How Do You Solve a Problem Like Smallville?

My previous post generated a bit of discussion on the various shortcomings of Smallville. And while I don't really think about or talk about this show much anymore, I would like to outline some of the various places where Smallville went seriously wrong.

Smallville is a show that I kept watching because I deluded myself into thinking that there would be some sort of pay-off. The thing that is so frustrating is that it was a great idea for a show...and it has a built-in, fail-proof pay-off. And yet...

Smallville missed the mark completely in so many ways. And I'm not saying it needed to be loyal to comic book canon or continuity. I was absolutely into a re-telling of the story, with new characters and altered relationships and histories. I think some of the strongest characters on the show were created specifically for the show. Chloe Sullivan and Lionel Luthor, for example.

What I am saying is, I accept and appreciate the world that Smallville created, and that it is separate, but inspired by, Superman comics. But the makers of the show couldn't even keep a handle on that world.

So as Smallville quietly slinks toward the finish line, I am going to point out some specific mistakes made. Because I would hate to see this happen again with another comic-based show down the road.

1. Chloe Sullivan vs Lois Lane: I don't know about you guys, but I think Chloe became the strongest character on the show by, say, season 4. Right off the bat, she was clearly inspired by Lois Lane. A fast-talking spunky journalist who constantly lets her curiosity get the best of her. Plus, there's the whole massive crush on Clark Kent thing.

We knew early on that Chloe had a cousin in Metropolis named Lois Lane. Here's where the show went wrong: introducing Lois as a character on the show. If you want a great pay-off...make Chloe turn out to be Lois. This is something that there were rumours about...until Lois showed up. Chloe alluded to the fact that her cousin had no interest in journalism, and that Chloe had used her cousin's name as a pen name. In the context of this show, Chloe could have been Lois.

And that would have been great because all of the chemistry on the show is between Clark and Chloe (besides, of course, that between Lex and Clark). Lana is boring, and there is nothing between Clark and Lois. The viewers want to see Clark and Chloe together forever, but that can't happen because it's not canon. Well, make it canon.


2. Make Lana Lang a better character: Lana's character pretty much started and ended with being pretty and boring. I don't really think anyone was rooting for her. By throwing Chloe into the mix, you pretty much ruined any chance of the viewers wanting to see Clark and Lana as a couple. Lana ended up being a character that no one knew what to do with, so she ended up pregnant and married by the time she was 19. LAME. (And then not pregnant and not married soon after...but still boring).

3. The Death of Pa Kent: What a terrible, terrible episode this was. You know, the one where Clark finally tells Lana his secret, and she is totally cool with it, so he proposes to her on the spot? When they are, like 18? But then through some twisted fate and through Lex's jealous rage, Lana is killed in a car accident. So Clark goes to Jor-El of all people and begs him to change things so Lana can be alive again. And Jor-El does...on the condition that someone else Clark loves dies in her place.

You can see the problem here.

So Clark agrees to this. And then his dad dies of a heart attack the very night he wins the state senate election (which...don't even get me started about that). And ok with this? Lana for his father is a fair trade?! And for the rest of the series he's like "Gee I miss dad, I wish he wasn't dead." He didn't have to be, asshole!

4. The Constant Amnesia: There was no chance for the show to ever progress, or for the characters to grow, because every episode ended with one or more characters suffering short-term memory loss. The events of each episode never affected them. No lessons were ever learned, no stronger bonds were ever formed, no secrets were uncovered. Unlike with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nothing that happened on Smallville ever mattered. You knew there would never be any repercussions at all. So it became very boring. Chloe would find out Clark's secret, but you knew she would have her memory wiped by the end of the episode. Or someone would turn evil and not remember anything later. Barely anything carried from one episode to the next. The gang would save some fellow high school kid's life, hang out with them for an episode, have some heart-to-heart talks, and then never see them again. They wouldn't try to be their friend later? I just find that weird.

5. Let Lex Have Some Fun: Now it would take forever to list every opportunity wasted by Smallville, but this to me is a big one. Smallville is a fantasy-based drama that pretty much allows for any ridiculous scenario to be swallowed by the viewers. This made for some pretty fun episodes, such as the red kryptonite-infected Clark stories, the Jimmy Olsen film noir dream episode, the Chloe forcing everyone to tell her the truth about everything epsiode, and many others. It also led to some pretty terrible episodes (vampire sorority anyone?). Everyone enjoys an episode where someone gets to act out-of-character. Hands down, the best episode of Smallville was the body switching one between Clark and Lionel. Brilliant! It should have lasted a month!

