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Today I was finally able to finish up the totals of "the adults" in S5.  When I first started doing this, in S6, I was just doing the numbers for Clark, Lana, Lex, Chloe, Lois and Oliver (who really inspired this whole thing).  But now that its well under way, I feel like I want to have the numbers tabulated for all of the main cast.  And boy, what an eye-opener its been.



First, lets start off with a general factoid.  S5 contained only 1 episode that clocked in at less then 40m.  That was Tomb at 39m, 42s.  S6 had 3 episodes that clocked in under 40m, Fallout, Labyrinth & Combat.  S7 had 7 episodes under 40m, Kara, Fierce, Blue, Veritas, Sleeper & Apocalypse.  Since I don't have the numbers from S1-S4 yet, I can't use them for comparison, but its at least evident that the episodes are getting shorter on average over the last 3 seasons.  Is that meaningful?  Hell if I know, but I thought I'd throw the stat out there.

Also, while compiling these numbers, I came to the conclusion that S5 was a much stronger season then S6 & S7.  At least for the most part.  I believe that S5 took a precipitous drop with the episode Hypnotic.  And even before then, I think a decent arguement could be made that Reckoning really turned the tide on the season.  Its certainly hard to ignore the bizarre, drawn out ending to Clana in S5.  The fact that goughlar are on the record as saying that this relationship "got away from them" is still enough to have me scratching my head.

Anyway, if you're interested in more screentime stats, and more discussion of S5, follow me
Type your cut contents here.

Here are some of the numbers for you:

Jonathan 
12 episodes
Total screentime total:  117m, 14s
Season high:  Fanatic, 10m, 58s
Season Low:  Vengeance,  43s
Total screentime for John Schneider:  123m, 29s*

*includes Brainiac impersonating Jonathan in Oracle

Martha
19 episodes
Total screentime total:  124m, 56s*
Season high:  Mercy, 15m, 27s
Season low:  Fade, 2m, 51s

*comparing that to Martha's S6 screentime total indicates that the characters screentime was literally cut in half, although Martha appeared in only one less episode for the season.

Lionel
15 episodes
Total screentime total:  98m, 39s
Season high:  Mercy, 29m, 57s*
Season low:  Mortal, 1m, 4s

*the highest screentime total for any character in a single episode all season, beating Lex in Lexmas by 20s

Lionel's screentime has also decreased from S5 to S6 to S7, however he also appeared in only 12 eps for S6 & S7, as opposed to 15 eps in S5.  Still, doesn't it seem strange that Lionel's screentime numbers didn't increase with the death of Jonathan Kent, and Lionel taking a more active role in Clark's life?  I found that stat most puzzling.

My conclusion from the numbers of S5 (and I expect the totals to be even higher as I go into older seasons) is that the Kents actually had a significant chunk of screentime, and were generally given something of importance to do in most every episode.  And I believe losing much of that in S6, and losing it altogether in S7 has had a detrimental effect on the show, and on the character of Clark.  It might not be the case if Clark had made some substantial life decisions, and big changes, with the exit of his parents.  But he really didn't.  I now believe that the loss of "The Kent family" has thrown the show off-kilter, and its been unable to completely right itself.  And by losing that dynamic, they've taken away a major part of Clark's character, and they've replaced it with nothing. 

Chloe has been thrust into a parental type role, which has been unfortunate for her character, and only managed to do damage to the Chlark dynamic.  Chloe was already taking the roles of best friend, confidante and sidekick.  Making her also the dispenser of mentor-like wisdom just doesn't work.  Clark getting this sort of push/advice/guidance from a peer just makes Clark seem slow.  And Chloe dispensing it makes her seem over-the-top.

Kara also hasn't brought any sort of significant, sustainable family dynamic into Clark's life.  Her jumping in and out of the storyline made it impossible for Clark to ever start to confide in her, which made them having deep, insightful conversations incredibly rare (in fact, did they have any?).

I noticed that Martian Manhunter takes on a nice mentor-ish role in the episode Bizarro, but there was no follow through, and he only appeared in 3 eps.

Bottom line, IMO, losing Clark's parents hurt the storyline, and hurt Clark's character.  I can understand them going with Jonathan's death, but then they should've held onto Martha tight, with both hands.  Also, Clark losing one of his parents should've had a more monumental effect on his life overall, and while it seemed like they were going to follow through with that towards the end of S5, it sort of was forgotten come S6.

