been the most beaten down, miserable Superman one could imagine.
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