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50 Reasons why I Hate Smallville

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50 Reasons why I Hate Smallville
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In celebration of Smallville NOT returning to television this fall, I've taken it upon myself to describe in immense detail exactly what went wrong with this series. You may disagree, you may not. You may have 20 or so more things you could add to this list. You may wonder why X made it on the list and I didn't even mention Y. I encourage your comments. Feedback can only improve my writing and critique. As long as we all hate Smallville, we will get along fine.

Clark Kent / Superboy. Copyright © DC Comics

1. Kryptonite magically makes Lex Luthor a.) Bald, b.) never ever sick, c.) one of the most non-powered characters in the entire series. Meanwhile in the very same episode where Lex is bombarded with kryptonite radiation (presumably radiation, though it’s really just big rocks hitting the corn field and making a big dust storm) the very same radiation in the very same cornfield gives a dude electric powers and takes away his natural aging process.

2. There is no discernable reason for Lois Lane to call Clark Kent “Smallville.” The reason she does it in other media, most notably the comic books, is because Clark is from the town of Smallville, which is in a state that, in at least one version of the story, Lois has never been to. But if Lois Lane attends a semester of high school in Smallville, and lives there for another 6 years, then why does she choose to call Clark Kent “Smallville”? Why not call her cousin that, because she lived there for half of her life? Or the other members of the Kent family? The reason is because it happens in the comics, apparently, it must happen in the television show, even if it just doesn’t make any sense at all.

3. Tom Welling. Tom Welling is not a bad actor. In fact, he has even exhibited some brilliant performances in the series Smallville. When he is playing Lionel Luthor in Clark’s body, or Clark who does not remember that he has superpowers, these are some of his best moments in the entire series. And if one watches a few interview clips that have Welling, it’s very easy to tell that he has quite a sense of humor and has quite a personality. So why is Clark Kent, for roughly 215 episodes, a black hole that has no dimension or depth at all? The show runners are actively pushing Welling to portray the protagonist in this way. This is the only answer I can think of. Which leads into our next point.

4. It is abundantly clear that whoever was in charge of this mess had no interest in writing about the Clark Kent that we all know and love, whether it is from the comics or the movies, or the animated series. These show-runners are more interested in Edward Cullen with more superpowers (yes, yes, Smallville predates Twilight, shut up). These people seem to think that Clark is broody, only cares about getting in some girl’s pants, is quite often reluctant to actively fight the forces of evil that he is so well known to combat in every other Superman story. Millar and Gough misread Clark Kent so much that quite often, I find myself rooting for the villain of the story. You know there’s a problem with the series when the villain is more sympathetic and more interesting.

5. Speaking of Lex, we have a problem, in the middle years of the series. For the first 3 or 4 years, Lex Luthor is friends with the principle cast, though there are moments of distrust, depending on who we are talking about. But despite all the issues that Lex had with some of the people of the town of Smallville, he was, for all intents and purposes, a good guy. Then Season 5 rolls around (seeds of his villainy are present in Season 4, but he’s still on speaking terms with the rest of the cast. It’s just that you can plainly see the tension building between Clark and Lex, as they are not as close as they were in Season 1) where Lex is now a full blown villain, following in the footsteps of his father. But…his father. Lionel Luthor was one of my favorite things about this series (Lex is the other one). As near as I can discern, Lionel was not present in the original Superman or Superboy comics, as Lex’s parents were not brilliant or evil. And creating Lionel Luthor and putting him in the show from day 1 was quite brilliant. If this series is to be about the fall of Lex as well as the rise of Superman, then it stands to reason that, a.) Lex would need some bad influence to help guide him to where we all know he would one day be. And so this series actually does an adequate job of Lionel manipulating events to try and mold his son into the man he wants him to be. The problem is…Lionel is already that man. And when Lex finally does accept his destiny, Lex is just Lionel-lite. This is where Lex should have, after receiving his training, killed Lionel, so that we are not burdened with extraneous characters who no longer serve the purpose they once served. And speaking of characters becoming redundant by the presence of another character, we move on to our next point…

