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Clark time through 6 episodes, S2-S9


I was asked by the lovely and charming tariel22  how Tom screentime for S9 in the first 6 eps compares to his screentime in previous seasons. 

Now, some of those numbers I didn't have.  Because I started doing the screentime totals in real time at S6, thats when I started to keep a tally of the numbers as the season went along.  But for seasons 2-5 (yes, S1 is still to be done), I had gone back to do those, and hadn't kept the numbers the same way.

Anyway, thats a very boring explanation of "my process". 

Still awake? 

So, at her request, I went back and got those figures for S2-S5, and Holy Toledo!  What the heck happened?

So, here we go, in descending order:

S9:  105m, 12s
S8:  117m, 14s
S7:  112m, 4s
S6:  94m, 50s (Wow!)

--But, now look at the difference--

S5:  133m, 36s
S4:  140m, 50s
S3:  151m, 48s
S2:  145m, 32s


I don't know...I'm no expert here...but as the show reaches its climax, shouldn't Clark be featured more and more, not less?  I mean, don't get me wrong, because I think Clark has been pretty awesome this season.  I just don't quite understand why there's so much less of him on screen when the fulltime cast is smaller.

BTW, this is Tom Welling screentime, to be precise, so it includes his stint as Bizarro, and his turn as Clarkionel in Transference, and also his added time as Joe in Relic.

And boy, now I remember one of the many reasons S6 frustrated the hell out of me.

Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
tariel22
Nov. 4th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for doing this! I'm stunned at how quickly you put those numbers together. You rock!

Wow, would you look at that. When I look back at the beginning of S6 now, it really hits me how heavily Oliver was featured. And that's pretty much what we've been seeing this season, along with a new focus on Lois.

I'm with you, if this is the culmination of Clark's story, the climax before he actually becomes Superman, why aren't we focusing on him? Where are all those stories Brian said they still had to tell?
starry_dawn
Nov. 4th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
You know, for some reason, even though they're featuring super heavily on Lois this season (how many episodes has she had more screentime than Clark so far?), it doesn't feel that forced or annoying as it did when the focus was Oliver. I guess they're finally learning to write so that even when Clark isn't on screen, the focus is on him. Since Lois' storyline is 90% about Clark, it doesn't take so much of the spotlight off him.

That being said, the decrease in screentime is ridiculous. And it bugs me that they're thinking about S10 right now when they have practically nothing left to tell wrt Clark. It's kinda pointless if all they have is stories for all the other characters, because hello? Way to shoehorn your lead character into the plotlines!
tariel22
Nov. 4th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
I have to admit Oliver didn't annoy me all that much in S6 because I was very frustrated with where Clark was at that point. Until Valerie set me straight about a few things, that is, and gave me a whole new perspective on everything Clark had been through up to that point, and what he was struggling with as a result. I wasn't in fandom then, I just lurked on TWoP, but her posts there really opened my eyes. But by the time I got a clue, Oliver was already on his way off the show. And then Justin did his interview with SHoE and I fell madly in love with him, but that's a whole different story. :)

I have noticed the new focus on Lois, but I don't resent it. Like you say, her story revolves around Clark, and that makes a difference. But really, we shouldn't be left jonesing for a Clark fix when the episode ends. There's definitely something wrong with this picture.

Look at us, talking Smallville! *twirls*
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
Oh, when it comes to my numbers, I'm like Speedy Gonzalez. I just whip my files out, and get to tallying.

I am also seeing a corrolation on the heavy Oliver focus in S6, and the heavy Oliver focus in S9. It does seem a bit like when are focusing heavily on Oliver, they forget a little about Clark.

