I dropped out of Smallville around the time they introduced Tess Mercer. The show became all Fanwank, all the time — basically a runway shoot for obscure comic characters who don't merit a live-action production on their own. The problem lies in the shift from "Clark Kent before he was Superman" to "Young Superman" — contrary to what fans tell you, those are not the same. I didn't sign on to watch the JLA as tweens. That's not to say its all bad. The acting stayed consistently good, as did the budget. Michael Rosenbaum is the best portrayal of Lex to date, Clark faces some genuine challenges to his moral compass. The vision of sleek modern day Metropolis was also exciting and gave hope the Superman franchise could modernize itself for a young audience, with its kitschy 70s aspects toned down. Emil is the most likable addition to the cast, though technically he's yet another walking shout-out — he's the preview of nerdy Clark Kent, which only serves to illustrate how our designated Clark Kent is a black hole of banality. Also, Emil is the one character whose dialogue isn't entirely composed of puns ("A WONDERful WOMAN who's going to throw you for a LOOP."). Too bad he doesn't show up until Season Eight. Get comfortable. In the fourth year, the popular Lex segments were getting really dark, and ratings slumped a bit. CW ordered a writer overall, and eventually they realized that the more shout outs they made to the DCU, the less people care about the plot. Clark has now battled — and killed (consistency is nice!) — every villain in his rogues gallery. Even Silver Banshee. Note also how the entire supporting cast is romantically tied to two or more characters at all times. It's a shipper's paradise over here. Practically none of these relationships last beyond a season, making it impossible to feel invested, especially since the Cartwright Curse is always in effect. There really isn't much to this show. It's rote and lifeless, and seemingly keeps afloat on the goodwill of poor, oft-abused DC fans who are already used to having crap like Countdown force-fed to them. Don't support the abuse.
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