6. Chloe Sullivan is the Lois Lane equivalent in this series. As a matter of fact, many fans even thought that Chloe would change her name TO Lois in the early years of the series. Enter Lois Lane, as played by Erica Durance. She has no interest in reporting, which falls in line with the other characters in this show, like Lex and Clark, who show no signs of becoming who they are famously known to be outside of the show. But far too quickly Lois has to take Journalism in her final semester of high school, and, mere episodes after she is introduced, she is helping the gang solve mysteries at Smallville. This gives her some change in character, which is good, but it presents us a problem concerning Chloe. Chloe was the reporter who investigated these kinds of problems with Clark. Now Lois is filling that roll. This makes Chloe redundant. We have 2 characters fulfilling the exact same purpose, though in the early Lois days, Chloe still had lingering feelings for Clark, and Lois had no feelings toward Clark but antipathy. Yet, the fact remains that Chloe had no business being in the show when Lois was doing the exact thing that Chloe had been for 3 years. We hate it when an actor that we like is forced out of a show, but unless they completely retooled the Chloe character so that she could do something else besides be in love with Clark, then she really needed to be gone by the end of Season 4.

7. In the vein of characters who have outlived their usefulness…Lana Lang. In the Superboy comics that lasted from the 1940s well into the 1960s, Lana Lang’s sole purpose was to try and discover if Clark Kent and Superboy were one and the same. Since the first thing this show did away with from the source material was Clark’s dual identity, this essentially left Lana with nothing to do, as that was ALL she ever did in the comics. So from day one, Smallville makes Lana a pretty face, and that’s about the extent of what she is here for. Clark pines after her in the first Season, then actually goes for it in the second season, and by the second or third episode in Season 3, they are no longer an item, but Clark still has feelings for her, and she kinda has feelings for him. By the end of Season 3, it seems that even Lana Lang is aware that she has no purpose in Smallville, so the season concludes with her leaving for Paris. Since she had no purpose in Smallville, and probably no purpose in Paris, she would have been better off staying in Paris, and the series would have been better as well. No Lana, post Season 3.

8. Lex’s turn to the dark side. This was kinda odd, how it was handled. Of course you have Lionel Luthor, none too pleased that his son is trying to become a good human being, saving jobs, befriending mid-western families who are happier than he is. So Lionel does things like bribe Lex’s wife with a ton of money so she’ll leave him and try to have him killed, and this certainly helps tear down Lex’s trust walls, and arguably is one of the biggest steps that led toward Lex becoming the evil bad guy. But then you have Jonathan Kent, who, purely because Lex is related to Lionel, who betrayed Jonathan some years earlier, Jonathan refuses to believe that Lex is a good person. And every time we think that we’ve seen Jonathan and Lex shake hands and start fresh, Jonathan again hates Lex in the very next episode. How are we supposed to buy that Jonathan Kent is the man who brought up in Clark Kent the ideals that there is good in everyone, and that everyone needs a second chance…how are we supposed to believe that when he is the reason (or a large part of the reason) that Lex becomes an evil supervillain?

9. The Jimmy Olsen fiasco. First and foremost, very early in Season 2, we find out that Chloe met some guy at the Daily Planet who was “bow-tie cute.” This is definitely an allusion to Jimmy Olsen, right? Well, Chloe tells Pete that she just made up that guy to get Clark off her back. But then 2 years later, she tells Lana that, nope, he was real, and she actually lost her virginity to him. WHAT? Wholesome Olsen? And as if that isn’t enough, he then joins the cast (actually, I liked Ashmore as Jimmy, and thought that his performance was pretty spot-on) and is more or less a fixture on the show for 3 years. After getting some of the worst treatment for a secondary character in the entire series, he is killed. Well that’s shocking. But the kicker is that, apparently, his full name is Henry James Olsen. And he has a younger brother…James Bartholomew Olsen. Ok, really? Who in the actual world would name their youngest child after the oldest child’s middle name? “ok, this name wasn’t good enough to be his first name, but for you, yeah, it’ll do.” Just…wow.