Where am I going with all of this? Ah yes. So there were all these episodes where characters got to act all crazy and fun. But there was never really one where Lex was affected in a fun way by anything. The closest we got was an episode where Lex was split into evil Lex and good Lex (science!), or when he was possessed by Zod. When you have a comedic talent like Michael Rosenbaum on the show, USE HIM! Good lord, the possibilities!

I don't know what disappoints me more, the fact that we never got to see Lex be silly or the fact that we never got to see Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) sing!

6. That Whole Marriage Thing: Remember when Clark married that girl who could teleport? And then she died, like, the next day? She was murdered, actually. Horrifically. It was all very traumatic. The kind of thing that would really mess you up and haunt you.

Unless, apparently, you are Clark Kent. Because guess what Clark pretty much never mentioned ever, ever again before the body was even cold: his dead wife.

I kid you not. Here is Clark one episode later!:

I'm just saying, if you are going to have a storyline that stupid, at least try to make it have some sort of lasting repercussions.

And since we're talking about weddings: how about Lex's? What did we see, like, 3 weddings? At least. He's actually the lamest playboy on Earth. Every girl he holds hands with he marries.

Haha...actually, Smallville's portrayal overall of Lex's crazy, sordid life was pretty hilarious. Remember when Clark learned that Lex had slept with, like, 12 girls in one year or something? And Clark was shocked and disgusted and thought Lex had a sex addiction? Good lord. If anything, I was let down by the low score. Also...that "exclusive underground" strip club where, according to Lex, things happened on stage that were supposedly crazy? But then Clark went to it and Lois was dancing as an amateur stripper (probably one of the worst moments of the show ever) and stripped down to her bikini? Yeah, pretty crazy, Lex.

But I got sidetracked. What I wanted to mention was that Lex's whole engagement and marriage to Lana was gross and dumb. The show is so damn wholesome everyone has to get married.

7. Let Him Fly: for the love of Schuster, why the hell does Smallville have a "no tights, no flights" policy?! It's a show about SUPERMAN. Let the man fly! If I have to watch a politician in a suit flitter around the skies on Heroes, I can certainly handle SUPERMAN flying around Smallville. And the few times we've seen it, it looked kinda cool. Especially when he was ripping the door of Lex's jet.

8. Clark Is a Terrible Person: this is the biggest problem with Smallville. We've seen the evolution of Lex Luthor from weird nerdy rich kid to full-on super villain, and the whole way we've seen Clark relentlessly pushing him closer to the edge. ANYONE would become a villain if they had a friend like Clark Kent. He's a complete and utter douche. His entire relationship with Lex, his alleged "best friend," was based on Clark breaking into his home and demanding favours (and not in a sexy way). And it just. never. stopped. It was the most one-sided relationship ever.

All Lex wanted was someone to like him. To give him a hug or some sign they believed he could be a good person. Clark didn't give him anything close to that, and instead reminded him any chance he could that Lex could not be trusted.

Superman made Lex Luthor by being a complete asshole all the time to him. That's a problem. Frankly, given this back story, I am rooting for Lex for the rest of their eternal struggle.

Sorry, I just had to get all of that off my chest. Now I can forget about Smallville forever.

In conclusion, Tom Welling is not shirtless nearly enough.

So, just in case anyone still cares about Smallville...

As unlikely as this sounds, Smallville will be entering its eighth season this fall. This means it outlasted Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The West Wing, The Sopranos, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Veronica Mars, Arrested Development, and a whole hell of a lot more acclaimed shows.

Lex and Lana are leaving the cast, which makes the list of people who are no longer on a show called Smallville, who really should be on a show called Smallville, a little bit longer.

- Lana Lang
- Lex Luthor
- Pete Ross
- Martha Kent
- Jonathan Kent

That seems kinda wrong to me. Also, Lionel Luthor is gone. So, really, what's the point?

AND...the following characters ARE on a show called Smallville, who really shouldn't be:

- Lois Lane
- Jimmy Olsen
- Martian Manhunter
- Green Arrow
- Doomsday

Well, at least Chloe is still around. And apparently Supergirl isn't going to be back.