As for Lois' screentime, I'm mostly OK with that. I won't lie. Do I think they could throttle back just a wee bit? Yes, I do. And I also think that a lot of her association with the Oliver stuff helped her numbers a lot, while it didn't do squat for Clark's on screen time. Because lets face it, Clark was pretty much rendered obsolete in Oliver's big "redemption" arc. When all is said and done, Lois and Chloe really played the biggest roles there.
starry_dawn
Nov. 4th, 2009 03:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was too busy protesting the Chimmy developments on the show to be too bothered about Ollie, hee. I guess we all had different priorities back then! I still hated that damn season, though. The thought of going back and watching episode after episode of Clark in that horrible red jacket ... *shudders* (Yes, I have my priorities sorted out very well, thank you!)

But yeah, I agree that they're still not doing completely right by Clark. I wonder how they can write a show that's centred around him and still make the audience feel like he's not been around the entire episode. That takes a special kind of talent, no? And I shudder to think what S10 will be like if they keep going like this.

It's been so long since we talked SV, no? Wow. I'm hoping to catch up this week, so hopefully, things will be back to normal soon! *twirls*
starry_dawn
Nov. 4th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
You know, what struck me most in your post was you wondering how Tom could have less screentime with a smaller cast. That ... just boggles. The cast has reduced by 3 or 4 since the 1st season, and I'm willing to bet Clark was featured most heavily then. It's just crazy.

And every single thing I hear/find out about S6 just confirms why it is my least favourite season. Chloe's hair, Clark's screentime, Chimmy, Chloe's ridiculous meteor freak power ... there's no end to the suck.
tariel22
Nov. 4th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
Okay, how much do I love that you mentioned Chloe's hair first? ;)
starry_dawn
Nov. 4th, 2009 03:38 am (UTC)
Well, it WAS the biggest tragedy of the season! ;)
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
There was much to dislike about S6. But I think I have more issues overall with S7, and the back half of S8.
starry_dawn
Nov. 4th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Oh, I had problems with S7 and S8 too. But S6 just stands out very clearly in my mind for some strange reason. I guess that was the first time I really felt how terrible this show could get. By the time S7 rolled around, I was already used to it.
svfan01
Nov. 6th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
I always say S6 was great with the use of a FF button(and using it anytime Lana shows up on screen)...lol

S7 by far was the worst season of Smallville ever. It seems like since the first season Clark gets progressively dumber, and it really kicked into high gear in S5. S7 was the pinnacle of making Clark look bad.
dm_wyatt
Nov. 4th, 2009 12:44 am (UTC)
You know I was thinking about this for the other side of my online life...

*cough*

It's a shame, really. There have been so many good Clark moments but oddly Clark isn't as visible as he should be. I just don't know why that is.

I really hope this isn't a trend.

*pouts*

If this is a sign of things to come, then I don't want a 10th season. They need the show to end strong, and it end with a lot of Clark.
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:25 am (UTC)
I'm hoping its not a trend either. But I'm looking ahead, at the spoilers, and I don't really see it changing. Aside from Kandor, not one eps sounds really Clark-centric to me.
dm_wyatt
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
It's ridiculous. All they're seeing is the dollar signs, but all I want to see is more Clark.

I'll be very sad if we don't get more of him, it is a Superman show, after all...

It's why I watch.

Edited at 2009-11-04 02:40 am (UTC)
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
I hope I didn't spoil you in any way. I was trying to keep it very general, and its only my impressions, which could be totally wrong. They have been before.

I do think a lot of it has to do with prolonging the show because, really, who wants to be out of a job? And apparently this is a pretty happy gig for everyone. But I do think in the interest of prolonging the show, it stopped being a show primarily about Clark Kent, and its turned into more of a ensemble/comic book story. And that might totally work for some viewers. I'm just not really one of them.
dm_wyatt
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
Oh, no. I just don't want to know specifics,so you were fine.

As for the show: it just seems like it's becoming the Ollie and Lois show and it shouldn't be that....

I watch because of Clark and Tom. If his role is going to be reduced, so are my reasons for watching.

