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Review of "Siren" DVD commentary

This is meant as a compliment to the review of the Persona commentary that you can find on tariel22 's journal (http://tariel22.livejournal.com/80196.html#cutid1).  Unlike her though, I'm not adding lovely pictures at this time.  I might later, if I'm feeling so inclined, but not right now.

Right off, I'll say that there are a lot of people on this commentary.  AlMiles, Justin Hartley, Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders.  And sometimes when there are a lot of people on a commentary, conversations tend to go off on tangents, you aren't always sure who is saying what, and a lot of the episode seems to go ignored.  That is DEFINITELY the case with this commentary.  While there is a lot of information on sets (Miles hates the Luthor mansion set, Al doesn't "get" the Talon apt set, the DP set is getting huge), and costumes, I'm not really sure how riveting any of that is.  Especially when the episode tends to play out in the background, largely ignored.

There is also a considerable amount of ass kissing going on here, and self-congratulations, and pats on the back.  And it doesn't always feel like its entirely deserved, which makes it irksome.  Overall, I'd say there is very little actual discussion of actors and their performances.  In fact, only Justin seems to compliment Alaina Huffman.  Al even pronounces her name wrong until JH corrects him.

There are also a few casual digs at fans in generals, almost all from Al.  Well, we love you too Assmunch!

Al does mention that they got a lot of flack from fans for providing no commentary on the S6 DVD set, so thats why they're doing this.  Which would seem to say that the lack of commentary on S6 is a SV cast/production issue rather then anything associated with the DVD production.  Apparently no one felt like doing it last year.

I listened to the commentary very closely, and took notes, but I can't say there's a lot of great material here.  Frankly, its a tad dull.  Very much like the Thirst commentary, or the Crusade commentary.  Sometimes these things just don't thrill.

Here's were some of the points of interest to me...

Justin re: Tom :  People come up to me and ask "Ah, dude, Justin, is Tom really that big?  He's little, right?"  The dude's Big!  He's taller then me, he's bigger then me.  I look like Lana standing next to him.  He's ridiculous.  I'd like to thank him for that.  He's got the whole physical Superman thing going on.

to which Al adds:  And be honest.  He's dreamier in person, isn't he?

Justin:  Yes, he's gorgeous. (which actually, he says pretty seriously LOL)

Type your cut contents here

Regarding Allison Mack:

Justin:  She's so great.  She's so good at her job...
Al:  She's very good.
Justin:   Just believable and likeable and smart.
-there's some discussion about casting her, and how she's the show's "every girl"-
Kelly:  She does a great job because she gets stuck with a lot of the hardest lines, and has to explain whats going on.
Justin:  To make exposition interesting is a unique gift, and she does it so well ....(I think there's a bit more discussion of this, but just more of the same)

Regarding Oliver's relationship to Clark..

Brian Peterson:  ...good to have Oliver Queen on the show to call Clark on things that he skates by on with other characters  (IMO, an annoying comment)

Justin: (sounding like he's trying to soften that statement) ...he's written in such a way so he's not griping and moaning, he's not coming down on Clark so hard where's he's always harping on him

Miles: Pretty hard though ...

There's much laughing at the absudity of Lana and her magical computers at Isis, and her being able to find everything out, and people going to her for answers. 

Justin asks a question about writing for actors, something along the lines of if its easier to write them when you know them (honestly, my notes are scrambled here).  Thats when we go into the backhanded compliment to Tom.

Al:...in S1, Tom was brand new to acting, and S1 was all about protecting him, and putting solid actors around him ...
Miles:...he didn't have that many lines.  People around him had lines ...
Al: ...and now he's the go-to guy.  He's evolved so much as an actor, its amazing to watch ...
Miles: ...often, you cast for peoples personalities, and want those personalities to come across, which we got with "Mr Charm" (referring to Justin)...

the conversation then becomes all about Justin, with comments like "debonair" "God gave with both hands" "you're funny & good looking"  "its a rare combination.  It really is".  Justin's response to this is a quiet "you're too kind".  But honestly, this whole gushfest is WAY over-the-top.  No offense to Justin, but its incredibly excessive.  Not to mention that you were talking about your leading man there, and you just segued into creaming your pants over the actor sitting next to you. 

