Friday, October 15, 2010

SMALL Victories

Back in July I spent some time going over why, as a dyed-in-the-wool Superman fan, I've had such a love-hate relationship with Smallville over the years. As I said back then, while I appreciate the show's reinvention of the character's extensive mythology for the current generation, the amount of narrative ground they've covered coupled with the few narrative beats they can't cover has often left me thinking of it as less the adventures of the young Superman then as the misadventures of Clark Kent, dull-witted man-child.

Regardless, I'm the first to admit when I'm wrong, and I'm as shocked as anyone at how much I've been enjoying the current final season. There seems to be a renewed sense of purpose now that the end is very nearly in sight, with the many strands of story coming together reasonably well, and the intermingling of the extended DC Comics universe into the mix paying off in interesting and unexpected ways. Also, after a decade on deck, star Tom Welling has very effectively grown into the part, likely cementing him as the definitive Superman for an entire generation (despite his never suiting up as such -- yet).

Tonight marks Smallville's 200th installment, which is an airy peak for any series to hit, much less a comic book melodrama that should conceivably have died with its original network. The episode, "Homecoming," employs a Christmas Carol framework to look back at some of the show's milestones and offer (possibly) a peek at Clark's future in tights. While it'll probably be just as much of a tease as ever, I'm viewing it with more anticipation than I would have thought possible a year or even six months ago, so that has to count as some kind of victory. In the meantime, TV Guide has a countdown of eight essential Smallville factoids to keep in mind on the occasion of its hitting the double-centennial mark.

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