Edited at 2009-11-04 02:50 am (UTC)
agentobrian
Nov. 4th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
If we look at those numbers, it does seem like Clark is not getting as much time. But Clark's time at the end of last season was higher than Season 5, 6, and 7. He's not being focused on as much right now, but I think by the season finale, he'll still have good time.

I have full confidence that after the next couple of episodes, Clark will once again be the focus.
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
Yes, thats true, so there can still be a lot of Clark focus to come. At least I hope so. Because through 12, I'm not getting that vibe.
tasabian
Nov. 4th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
That might explain why S3 remains my favourite season! Very interesting about S6 - All my fave S6 episodes -Freak, Labyrinth, Nemesis - come after the halfway mark, and no coincidence, feature generous amounts of Clark.

Was decreased screen-time part of Tom's deal, do you think? To allow him more time to learn the production ropes? I can see why that would be an incentive for him, especially since he now has his own production company to run but....I miss his pretty face!
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, early S6 was kind of...unmemorable. Particularly from Clark's story POV. I think only Fallout stood out there for his character. Labyrinth is the ep that totally skews that season, from a screentime perspective, because Tom's screentime is insane in that ep, and so it throws off the numbers.

I don't know what to speculate in regards to Tom's contract, or if this is his choice, or what. I can only say that I like when he's on screen, and the show never holds my interest quite to the same degree when he's not.
canadabear
Nov. 4th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
I'm going to go out on a limb and say the longer the show went (and goes), the more it becomes necessary to focus on characters other than Clark. Now, I don't think that means he needs to be completely marginalized as he has been in some cases, but I do think it's a big part of the reason his overall screentime has gone down as the show has continued.
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)
I think that probably a pretty good guess. It would be hard to stretch the show out the way they did if they were focusing on Clark to the same degree in the earlier seasons.

I just know I liked it better when they did though.
chatchien
Nov. 4th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
Thanks for compiling the Clark Early in the Seasonsd screentimes.

Very interesting---I'll have to go back and check on what was happening in Early Season 6.
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)
My pleasure :)

I think you will find lots of Oliver, and Lexana stuff in early S6.
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
And these numbers don't even include Static. That was episode #7.
lexalicious70
Nov. 4th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
Maybe because he has to wear two hats now, it's harder for him to be onscreen as much as he used to before he was exec producer? *ponders*
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
Maybe that would explain S9, but it wouldn't explain how big a decline there was between S5 & S6, and how those numbers have stayed so much lower for the last few seasons. I think Steph probably had it right when she said that this is their way of stretching out the show by turning the focus away from Clark, and spending more time on supporting characters.
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
At this point, I'm just waiting and seeing what comes. I can't even make a prediction at this point because I was actualy really convinced that this season was going to be really Clark-centric, and well....we know how that pans out.

I just don't know anymore.
carolandtom
Nov. 4th, 2009 09:08 am (UTC)
Thanks for the numbers!
P&S are never to be trusted. They say they have a lot of stories to tell about Clark and then they go and make the show focus on other characters. If the numbers continue like this, I definitely don't want a season 10. In a Superman show, Superman should never get sidelined!

I hated Season 6 with a passion. I think that's where the show lost me never to recover my love. And every time I try to get my hopes up again, they are crushed.

I miss the seasons where Clark was the main character not only in name.
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)
I really do think that the show went from one mentality, where Clark was the undisputed star and center, and all the other characters were supporting, to something of a more ensemble mindset. And I'm sure that works for a lot of people. Like I said before though, I'm not one of them.

I know its just minutes, and it doesn't tell the whole story, but what I see is how this effects the storyline overall. Clark has less interaction with the total cast. We have far, far less insight to what Clark is thinking and feeling then in earlier seasons (this is due, largely, to the loss of the Kents). And we have far more storylines that Clark only seems to get involved in peripherally (like Oliver's). I think all of that does change the show, and hurt it. At least for me.