It was....disturbing.

Kelly Souders does say "great performances" when it comes to the Clana arguement, but then the rest of that scene is completely talked over with nonsense about Al/Miles asking Justin if he would be attracted to his own doppelganger.  I kid you not.  Again, its disturbing.

About Erica:

Miles:  She is such a great Lois Lane....amazing how much Erica's grown as well ...

-talk about her break-up scene with Ollie in Justice was one of her best scenes, and one of the best scenes of the series.  I can't say I agree. 

Much ass kissing and patting on the back from Justin to AlMiles in regards to the show being consistently good, etc. 
Kelly : ...it says something about our cast as well ... (Good Girl!!)

This is used to segue into joking about Michael, where Justin and AlMiles talk about what a great actor he is.
Miles:....he's the best actor because he's so unlike himself ...
Justin: ... Michael is the antithesis of Lex Luthor ...

Oh, and BTW, Michael was hurt while filming Siren.  Back problems.

Ian Somerholder gets a dubious mention as an actor that was brought into the cast and didn't fit.

Talk about Tom's trailer:

Justin: ... Incidently, you could also use Tom's trailer as a hosptial ...
Al: ...You could ...mentions how he want up to Vancouver, and saw the trailer and said to Tom "Tom, is George Clooney shooting this week?Its a fantastic trailer ... (this doesn't come off as good humored as it might read.  It sounded snarky)
Justin: ...he deserves it ...
???: ...Exactly ...
Miles: ...Nice save Justin ....
Al: ...its for Tom and his 14 dogs.  I think he's got an entire kennel now ...
Justin: ...he's there all the time ...

I can only go with my impressions of the the above, but I don't get good natured joking when it came to Al and the trailer. 

The big fight scene between Lex/Black Canary and GA was written in part because Michael called them in the beginning of the season and said he was tired of being the wimp and getting knocked out in every show. 

Justin refers to Erica as "a treat"

The Clois scene at the Talon apartment is mostly talked over. 

Final Clana scene comments

Miles: ...they're so damned cute.  It has been nice to see them together this year ...
Al: ...Yeah, it has.  Regardless of what certain fan groups think ...

Final impressions....

Kelly and Brian don't say much, but they seem OK.  I don't get a sense of gigantic egos off them, and they seem to have a great respect for the cast.

Justin is a nice, funny guy.  He does do a lot of ass kissing towards AlMiles, which was sort of a turn-off for me.  But they did hire him *shrugs*  He pays a compliment/s to Tom, Michael, Erica, Allison, Alaina, Kristin, and John Glover.  And thats very cool.

Miles doesn't say a whole lot.  But he doesn't bug too badly.

I think Al Gough is a dick.  I just do.  He does say some nice things here and there, but you just don't get a sense of sincerity from him.  Maybe its just his way, and I'm reading him totally wrong.  I don't sense any overwhelming affection from him towards any of the SV actors...expect Justin Hartley.  I get the sense that Al Gough believes the success of SV is due to...Al Gough.

And there ya have it. :)



( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 12th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
From the things you've posted I'm not too happy with Al either. It seems like he doesn't like Tom at all. Maybe because Tom wanted the story of Smallville to be about Superman, and Al wanted it to be a love triangle?
I love that Justin, tries to get them to give Tom compliments, if you know what I mean. I get the feeling he must get frustrated with them sometimes
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
For me, I don't get a sense of warmth between Al and ANY of the actors. Its not that he never says something semi-complimentary, its just that it doesn't really come across as believable.

Is it possible to listen to this commentary, and come away with the feeling that there's underlying tension between Tom and Al Gough? My answer is yes.
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC)
Wow, Gough did come off as a real ass, didn't he? I heard bad things about the interview but ... wow.

