I started watching Smallville in Season 5 a few years ago, when a friend gave it to me after I had nothing else to watch. The early monster of the week seasons never really appealed to me, and I thought season 5 was entertaining enough. By that point Superman had a lot of his powers, and everything had already been established and moved away from the high school drama.
I really liked the series as it progressed from then on. I thought the whole Veritas subplot was a bit stupid, but it worked well enough within the show. I especially liked Michael Rosenbaum’s portrayal of Lex Luthor and think it is possibly the best on screen portrayal so far.
After Season 8 however… the show went downhill in a big way. So very amazingly downhill to the point where I didn’t think it possible that anyone could defend the show as good. Yet, somehow, the show has been renewed for a 10th season and fans are defending the last few seasons as the best ever. Wow.
What follows is a list of the reasons Smallville started to suck, badly. The vast majority of these are post season 7, but one or two have plagued the series throughout.
- Chloe’s hacking speak. Where do the writers get this dialog? Quotes such as “All I am is a halfway decent hacker who took a wrong turn down the information superhighway”. No one talks like this. Ever. It is truly cringeworthy. Her crazy ability to hack into the FBI in 2 minutes is a bit much as well, but such an ability is hardly unique to Smallville.
- Jor-El’s near omnipotence. I have no problem with an AI with Jor-El’s personality and knowledge, indeed as advanced a civilization as Krypton seemed it’s perfectly fine. The problem is how could such an AI have such abilities? We have seen The Jor-EL AI stop and reverse time, predict the future, take away and transfer powers, reprogram people’s minds and read them…basically anything. Why would an AI have this much power and how? The other thing I wonder about is when humans get Kryptonian powers…do they become Kryptonian?
- The excessive slow motion. Bullet time can still be cool if it’s done correctly, but it seems every single fight on Smallville in the later seasons used it. Not just for a few points of the fight…but the whole fight. I guess its easier to fill an episode if it takes 20 seconds for each fist to swing in fight scenes.
- Clark still can’t fly. It’s been 10 years(well, he may have flew in the season 10 premiere) and the guy can’t fly. He is surrounded by people developing his powers without a problem…why is it taking so long? The main problem with this is not that he doesn’t fly on the show, but that they don’t even try to explain it.
- The glasses. Something that always kind of bugged me…why have Clark without glasses? If it was in school and he moved on and left everyone old behind..fine. I can’t see parents convince their superkid to wear glasses at a young age, but it also seems that when Superman is finally revealed, all it will take is someone from Smallville to recognize him.
- The hideous reuse of sets. It seems the only street anyone ever conglomerates on is that one street in Smallville that the Talon is on, which seems eerily similar to the streets of Metropolis. Can they really not afford to film on a street that looks like a street and not a set? It gets worse when characters always meet in the same places, like Clark’s barn. Why are characters who have never been to the barn before meeting in the barn to discuss things? How does that make sense?
- Dramatic staredowns. This is getting a bit much, but I guess the writers have to do something what with the pathetic lack of budget. All too often several times an episode characters will meet and stare and threaten each other while trying to be intimidating while finding out information. What takes five minutes should take 30 seconds. Annoying.
- Green Arrow’s training period. In the comics, Green Arrow was stuck on a desert island for years developing his ability to he could have food to live off. On Smallville it only took him two months. It’s kind of a big difference. I mean, could anyone be Green Arrow if they just took a semester archery course?
- Introducing Jimmy Olsen…not. Why introduce a character with the same name and iconic traits as a well known character, develop him and have him fall in love, only to reveal upon his death that he was not the character we thought he was…that his younger brother who happens to share his name is indeed that character. Idiotic, and actually worse than the Julia Robert’s twist in Oceans 12.
- Emo Blur. I actually liked the idea of the blur. I thought it was a well thought out predecessor to Superman. Still red and blue colors and a good work around the no flying rule. A nice transitional stage to Superman. Then came Emo Blur. Why in the hell would Clark start dressing in all black? In a neo-punk trenchcoat? It’s just so lame…
- The whole Doomsday plot. Doomsday was a pretty cool villain. A genetically engineered being designed to fight Superman, who reincarnates each time being impervious to what killed it previously. On Smallville Doomsday was portrayed as a creepy EMT who had trouble with his emotions and started stalking Chloe, leading up to the final battle of what was very clearly a guy in a cheap rubber suit. Aye.
- The cloned Kandorians. I watched all of season 9, but I didn’t really get this plot. They certainly were not stuck in a bottle. Let’s clone prominent Kryptonians and have them be a new challenge for Clark…except it wasn’t. There was just something about the whole are that seemed lazy and uninteresting, and none of it really seemed to make a lot of sense.
- We had Doomsday in season 8, the Kandorians in Season 9, and now it seems that Lex is back in Season 10. Hopefully only briefly, as I know the real big bad is meant to be Darkseid…but why bring him back at all? It was bad enough they let him go in the first place. Bring him him back with an obviously different actor and then never showing us his face and hoping we wouldn’t notice was worse. Now bringing back various clone versions of lex? Sigh. Besides, why would the clones be bald?
I guess the show stands for itself, but it will be interesting to see just how bad Season 10 is, and just how the fans defend it as amazing.