Er, I mean...I don't still watch Smallville.

This Week's Haul: So Late It's Pretty Much Irrelevant

As I said, the comics were late this week after the long weekend. And I've been really busy. But now, without further ado...This Week's Haul!

Booster Gold #3

Thanksgiving can go to hell if it means I have to wait even one extra day for the new issue of Booster Gold. This comic is my favourite...thing. It's like...what if Quantum Leap was AWESOME?!

And in this issue he runs into Jonah Hex!!! This issue was basically a parade of things I love. It's like this comic reads my mind. Before we even get to the cowboy fun there's a Back to the Future reference (you know that both Booster Gold and Rip Hunter have seen that movie, like, so many times) and this Smallville reference:

If Booster Gold doesn't save the day, the world turns into Smallville! (Only...better Smallville...with Clark and Lex raised together as brothers. That rules). It's so weird and rad to see my boy Lionel in a comic. Nice.

Now let's get to the good stuff. Like Booster dressing like a cowboy:

Oh man, Skeets is totally welcome to follow me around blasting The Ecstasy of Gold if he wants. That would add a touch of majesty to everything I do (like, when I'm frantically running around cemeteries...).

I'm getting off track. What I meant to talk about was Booster stripping down there (yowza!) and also that Rip Hunter keeps a cheap cowboy Halloween costume in the Time Sphere.

So our boy runs into Jonah Hex, as I said, and is challenged to a drinking competition. So Booster gets PLOWED. And it's great.

But not as great as SKEETS RIDING A HORSE!

Let's see another shot of that:


And then there was this:

Booster is gonna drive the Time Sphere...drunk.

This is as good as comics...nay...entertainment...gets.

Black Adam #3

This series is really, really good. I am calling this the surprise of the year. I really wasn't even planning on reading this, but every issue is great.

In this one, Black Adam runs into Hawkman and totally throws down. It's AWESOME.

Also, Doug Mahnke draws a great looking Hawkman. The helmet is perfect.

Adam totally lays waste to him. He crushes his mace with one hand, rips one of his wings off and smashes him mask up.

This next page is great:

Soooo rad.

Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1

This is pretty much as geeky as something can possibly be. And I love it.

"Justa Lotta Animals"!!! Quail Simone! Giraffe Johns! Panda Dio!

If you're confused about Captain Carrot, don't be. It's just fun. It's an Earth that mirrors our own but its inhabitants are anthropomorphic animals. Funny ones.

I laughed out loud quite a bit. Particularly at these two panels:

And this one, which reveals that the past few pages of monologue-style narration have actually been a very long one-sided conversation Rodney Rabbit is having with the worm in his tequila bottle:

It's extra funny because the worm is wearing an iPod for no apparent reason.

Countdown Week 29

I really only have one comment on this week's issue, and that is this:

I know that they are hand-cuffed together and it would therefore be tricky and everything, but...wouldn't Piper and Trickster maybe want to think about changing their clothes? Since they are on the run and stuff? I mean, I would at least try. If I were them.

Green Arrow/Black Canary #1

I actually did expect to see this team-up...because this cover was revealed months ago. Which is weird because there is a perfectly good variant cover with Canary and Oliver that DC could have released in Previews instead.

Let's talk about Cliff Chiang and how frigging awesome his art is. It's so beautiful. I could not be happier with the choice of artist on this.

And look at classic Oliver, looking all sexy:

I really enjoyed this. I'm a big Connor fan, so it's nice to see him getting some attention. And Black Canary's insistence that the man she killed wasn't really her husband is very touching. And of course the only one who believes her is my boy Batman:


When you hug Batman, he gets so freaked out that little red triangles appear above his head.

Yeah, so Batman believes that Oliver isn't really dead. Hal on the other hand is totally keen to bury the body and move on. Because Hal's an idiot. Or Hal wants Oliver's XBox or something.

This autopsy scene was pretty amusing:

It actually isn't almost exactly what they do. What they do is a pretty standard, and tidy, autopsy that leaves the body in tact. So I don't know what Midnight is going on about. I guess he gets his giggles where he can. Or Judd Winick does. Either way, I like Batman in that apron.

Y'know what else I really liked in this comic? Dinah's eye make-up. That mauve shadow really looks pretty!