Aww, Justin!!! &hearts I've read that comment about how he felt small next to Tom elsewhere but when he said he's gorgeous, I melted. Sorry ... I can't help it ... I love him. *giggles* The cast is definitely very down to earth.

If I were Justin, I'd be creeped out with Goughlar's gushing.

Tom deserves lots and lots of praise! I'm so glad someone said something nice about Erica too. While I disagree that the Justice breakup was one of the best scenes of the show (exaggerating much?), I do think Erica and Justin were great with the emotions. :)

Thanks for this! It was fun to read. :D
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
Honestly, I've heard worse Al stuff. But does he come off as likeable? No, not really. And he talks a lot. Most of the commentary is him and Justin.

I'm not sure Justin knew how to react to the gushing. He seemed to just play along. But it was weird.

Yes, Tom deserves lots and lots of praise. But he doesn't get it on this commentary.
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
I still haven't gotten the DVD's for last season but between this and tariel's I kind of hate the commentaries (at least the last one had the wonderful John Glover and lost of Tom compliments hee)and Al is such a dick you can tell this by just looking at him. Good riddance.
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC)
I'm sure not going to miss him. I haven't listened to the Persona commentary yet, but going by what tariel said, I think I'm going to like it.
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Thanks for doing this, but what the hell?

Tom's trailer is undeserved? Too extravagant?

He works more than almost anyone else. He spends all his time, away from a wife he clearly adores, to be in Al's show and make the guy tons of money.

He completely deserves the Buckingham Palace version of trailers if only to piss Al off.

Sep. 12th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
Well, ya know, they never come out and say that. But certainly Al's snarky little comment makes you wonder. And then its Justin that says he deserves it, not Al or Miles. Then Al makes a crack about the dogs?

I don't know, it just didn't come across as all happy "Ha, Ha" to me.
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
Thanks for the review. I'm not a huge fan of commentaries anyway, so this will probably be one I skip or wait until I'm really bored to listen to myself.
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:44 am (UTC)
There is some good information on technical stuff, sets and things like that. If that interests you. But overall, this is a commentary most could easily skip.
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:28 am (UTC)
Thanks for the summary. I actually haven't even bought the new DVD's yet. This is the first time I've ever delayed getting them.

Tom never gets enough recognition from those guys. It's rather mind-boggling. Granted, they had the good sense to cast him, but he's the guy that's carried this show successfully for 8 seasons.

Justin always seems like he's trying to be diplomatic, but I do always get the sense that he sincerely admires Tom and what he's done. He's always mentioning how much bigger Tom is than him. I love that. :)
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
Just curious... will you be doing a Persona summary as well? I'd love to read your comments on that one.

I really should just get the set and listen to them myself, but I'm leaving for a short vacation next week and wouldn't have time to watch them anyway!
(no subject) - jeannev - Sep. 12th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - serenography - Sep. 12th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:37 am (UTC)
Tom works 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, which is more than Al or Miles have ever worked. He deserves a nice trailer and the company of his doggies.

Oh, and BTW, Michael was hurt while filming Siren. Back problems.
Oh, no. My poor baby :(

Al:...in S1, Tom was brand new to acting, and S1 was all about protecting him, and putting solid actors around him ...
Ah, bullshit. Tom is charming in S1 and his acting chops far exceeded those of both Sam Jones and KK. He didn't need protecting. This seems like Al taking a nasty dig.

Thanks very much for your excellent summary!
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)
Ya know, by all accounts, Tom isn't a diva, isn't overly demanding, and pretty much keeps to himself in the quiet of his trailer. Maybe with his dogs. Really, is this such a huge demand?

Maybe I read it all wrong, and Al wasn't really peeved by it, but I typed the quotes. Miles does say to Justin "nice save". Now, why would he say that if it wasn't a touchy subject?

And really, the George Clooney crack? Go fuck yourself Al.

