Smallville mid-Season 9 Report Card

(originally posted here.)

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Hello Smallville fans! This post is for you today–that’s right, every single one of you!

As previously posted on DIH, producers are marveling that the typical death knell that is the Friday Night Move is proving to not be as lethal as expected for our resilient little show. Smallville’s pretty much kicking ass and taking names in the Friday night department (hardly a juggernaut evening, but still), and producers and other PTB are already talking about a 10th season.

Do I want this to be a show that lasts forever? I really don’t. I was actually seriously pushing to have it end during Season 7. But you know, Season 7 sucked. Massively. I was just ready for them to shoot the limping dog already.*

*I actually do not advocate shooting handi-capable animals.

But now Smallville has some great new characters, a glossy new look, and has taken the intriguing steps of developing Clark from a whiny, self-important farm boy into a charming and smoking hot Professional Man of Business–not to mention a man of business SUITS rather than that damned Member’s Only jacket. See the improvement?

Exhibit A: Lame Clark

Exhibit B: Sexy Clark

No comparison!

So yeah, now that the show has dropped all of the weak (*cough LANA cough*) storylines, embraced the Superman canon and suited up Mr. Welling, I find myself having absolutely no problem with the concept of a 10th season. 10 seasons…wow. This show is old.

But this is shaping up to be a pretty great season, no? I think Season 8 may peak as what I consider to be Smallville’s greatest season ever (excluding the inexplicable and utterly random finale, of course), but I’ve really enjoyed the darker, more mature approach Exec Producers Souders and Petersen have taken with Season 9. It’s wonderful to see Clark exploring his Kryptonian heritage in a healthy way, and undertaking his training at the Fortress of Solitude, the final step towards his becoming the Superman that we all know from the comic books (or perhaps from the Christopher Reeve movies).

So here’s what’s working about the season, beyond the above infallible bonus of dressing Tom Welling in some big boy pants.

(all pics from CW, and look at me, using legitimate photos and giving credit! I feel so lawful!)

1)

Brian Austin Green as Metallo was AWESOME. I’ve always loved that DC Comics evil version of Iron Man, and Smallville has puts its always intriguing twist on the canon. I know a lot of geeks hate that no DC character is ever exactly who he or she is in the comics, but I kind of dig it.  It means I’m never spoiled on these storylines, and I appreciate that. Metallo will definitely be back to eff some more shizz up old school, and I personally can’t wait.

2)

Callum Blue as ZOD, dude. ZOD. That’s right, the REAL Zod, not the weak-ass Lex Luthor-inhabited version who actually fell in love with Lana the way EVERY CHARACTER EVER DID ON THE SHOW BACK THEN. I’m sorry, but ZOD? In love with LANA?! I’m still a little touchy about it. Callum Blue plays Major Zod, before he’s been generalized (that’s probably not the proper terminology for someone becoming a general).  He’s going to look like this in his Kandor duds:

and it’s a good look,  yeah? And the iconic “Kneel before Zod” line was beautifully executed in the premiere—with a twist, of course, always with a twist.

Just for kicks, here’s Jor-El, another legendary character whose voice we’ve only heard in the past, and who we’ll apparently be seeing this season.

And he’s hot and…blonde? And he doesn’t look exactly like Tom Welling like he did in that one S3 ep where he had an affair with Lana’s grandmother or something, who looked just like Lana? Hey, if the producers want to pretend like that episode never happened, that is fine with me. Superfine.

3)

CHLOE!!!! I should have put this at the top of the list of things that work about this and every other season of Smallville. Chloe is such a fun, brilliant, charming and loyal character, and Allison Mack is a fantastic actress with the PRETTIEST HAIR I LOVE HER OMG! Okay, sorry, but I do, I really do.

And she’s KIND of a bad-ass this season (even more than usual, that is), finally fully embracing her Watchtower role in the Justice League by living in the super sweet literal watchtower Jimmy bought for her. *sob* Okay, we won’t talk about Jimmy (especially the stupid loophole of his not being the real Jimmy Olsen or something). I desperately miss Aaron Ashmore, one of my biggest crushes ever, but I can’t say I’m not picking up on the chemistry between Chloe and Alessandro Juliani as Dr. Emil Hamilton. He’s certainly smart enough for her! And sweet Jimmy kind of…wasn’t.

