As a television addict that prides herself on watching only quality shows, I think it’s time to admit that not everything I watch is up to the high standard that I hold most shows to.
This became quite apparent after watching what I believe was an hour of the worst television I have ever sat through. Guesses on the show anyone? Nope, not reality TV. Wrong again, not ‘The Secret Life of an American Teenager.” This painful excuse for television was the 188th episode of ‘Smallville.”
There is a reason most TV shows only last about seven seasons at the most. Somewhere around the 100th episode, or fifth season, a show is considered a success. If a show is lucky enough to reach a seventh season, it can be recognized as a long-lasting hit.
After that point it’s all a matter of whether or not the writers have more stories to tell. Some shows, like ‘Friends” and ‘The Simpsons,” have that ability (although some argue otherwise). Most of the time, however, a show reaches a point where its success outlives the amount of good stories its writers have the ability to tell.
Somewhere in the train wreck that was the ‘Smallville” episode ‘Persuasion,” episode 14 of season nine, I realized that the show had definitely reached that point.
I can deal with the fact that the show is still called ‘Smallville,” even though it really doesn’t have anything to do with Smallville anymore. I’ve put up with the meteor-infected mishaps that cause problems in nearly every single episode. I can even tolerate the fact that Clark still can’t fly, barely.
So where did it all go wrong? ‘Smallville” lost its charm when the writers started recycling old storylines. It went wrong when Clark’s dad was killed off and Lana wasn’t.
There may be no precise moment where ‘Smallville” started failing to live up to its potential, but this most likely started when the entire premise was thrown out the window.
‘Smallville” started as a series that wanted to feed into the unexplored territory of Superman in the high school era of his life. How would he discover his powers? How would a young Superman get through the torment of surviving high school as an alien (quite literally)?
That’s what made the show so enjoyable throughout its first four years. It had a relatable premise with a creative twist, not to mention lots of eye candy provided by star Tom Welling.
But by now, even Superman’s bright blue eyes and swoon-inducing abs couldn’t distract me from the faults of the show.
On Friday evening’s episode, as Lois was possessed by meteor-infected fairy dust (yes, fairy dust), Clark worked to bring down evil time-traveling Krypton aliens in a completely unrelated story line. I struggled to bring myself to watch the whole episode there’s no way to sugar coat how bad the episode was. It was just blatantly poor storytelling.
Honestly, if I took a shot every time a character said a clich line, or whenever the various characters went to the hospital, I would be seriously wasted by the end of the hour. Or dead.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of any good show is the way you grow up with the characters and get to see them as they develop and turn into people that you really care about.
‘Smallville” has taken characters that I loved and turned them into something else. I don’t hate any of the characters now I just miss the old versions of them.
I miss the wall-of-weird Chloe who was driven and strong. I miss the Lois we first met the one who mirrored the independent and relentless character from the comics. I miss Clark when he had an excuse not to fly because he was still learning his own strength.
I even liked the Clark from high school who hadn’t discovered his own strength, because at least that excused him from reaching his full potential. Now what is stopping him?
According to the recent stories, all he needs to do is fall in love with Lois to become the hero that he should be. But guess what? That finally happened and he still can’t fly.
So why do I still bother watching? Besides the one or two episodes a season that are shockingly awesome (this season it was the two hour ‘Absolute Justice” event), I don’t really know. All I can say is that after eight years of watching ‘Smallville” I just want to finish it and have closure.
If ‘Smallville” somehow gets renewed yet again for a 10th season, I may have to re-evaluate my decision. But until then, I’ll keep watching just to see Superman put on a cape and take off to the sky.
‘Smallville” airs at 8 p.m. on Fridays on the CW.
Rosenberg is a member of the class of 2012.