For instance, here in S9, I know Clark is into Lois, and wants to date her. I don't know his throught processes beyond that in regards to her. Why not?
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
I think you make a lot of excellent points, particularly regarding Oliver...but I'll get to that. ;)

Like you, I do think Clark has been excellent in most ways this season. However, what I do think is lacking a bit is him as our POV character. I think, for me, the only 2 eps that really felt like Clark POV eps were Rabid and Echo (and Echo was weak in so many ways). I'd say Metallo and Crossfire are debateable in that area. And I do think thats a problem with the season.

And while Lois' storyline has definitely been tied to Clark for the most part, I also get the feeling that she's almost become our most prominent POV character. And whether one loves her, or hates her, or falls somewhere in between, that can't be right, can it?

Now, I think part of what reenforces that feeling to me brings us to issue #2, Oliver. Because Lois' storyline with Oliver has definitely been part of the reason her on screen presence has been amped up, and also contributes to her feeling like our POV character. Hopefully, with this part of the storyline done (hopefully), this will no longer be an issue.

But, everything you've said about Oliver here? Yes, yes and more yes. I do think there was some obvious problems in integrating Oliver into the cast last season, but at least he felt a bit more tied into Clark. This season? His tie to Clark is so flimsy. And now he's getting a sidekick? And spoilers indicate that there's more along these lines. Why? Because JH is handsome and talented. Well, OK, I agree with that, but can't we integrate him more into Clark's story if he's going to be sticking around?

But, than that brings us, or me, to another problem. I'm not sure after Doomsday, and the way the writers choose to deal with that, that I'll ever actually buy Clark and Oliver as anything more then acquaintances with a very precarious alliance. And not much more then that.
sunflowercyn10
Nov. 4th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks Val for going to the trouble and sharing this info. S6 OMFG! Wow I suspected his screen time was down when they were trying to launch the GA hour...lol..but that was nuts.

but as the show reaches its climax, shouldn't Clark be featured more and more, not less? I mean, don't get me wrong, because I think Clark has been pretty awesome this season. I just don't quite understand why there's so much less of him on screen when the fulltime cast is smaller.

Very true. I guess right now we could argue the Clark scenes have been about quality vs quantity but I tuned in originally to watch the story of Clark Kent and his journey to becoming the hero. I didn't turn in to see so much stuff on Oliver Queen which they are beating us over the head with again like they did in S6 and Kara in S7. I know that Lois/Erica is getting alot more screen time but I think the producers and writers wrote themselves in the proverbial corner in the past so to speak because they limited Lois's screen time and the result limited participation in the story arcs and development of her relationship with Clark. The only problem is now we do get the overload to play catch up and in some ways takes away from Clark as well. (I'm saying this as a CLOISER too who loves them together but would have preferred more screen time of the twosome last year...)

Do you think that Tom is also playing a bigger role behind the scenes so this might be a reason or was he suppose to direct an earlier episode like one after Roulette but plans changed? He is working on a side producing project for the CW too right?
jeannev
Nov. 4th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
S6 is actually the season that inspired me to start all this screentime tallying. Because I knew that Clark's sceentime felt ridiculously reduced, but its one thing to have the feeling, and another to be able to back that up with hard numbers.

And so my obsession was born. LOL

I do agree with you on Lois/ED, and their screwing it up last season. In so many ways, I think they dropped the ball in the 2nd half of S8, and its still having reverberations, even as this season is so much improved upon that. I know my sister and I have said many, many times that if the S8 had pretty much developed along the lines it was developing up to Bride, and hadn't taken the hard turn it took, and if Lois had a bigger role to play in the back half of S8, then we would really feel like we were in a very organic place with the Clois, and Lois increased prominence. But, well, thats not what happened.

