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Monday, October 03, 2005
TV Round-Up
Smallville: Arrival
Is it just me or are a lot of television shows these days embracing the five act structure that Lost seems to have made popular last year? Or maybe it's just shows on the WB since I think Gilmore Girls is doing the same thing this year.

Honestly, the experiment isn't working so well. In a lot of ways, it feels like the first couple of episodes of Voyager when the writing staff tried to go from writing five-act stories to four-act stories and they didn't quite get how to pace the stories or break the acts well. Eventually, Voyager's staff went back to the five-act format. So far, the results on these two WB shows have been a bit mixed--I can understand why you want to have five acts since you can bump the finish and start times of your shows togther and prevent viewers from surfing to other things.

I will also have to admit I tuned into Smallville this year for two reasons--one is the promos that promise that they will finally start paying off the plotlines that have been developing since day one and to see James Marsters as Brainiac. Marters is such a phenomenally talented actor that he can bring up the work of just about anyone he works with and for him to have time to chew scenery with Michael Rosenbaum--well, that can't be a bad thing.

Interestingly enough, this one pretty much seems like a lot of rehash of Superman and Superman II. I will admit I got pretty excited to hear about the disciples of Zod and see the two supervillains from Krypton strutting around, looking for Kal-El. But unlike Superman II, we don't get much in the way of motivation for these villains. Yes, they are bad because they trash everything in sight--but why do they want Clark so badly to join them? Maybe this ground was covered in the season finale and I've just forgotten about it, but it's not abudently clear here. Instead, the disciples of Zod are almost an add-on freak of the week for Clark to deal with in addition to a myriad of other problems he has to deal with from the season finale. Oh yeah, and he has to get back together with Lana, which quite honestly with Lois and Chloe there, I'd be moving on past Lana myself.

The story for this one clips along at a breakneck pace until the final act when suddenly things happen out of left field. It's a given that most Smallville stories see Clark defeat the villain before the last act and then we see the last act with how it affects various characters. I get that. But I was watching and while we early on see Jor-El threatend Clark should he not come back to the Fortress of Solitude by a certain time, we never see Clark lose his powers. I mean, I guess we're left to assume Clark didn't book it back to the North Pole in time and then lost his power. I mean, it couldn't be that he was near a big-ass room full of Kyrptonite over at Lex's place either could it? I know several of my regular readers also watch Smallville so if I missed something, fill me in, please.

The thing is, this one really kept the biggest assets of Smallville to the side--and those are Lex and Lionel. Lionel's scene seemd pretty much a throw-away and designed to make sure that John Glover gets some screen time. And at some point, we've got to have Lex reach a breaking point with Clark and really just snap. The best scene was between Clark and Lex at the Kent's house where Lex points out that it'd be easier if Clark would stop lying to him all the time. I love that while we know Lex eventually becomes evil-guy and the ultimate Superman villian, that we get to see how that developed and why Lex might have such an unabiding hatred of Superman. That scene alone made the fact that the disciples of Zod plotline got short changed as much as it did.

And did anyone catch that they spelled Kristin Kruek's name wrong in the new opening credits? Priceless.

Also, I have to wonder--I heard James Marsters is only signed for a set number of episodes. So, did we waste one here with what amounted to little more than a cameo to end this one? I am betting they filmed his final scene in conjuction with another later season episode and inserted in here...seems a shame to waste him for a non-speaking cameo!

And curse you Smallville--I can't get that stinkin' Depeche Mode song you used over the last two or so minutes out of my head!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/03/2005 03:08:00 PM | |
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