Then (*sniff*):

Now (hmmm…):

Is Emil who the producers keep hinting about regarding Chloe’s new love interest? Interesting…

I’m ready for Chloe and Clark to renew their bestie-ship, because it’s one of my favorite aspects of the show, but I’ve appreciated the believably strained exchanges they’ve had at the beginning of this season. Chloe and Clark have been through a lot and not all friendships are solid all of the time. Although thank lordy this picture of an upcoming ep makes it clear they’ll be back to besties in no time!

4)

Clark is all grow’d up! He’s actually going out and saving people of his own accord and not just when catastrophes stumble onto his farm!

Granted, The Blur (his current nickname until he reaches Superman fame, as he blurs by to save people without ever being seen) started his journey in Season 8, but he’s seriously stepping up to the plate now, eye-burning the Superman emblem (a Kryptonian symbol of his heritage) as a lingering reminder of hope after each daring rescue.

5)

Okay, so I’d be remiss to exclude Lois (Erica Durance) from the kudos fest. I’ll be the first to admit that I violently hated her when she was first introduced to the show in Season 4, but you guys have to admit, she was vile, right? Outrageously obnoxious. I’m pleased to see that the show actually intended a journey for her, and she’s grown into someone I quite like—complex, stubborn, determined and occasionally vulnerable.

And I have to admit, yeah, I’ve always cherished a hope for the everlasting love of Chloe and Clark to flower, but I’ve accepted that’s never going to happen. Lois and Clark, right? That’s the story we all know. And lord knows, they do have chemistry.

Plus girlfriend can rock a pencil skirt! Chloe and Clark have bloomed into one of television’s greatest friendships (I’m including Willow and Buffy in there, so you know I’m serious), and Lois and Clark are well on their way to becoming the iconic twosome that are so familiar to us.  Plus, I’m shallow. Erica Durance used to have really bad hair:

and it’s improved immensely,

a trend which is directly relevent to my acceptance of her as Clark’s girlfriend. As long as Chloe has ONE ROMANCE THAT ENDS WELL, JUST ONE, MY GOD!, I’ll be happy.

6)

Justice ANYTHING. The show has slowly developed the Justice League, bringing in new members all the time. The two most regular?

Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)

and Phil Morris as John Jones (Martian Manhunter). Both are simply brutally hot, particularly Justin Hartley who LORD looks good in a tux!

and both are great actors and incredibly compelling characters, each of whom brings a different complexity to their relationships with Clark.

7)

And of course I love Oliver’s foil (and occasionally Clark’s foil…and sometimes Chloe’s foil…and often Lois’ foil…and lately Zod’s foil) Tess Mercer, or Mercy (Cassidy Freeman). She has definitely filled Michael Rosenbaum’s shoes as the resident stone cold bad-ass, but Mercy’s motivations are far less clear (and less clearly diabolical) than Lex Luthor’s. She’s intriguing as hell and her chemistry with Oliver burns up my screen every single week.

We’ve also had some legendary DC villains showing up, most recently the return of Chris Gaulthier as Winslow Schott (Toy Man):

According to producers, we have loads more Justice League action and other DC characters in store this season, and I simply cannot  WAIT.

Obviously there are plenty of challenges this season, particularly with the departure of show-runners and writers since S1 Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer (for Melrose Place, WHAT?!), and I hope the tone lightens up somewhat and they tone it down with the wacky editing and futuristic montages. But all in all, as a lover from Season 1, someone who owns every season and created my own drinking game (with help from my fella, and I’ll publish that to DIH one day if there’s a demand for it. It’s kind of awesome), I feel I have the expertise to say: this is one helluva season, and I’m pleased as punch with the direction the show started last year and is continuing this season.

Link Drop!

Check out my magnificent(ly dangerous) Smallville Drinking Game here.

Excellent IGN interview w/ Souders and Petersen here.

Smallville‘s most prolific TV critic and spoiler, Michael Ausiello, gives all sorts of great news here. I love you, Ausiello! Thank you for not ignoring this show like all of your colleagues!

And The Hollywood Reporter marvels at Smallville‘s sustainability here.

You can read hilarious and thorough recaps of all of Smallville’s eps here. Although the wonderful Omar is no longer recapping (SOB! Bye Omar, I’ll miss you!), this new Tippi Blevins is pretty cool, too.

Smallville is now on Fridays at 7pm central on the CW, which means if you have a life, you’ll never be able to watch it live, so Hulu the shit out of it, y’all.

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