Blu Ray Review: Smallville Season Seven



The Complete Seventh Season




Much of the sixth season of Smallville was devoted to keeping Clark and Lana apart by way of sham marriages, fake pregnancies, and death threats.  In season seven they’re finally able to come together, and the whole thing just kind of sits there.

Considering the epic six season long romance that brought them here, the couple is largely dispassionate.  Their chemistry on the show is somewhere between a couple that’s been married for 60 years, and an uncomfortably close brother and sister.

The actress playing Lana, Kristin Kreuk, left the show and this was written into the show by having her go into a coma.  So in addition to going nowhere, the relationship also gets no resolution.

A new character this season is Kara (Supergirl), Clark’s biological cousin that was sent from Krypton with him, but has been in suspended animation ever since.  Now she’s discovering Earth and her new super powers for the first time.  She takes to the powers much faster than Clark did, instantly mastering the art of flying, which by the end of the season, Clark hasn’t even attempted.

At first, Clark tries to corral Kara, telling her to hide her powers.  It seems Clark has a deep rooted shame of his powers, or for the different-ness that those powers impart on him.  He was raised as a human, and as he gained his powers over time, he diverged away from them.  Gaining his powers came at with the loss of his humanity.

Kara never had humanity, she is a Kryptonian.  She probably has a bit of a superiority complex, which would make it easier for her to accept her powers (she should have superhuman strength because she is superior to them).  Her character doesn’t do too much in the season.  She illuminates some aspects of Clark’s past and his family, and joins him in his do-goodery.  In the middle of the season she comes down with amnesia.  For some reason, when she loses her memory, she starts thinking she’s human.  You’d think she’d revert back to a Kryptonian with no specific memory, but no.

The main villains for the season are Brainiac (Jason Marsters) and a shadowy group called Veritas, who knew of the coming of Clark long before it happened and has been preparing to harness his powers.  Brainiac is a good villain for Clark.  He’s a plotter and manipulator, which requires Clark to deduce his plan before he can fight him.  It’s a nice way of creating a believable threat for an invincible man.  Veritas feels a little slapped on, like someone said, ‘hey, the Di Vinci Code was popular, let’s do something like that!’  It’s also largely unbelievable, as members of the group have been in the show for years and showed no signs of these ulterior motives.

The Smallville mythology is kind of a piecemeal mess, but the stand alone episodes remain entertaining in a comic book sort of way.

Blu Ray Review: Smallville Season Six



The Complete Sixth Season




The only part of Smallville I had seen prior to this were a few random episodes from season one.  But knowing where it began, and where the story will eventually end makes it easy to jump in.

Lana Lang, the former idolic love interest on Clark Kent is now dating Lex Luthor, who by this point in the series has definitively established himself as Clark’s nemesis.  It’s suggested that what drove Lana from Clark was that he was secretive about his super powers (which Lana still doesn’t know about at this point).  So, it’s ironic that she would run to the only person in the world more secretive than Clark, Lex, who has the added benefit of being mildly evil.

Their relationship doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Lex does love Lana, at least as much as he is capable of loving someone.  Perhaps ‘treasures her’ is a more appropriate term, as her life with Lex takes on a ‘songbird in a cage’ type of quality.

Lex is kind of a mystery.  He’s engaging in a secret project known as 33.1, which seeks to harness the powers of meteor freaks and transform them into weapons.  He tells Lana that he’s doing this to protect the Earth from the many threats that seem to plague it in the series.  It’s hard to tell how serious he is about that.  Certainly his research uses inhumane methods, but whether it’s a ruthless quest for power, or a true belief that the ends justify the means, I don’t know.

Lana motivations are largely unclear through out the season.  She kind of reminds me of Al Swearengen from Deadwood.  She, like Al, comes up with these ridiculously complex manipulation strategies that could be much more easily dealt with by punching someone in the face.  She goes from having mixed feelings about him, to outright hating him; and yet it takes only a vague threat to get her to stay.  All the while, she secretly investigates him, but to no obvious end, as she isn’t working with anybody.

Clark spends most of the season despondent over Lana leaving him.  He’s confused by her motivations, just as I was.  Clark is, for all intents and purposes, Superman.  Most episodes deal with a monster of the week, and end with Clark rushing in at super speed, beating the enemy, and leaving before he’s seen.  The emotional side is the only part of Clark that’s particularly vulnerable (though there seems to be convenient deposits of Kryptonite all over town to make him physically vulnerable as well), and he seems to be completely incapable of fight back on that front.

The whole thing feels very comic book-like.  There’s a thin veneer of the ridiculous covering everything.  Even something as simple as the fact that Clark is always wearing a blue shirt with a red jacket.  Always.  It’s just screams ‘look! it’s a toned down version of his Superman costume!’  Add to that the episodic nature, the revolving fiend gallery, and the deus ex machina solutions to all the conflicts, and you end up with a show that’s a little too cartoony to effectively sell drama.

Taken as an afternoon serial type show, Smallville is fun and entertaining but never anything more than that.