Guest Blogger: The Finale of Smallville

Mike writes about the finale of Smallville:

I just watched the Smallville finale (despite not seeing any episode of the entire current season). It was . . . okay. (Lois and Clark ALMOST get married; the wedding is interrupted by evil, of course). Yet, somehow, with ten years to prepare, the ending still felt rushed. The two hours spent so much time wrapping up different relationships (talk talk talk) that the "Big Fight" at the end was compressed into 30 seconds that you don't even really get to see!

One things that bugs me about shows with continuity is how often the budget hinders the quality, and the quality thus affects the storytelling. For instance, it would have made sense for many of the people Clark Kent helped, loved, and worked with through the years to attend his wedding. Instead, presumably due to budget, the entire attendance of the wedding is made up of extras. Only six actors in the chapel are familiar to the viewer, and TWO of them are the wedding couple!

And while there are a few great guest appearances (the returns of Lex, Lionel, and Jonathan Kent are all great), many other people would have been logical additions. Any of the dozens of heroes Clark has met are really missed.

Perhaps the most embarrassing budget-inspired cheat is the suit. Introduced at the end of last year, the Superman suit was "borrowed" from Superman Returns. (I understand it was used mostly as a set piece over the past two seasons). While Clark officially dons it in the finale, it seems that Tom Welling doesn't. This is only speculation, but it seems the producers didn't want to make a new suit for the episode (movie suits cost THOUSANDS), and since Tom Welling didn't fit the one used for the movie, well . . . they faked it: back shots of a computer-animated Superman and close-up head shot with a CGI cape behind. No actual full body Superman shot. I felt bad for poor Tom.

The finale does finally allow Clark to fly but the moment feels . . . rushed. Almost like an after thought.

Another thing that bugged me, although I appreciated the attempt, is how the finale made a point of finishing the storyline but then chickened out on several things in order to please the "die hard fans" of Superman. For instance, the shows ends 7 years in the future with Lois and Clark only then deciding to reattempt marriage. Lex, resurrected and fully aware of Clark and his powers, conveniently gets his memory erased.

Despite both Superman and Smallville fans, one of the funniest things is just how little background knowledge the finale needed. I've only seen half of season 9 and nothing of 10, and the two minute summary before the episode was enough to fill me in. This highlights perhaps my biggest complaint about Smallville: The sheer amount of time the show wasted treading water instead of moving forward. It's infuriating! The writers never seemed to understand the slow growth of plot and development. Instead the show was a series of starts and stops. It would move forward a bit, then stop and drag its feet, afraid to move too quickly to the ending everyone was waiting TEN years for.

Smallville decided to go its own way retelling a lot of Superman history, but it even waffled staying true to that! In the end, I'm kinda glad the show is finally over; it could have ended a LONG time ago.

1 comment:

Mike Cherniske said...

An alternate take on the no full superman image is that Tom welling was trying to avoid being type cast as superman. Don't know if I believe it, but it wouldn't surprise me either.