Saturday, May 15, 2010

TV Review: Smallville-Season 9 (Part 3)

Budget cuts have fazed The CW's hit show Smallville only ever so slightly. The show, just wrapping up its ninth season and already picked up for a tenth, is one of the few lasting shows from the now dead WB, and while the show's production values have taken severe hits over recent years since The CW has commandeered the ship, the stories have never been better. It is safe to say that some gas is still left within the tank, and I'm actually quite glad. Smallville is arguably my favorite TV Show of all-time, so there is a small touch of bias here, but I still remain impressed.

Last night's finale just sums up why I still love this show. The whole season has been leading up to this epic confrontation between Clark and General Zod, who returned to the show as a clone of the latter's self thanks to some ol' fashioned Kryptonian technology. While I was a touch disappointed in that they did another annoying Blue Kryptonite fight where Zod and Clark had no powers, it was still well-choreographed and the cliffhangers at the end where Green Arrow was attacked by these super-powered beings that weren't Kandorians and Clark being stabbed and falling from the sky, were awesome cliffhangers to keep us die-hard's foaming at the mouth till next Fall.

For the first time in Smallville's run, I actually legitimately felt as if Clark's character had become worthy to someday become Superman. He's always been kind of whiny on the show, but this season, he really stepped up to the plate with some tremendous character development, and by the point we reached the finale I was just blown away at how much like the Man of Steel he was acting and how he was no longer that whiny farm boy from Season 1. Not to mention, the way they handled the romance between Lois and Clark was extremely fantastic, and not to mention spicing it up with a nice little triangle including Clark's superpowered ego, The Blur, in constant communication with Lois and stealing her heart in the end.

Really, if any quip can come (and I think it's a debatable quip) is that the show has kind of gotten to a point where a great amount of suspension of disbelief is required to enjoy it, where as you simply can't watch it for all the soap opera elements, you have to be willing to enjoy the fantastical, as Smallville is becoming less-and-less like a teenybopper program and having more-and-more in common with its comic book counterpart. For a comic book fan, these pills are easy to swallow, but if you aren't, you might have a tougher time enjoying the story, and that's all I'll say on that.

As with most scripted shows on television, there are some episodes in any given season where you can take 'em or leave 'em, not meaning that any one episode is bad, just that some aren't as rock solid as others. I wasn't all that crazy about any of the Green Arrow-centric episodes this season, all coming off fairly forgettable, and unfortunately the same kind of goes for Martha Kent and Perry White's big return this season, that started off with some promise, but fizzled out toward the end of the episode. Still, there were some great ones as well.

The two-hour epic, "Absolute Justice," which introduced the Justice Society of America on Smallville, was one of the bigger highlights of the season for me. Not to mention all the episodes featuring the whole subplot dealing with Checkmate, which all were extremely well-handled, even though the actors for both the JSA and Checkmate bordered on over-acting at times, but what can you do. Then there was the story dealing with Zod's Kryptonian army on Earth, which was the best part of the season for me, seeing Clark getting to reconnect with his heritage and step up and actually lead, not just sit and watch; not to mention, Checkmate and even Perry White and Lois managed to step on some alien toes throughout all this. With all this said, Tom Welling has never been on better form, same going for Erica Durance as Lois, their chemistry shining throughout the season. And what can you say about Callum Blue as Zod, he was very solid, while not as great as Sam Witwer from last season, he made me like Zod again.

So another season has come and gone, and it's always hard to really sum up what I felt in just a few paragraphs, but the bottom line is that Smallville is still kicking and refuses to go out without a fight. While the show's budget constraints are fairly obvious, in terms of production values like set design, costumes, special effects, etc., (and I'm not gonna lie, I do want Clark to just have an all out throwdown with a baddie like he used to; it's been so long since one) they still manage to cover it all up with some fantastic screenwriting. So as a fan, I loved this latest season of Smallville, while not the best in the show's run, it's been a fun and enjoyable ride the whole way.

I give Smallville-Season 9 an A-!

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