Justin does mention that he was careful with Michael in the fight scene. Also, he said that it was a lot of moves for that fight, and Michael came in and learned it all in about 15-20 minutes.

And my recollection of S1 is Clark with plenty of scenes and dialogue.
Sep. 12th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
Grrr...Al can kiss my a@@! You already saw the comments that I posted on my journal about some of the things that were said on the commentary. The whole trailer conversation definitely pissed me off. Justin made a random joke/comment and somehow it turned into a slight on Tom.

Then there's the fact that they couldn't even remember Alaina's name. I wonder how she'd feel if she ever heard that?

Also, the way they were raving about how Erica is such a wonderful Lois squashes any ideas of Chlois in my mind, but I'm sure that the diehards will find a way to fanwank that one.

Good Riddance AlMiles! At the very least, we won't ever have to listen to one of their commentaries again. Thanks for posting this- it helped refresh my memory! :-)
Sep. 12th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC)
Let me be clear, I definitely did not think Justin mentioned the trailer to be snarky. I do think Al has a problem with it. Just my impression.

Good riddance indeed.
(no subject) - eeyore1017 - Sep. 12th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Sep. 12th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 12th, 2008 05:03 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for doing this, and for posting it so quickly! Your impressions were very much the same as mine, especially about Al Gough. He is a dick! And he loves to hear himself talk!

Justin is always nice to everyone, and with all the love he gets from AlMiles, he may actually think they're great. Plus this was evidently recorded before the end of the season, so maybe he was campaigning to come back. :) But mostly I think he was trying very hard to do good commentary. He was cracking jokes, asking the other guys questions, and making sure the conversation didn't lull.

When Justin said the thing about Tom's trailer, I think he was trying to be funny, but in a lighthearted way, and then Al just got nasty about it. There was an ugly tone to his voice, IMO, and the crack about Tom's many dogs sounded like ridicule to me. I think Justin may have even regretted bringing it up in the first place, and it was decent of him to seriously say that Tom deserved it, and that he is always on set.

I thought Justin's jealousy of John Glover's magnificent hairline was adorable. :)

I am always bewildered when AlMiles make fun of something that is their own invention. If you think Lana, her newfound Google-fu, and her computer system that rivals the Very Large Array are all so ridiculous, then why did you introduce Isis in the first place?! Do you think that little of your viewers? Or do you just not care? Those comments drove me crazy.

All that talk about how Tom needed to be protected in S1 infuriated me. Sure, he was inexperienced, but he was also wonderful, I think he had TONS of dialogue, and he just got better with every episode. By the time they got to the middle of the season, his performances were complex and quite touching. Rogue, Shimmer, Hug, and Leech remain among my all-time favorite episodes.

The part where they tell Justin he has the rare gift of being funny and good looking made me angry, too. First of all, if you think Justin is so great, how about complimenting his acting skill, or his strong work ethic, or his professionalism, all of which he has proved time and time again. Gushing over his looks and asking him if he's attracted to Tom and/or himself is just creepy. It reminded me of the way they used to talk about KK, when she was still a teenager. *shudders* And second of all, who in the world doesn't think Tom is funny and good looking?! And what about Michael, for that matter? He's hilarious, and completely Teh Sexy! Grrr!

I get the sense that Al Gough believes the success of SV is due to...Al Gough.

Absolutely. He's an ass.

I am so glad your impressions of this commentary mirror my own. I was totally second guessing myself, worrying that my ear is too biased, and that I was reading too much into everything. But now I know it's not just me. :)

Now go listen to the Persona commentary! It will make you feel great! You know, my post isn't so much of a review as a mini transcript, and I left out lots of stuff. If you feel so inclined, I'd love to hear your thoughts on Persona as well.

I'm going to add a link to this at the end of my Persona post. I hope that's okay with you!
Sep. 12th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC)
Of course its OK. I like to think we did this as a one-two punch :) Yay Teamwork!!

And its not just your take on Al. As you can see, without you influencing me at all, our impressions seem very near identical.