10. To segue straight into my biggest problem with Davis Bloome, aka, Doomsday. I was fine with Doomsday being the genetic aberration that was created by Zod and Faora. To be honest, it works better than the comics, which, at first, anyway, gave us “oh, we just kinda found him in the Earth’s core.” I was fine with the Hulkification of Doomsday also. Because, let’s be honest, a genre television show with twice the budget that Smallville had in Season 8 still couldn’t have given us a believable Doomsday for any length of time. So to keep the plot running, without costing 13 million in CGI each episode, we have a human form for Doomsday, which, actually, is a pretty nice guy. But out of nowhere, and I do mean, this just sorta happens, he has this crush on Chloe, when he knows she’s engaged (heck, he knows it before Chloe’s best friend does) and when he finds out that, shockingly, she’s going to choose her fiancé over this paramedic she barely knows, he…kills her fiancé? WHY? The actual answer is that the show-runners had no use for him after the Doomsday fight, so they had to find some way to get rid of him, so they decided to make his human persona evil as well. Let’s be honest, with Lex gone, this season needed an extra cast member to fill out the void he left. And Davis could have been there to do so. Someone who was part of an evil creature that killed and rampaged, well, that could have been a nice parallel to Lex. Lex, who started off good and became bad, and Davis, who started off good, kinda got bad, but could have been good again. Honestly, I think Davis could have easily stayed around for another season. Killing Jimmy just made no sense, and writing him out of the show after the departure of the Doomsday monster made an equal amount of sense (which is to say, none). Using one of Superman’s major villains as a Season Arc makes quite a bit of sense, but when following that formula (used to great effect in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) drives one to write things that do not make sense, it’s time to deviate from said formula.



Last Updated ( Monday, 04 July 2011 21:55 )  
Author Profile: RJD

RJD has written fan letters, reviews, and examinations of various qualities, mostly on the Tavern.

Comments  

 
0 #20 Miriam 2014-03-13 00:28
Hahahaha I hate you :-) :lol: No, seriously 8) Say whatever you want, I don't care... I still love Smallville
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+1 #19 Ali 2013-11-19 07:50
I dont give a shit about this!!!! Smallville will always be my favorite show! :roll:
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0 #18 CKMan 2013-06-11 03:26
Unfortunately, this column is correct in many respects. Although I am a fan of the show (I own seven out of ten seasons), there are many glaringly obvious issues with it. Yes, the character development had tremendous potential and was squandered. Yes, Lana Lang serves no purpose after season 3. But in many ways it is still my FAVORITE show. As a young kid, I dreampt about what it was like to be superman. And for all the ways that gough and millar got it wrong, they got it SO SO RIGHT! Every teenager understands what it is like to be in love with someone and have it go horribly wrong. They know what its like to struggle with their identity and to be unsure what your purpose is in this world. And they understand that moral decisions are difficult, especially when everyone around you seems to be mired in chaos, evil, and self doubt. So, in all the ways you have disappointed Smallville, you have made me fell like I understood what it was like to be superman.
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+1 #17 Okelia 2013-04-22 14:34
:sigh: this was soooooooooooooo laaaaaaaaaaaame :sad: :cry: how could any one hate smallville :zzz
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-1 #16 Tiffany 2012-05-21 18:50
For Mxyzptlk, be realistic; the medium for the show is live-action television, not cartoon or comic. This is apparent for everything in the show. A lot of villians/characters have been "dumbed-down" for the purpose of the show being less cartoon and more fantasy, in the sense that IF certain things WERE, then this would be possible. It's a harder pill to swallow that somebody like Mister Mxyzptlk could exist in our world than a Superman, no?

Anyway, I'm surprised that you hate so much about Smallville's rendition of Clark when the rest of the world sees it as the best; especially with the DCnU reboot, where Clark Kent doesn't even really exist anymore! No problems with that? They've completely changed the persona that IS Superman, the complete opposite of what Smallville spent 10 years achieving, and no problems with THAT?
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0 #15 Tiffany 2012-05-21 18:42
You've read the comics and you're blubbering about the inconsistency of Red K? RED K IS ALL ABOUT INCONSISTENCY. That said, it's fair to assume it can affect him more quickly a subsequent time it's used.

