Illustration for article titled How To Make Smallville Watchable Again

As the story of Clark Kent's awkward young adult years heads into its eight year as a television show, it's time to face an even more awkward truth: Smallville kind of sucks. For the last seven years, the show has had its moments of greatness (Yay, the very existence of Chloe!) and it's moments of... well, not so greatness (Hello, almost every subplot that ever involved Lana Lang). With the show's eighth season being its first without Lana and Lex as regular cast members as well as its first without show creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, we'd like to take the opportunity to suggest some other changes that could make the show worth tuning in to every week.Enough With The Guest-Stars Already. Hey, I'm as big a DC Comics nerd as you're likely to find, but having the entire Justice League continually drop in (and making Green Arrow a regular cast member in this new season)? It's a little much. It's one thing to make it seem as if Clark's less alone in his meandering battle for truth, justice and looking confused while he fails to actually solve any problem himself, but it's another when he's constantly being outshone by everyone else around him. That said... When You Have Guest-Stars, Make Them Count. Having the Legion of Super-Heroes show up this year has a lot of potential, because - unlike teenage Green Arrow, teenage Aquaman, teenage Flash, Cyborg, Black Canary and the Martian Manhunter - they're an established and important part of the Superman mythos (Yes, I know the other characters - well, with the exception of Cyborg - are all members of the Justice League with Clark, but that isn't really the same thing). Similarly, if teenaged Bruce Wayne ever appeared in the show (or even Diana Prince, for that matter), that would also be an event. But more importantly, if/when those characters appear in the show, have them appear for a reason that is more than just "guest stars who are also easter eggs for the comic fans," and have their appearance mean something to Clark. Stop Repeating Storylines That No-One Cares About. Seriously. We all get that the Luthors were not to be trusted, but that doesn't mean that Lex and/or Lionel had to have roughly several million secret labs, projects or experiments that they feel compelled to hide from everyone they know until it threatens the fate of the world. Let's move on from that kind of thing, especially now that both Luthors seem to be gone from the show. Similarly, any plot that turns a regular cast member into someone with a dark secret that generally involves superpowers? We don't want to see it. Especially if it involves someone getting magical Kryptonian tattoos and then becoming a ninja. Start Making Your Stories Count. I'm not looking for Lost-style continuity here, but Smallville seems to happen in this weird soap operatic world where nothing anyone does ultimately has any meaning whatsoever: Bad guys die and no-one seems that bothered about it. Friends betray each other on a regular basis, and once the melodrama has died down, it's never mentioned again. The state of relationships change as the plot dictates, and the viewer is left not really caring about anyone anymore because it'll probably all be different next week after all. Remember that whole continuity thing that Buffy was so good at, Smallville writers? How's about trying that for awhile? Most importantly, Let Clark Be The Star Of Your Show. Look, I know that Tom Welling's limited acting ability makes it harder than you'd probably like (Reason number seven that Lex was the most interesting character in the show? Michael Rosenbaum could act the pants off've Welling. And, in the fevered imagination of many 'shippers, probably did on a regular basis), but you've got to give him something to work with. Throughout the seven years of Smallville so far, Clark has been the most passive hero imaginable. For the first couple of years, that worked because - hey! - he was still learning, and also, he was the only one with all the superpowers. But now that it's seven years later and it seems that almost everyone around Clark has either had powers at one point or is related to someone with them, you can't use that excuse anymore. Another problem is that, the longer the show's gone on, the more we've learned that Jor-El and the rest of the Kryptonians seem to have had dealings with Earth before Clark's arrival. The intention was probably to deepen the whole Krypton mythology, but all it really did was make Clark less special; suddenly, it wasn't luck that brought him to Earth, but his dad's plan, and by the way, he's not even the first (or, with Kara's arrival, the last) Kryptonian to come to the planet. When your protagonist is surrounded by characters who seem more interesting, likable and powerful than he is, why are we supposed to care that much about him? Alternatively, you could just ignore all of this and have Clark and Lois go undercover as a couple to investigate some random crazy dude. I'm sure that'll work as well.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter