Farewell, Smallville!

May 17, 2011 in Entertainment, Misc, Reviews, Shows

The Season 10 Poster

The other night I watched the series finale of Smallville, a show I stubbornly kept watching deep into its 9th and penultimate season despite steeply declining quality.  But eventually it got so bad that I was falling asleep and realising that I was wasting my time.  So I stopped watching it altogether, even though I knew I had to come back to watch the final episode — the episode where Clark Kent finally takes off to the air and becomes Superman.

Amazingly, despite having missed around 25-30 episodes, it wasn’t all that hard to pick up again.  Clark and Lois were engaged and about to get married.  Oliver Queen, aka the Green Arrow, was still around (I seriously thought Justin Hartley, the actor who played him, would have gone off to bigger and better things ages ago), as was Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack), Clark’s friend right from the first episode.  The final bad guy, I gathered, was this smokey fella called Darkseid (pronounced ‘Dark Side’) with red eyes that can control/possess people, and the ultimate crisis was a massive armageddon-inducing planet (Apokolips) on a collison course with Earth.

Those returning for the final bang included Annette O’Toole and John Schneider as Clark’s parents, even though the latter has been dead for like 5 seasons.  And of course two of my favourite characters from the show over the years, the villains, Lex and Lionel Luther (played by Michael Rosenbaum and John Glover).  The quality of the series really nosedived when these two went MIA, and it was great to finally get them back.

Curiously missing, however, were Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk — boy has she disappeared since the series…well, she was in that Chun Li Streetfighter movie…) and Clark’s old best friend Pete Ross (Sam Jones III, who has since gone on to become a porn star and is currently facing up to 20 years prison for dealing drugs).

I can still remember the first time I watched Smallville on TV, which began in October 2001.  Even though I wasn’t a Superman fanatic I still had to watch it.  After all, how could anyone not like Superman?  Tom Welling was still a fresh-faced 24 year-old playing a teenager and the show was set in high school, with your typical Superman mythology arc spliced with your ‘monster of the week’ (or Chloe Sullivan’s ‘Wall of Weird’) episodes.

The original Season 1 Poster

The series was fresh and it was exciting.  For some reason this Clark Kent was more of a bumbling fool and tool rather than the highly intelligent Man of Steel we have come to know, and Tom Welling did an excellent job of an often thankless role.  Michael Rosenbaum was the real star of the show for me as the confused, destined to be evil Lex Luthor, and with the outstanding John Glover as his father Lionel it was easy to picture his eventual transformation.

The soundtrack was also always very good, featuring a collection of popular hits and trendy up-and-comers.

But as with all long-running series (apparently Smallville is the longest-running sci-fi show in US history), there comes a time when the writers run out of ideas.  For me the show still retained a certain level of quality when Kristin Kreuk departed because Erica Durance made a wonderful substitute as Lois Lane, but unfortunately they could not make up for the losses of Rosenbaum and Glover.  Even with clever ideas such as introducing the Green Arrow and having arcs involving members of the Justice League, things quickly started to get stale.

Personally, the show hit rock bottom when they started the film rip-offs (from about the 8th season onward), taking ideas from feature films such as Saw (even with a masks and puppets, I think) and getting really lazy and predictable with the progression of each episode (always ending with Clark coming to save the day).

And when the show started to dig really really deep into the Superman mythology vault for the complicated, convoluted stories in its final two seasons, that’s when I really switched off.

That said, on the whole, Smallville is still a fantastic series with a finale that didn’t disappoint like I thought it would. It was more of a ‘personal discovery’ episode that tied up all the emotional loose ends as opposed to an action-packed one, but that was perfectly fine with me.  I was amazed to see how much everyone had aged throughout the years from the various flashback sequences.  Clark Kent really did grow up into Superman.

From day one, the show was all about its finale, and I don’t think anyone expected that to be 10 years away from the pilot episode.  When Clark donned THE suit (I believe borrowed from Brandon Routh) and rocketed up in the sky at last, as we knew he would, he finally fulfilled a 10-year prophecy.  Watching it sent tingles up and down my arms.

Farewell, Smallville!

PS: Now we await the new Zack Snyder directed Man of Steel movie (and Christopher Nolan produced) with Henry Cavill (the guy from The Tudors and who Stephenie Meyer originally wanted as Edward Cullen) as Superman, due for release in December 2012.

Henry Cavill is the new Superman

Old Shows, New Seasons, Rants

February 5, 2010 in Entertainment

The Final Season of Lost has a lot of expectations to live up to

I’ve been catching up on a lot of TV lately (hence the lack of movie reviews).

It’s a big year for television – Lost is entering its 6th and final season.  Jack Bauer is going all out in the 8th and final season of 24.  The heroes from Heroes are still plodding along into a 4th season, the cast from Gossip Girl (I know, I know) is heading to college in season 3, and given the disaster it has become, season 9 of Smallville might very well be its last too.

Here are some random rants on how each series is panning out this season.

(Click on ‘more…’ to read on)

Read the rest of this entry →

What’s going on with Heroes Season 4 (Volume 5)?

January 22, 2010 in Entertainment

I started watching Heroes right from the beginning.  Seasons 1 and 2 were awesome, but Season 3 started getting a bit old.

I recently started watching Season 4 (Volume 5: Redemption), and I still have a bit of catching up to do.  But seriously, what is the deal?  When did Heroes get so…’meh’?