So of course Ollie isn't dead. But I guess Everyman is.

Green Lantern #24

Super awesome as always.

Particular highlights this time around include the continued use of lethal force by the GL Corps (I could watch those guys waste bad guys all day), and Parallax calling Kyle "the pretty boy."

This page is awesome:

Superboy Prime is kind of awesome. "I'm baaaaack. Jerks."

I really like that aside with Superman and Hank too.

I also really like later in this issue when Kyle emerges from Parallax, all naked, and Guy uses his ring to make clothes for him...but he only makes tight-fitting boxer shorts...

Justice League Unlimited #38

Giganta loves Wally!

Did anyone else find this comic to be kinda hard to read? I hate to say that about a kids comic, because it makes me feel dumb, but the pacing of the story just seemed sorta bizarre. It was like every other page was missing or something.

But I'll tell you what I loved about it: Giganta using a skyscraper as a make-up mirror:

And this:

Another Smallville reference! What a week!

Runaways #28

First of all, I just want to say that the zombie variant cover for this was horrible. All of the zombie covers are horrible, but this one especially. The main cover, on the other hand, was beautiful. As you can see.

This was a good issue. I just don't really have anything to say about it. Except I hope they return to the present soon because I am getting bored of the past.

Superman #668

And we're off on another zany Busiek adventure. This time Superman is searching for the supposed Third Kryptonian on Earth (besides Power Girl, Krypto, and his new son Christopher...who seems to be the most neglected son in the whole world, because he has not really made much of an impact on Superman's life. I keep forgetting about the little tyke).

To find the Kryptonian, Supes gets some help from his old pal Batman. Because that guy loves to find stuff. Superman also brings Christopher to the cave, and it's pretty cute:

It's been awhile since I've read a good Superman/Batman sexual tension comic, so I enjoyed this. Maybe this will be the arc where they finally kiss.


Awww, Batman can't say 'no' to those eyes.

Also, I don't know who this guy is, but I like his enthusiasm:

Suicide Squad #2

This series is also awesome.

For one thing: Dinosaurs!

Getting shot in the face!!!

I would like to know where I can get one of these fire swords:

Man, that's sweet. I could just slice and BBQ a cow right there on the spot. No more pesky waiting for grilled meat.

Wonder Woman #13

J. Torres does double Wonder Duty this week with Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl. And he does a good job of both.

The art on this kinda jumped around between pretty good and really bad. Like, why did Wonder Girl look like a 40-year-old trophy wife?

And Wonder Woman's shorts were certainly awful in this issue:

And Black Canary's were possibly worse:


Wonder Girl #2

Well, this is a much better Wonder Girl than the one we saw above.

Wonder Girl is a very charming mini-series. The fun art really suits Torres' writing, I think.

In this issue Cassie is getting stalked by a very persistent Hercules. He gives her a new outfit, which looks pretty cool:

Man, I am so sleepy. I can't think of anything else to say about anything. Comics were good this week. Yay!

Random Thoughts

I didn't get any new comics today because stupid Victoria Day slowed them up. I'll be getting them tomorrow. The wait is agonizing. I do have the new Spirit, though, because Darwyn Cooke is nice and gave us all one. I'm going to read it in a second, but first some random thoughts on things.

1. The Dark Knight Marketing Campaign

It seems that The Dark Knight marketing team has unleashed a teaser promotional campaign so clever that I thought for sure it was a fan-made hoax. It's simply too interesting. You can get a good run-down of it by clicking on this link.

Basically it combined the release of this image:

...with this secret website that saavy net-surfing comic nerds discovered:

And finally this hidden image, giving us our first official photo of the new Joker:

I don't know how I feel about the look of the new Joker. I think, and have said all along, that Heath Ledger is a great casting choice and will do a good job. [EDIT - this is a total lie...I went on record voicing my concern about the casting choice last year, but I can't remember ever actually feeling that way]. I also know that The Dark Knight is a movie and not a cartoon or a comic book, and the character of The Joker needs to blend in with all that. So the make-up artists are faced with the challenge of creating a Joker for the screen that doesn't look like a cartoon character in the middle of a bunch of gritty realism. (For the record, I really loved Batman Begins, and appreciate and understand that a movie cannot possibly give comic fans everything they would want to see on screen. There will never be a definitive Batman movie, but there already is one high quality one and I am looking forward to seeing two more).