I don't know what Tom's other activities might be doing to his screentime, but I don't think its a stretch to think its having an effect.
goodvibe
Nov. 5th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
Well, there ya go. There may be several reasons why IMO S1-3 hold up so well, even today. But mostly I think it's due to how Clark' character was really heavily the focal point of the story. Which is basically what the show has consistently lacked, for a while now. I may greatly enjoy certain eps from the last 4 or 5 seasons or so, and they have certain merits, sure. But as a cohesive wholes? They have been far, far from consistent. And that can happen when a show loses sight of the character that's supposed to be most central to the overall picture.
jeannev
Nov. 5th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
I would actually say that S4-S5 were also heavily Clark-focused. The change occured in S6 to me. I think thats when they, more-or-less, abandoned the concept of Clark as the sun, with all the other characters being the planets in orbit to him. Why that is, I can't say. Maybe because their "5 Year Plan" ended, and they decided they didn't need to follow the same structure. I suspect a lot of had to do with stretching the show out for as long as they could.
goodvibe
Nov. 5th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, definitely. As much as I am loyal to the show, and will continue to watch it and support it right till the end, I do think it's past its prime. S6, maybe even 7 - should really have been it. Done. Final.

And while I agree that S4 and 5 were still Clark focused, I do think they started the trend of losing sight of that towards the latter half of their runs, and this is particularly true of S5. In fact up to S4 even, one can argue that there's a general level of consistency in quality and focus to be found in the seasons. This sort of tends to diminish and deplete from S5 onwards where typically, with an exception in perhaps S6, the seasons start off cohesively and then derail somewhere in the latter half. I really do think this has to do with the fact that they start off Clark focused but then lose their way in catering to elements which should never be the central focus under any circumstance. Or when they remove Clark too much from the main proceedings. Or when he's too often a passive bystander. Or reactionary.

I probably compare this a bit with BtVS experience of S6 and 7, which I'm aware are held in contempt by most fans. I myself realize their many flaws, and while I still love these two seasons (despite the flaws) I do concede that IMO they're nowhere near as consistent as the previous 5 seasons. Because I feel that in the earlier years no matter what the proceedings, Buffy was always still the focal point, from which everything else emanated. In the latter two seasons though I felt that focus shift either to too heavy a delve in to ships, or comopletely extranneous, unnecessary characters.

Long story short (though, really, is it ever a short story with me? ;-) I think the biggest beef I have with SV' latter seasons is their tremendous lack of focus and consistency. And this is something I think began from S5 onwards.
jeannev
Nov. 5th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
You do have a point about S5. The 2nd half did sort of fall apart, and it did seem to lose some focus on Clark. I think a lot of that as due to them really thinking the show was going to be over in S5, so they started speeding towards one conclusion, and then they had to hit the brake, Hard! And it shows.

Still, the 2nd half of S5 contains Vengeance, which is an episode I love and adore. It also include Fragile, which has the Claddie, and that owns my heart.

I think BtVS was just a better written and run show all around. Its funny, because I don't love it like I love SV. But Buffy writers put SV writers to shame. And there always seem to be this respect for Buffy as the main character, even when they got distracted by side characters and 'ships. She never felt disregarded, or flat out disliked. Which is what we have definitely gotten with SV. I know you and I have discussed this, but how many times has it seemed like the writers flat out don't like Clark? I felt that as recently as Roulette.
oliver95
Nov. 7th, 2009 10:16 am (UTC)
Well, it is with great trepidation that I comment here, particularly as I, in England, have not yet seen any of S9. My irritations with the programme stem from the looming nature of the cardboard Superman cannon, which I feel is rather two-dimensional compared with SV and the human condition of the protagonists.
I must admit I did not notice less Tom-time in S6, which is another reason to view it again. What I did miss were the wonderful smiles, which I later put down to Clark feeling continually miserable because of his father's death and mother's absence.
I can't imagine that Tom's producer role is particularly onerous as they seem to have a baker's dozen of them on every show. I assume it just gives him more control over what he's asked to do.
I'm looking forward to season 9, particularly the tight-less costume, from what I've seen so far it reminds me of David Tennant in Dr Who!
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