One last observation on S5.  I think Arrival, Mortal, Hidden are probably the strongest 3 eps set back-to-back.  I love the way the storyline flows between the episodes, and I loved the way the events that occured in these eps set the stage for the entire season.  The episodes were also some of the most visually stunning the show has ever done.  I've seen all 3 several times now, and I find I don't tire of them at all.  I know there's some grumbles about Clark not fighting to get back his powers, but I thought in the context of the story, it made perfect sense.  And no, I don't think it was just about Lana.  But speaking of Lana, and Clana, she and they were absolutely adorable in Mortal & Hidden.  Upon rewatching it, I really couldn't help noticing the great contrast beween the way Clark and Lana were always touching, and kissing, and hugging in those 2 eps, to the way they were in S7.  Even when they were supposedly happily living together, and getting their "real shot".  What was going on here?  Early S5 Clana is a young couple happily in love with each other.  S7 Clana are roomates who are fond of each other.  What an odd choice for the show to make.

S5 also contains what I consider to be one of the series most underrated eps, Vengeance.  The ending of which never fails to set off the waterworks.







Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
tariel22
Jun. 2nd, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Thank you for doing this. As always, I find your stats fascinating.

I didn't mind Jonathan's death in S5, but I do feel it was squandered. It should have made Clark realize that the decisions about his life were his and his alone to make, and that he had a greater role to play in life than that of the Kents' son. Clark voiced a readiness to accept his destiny, but then seemed to forget all about it.

With Jonathan's death, Martha should have become more of a presence in Clark's life, not less of one. Truly, she should still be his primary confidant, IMO. She has the wisdom of her years, plus she's the only other person besides Clark himself to have seen his whole life play out against the backdrop of his burgeoning powers. No one else can share that perspective. Of course, she would first have to recover from the insanity that occasionally gripped her during S6. :)

I do feel you're right in your conclusion that the loss of Clark's parents on the show has hurt it overall. I'm really curious to see if S8, with new show runners, will be better, worse, or just more of the same. I think MR's absence alone will have to make it worse.

I actually just watched Mortal and Hidden this weekend, and I'm always surprised by how much I don't dislike the Clana (it's a double negative, but not quite a positive). The beginning of Hidden in particular remains one of my favorite scenes of the show. Their relationship seemed genuine in that brief time that Clark was without his powers. In contrast, I think S7 was all about self-delusion, and both of them trying desperately to recapture something they never had in the first place (normalcy with superpowers). I don't think it played out like a "real shot" at all. It was more like a slow, painful death.

I love your insights. Thanks so much for sharing them, and for devoting your time to this project.
jeannev
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
I didn't mind Jonathan's death in S5, but I do feel it was squandered. It should have made Clark realize that the decisions about his life were his and his alone to make, and that he had a greater role to play in life than that of the Kents' son. Clark voiced a readiness to accept his destiny, but then seemed to forget all about it.

Right, thats it exactly. The death needed to be monumental, and not just for the 100th episode. It needed to create a big change in Clark, and how he approaches things. But they let that slip away. I always thought it was going to be hard to go back to Clana after Jonathan's death, because how could Clark not associate Lana with that? Which is NOT to suggest Lana was responsible. She wasn't at all. But how do you seperate her from the events in your head? Clark really shouldn't have been able to. And if he actually did, then shouldn't we hear him verbalizing it?

I do feel you're right in your conclusion that the loss of Clark's parents on the show has hurt it overall. I'm really curious to see if S8, with new show runners, will be better, worse, or just more of the same. I think MR's absence alone will have to make it worse.

Having just finished with S5, I'm now convinced that losing the Kents took something away from Clark that really hurt his character. And it seems to all go back to their disregard for Clark overall, and their lack of care in handling his story. As for next season, I can only hope Slavkin/Swimmer have a creative brain in their heads. I know Souders/Peterson do not.

And thanks for coming by to comment, and my pleasure on the project!

redteekal
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
Interesting post as always Val, and I see no argument against your conclusion regarding the detrimental effect of the show losing both Jonathon and Martha, it makes perfect sense to me. It's disappointing to see how episode length reductions have been increasing yet we've had episodes in S7 where many viewers have felt that there was too much trying to be shoved into one episode.

