Sunday, July 3, 2022

Return to Smallville - Seasons 6 and 7 - So, So, Soapy

MOVE, Clark!  You're clearly in the way.

Jamie is piloting this ship, and we're now well into territory when I wasn't really watching the show beyond checking in to see what they did with Cyborg, etc..   She's far more familiar with this window of Smallville, and she really didn't want to much most of these two seasons.  

Season 6

Zod - Season opener.  Clark wanders around the Phantom Zone, Lex is Zod.  It's a whole scene.
Sneeze - Uh.  This one is where Clark gets a cold.  I don't know.  He gets Super Breath.  It's... fine?
Justice - The one where Clark's old super-pals all show up, but haven't told him they're all hanging out without him.  My god, Aquabro sucks.  But it does include slow motion walking in formation away from an explosion as they cost people their jobs.
Progeny - the one where Lynda Carter plays Chloe's mom.
Phantom - The season ender and the one where there's a dam, Lois should be dead, Chloe saves her, there's a Burlington Coat Factory of clones, and Lana explodes.

Season 7

Bizarro - the one where they resolve the stuff from the cliffhanger and Kara (Laura Vandervoort) shows up.  Chloe is dead until she isn't.  Lana is in Shanghai and is immediately found, leading one to believe that was a lot of effort for nothing.
Kara - Kara runs around causing grief for Clark and he assumes, probably rightfully, that she's going to be a problem.  She cannot find a t-shirt that covers her whole torso.
Lara - Helen Slater shows up in a bunch of flashback stuff, including a little B&E at the Kent farm where she informs Kara she'll be sending her baby.  We then watch in horror as Lara is sexually assaulted by Kara's dad, Zor-El (Jor-El's brother) in a plotline that makes no sense and is a bad idea
Siren - the most boring possible portrayal of Black Canary happens in front of your eyeballs
Descent - The one where Lex does what would have saved us all a lot of time in Season 1 and pushes Lionel right out a window of a skyscraper
Arctic - Whoops.  It was Brainiac all along.  Clark and Lex take the glowing MacGuffin to the Fortress and it blue screens.  Chloe is proposed to and taken away.  Lois has some questionable bangs, Jimmy sucks, and we're left not knowing if Michael Rosenbaum will return (he will not).

These were the seasons where I already wasn't watching the show anymore, so every ten minutes Jamie was having to pause episodes to answer my questions.  But the bottom line is that the series was spinning wheels faster than Cameron's dad's car up on blocks.  Like - they didn't know how to move forward with Clark or anyone else but Lex, so they just sort of had make-work happening for the characters.  

A lot of the stuff introduced in these seasons, therefore, brought out the soap opera-atic elements.  We get secret societies that were there all along, criss-crossed romantic entanglements for all the characters, broken hearts, and a lot of people being sneaky and lying for no reason.  Even the set-up for Jimmy in the finale of Season 7 where Lex threatened him - there was literally nothing stopping him from saying "hey, Lois, Lex will fuck over your cousin if I don't put some fake info on you to throw you off his evil schemes, so can you act like you believe this fake info?"  

It became the kind of show, a la Aaron Spelling soaps, where everyone has to be an idiot and duplicitous for the show to work.

I cannot stress enough how bad the Lana/ Clark relationship looks when you watch it all condensed down and especially as you dip in and out of the show the way we're doing.  Every episode, Clark has all of his meaningful conversations with Chloe, some okay conversations with Lois and then has disagreements or confusing discussions with Lana.  Aside from the episodes where Clark has no powers and they go to bone-town, they don't even seem to like each other.

Word to all young people working through romance and writers of stuff - this is kinda dumb.  If you're a real-world couple like Clark and Lana, everyone hates spending time with you.  For writers:  this is confusing to the audience.  For bloggers returning to the show 15 years later, it makes you question the intelligence and motives of the producers.

None of the main plots matter at this point.  Like many-a-soap, no one has to have a "job" unless there's a plot point or set they really want to flex.  Clark isn't quite in college anymore - we just ignore the 4 years of higher ed and assume the one season we saw of classes was 4 years?  And we start seeing The Daily Planet.  It's not clear what the hell Clark is actually doing - if he's working, going to class, just hanging out on Ma Kent's largesse and a paid for family farm.  Mostly he's sometimes dating Lana except when she's dating Lex and then marrying him?  

It's unclear what the actual business of LuthorCorp is as they'll name whatever they feel like from scene to scene - except that Lex has endless money to spend on lots of private prisons, hospitals, and expensive research.  All I know is that there's no way he was a CFO or shareholders.  But it really is the critical point for CW to treat "business" as an all-purpose utility belt of money, resources, etc....  and which can be taken from people if they're tricked.  Kinda how business is treated in daytime soaps.

I also hate how they did Jimmy Olsen.  "Earnest Dope" is one way to look at Jimmy, but if he's not also marrying gorillas or turning into a wolfman, you are doing it wrong.  The Earnest Dope part only works when he's also just letting living in the world of comics roll right off him like it's no big deal to travel through time to set off Beatle-mania in Egypt.

One can't blame Aaron Ashmore for his portrayal.  He's fine.  But he's just sort of out-of-synch with the rest of the show and feels like an afterthought.

Season 7 saw the end of Rosenbaum's time on the show as a regular and he only returned a couple of times.  As mentioned - he's the only one with a character arc rather than random zig-zags of character (Lionel Luthor's arc has a multiple personality disorder in these last two seasons, complicated by the Veritas nonsense).  I'm not sure he's the best Lex, but he is the most understandable take on Lex - and the show does a horrendous job of doing anything to suggest he's anything less than right about what he sees as a Kryptonian threat to Earth when Jor-El or Zod or Brainiac is constantly trying to murder the entire planet.  But Rosenbaum also seems a little checked out when he's not in scenes with John Glover.  That final Lionel scene is actually pretty solid (and involves some trick editing I found quite cool).  But I have to imagine Rosenbaum was tired of saying the same lines in new configurations by this point.

Anyhoo...  we're already into Season 8.  

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