With the fall TV season approaching, I’ve been checking in on a few shows that I watch regularly for some status updates. And there’s a heck of a lot happening around one of my personal favourites, Smallville.
Cast changes are nothing new to the show. Pete Ross and both Kent parents have departed from the show, as have bit players like Lana’s high school boyfriend Whitney Fordman and the original town sheriff (whose name escapes me). But as the show enters its eighth (and likely final) season, there are massive changes on the horizon. Kara (aka Supergirl), Lex Luthor and Lana Lang will not be returning as regulars for the final season. Add in the fact that Lionel Luthor left the show during Season 7 and you have a seriously depleted cast. We are essentially left with Clark, Chloe, Lois and Jimmy Olsen as the only truly remaining core characters.
I won’t miss Supergirl; I don’t feel she added much depth to the show, and the actress didn’t seem to be able to do much with the character. And Lana’s character ran her course, she was due to leave. But losing Lex… you can’t have Yin without Yang. His departure will ultimately affect the show even more than the departure of developers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Which brings up another point, they had always insisted on “no tights, no flights” for Clark Kent. This may change now that they are off the show, which could be good or bad.
Season 8 will also feature some other interesting twists. Smallville featured a one-off “Justice League” created from a collection of super heroes introduced at various points in the show’s history; Green Arrow, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. Apparently, this Justice League (likely consisting of Arrow, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter) will become more formal, especially now that Green Arrow is a regular on the series. As a comic fan, I can honestly say this intrigues me. I love the idea of a live-action Justice League show… but I don’t know if I like it at the expense of the Smallville series I have watched regularly over the past seven years. It will be interesting to see how this affects the series.
Finally, there was another piece of news that I didn’t quite know how to react to; Doomsday is coming to Smallville. The very same Doomsday that killed Superman back in the early 1990s (in the comics). Ironically, Doomsday came about because the Lois & Clark series scuttled DC’s original plans to have the comic Superman and Lois get married. However, plans were changed when ABC wanted the on-screen version to get married first. So DC regrouped and ended up doing the Death of Superman storyline, which single-handedly reworked much of 1990s DC mythology (which I won’t go into here). Anyhow, this Doomsday character will apparently have an alter-ego who is an “easy-going paramedic”. This sounds a little like an evil version of the Incredible Hulk… which makes me cringe in anticipation of an on-screen Doomsday that might almost be as bad as the film version of Bane from Batman & Robin.
There are plenty of changes coming; Smallville might be barely recognizable compared to even the most recent season. Will I like it? I have no idea. Will I be entertained? I sincerely hope so. But more importantly… will I watch? Oh hell yeah.
The powers that be over at WB are putting their collective minds together according to the Hollywood Reporter
In the course of the past couple of weeks, Warner Bros. Pictures Group president Jeff Robinov and Warner Bros. Pictures president Kevin McCormick have been meeting with DC Comics executives as well some of DC’s top talents, like Jim Lee, to discuss a new direction for film adaptations.
There is no doubt in my mind that the WB suits are looking at what Marvel has been able to pull of this year: An organized attack to generate buzz by creating a Marvel movie universe. The hype and multiple movie possibilities are endless. It is a wise strategy and all it takes is a little bit of planning and a few teasers here and there. Marvel is pointing towards an Avengers movie in 2011 or so with all the characters being individual franchises themselves.
DC has simply not been aggressive at making movies out of their properties. I believe that the reason things are the way they are is because Marvel, even though they started much later, has had a much quicker and steep learning curve. Not to mention that they had to go their own way and branch out to be Marvel Studios to be able to have as much artistic freedom so that the end product is not a complete travesty that falls out of its real target market. Now Marvel Studios has a certain freedom that DC Comics doesn’t have. DC is a subsidiary of WB and we all know some suits that don’t care about the material are the ones that make the decisions and judge everything based on “the bottom line”. Lets hope this changes.
Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk were excellent movie adaptations. Marvel has finally been able to put together a reliable formula for a movie based on comic books and they wont be stopping any time soon. So while they are cashing in by planning and using what they have learned so far, DC had to look at this and say: “Shit, we have to go for it too”. Not all is bad in DC land though, they hold the biggest ace of them all: The Dark Knight. A movie that will more than likely redefine the way comic book movies are approached in terms of content.
What DC should do: Then Exactly what Marvel is doing. Create an identical production studio for DC comics and let someone with both Comics and Movie production experience run things. Get individual properties out of their core characters. Green Lantern, Wonder Woman(I can see this movie making a lot of cash), Flash need to get going quickly. However, they have follow Marvel’s formula as well: Recognizable talented lead and supporting actors/actresses, a talented director with a passion for the character, and the screenplay has to be somewhat loyal to source material to the point that the characters essence is there. No one wants to really see a batman in the 70s with a black Alfred (are you listening Aronofsky?). Once that is done, reboot superman and bring batman in to have a massive Justice League Cross over.
All I know is that it is fun seeing all of these movies being made about the stuff I read about so much as a kid. There are a few that are bound to suck here and there but, hey, the more the merrier.