Friday, September 25, 2009
SMALLVILLE SEASON PREMIERE-MY REVIEW
Tonight was the Smallville season premiere and I, like many fans, were hoping it was going to restore some confidence in the show. The last two or more seasons have been a real lesson in how to watch something die an agonizing death and when the big fight with Doomsday turned out to be a whimper instead of a bang Smallville seemed all but lost. Still though we as fans are always optimistic so we pressed on, waiting for the new season to bring us back to what made us love Smallville in the first place.
Yeah, well, we're still in trouble.
If the season premiere is any indication Smallville has gone completely off the reservation, fallen into a well and broken its leg. Sadly there is no Lassie to help us rescue Smallville, we have to simply watch it limp to its death. The Smallville season premiere has amped up that which was destroying the show to begin with, darkness, melancholy and general doom and gloom. Smallville was a fun show, it had monsters, story arcs with aliens and Clark running around discovering a new power each week. The townspeople were involved. Clark's parents were there (apparently being a Senator means Ma Kent is NEVER coming home), it was a fun show to watch. Now it's like One Tree Hill with Superpowers and that just doesn't work.
The new season opens with Chloe (Alison Mack) trying to find Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley). Seems Ollie and the other JLA members went into hiding after Jimmy Olsen's death last year (though apparently he wasn't the real Jimmy Olsen but his brother). Racked with guilt the JLA members are in the wind and Chloe is left in her righteous Watchtower pad looking forlorn. Meanwhile Lois, who vanished into the future via Legion Of Superheroes ring, has reappeared again with no memory of where she was but also not alone. With her is another Kryptonian woman who seems to be itching to kill Lois (ain't we all). Clark is being trained by Jor-El which seems to mean he watches flashing Kryptonian words and tries to act tough.
That's one of the main problems with Smallville's turn to the dark side, the actors just aren't good enough to carry it. Clark is supposed to be battling between being inhuman and human, trying to turn his back on his humanity and yet not being able to. That's an almost Shakespearean theme that actor Tom Welling just isn't up to. The producers have also decided to allow a lot of the emotional power of the show rest on Lois Lane (Erica Durance) and WHOA is that a bad idea. All these scenes that are supposed to be dark or sadly emotional just come of as silly. Erica Durance has no range so everything is just sarcastic or pouty and MAN does that get old fast.
Then there's Clark's new "Superman" suit which I've already railed against on my blog. It's just so badly thought out. Superman doesn't wear a black club kid outfit with a long coat, it just doesn't look right. Again what is supposed to come off as new and exciting comes off as wrong, like the producers and writers have no idea what Superman is all about.
I also wasn't a big fan of the new villains. Brain Austin Green isn't quite a super villain yet (that's next episode) but his attempts to be dark and mysterious are largely held up by the constant reminder that this was the white hip hop kid from 90210. It renders his menace as a super villain next to nothing. Worse still is Callum Blue who plain out sucks as General Zod. Blue is about as menacing as an ice cream cone plus his acting "chops" leave him little in the way of choices. To make Zod seem regal and maniacal Callum simply over enunciates words in a thick British accent. When Zod and longtime scene-killer Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) decide to work together the sinkocity goes through the roof.
I'm also tired of the show under using Chloe Sullivan. I've been a big proponent of her dying to give the show some emotional weight and that's mainly because she's the only one worth caring about. Sure she has some lame one-liners but Chloe carries a scene, she makes you care about her and in turn that makes you want to follow the show. If the rest of the cast were that good Smallville would be the new Friends. If this is Chloe's last season I hope they put her out front for it. I worry though, her last scene with Clark in the season premiere comes out of nowhere and is totally out of character for Chloe. It felt more like the producers needed to create tension so they tacked it on.
As always the giant hole left by the absence of Lex Luthor screamed at me through the entire episode. The premiere had Metallo, Zod, a Kyrptonian chick, Zod's personal army and STILL they couldn't hold a candle to Lex Luthor. Get the blank check ready guys, it's time to bring the man back to the fold.
Smallville's season nine premiere tried to introduce too many elements and none of them really worked. The cast looks tired, the writing feels tired and the whole thing limps along like Superman chained to green Kryptonite. I'm going to watch the whole season and I hope by the end I'm eating a big bowl of crow and Smallville kicks ass once again.
Somehow I doubt it.