Here's the thing, in a nutshell...you NEVER get a sense that AlMiles love their cast, appreciate their cast, believe they owe their cast anything, feel grateful to their cast. Never. At any point. Ever! Even when they are saying something about them being good actors, it feels like comments tossed off. When they talk about their own accomplishments? Holy Shit! They are Teh Awesome! These are some seriously out-of-control egos.

Justin was completely fine. I hope he does another commentary for S8 with a better group, or maybe just with Brian and Kelly.

I think them laughing at the Isis computers, or Chloe's super-hacking is pretty annoying, but I get the sense that they are more-or-less admitting that its a cheat, laziness and a shortcut. Maybe they are forced to do that due to time and budget, but then at least be embarassed by it.

I think the reason that the Justin lovefest bugged me so much is that the line of conversation started with discussing Tom, and the backhanded compliment/insult. So, you go from discussing Tom to talking about how awesome Justin is, and how its such a rare combination for him to be gorgeous and funny? Really, whats the implication about Tom there? How can you not connect the two?

As I said, its very, very easy to believe that there is bad blood between Al and Tom. Very easy. I know all we have is rumors, but I believe.

(no subject) - tariel22 - Sep. 13th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 12th, 2008 08:45 am (UTC)
Thanks for this. I'm so not listening to this commentary! I've had more than enough of listening to that ass/dick Al Gough! What a creepy, pathetic, ungrateful asshole he is! (I seldom badmouth anyone publicly but that guy has the ability to really infuriate me!)

I'm so glad that Ag/Mm are not longer involved with the show! I hope they stay far, far away from it until it's over. And I can't wait for the days when we can discuss Tom's new projects and endeavours.

Thanks again!
Sep. 12th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
I think the show can only benefit without AlMiles. More to the point, I think Tom can only benefit without AlMiles.

And you're welcome. You know me, never a hardship to share my opinion LOL
Sep. 12th, 2008 11:05 am (UTC)
I haven't gotten my S7 yet (mostly, b/c I bought a bunch of DVDs last weekend and am waiting for my next paycheck, heh), so thanks for the heads about this.

Souders & Peterson are on the commentary? Good Lord, I can't stand those two. They're some of the worst writers on the show and they're not great in interviews, either, as we came to learn early on in the summer.

I've always hated the "Thirst" commentary from S5 because Al/Miles start off going "this episode sucked and everybody thought so" and by the end of it, they're all "you know, this wasn't so bad". Made me think they hadn't watched the episode AT ALL. I don't remember them saying much about Carrie Fisher and the only real actor they spoke about in detail was KK (go figure, right?).

I can't BELIEVE they pronounced Alaina's named wrong. Oh my gosh, that is ridiculous. Completely unprofessional.

Al/Miles always say crap about the fans, which has always perplexed me. Don't bite the hands that feed you guys. We don't watch your crappy show and you don't have a job.

They really use "God gave with both hands"?! People at TWoP just JOKED about that in S6, but to know they actually said it?! Yikes.

I can't believe all they talk about Allison Mack is that she's the Exposition Girl and then call Erica Durance's breakup scene in "Justice" one of the best of the series. I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous.

Sounds like they were saying that TW was a diva about his trailer.

Good for MR to stand up for his character getting knocked out! Lex Luthor SHOULD be someone the heroes have to struggle against. The fight scene in "Siren" at the mansion is one THE best ones they've ever done.

"Despite what certain fan groups think"? OH.MY.GOSH. I just don't know any other showrunners who stab their fans in the back like this.

Thanks for posting this! I LOVE audio commentaries, but I got SO frustrated about the "Thirst" one from S5 and this sounds an awful lot like it and worse. I think I'll just stick to the "Persona" commentary because John Glover had a great one with AM on "Truth", so I bet it'll be better.