The reason Clark doesn't know about his powers has nothing to do with time spent under the yellow sun. Where did you get that information? It's that he believes he's human his whole life, until he's 16; would you ever think to try to cut yourself to see if it would hurt? Would you try to set things on fire with your eyes without previous knowledge? I don't think so. Kara had visited Earth before, with other Kryptonians -- Kryptonians that knew the powers they gained on Earth. She knew the powers, so it wouldn't take long for her to master them all.

I agree that Helen Bryce's exit was handled incorrectly, but "when in doubt -- buy em out" is just a policy of the Luthors.
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0 #14 Tiffany 2012-05-21 18:35
The fanservice is hilarious, and I enjoyed making a game out of my family to see if we could catch every single reference. The incredible irony was always heart-warming. Sure, a few here and there would make me snide, but it was pretty well-done in some places. Notice Clark reading a book about Identity Crises in the Talon in the first few seasons?

34 I agree with completely -- I hated, and always will hate, Lana. But that comes first from my childhood watching Superman: The Animated Series, and then watching the bitch in Smallville.

With 35, they mention that visiting earth was a rite of passage. Jor-El was sent there to learn compassion, etc. To not be selfish. It's actually rather well done, in the sense that it shows how Earth also taught Superman compassion, love, truth, and justice.
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0 #13 Tiffany 2012-05-21 18:26
#22: C'mon. It's a weekly show, with a budget that matches. You can't expect every effect to be believable; hell, 100% of every effect I've ever seen in TV, even in 2012 where movies have HUGE budgets, have LOOKED LIKE AN EFFECT. It's not ever going to be realistic.

I agree that Metallo should have been shown more, but I don't agree that they did anything wrong with his origins; it fits in a more "realistic" pov, just as Lex is not a mad scientist but a smart billionaire who fell to the dark side.

I don't see your issue in #27. Lois helps Clark find the disguise, and makes him change not only his looks but his attitude to make Clark Kent a truly forgettable face; it's brilliant. Change his behavior enough to make him dorky/geeky, and by the time he fully embraces his Superman side, everyone will have forgotten Clark. Besides, it's not like the same people worked there for all the years.
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0 #12 Tiffany 2012-05-21 18:18
As for the 7th Heaven comment, that's what they were aiming for. It was a legendary show. Millar and Gough mentioned that they wanted it to be a kind of family show that reached the status of 7th Heaven.

I do agree fully with the homages, the episodes (that were mostly in seasons 9 and 10, actually) that were blatant rip-off/parodies/call-it-what-you-wills were just AWFUL. Like they were grabbing at straws for attention. The show didn't need it.

For 19, that's the point -- he's still a teen. He hasn't gotten around to making excuses yet, which is VERY HARD TO DO if you've never been a teen and didn't know. There isn't much for anyone to do in Smallville, and it IS Smallville, so any lie would easily be found out.

For #20, in the series, Clark doesn't have Kryptonian knowledge. He has no mentor to train his powers; he DOESN'T KNOW THEY EXIST. How can he practice powers he doesn't know about?
For #21, refer to what I said about your first point.
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0 #11 Tiffany 2012-05-21 18:12
Nearly all of these points, you are either dead wrong about (because you are ignorant to the logic they use in the series) or just pissy for no reason. For #1, especially -- it was in the COMICS! Kryptonite is harmful, not JUST to Superman; Lex Luthor loses a finger due to a Kryptonite ring because it GIVES HIM CANCER. So, the fact that Kryptonite is RADIOACTIVE and poisonous is a perfectly acceptable reason for making Lex bald, and just like any other "meteor freak," it mutates his DNA.
As for your "Superman is a personality" rant, the whole point behind Smallville was to humanize Clark; it achieves everything a true Superman fan would hope for. It shows his struggles, his relationships, his heroics, his morality and belief in truth and justice; it shows the wholesomeness that IS SUPERMAN.
"No tights, no flights" was a copyright issue. That has nothing to do with the show or its quality.
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