Vengeance is forever known as Clark's Grief to me...such a short scene yet so powerful that the rest of the episode pales. I agree that the impact of Jonathon's death on Clark was not thoroughly dealt with. There should have been more reference to it, spread over more episodes. This is probably why that scene at the end of Vengeance is so stark in my mind.

Thanks for posting and for taking the time to do the stats, I can only imagine how time consuming that could be. Much appreciated.
jeannev
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
I just like all of Vengeance overall. But my favorite part of it is watching Clark deal with his grief, and that last scene. The ending was an amazingly beautiful moment. It reminded me so much of my emotions in losing my own dad. And Tom's performance in Vengeance is out of this world. And its really the last Clana scenes of the season that seem to still make sense.
starry_dawn
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Word to the part about how much detriment the loss of the Kent family dynamic has brought to the show. I really think they were the strong points of the earlier seasons, even when they made choices that weren't exactly support-worthy. Remember in "Shattered" when they made one choice about Lex and Clark made another, and it just heightened the whole dilemma even better? They were there not just to dispense advice, but also to provide a different view-point. They were parents, they acted out of love and concern for their only child. And it was an interesting dynamic to watch, which went downhill once Jonathan was out of the picture. I did think they did a good job with the aftermath of that death almost all through S5, but S6 pretty much destroyed whatever S5 had built-up.

Also, agreed on the Arrival/Mortal/Hidden combo. I find all three episodes so captivating, and after the mess that was S4, it came as a refreshing surprise to have such a neatly planned arc that seemed to be going somewhere. I never tire of watching those episodes either - just the right amount of action, suspense and drama the show should have.
jeannev
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
One reason that Arrival/Mortal/Hidden work so well is that they really are constructed like a 3-parter, rather then stand-alones. Even though time passes between the eps, there's a strong sense of continuity. And the focus was so strong on Clark, and if anyone needs evidence on how big a difference that makes, just watch these 3 eps. But none of the other characters are shortchanged either (well, maybe Lois, who only appears in Arrival). Clark is great, Lana is good, Chloe is good, the Kents are good. And even though Lex isn't in these eps that much, it also strongly sets the stage for his character arc. They are just flat-out good. Its a shame they couldn't learn something from that.
pep_singer
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
//Also, while compiling these numbers, I came to the conclusion that S5 was a much stronger season then S6 & S7. //

Goodness, yes. It's amazing to me to watch the quality drop from s5 to the other two seasons. And even though I think S5's drop began with "Hypnotic", the season still managed to give us episodes like "Mercy" and "Oracle". I don't know what happened with seasons 6 and 7.

//I now believe that the loss of "The Kent family" has thrown the show off-kilter, and its been unable to completely right itself. And by losing that dynamic, they've taken away a major part of Clark's character, and they've replaced it with nothing. //

ITA. The loss of the Kents has had a detrimental effect on Clark, and therefore the entire show, IMO. It seems like losing Clark's parents was done to make Clark "grow-up", but I don't think doing that was the right way to go about it. And I'd love to see a scene where Clark talks about not having his parents around anymore. I feel as though I have no idea how Clark's feeling a lot of the time.

//I think Arrival, Mortal, Hidden are probably the strongest 3 eps set back-to-back. //

I don't know what was going on in early season five, but it clicked. I love all three of those episodes. All of the relationships seemed authentic, the characters seemed like they had an actual personality, and the acting was great. I miss those days.
jeannev
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
The loss of the Kents has had a detrimental effect on Clark, and therefore the entire show, IMO. It seems like losing Clark's parents was done to make Clark "grow-up", but I don't think doing that was the right way to go about it. And I'd love to see a scene where Clark talks about not having his parents around anymore. I feel as though I have no idea how Clark's feeling a lot of the time.

Right, exactly. Losing the Kents, or more accurately, Clark losing his family, really took a lot of heart out of the show. Whether you liked the Kents or not, they did represent home and hearth, love and warmth. When you lose that from a show, its a delicate balancing act to restore it in some other way. They never did. Instead, the show got more and more dark and depressing.