Edited at 2008-09-12 11:14 am (UTC)
Sep. 12th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC)
The Thirst commentary pissed me the hell off. First of all, why comment on an episode that you just intend to tear apart? Also, they are openly insulting to KK ("this is the one scene she's good in" is a direct quote). And they mention Tom once or twice, tops. Also, they talk about how it was good to get James Marsters so MR could finally have a good actor to work off of. WTF does that mean, and what does that imply about the rest of your cast? I HATE that commentary.

My impression is that AlMiles have a lot of resentment towards SV fans. I guess because we dare to openly question and challenge them.

(no subject) - savingpeople - Sep. 12th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeannev - Sep. 13th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 12th, 2008 12:50 pm (UTC)
Well, it Couldn't have been easy typing this up. ::hugs:: Al continues to piss me off monumentally. I cannot believe they would get AH's name wrong. She was the main frikin guest star of the ep, you morons! And two paltry bits about ED, and nothing about the Clark/Lois scene which was probably one of the best they've done? And dont even get me started on the TW thing---where ITA often it's more about the ::way:: a certain comment comes off, and I think that's where Goughlar excel in douchebaggery.

I appreciate JH atleast trying to veer their BS back in line though. But alas.
Sep. 12th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
I though pronouncing Alaina's name wrong just felt dismissive and rude. But I think it speaks to how dismissive these 2 about the actors on the show overall.

They did mention a few things during the Clois scene at the Talon. They did say it was fun to see them having this sort of conversation that they'll be having in the future, about themselves (I think Kelly said that). And they say Erica is good, and that its a nice Clois moment. But its all throwaway comments, while the main conversation is about something else. You don't get the sense they are really watching or appreciating the scene (maybe Kelly and Brian are).

And yes, Al has a VERY bad way of phrasing things, or snarking. There's not a lot of genuine humor or warmth there. There's always this underlying sense of....bitterness? Maybe?
Sep. 12th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Wow. Comments like that make me wonder about Gough's sense of self-preservation. Coz he'd be in the shit if TW wasn't such a good and nice guy. Welling could seriously stomp on that little bitch.
Poor JH, he must've been so uncomfortable.

Thanks for sharing though,
I can't wait to get Season 7 DVD's!
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Somehow, I think Al will be just fine in Hollywood. Seems like his type of personality always survive Look at someone like Dawn Ostroff still keeping her job, for instance.

And my pleasure with the sharing, though thank tariel. She was the one that inspired me :)
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
Can I tell you that I totally and completely thought of you when I heard that comment? Because I knew it would drive you NUTS! I couldn't agree with you more, on everything that you said. Its like they write Clark a certain way, and then LOVE IT when other characters tear into him or put him down? Its like they have some deep resentment towards the Clark character...and I can't figure it out.

But I do want to add, and I think its Miles that says it, that they make a point of saying that Oliver is a "grown up", which is at least an acknowledgement that Clark is young and may not be ready to make some of the same decisions as Oliver.

They also do find it funny when Clark brushes off Dinah's question about joining the JLA. But its not funny in an annoying way. They seem to like how Tom played it.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jeannev - Sep. 12th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pep_singer - Sep. 13th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 12th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
I haven't received my set yet, but I was waffling about whether to listen to the commentaries. I still haven't listened to the commentaries on S5! largely for similar reasons to those you list here. I hate it when commentators go off on tangents while the ep/film is running--Superman: The Movie is really bad that way, too--who cares what Gene Hackman's favorite hotel was? And I figured there's be lots of Gee, aren't we SPESHUL? and I just couldn't take that.

Thanks for the info! at least now, if I decide to listen, I'll know what to expect.

Everytime I read of Gough opening his yap, I cringe.
Sep. 12th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
In regards to S5, I would definitely recommend you listen to the Splinter commentary. Its James Marsters, James Marshall, and Stephen DeKnight. They are funny, and VERY complimentary. Lots of compliments on Tom and Michael's abilities as actors. Trust me...listen to it. You won't be disappointed.

Thank God we no longer have to listen to Al quotes regarding SV.
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