So keeping all that in mind...I still don't think I like this Joker, based on first appearances. But that's possibly more the fault of the photo itself, which looks like a Tool poster. The marketing campaign was brilliant, and damn near perfect, but the problem is...this Joker does not look like the same Joker that would deface Harvey Dent's campaign poster, litter a comic book shop with playing cards, and set up a creepy website. It would have been a little more fun to have the camera angle coming from above, and having him look up at the camera with a creepy expression. It would have been a lot more familiar as a Joker image.

Aw, listen to me. Nitpicking like some sort of comic nerd. I'm just happy these movies are getting made. And I really do appreciate the fun promotional stuff. I seriously can't wait for this movie.

2. The Smallville Season Six Finale

I know you all really watch and care about Smallville. Sometimes I feel like they are making new episodes only for me. I watched the finale the other night and, well, I'm just going to lay down some mad spoilers because nobody on Earth cares.

- Smallville, you do it to me every year. You throw episode after episode of mediocrity at me, making me swear I'm going to stop watching, and then you hit me with a Superman-related finale/cliffhanger that guarantees my loyalty for another year. Because sometimes I need to be reminded that the show is about Superman. This year's Superman reference? Bizarro! I was very excited by the final shot of Bizarro Clark flying at the camera.
I was less excited by this very clunky exchange:

Clark: Who are you?
Bizarro Clark: I'm you, only a little more bizarre.

Ouch. There has to be a better way to get that information across. He could have at least talked like Bizarro. Then it would have been cute instead of embarrassing.

- Is Lana really and truly dead? That would be so fantastic. But even more fantastic would have been if Lois had died. Everyone knows Chloe is a better Lois Lane than Lois Lane will ever be. The character suuuuuuuucks and makes no sense! She lives and works in Smallville, yet still calls Clark "Smallville." The sexual tension between Clark and Chloe is the most compelling thing on the entire show, and yet it is almost totally ignored. If Lois were killed off, the viewers could be rewarded by the revelation that Chloe is going to be the real and future Lois Lane (she could take her cousin's name...or whatever. Just make it happen, writers! Know your audience! We deserve a happy ending!).
Chloe had better not be dead. I will seriously stop watching the show. You hear that, Smallville? 50% of your audience will be gone, just like that! And it looks like Lionel will make it back for another season, which is dope. Lex is just boring now, which is too bad. But there will be some awesome hatred between he and Clark over this whole Lana thing. Unless she's still alive. Which she probably is. *sigh*

- I think season 6 was the best season yet, overall. Definitely some terrible episodes (Clark battles flawed immigration policy, anyone?), but I loved Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter and Jimmy Olsen and the Phantom Zone and Zod and the whole Justice League episode. It was fun.
Plus, Allison Mack completely rocked the house as Chloe all season, and had the best wardrobe I've seen on a character since the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

So yeah, I'll be back next season. As long as Chloe is there. And after next season ends there should be a spin-off called Chloe and Lionel where they are roommates and solve mysteries. It would fill the void that comes from Veronica Mars being canceled (boooooooo!!!).

Smallville doesn't really ever give me what I want out of a young Superman show, but I love them for trying.

3. Adam Hughes Weighs In

Hughes did an interview over at Newsarama about the whole MJ statue thing. He's surprised about how much attention this thing got. Frankly, so am I. Even when I did my post on the statue, I never expected to even get two comments, much less a quote in the New York Post, for chrissake. I wouldn't even say that I was outraged. More like...I have a comedy-based blog about comic books, and that thing was way too ridiculous to not post about. It's not like it was at all surprising. I mean...the thong is still a little surprising to me. It's just so...trashy.

Anyway, you can check out that link above and read the interview. I like Adam Hughes as an artist quite a bit. I will say this, however: Adam, dude, you may not want to bring racism into this argument. I understand what you're trying to say, start trying to carry things in that direction, and you're just going to come off sounding crazy.

And that's the last I'm going to say about that thing.

100th Post Extravaganza!!!

It's my 100th post!

To celebrate, I invite you on a little tour of my favourite nerdy possessions! Follow me!

Here's a flower pot I painted and decoupaged myself a few years ago. I actually made a full set, but the Batman one is the only pot seeing any action these days. Next to it you see my Batman piggy bank. He reminds me that saving money is important, and not to spend it on foolish things. He is also empty and sitting on top of a shelf full of comic books.