And they really didn't let Clark "grow up". I do think TW has adopted a more mature way of playing Clark, but honestly, aside from him taking responsibility for the farm, they haven't allowed him to grow up. They didn't even follow through with him taking on the big brotherly role with Kara, since she was so sporadic in the storyline.
(Deleted comment)
serenography
Jun. 2nd, 2008 06:23 am (UTC)
First of all, thank you for accumulating and tabulating all these figures. That's a lot of work.

I agree about the real impact on the show by the loss of both Kent parents. I think losing Jonathan was appropriate, as it lined up with the mythology and it made for some great storyline drama in pushing Clark forward. I wasn't a big fan of the episode Vengeance, but the overall lesson Clark learned was important and that final scene... GAH :(, it makes me cry every time I see it.

Martha's absence has been a real loss though. Granted, Annette wasn't really being used for very much outside of being Clark's mom, but that's a HUGE role to fill in his life, and I miss having her there for him. How hard would it be for them to at least drop in a line here and there about Clark having spoken or visited with Martha in D.C.? It's not like it's any effort for him to visit her whenever he wants. I think they really dropped the ball by not making more of an acknowledgment of that relationship still being strong in S7.

Mortal and Hidden are two of my favorite episodes (no surprise there), and they do make watching the bizarre coldness of their relationship in S7 even harder. Hypnotic is an episode I don't care to ever watch again. It's one of the very few episodes that I didn't like Clark in, and that's just all kinds of wrong.
jeannev
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
I can definitely see the point in losing Jonathan. And it could've been an amazing thing for the show. Vengeance seemed to suggest they were on the right track. And then, somewhere along the way, they forgot where the death should've taken them.

I figured you would like Mortal & Hidden. Aside from just being good eps, Clana were great. And I really liked Lana in them. I've always thought the Clana love scene in Mortal was well done.
gildinwen
Jun. 2nd, 2008 06:40 am (UTC)
Thank you for putting up these times. I really think Jonathan's death was squandered on the show. I mean it's part of the hero's journey to have the mentor die for goodness sake, and it never went anywhere. Contrast this with Lex whom was severely effected by the death of his parents, (Lionel's murder by his hand marked his descent (pun fully intended) into irredeemable villianhood) and it's like WTF?!?!?

And Clark and Lana, seemed so much like a couple in Mortal, and Hidden. You could tell that a number of week had passes between the episodes, and they seemed so sweet. The opening scenes in Hidded never fail to make me lol.

And you made the same point about Chloe I was going to make in the second part of my quest review. They've made her into a mother figure, and it just doesn't work. They've already made her a hacking whiz, Clark's confidant, a meteor infected person, Clark's secret holder, the person who takes over ISIS, the justice leagues version of Oracle, this is too much.
jeannev
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Its just one of many examples of them seeming to have far more interest in Lex's emotional journey then Clark. But then again, they've sometimes dropped the ball with him as well.

Clana are so connected in Mortal & Hidden. They feel like a couple. Look at the way they beam at each other in the barn make-out scene. Or the happiness in waking up together. Scenes like this, that show love and happiness between them, helps to make their parting more poignant. As opposed to S7, where they seem totally miserable with each other. How can them ending be poignant when they don't seem to be taking any joy in each other? It doesn't work.
beef_wonder3
Jun. 2nd, 2008 08:49 am (UTC)
I agree with you about Chloe's role in Clarks life. She's fits quite well in the best friend/confidant role but it doesn't make sense for her to be an influence of wisdom to Clark.

It would have been better to follow through with Martain Manhunter filling that role, as you mentioned, or perhaps Clark realizing things like that on *gasp* his own!

In relation to whare Clark's character is in seasons 5-7; It seems to me Clark is literally stuck on the farm. And it seems he and everybody else is fine with that. The only opposing views to this was Ollie trying to get Clark off his butt and do some superhero-ing already.

After Ollie left the only time someone has encouraged Clark to be anything but a farmer; (not including "You were meant for greater things" yadda, yadda, vague much?), was Lois in Arctic giving Clark the application for the DP.
jeannev
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
Martian Manhunter has a lot of potential. But they've created a few situations with him as well. He hasn't been very well developed. But at least he provided Clark with a person to talk to, and someone who can provide a mentor-like perspective.

And its well and good to have other characters think Clark is destined for better and bigger things. But why aren't we hearing how Clark feels about it? What does he want for himself?
carolandtom
Jun. 2nd, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the stats and for the great comments. As usual, I agree on most of what you say about the show.