I always thought the Sylar as Nathan thing at the end of Season 3 was a big mistake, and I think I am being proven right.  Matt Parkman has always been an annoying douche, but now even the normally likable Hiro is getting on my nerves.  And the whole Claire lesbo thing was just a ploy to score some viewers.

Oh, and don’t get me started on T-Bag, LOL.

I guess the writers kind of backed themselves into a corner by making certain characters too powerful, and now have no choice but the fudge things to make them ‘weaker’ or lose their minds so they aren’t at their full potential.  However, for some reason it just feels like things keep going in circles and there’s no real sense of direction.

I’m only about 6 eps in, so there is still a chance for things to turn around.  Hopefully it will, because I’m the kind of idiot who will keep watching no matter how bad things get (case in point: I still watch Smallville).

Full UK Review, Part III: TV

July 20, 2009 in Entertainment

Over 9 months in the UK, I also watched 17 seasons of 11 TV series

Some were for the first time, others continuing.  Here are the TV series and the relevant seasons watched (and rating in parenthesis):

For the first time:

arrested_development

Can't wait for the Arrested Development Movie

Arrested Development S1, 2, 3 – after being told by friends for years to watch this show, I finally relented and began watching it for the first time in the UK.  And I can’t believe I almost went through my entire sad, wretched, pathetic life without having experienced this brilliant show.  I must have watched all 3 seasons at least 5 times each.  It’s that good, and sadly way too short.  Bring on the new movie! (5 out of 5)

Weeds S1, 2, 3, 4 – wasn’t really sure what to expect with this one at the start, but as the episodes went on it kind of grew on me and now I’m looking forward to recommencing my adventures with Nancy & Co in the new Season 5.  Wacky and seriously disturbing at times, but it has a heart. (4 out of 5)

Fringe S1 – look, it’s not the X-Files (I don’t think any show can be the (early seasons of the) X-Files anymore) but I like the story arcs and the characters.  Some episodes are a bit messy but on the whole there were some fascinating episodes.  Will definitely keep watching from Season 2. (3.5 out of 5)

true_blood

True Blood

True Blood S1 – there are some decent elements in this highly sexualized vampire romp but it hasn’t been as good as most people are telling me it is.  Maybe it’ll grow on me a little more in season 2. (3 out of 5)

Gossip Girl S1, 2 – just to set the record straight, it was not MY idea to watch this…though I will admit that for a while at least, this was the most addictive show I was watching.  Leighton Meester’s Blair Waldorf definitely steals the show as the funniest and most intriguing character, but the others aren’t too bad either.  However, somewhere during the 2nd season I started wondering whether it was going anywhere, or if it was just going to keep rehashing the same storylines over and over in a big loop.  Hopefully next season should be different as the characters move on to college (3.5 out of 5)

dollhouse

Cast of Doll House

Doll House S1 – very interesting concept, with some interesting characters and plotlines, but some episodes were poorly executed in this uneven series.  Not to mention some appalling acting – no need to mention any names.  Overall still has entertainment value.  (3 out of 5)

Continuing series:

I’ve been watching these because I watched all of the earlier seasons.

heroes

Still trying to save the world...Heroes Season 4

Heroes S3 - it has gotten to a point where I wonder if there is a point to anything that happens because powers come and go, people die and resurrect, storylines get butchered – on just about every episode.  Even some of the more appealing characters from the start have become annoying (eg, Hiro).  They can still save the show – they just need to pear things back a little and maintain some stability and direction.  (2 .5 out of 5)

Smallville S8 – possibly the worst show that I still watch slavishly because I’ve already endured 7 seasons.  This season was not as bad as say the one where Lana becomes a witch (from Charmed), but let’s face it – the show needs to wrap up – for the sake of the last few loyal fans like me.  Losing Lex was a huge blow, and the new characters (Tess, Davis) don’t live up to their initial hype.  The Green Arrow is the only character that adds a little spark occasionally.  Things picked up a little towards the middle but it killed all merit by staging possibly the worst season finale of all time. (2 out of 5)

24 S7 – I’m not going to lie and say I was not excited by the latest season of 24, one of the most addictive shows ever when it wants to be.  This season was somewhat uneven, but even a bad season of 24 can still be highly watchable.  Of course, the return of my favourite character (Tony Almeida) gave it bonus marks, but unfortunately the season fizzled out towards the end and felt slightly contrived.  But it is still good enough to keep me eager for Jack’s sendoff in the final season. (3.5 out of 5)

Prison-break-4

Didn't they break out in Season 1?

Prison Break S4 – like most fans of the show, I’m just glad they ended it before it became a joke (some say it already is).  Season 1 was one of the best of any show I’ve seen, but every season thereafter just tried to cash in on the initial success.  Finally, all that goodwill has been exhausted.  Season 4 does wrap things up nicely (including a 2-hour special that goes back to the show’s roots), but boy did it take its time getting there.  Any longer and Wentworth Miller would get too fat to fit on the screen (sorry, I just had to mention what everyone’s been talking about). (3 out of 5)

Lost S5 – another one of those shows that I watch against my better judgment because I’ve followed it from the beginning.  Surprisingly, the penultimate season of Lost was not as frustrating as the last couple because it actually starts to give some answers (to questions we’ve mostly forgotten about already, but at least we’re not going in circles anymore) – well, of course until the season finale, where it tread a fine line between intriguing and just plain stupid.  (3 out of 5)

 
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