This is my autographed picture of Mark McClure (Jimmy Olsen). Lots of people think it's an autographed picture of Christopher Reeve. Nope! Actually, one time I was showing my apartment when I was trying to sublet it and the girl asked if it was signed by "the real Superman." I had no idea what to say to that.

I made these picture frames myself. I went through a real crafty phase. It's over now.

Inflatable Superman!!!

Oh yes. He's awesome.

Here's a sketch of Batman that Darwyn Cooke did for me. It's, like, my favourite thing:

He also gave me this when I bought the Absolute Edition of New Frontier:

It's a sketch that ended up becoming this page:
I really like New Frontier. A quick glance around my apartment will tell you this.

I broke Green Arrow's bow, so I had to get a little creative with his posing. I think the "pulling-an-arrow-out-of-the-quiver" pose kinda works:

Bizarro crushed Hal Jordan's head!

Movie Batman and Movie Superman hang out:

It's the Superman that blows! Look at his face!

It's supposed to blow over a cardboard cut-out of Luthor, but it isn't even strong enough to do that. It blows all right, just not the way it's supposed to. Fortunately I bought it at the grocery store for $3.

Midnighter protects my hard drive. My Clark Kent trading card gives me something to look at while writing:

Clark and Lex are friends:

Lex is like "Look out, Clark! There's a big piece of kryptonite in front of you!" And Clark's like "I dropped my bookbag."

And Batman's like..."I'm on some stairs."

And R2D2 is like "I'm behind you, Batman!"

And Joe Sakic is like "I don't belong here." And Frank Miller Batman statue is like "I'm kind of an eyesore!"

I have some more little friends who hang out in my kitchen on a spice rack:

Yeah. That's weird.

Let's take another look at that inflatable Superman:


And finally...

...Cuddle Pillow Batman!!!

He's my best friend. He likes to watch Justice League episodes with me, and he never complains when I want to watch the Once and Future Thing episodes over and over again. He listens with interest to my complaints when I'm playing the Superman Returns video game, like "Why is this game so terrible?" "This is the least fun thing I have ever done," "Why does the Superman Returns game have dragons, robots and monsters?" or "So, have I beaten the game, or what? I don't understand."


Ok, so there is a point to all this. To celebrate my 100th post, and to thank all of the nice people who read my blog, I am going to have a little contest. I want you to email me pictures, or post them in your blog, of your favourite nerdy possession. I will arbitrarily select my favourite in, say, one week. Extra points will be given if items are:

- obscure
- homemade
- crappy bootlegs
- confusing
- adorable
- amazing

You can send your entries to rachellegoguen at gmail dot com, or, post in your blog and link in the comments. I'll post them all at the end of the week in my blog. It will be awesome.

Oh! And the prize! I have a copy of the new Oni Press book, Shenanigans. It was written by Ian Shaughnessy and illustrated by local art superstar and all-around nice guy, Mike Holmes. This guy is going places. I can probably get Mike to sign the book, too. (Mike? You wanna back me up on this?). I just read it and it's really fun. The art, really, is fantastic.

Honestly, big thanks to everyone who reads this blog. I love writing it so much. It's come a long way since my first post, when we saw Superman Walk the Dinosaur. Originally this blog was supposed to be authored by myself and a couple of my gal pals, but they totally dropped the ball. I know I don't always get back to everyone who comments, but I really do appreciate all the kind words.

Smallville: Not Totally Sucky

The premier for the sixth season of Smallville is airing tonight. Six seasons, if you can believe it. I hear a lot of feedback when I casually mention that I enjoy Smallville. Usually things like "That show is terrible" or "I've never seen it, but isn't it supposed to suck?".

Yes...and no.

There didn't used to be shame in liking Smallville. Season one, two, and three it was a giant hit with a lot of fans. Some of them comic fans, some never having any previous interest in comics. After season 3, and specifically after the crapfest that was season 4, the show lost a lot of fans. Smallville fandom used to be massive. At its peak, it was damn near Buffy-sized. Now it's looking a little more, er, Enterprise-sized.

I'm here to make a case for the little show that I still enjoy despite all the reasons it has given me not to. I'm going to start by examining four major points of the Smallville mythology, and rate how well they work.