I loved Hidden and Vengeance. And I realize now that my SV love started to fade with Reckoning. I hated that episode and I think SV never recovered from that turning point. Something was lost forever. The show became something different and unfortunately worse, IMO. And no matter how many guest stars they throw into the mix, I really doubt that they can repair the damage.

I can only hope the show ends with dignity.
jeannev
Jun. 2nd, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
I really do think Reckoning was a turning point. There was still time to right the ship after that, but I think Hypnotic is when it starts taking on massive amounts of water and starts to dangerously list.

And sorry for all the boat imagery. LOL

Can the show end well? I think it can. But can we have any faith in PS3? Its certainly hard to.
(Deleted comment)
jeannev
Jun. 2nd, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
I think I'm addicted to gathering stats now. I'm a little scared of myself, LOL

In S5, post-Jonathan's death, they did a decent job of making sure that it was mentioned in pretty much every episode. But you can almost see them itching to move on. Its actually even more evident with Martha, and them pushing the Mionel stuff (which is a whole other rant). But by the time S6 rolls around, you can see that they've pretty much moved completely past JK's death, and had no intention of sticking with the way it should've effected Clark, and moved him forward.

And the thing with Chloe is that as much as it hasn't been a good thing for Clark, you could easily say the same thing for Chloe. She's become less real, less relateable.
la_belle_isa
Jun. 3rd, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
I agree with everything you said. Thanks for that hard work, it's really interesting and thought provoking.
I think the reason for the higher number of shorter episodes in S7 might be for The CW to cram more commercials.
I definitely agree that Reckoning was the turning point of the series for the worst. It lost its soul after that. AlMiles did say that they had a 5-year plan for the show and I think that's just what it is. They got uninspired after that and theyr're thinking "short term". I really started to dislike Lana from S6. It's true that Clana was cute at the beginning of S5. S7 Clana really puzzles me to no end. WHY we had to have Clana in S7 since it was painful and no fun to watch for anyone. Clana and anti-Clana fans were pissed. What is it that the writers wanted to accomplish? I know they wanted to show why Clana will never work, but they could have done it much better.
Since S5, they gradually shed all mature people from the show. Now, the only guy over 40 is MM (and Brainiac but he's the bad guy). I really believe the show need a better balance in that aspect and the simpler way would be to give MM more scenes. Who would have thought back in S5 that Jonathan's death would be the turning point of the series? They should have shown a more mature adult world after that but IMO, they totally failed their transition from teen to adult.
jeannev
Jun. 3rd, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
I could definitely see the shorter eps being a CW thing. I have no idea what the other hour dramas on the CW time out to be. I have my limits LOL

I think Reckoning would've been fine if it had brought about some great change with Clark, and in Clark. By basically going back to the status quo, it just really threw things off kilter.

The Clana is a tough thing for me. I'm not a Clana hater. As I said, in early S5, they were positively adorable. But I do believe the show went past a few points of no return, and then they....returned. I just don't think you can do that, and keep up quality. I think the whole Clexana triangle thing was a horrible idea. And there can be no doubt they were going to do it come hell or high-water, no matter how it may reflect badly on the characters involved. goughlar and their stupid "triangle". Yeesh!
goodvibe
Jun. 7th, 2008 10:32 am (UTC)
The first half of S5 was some of the strongest SV has ever been. I totally share your immense love for the first three eps in particular, but even following those, there were some really great eps, either for pure enjoyability factor, like 'Exposed' or even 'Aqua', or just awesome storytelling and character development, like 'Splinter' and 'Solitude.' Hell, I'd say, even though I think they're two of the most boring eps ::ever:: even 'Fanatic' and 'Lockdown' made a concerted effort at developing a story arc. Then post 'Recknoning' everything started spiralling downwards, horribly and we were left with literally only a handful of good eps like 'Vengeance', 'Mercy' and 'Oracle.' The rest was just awful.

SV has never been good with consistency though, has it. ::sighs::
jeannev
Jun. 7th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
I would throw Cyborg in there as a decent latter half S5 episode, but you're absolutely right. The show went off the rails after Reckoning. I think it was one of those watershed moments where the show really needed to step it up, or risk slipping down the slope. Its clear, at least to me, that SV suffered the latter. And except for brief moments here and there, hasn't managed to quite get back up.
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