Friday, June 19, 2009

Smallville Recap & Preview

"Smallville Recap & Preview"
by Dave Swan

*Warning: Contains Smallville Spoilers*

In my last column I wrote about the unspoken battle between The CW and the TV show 'Smallville'. But this time I want to talk about the show itself, and specifically it's most recent season. This season the show underwent a lot of drastic changes, both on the show and behind the scenes.

Coming into season 8, 'Smallville' lost a lot of key players. The show's creators and executive producers, Alfred Gough & Miles Millar left the show as did three key actors, Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor), Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang), & John Glover (Lionel Luthor), all of which had been with the series since the pilot episode in 2001.

While many fans looked at this as a terrible thing for the show, I thought it could be a blessing in disguise. While the Lex & Lionel interaction had always been my favorite part of the series, after seven years some things had grown stale. Lex & Lana especially had been featured in over 150 episodes of the show and to be perfectly honest had completely run out of things to do.

With the departure of these major characters, the show's writers brought three new actors into the mix. Justin Hartley returned to the show as a full time cast member, reprising his role as the extremely popular character, Oliver Queen (aka The Green Arrow). Joining Hartley were two brand new characters created specifically for the show: Tess Mercer, the new CEO of LuthorCorp and Davis Bloom who would later transform into Doomsday, the only villain powerful enough to kill Superman.

Fully aware that the lose of so many characters might turn off some long time fans, the 'Smallville' staff decided to give fans some of the things they had be asking for, starting from the very first scene of the season premiere. The show opened with the long awaited return of The Justice League (this time comprised of Clark Kent, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary, and a brief appearance by Martian Manhunter), who had not been seen since season six.

The Clark Kent character began transforming into the more traditional version, that fans have become accustomed to. Clark began working at The Daily Planet and the show started teasing a love interest in Lois Lane. Also Clark began embracing a duel identity, dawning the red & blue as a crime fighter known as the "Red Blue Blur".

The writers of 'Smallville' also began incorporating more and more characters from the DC Universe, instead of random made up 'Freak of the Week' characters. DC Heroes included: Clark Kent, Kara Kent (aka Supergirl), Green Arrow, Impulse (aka The Flash), Black Canary, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, and The Legion of Superheroes. We also met a cavalcade of villains including a deformed Lex Luther (not played by Rosenbaum), Brainiac, Doomsday, Maxima, ZOD's wife Faora, The Persuader, Toyman, and The Injustice League (Plastique, Parasite, Livewire, & Neutron).

The season focused heavily on two storylines, the inevitable collision between Clark & Doomsday and a love triangle between Chloe Sullivan, Jimmy Olsen, & Davis Bloom... both storylines came to a head in the season finale.

In possibly the most shocking moment of this or any season, Davis Bloom's affection for Chloe eventually drove him into a rage and he killed Jimmy Olsen by impaling him through the chest. Before Jimmy died he managed to return the favor spearing Davis into a structure impaling him as well. At Jimmy's funeral we learned that his full name was Henry James Olsen (not James Bartholomew Olsen as it had historically been). Chloe than took Jimmy's camera and placed it around the neck of a Jimmy's younger brother, a freckle faced boy with a bow tie.

When Clark and Doomsday had their throw down many fans felt disappointed that it lasted only two minutes. Clark eventually grabbed Doomsday and threw both of them into a building that had been rigged to explode by the Justice League and trap Doomsday in a mineshaft. Clark and Doomsday both went into the building as it exploded burying them alive. While this might not have been the most climatic fight, I believe that it will only be the first of many between the two on the series.

In addition to wrapping up these storylines, the season 8 finally did more than possibly any other finale to set up the next season. Chloe was left with her wedding present from Jimmy, a building that will serve as the Justice League's "Watchtower". While standing in the tower she has a conversation with Clark who is appearing to her in some type of metaphysical form. He says that he was wrong and that it is his human upbringing that is a threat to humanity... not his Kryptonian heritage. He has no knowledge of how he "escaped" the collapsed building and fades away at the end of the conversation.

On the other end of the spectrum, Tess Mercer has come in possession of an orb that she (and we) are lead to believe is the lost Kryptonian City of Kandor. Once Clark & Doomsday are disposed of and no longer a threat the orb activates and releases Jar-El's arch-nemises General ZOD.

With the gears already in motion for storylines involving The Justice League, Kandor, & General ZOD, season 9 appears to have no shortage of new material to work with. It has also already been confirmed that we will see the arrival of a new character "Mason" and Brian Austin Green will be joining the cast for "at least two episodes" as another major villain, Metallo.

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