1. The Meteor Shower - Superman came to Earth as a toddler in a space ship. Smallville adds a massive and destructive meteor shower to this event. The shower took out a lot of buildings in Smallville and killed some people, including 3-year-old Lana Lang's parents. Because of the meteor shower, there are fragments of Kryptonite all over town (called meteor rocks on the show because no one knows any better).

Rating: This actually makes a lot of sense. In comic canon Kryptonite just randomly appears on Earth. This gives a decent explanation as to why it's there. It also gives an excuse for the zillions of mutant villains that Clark has to fight. Kryptonite messes people up in many, many different ways. The downside is that, compared to some of the mutants and their crazy powers on the show, Clark's powers seem almost boring. You would think it would be easy for him to 'come out' in a town of super-powered mutants. The meteor shower also causes Clark a huge amount of guilt, because he knows he is responsible for all the death and destruction, including the death of the parents of the girl he loves. Angst!

2. Lex Luthor (and his dad) - Lex is exiled to Smallville at the age of 21 by his father to run the local LuthorCorp plant. Lex carelessly drives off a bridge and into a brooding Clark. The car, Lex and Clark go over the bridge and into the river. Clark pulls Lex out of the car, gives him mouth to mouth, and saves his life. Lex becomes instant friends with Clark, but also instantly obsessed with him.
Lex has an evil father named Lionel, who is a character made up for the show. Lionel is amazing. I would gladly watch a spin-off called "Lionel" for all eternity. So Lex is actually a nice guy, who just wants to be loved. He also is what the internet kids call "teh sex." He's got hot cars and hot clothes and he is always looking at Clark with sex eyes. He is bald from the meteor shower, which occurred when he was visiting Smallville with his Dad at the age of 9. Since then he has an enhanced immune system, but they don't really mention it much on the show. His entire body is hairless, save his eyebrows (lots of internet theories about the eyebrows, believe me). The Clark-causing-Lex's-baldness is rooted in canon Superboy comics, but this is in a more subtle way. Lex doesn't know about Clark being an alien, and thus he can't blame Clark. As the seasons went on, Lex starts to get less and less patient with Clark simply because Clark won't stop blatantly lying to him. No one who watches the show can blame Lex; Clark is a real ass most of the time. What we are learning, whether we are supposed to think this or not, is that the reason for Lex turning evil is Clark being a shitty friend.

Rating: Lex is the best part of this show and everything they have done with him has been great. Kudos to Michael Rosenbaum for making the character funny, tragic and sexy. And kudos to John Glover for making Lionel so damn awesome.

3. The Caves - Sadly a lot of the Superman mythology on Smallville revolves around some stupid cave drawings. In mid-season 2, Clark discovers some underground caves. They have a crazy language and drawings all over them. It turns out to be Kryptonian, but he doesn't learn that until the end of the season when he learns that he is from a planet called Krypton, thanks to info given to him by Christopher Reeve. Basically the caves are a major plot device that the writers have been using for the last 3 seasons to move shit along. Season 4 (aka - the horrorshow that was season 4) mostly revolves around Clark, Lex and Lionel all trying to collect 3 ancient relics which they know will do something when joined together in the caves. It's like a video game, but not fun or satisfying. When they are finally joined together, they transport Clark to the North Pole and form the Fortress of Solitude. Sometimes it takes something like that to remind you that the show is about Superman.

Rating: Booooooo. The caves are ridiculous! If I never see another cave scene again, it will be too soon.

4. Chloe Sullivan v Lana Lang v Lois Lane - Chloe Sullivan is Clark's long-time pal, editor of the school newspaper, and the original Veronica Mars. She also harbours undying love for Clark. Viewers tend to like Chloe and hate Lana because Lana is boring, self-centred and whiny. She lacks all the pluck of the important comic character, or of Annette O'Toole's Superman III portrayal. Lana and Clark have a drawn out, chemistry-free, on-again-off-again relationship for much of the series. Meanwhile super-awesome Chloe gets the shaft.
Lois Lane is Chloe's cousin. She debuts at the beginning of season 4. She has a strong start, but quickly wears out her welcome. Mostly she has giant breasts and she and Clark don't get along. It's supposed to be amusing that they fight all the time, but it's really forced and viewers constantly ask what the hell she's doing hanging out in Smallville anyway. It's going to ruin everything that happens in the future. First of all, she's seen Clark Kent as a rugged young man without glasses and a geeky suit. So she knows what he's going to look like when he's Superman. That's a problem. Also, she calls Clark 'Smallville' even though she is also living in Smallville, and everyone else in town also lives there. It makes no damn sense.

Rating: Chloe is an awesome original character that makes Lois obsolete. Lana is awful and should be killed off, canon be damned. Lois should just go away for another ten years or so. And have her memory wiped.

Let's look at 5 specific reasons why Smallville is enjoyable:

1. Lex Luthor. He's fantastic, and his obsession with Clark makes for fun and sexy scenes. He clearly has a giant crush on Clark. Beyond that, all scenes with Lex and his father are amazing. We also get to watch the evolution of Lex as a somewhat bratty, but mostly tragic young man who lost his mother at a young age. His father is evil, and Lex tries to distance himself and do good. In season 3 (the best season by far) he goes insane. We'll chalk it up to mental strain of having an evil father, a dead mother, and a lying best friend that won't just admit that he has super powers.

2. The Occassional Appearances by Canon Superman / DC Characters: So far on Smallville, we have seen these Superman/DC canon chracters:
Clark Kent, Lex Luthor, Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Pete Ross, Jonathan and Martha Kent, Morgan Edge, Jor-El, Lucy Lane, The Flash (Bart Allan), Aquaman, Cyborg, Mxyzptlk (I'm not kidding...he was a hot Eastern European guy and the episode made no sense), Brainiac, Zod, and Perry White. Some of these have been pretty good (Perry White, Flash, Morgan Edge, Brainiac, Jor-El) and some have been totally pointless and confusing (Lucy Lane, Mxy, Aquaman). Jonathan and Martha Kent are younger on this show than in the usual canon, which was a great idea that makes a lot of sense. We've seen a lot of good (and fun) actors pass through this show too, including: Michael McKean, Rutger Hauer, Michael Ironside, Margot Kidder, Christopher Reeve, Carrie Fisher, Jane Seymore, Adam Brody, John Schneider, Tom Wopat, Annette O'Toole, Jensen Ackles, Terence Stamp, Ian Somerholder, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, James Marsters, and Shawn Ashmore). Next for season 6....Green Arrow and Jimmy Olson!

3. Red Kryptonite: What a beautiful plot device. On Smallville, Red K makes Clark go bad. Which, as a side-effect, makes him sexy. Red Kryptonite has only made its way into a few episodes, but man they were good ones!
On this same note, there are many episodes that involve personality-alteration for one reason or another. It's always a good time. Body-switching, weird Kryptonite-infused drugs, parasites, mind-control, magic, body-posession, shape-shifters...all good.

4. Jor-El: Jor-El is on Smallville only as a voice (specifically, the voice of Terence Stamp). But he is able to torture his son by burning Krytonian symbols into his chest (sexy) and by forcing him to choose which loved ones will live and which will die.

Jor-El is a prick. Asshole dads are something that Clark and Lex have in common (not that Clark could ever tell Lex that). Jor-El would like Clark to embrace his destiny and rule over Earth like a god. Clark isn't so much into that idea. Jor-El isn't so much into Clark's attitude. They have many an argument and at one point Jor-El erases Clark Kent and replaces him with Kal-El. Kal-El is more like the son that Jor-El always wanted. He's keen to rule over Earth, and he can fly (which is the only time we see Clark fly on the show). He's also naked, so...thumbs up!

5. Clark develops powers: Clark doesn't have all his powers yet. In the pilot he learns the extent of his invincibity, which continues to develop as the series goes on. Also in season one he gets his x-ray vision. In season 2 he gets his heat vision in the most hilarious way imaginable (he shoots fire out of his eyes when he's aroused. How embarassing). He later develops super hearing, and gains the ability to leap buildings in a single bound. Still no super-breath or flight as of yet on the show.

So overall an entertaining show which is better than Lois & Clark, but not as good as Justice League Unlimited. It's the only show about Superman on television right now, so I'm obviously going to watch it. The promise of Green Arrow, Jimmy Olson, superbreath for season 6 has reeled me in for another year. Plus there is going to be an episode that is Justice League-esque that will have Clark team up with young Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and Green Arrow. Good enough for me!

Oh, and this show has slight homosexual overtones.