Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Bizarro Ending: The Season 6 Finale of "Smallville"

“A Phantom went down to Kansas; he was looking for DNA to steal.
He was in a bind, ‘cause he was way behind, and needed a Clark Kent meal.”

Anyway, Season 6 of “Smallville” is in the books. I frequently criticize the show. I often ask myself why I still watch. Nonetheless, I went out of my way to catch the season finale.

It took him 6 years, but Clark Kent finally (well, sort of) told Lana Lang the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He told her that he’s an alien, sent to Earth by his birth parents just before their home planet of Krypton exploded.

Of course, Clark, in a rare display of intelligence and sound judgment, left out the fact that his arrival also brought with it the kryptonite meteor shower that killed Lana’s parents. Honesty is the best policy . . . except when honesty means telling the woman you love that you were the unwitting cause not only of her parents’ death but also every kryptonite-related incident that’s caused her other significant trauma. Just an opinion, but I don't think there's any "right time" to reveal that sort of information.

For those of you keeping score this includes her being: stalked; kidnapped; frequently hospitalized; manipulated into marrying Lex Luthor; and being convinced that she’d suffered a miscarriage only to discover that she’d been tricked into thinking she was pregnant in the first place. So, no, we’re not talking about Clark’s telling her that he used his x-ray vision to sneak a peek at her in the girl’s locker room back when they were in high school. (Yes, Clark did that, too. Yikes.)

Lois Lane made further strides into becoming the intrepid reporter that many of us know and love. She took an active role in investigating and researching a story (and this one didn’t even involve a flying barn door). She also ended up getting in a little bit over her head, also arguably a Lois Lane trademark. Let me clarify that by “a little bit over her head”, I mean “brutally stabbed”. I guess that qualifies as two steps forward and one step back.

We finally learned what Chloe Sullivan’s kryptonite-induced power is. Her tears have the power to heal. Chloe found her cousin’s (Lois) body. She turned on the water works, a teardrop hit Lois, and both young women were enveloped in a bright light. The glow left Lois healed and Chloe seemingly comatose. It also left supporters of the Chlois theory wondering if this was foreshadowing, a “shout out”, or a deliberate act of cruelty on the part of the show’s creative team. I think it was a “shout out”, and nothing more.

About Chlois, it’s my opinion that it just ain’t gonna happen. The creative team has been pretty clear about it in interviews. They’ve said that the show’s iconic “Big Three” are Clark, Lex, and Lois. All three are misunderstood by those around them and unsure about their futures. They have also experienced interruptions in their education, and have had complex relationships with arguably tyrannical father figures. Writer Steven DeKnight stated that “Lois is from the myth of being very strong, classically pig-headed, and taking her father, Sam Lane, straight from the comic books. With Lex it was a little different because Lionel was created for the show. For Clark, problems with Jor-El . . .”

DeKnight went on to state that “Smallville’s” Lois Lane is “very much the classic, shoot from the hip, get-into-trouble Lois.” He said that the writers were deliberately setting up a contrast between her journalistic approach and that of Chloe.

Look, Chlois is an interesting notion, but I think it’s going to remain relegated to the ranks of fan fiction.

Lexana (the relationship between Lex Luthor and Lana Luthor [nee Lang]) had a pretty rough night. Methinks that ship has sailed (pun intended). Lana told Lex that she knew she was never pregnant. She told Lex that he was incapable of love, and that Clark meant more to her than Lex ever will. Finally, she revealed to Lex that she’d lied when she said she found bald men sexy. (Okay, I made that last one up.) Lex did not take this well, at all. He slapped Lana, who left the Luthor mansion only to (apparently) perish when her SUV explodes. And if you think Lana’s really dead, I’ve got some choice land on Krypton I’d just love to sell you.

Lex got pulled over by some state troopers and charged with the murder of Lana Luthor. Sigh. Billionaire evil geniuses aren't supposed to go out like this.

Oh, yeah, there was some non-soap opera stuff, as well. The last escapee from the Phantom Zone made an appearance. He’s a Kryptonian experiment gone wrong and needed a Kryptonian body to sustain him. (That means you, Clark) He had a brief fight with the Martian Manhunter (revealed as a former officer of Jor-El, the biological father that Clark often wishes wouldn't bother) and he literally punched right through the mean green martian machine.

It was revealed that Lionel Luthor has been functioning as an emissary for the late, great Jor-El (the biological father that Clark often wishes wouldn’t bother).

Anyway, the last Zoner ended up stealing Clark’s DNA. He was transformed into . . . Tom Welling dressed in black and with an evil grin on his face. Yawn. The Zoner fought Clark, revealed that green kryptonite actually makes him stronger, and knocked out Lionel Luthor. He also spouted one of the lamest tag lines ever after Clark asked him what he was. He responded “I’m you, only a little more bizarre.” Riiiight . . .

Finally, “Bizarro” demonstrated just how far behind the curve Clark truly is. Although he’d only had Clark’s DNA for a couple of minutes, Bizarro ended the episode and the season by flying away from the aptly named Reeves Dam. By all appearances and accounts, Clark Kent, who's always had his DNA, remains earth-bound.

I’m not so much looking forward to Season 7 as I am resigned to the fact that I’ll probably be a faithful viewer of this show right up until the bitter end. Yikes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When Ex-Presidents Attack

In case you missed it, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter blasted current President George W. Bush on Saturday, May 19, 2007.

During a telephone interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Mr. Carter said that the Bush administration "has been the worst in history" in terms of international relations. Lots of folks inside and outside the Beltway were surprised. They weren't surprised that he has this viewpoint (Mr. Carter has been consistently opposed to the war in Iraq and other elements of the current administration's foreign policy), but rather that he breached one of the unwritten rules of presidential etiquette by coming right out and saying it.

I know that great athletes have historically made some pretty disparaging remarks about succeeding generations. In 1959, Mr. Carter's fellow Georgian, baseball great Ty Cobb was asked how he would fare against the current crop of pitchers. Cobb had retired from the game in 1928 with a lifetime batting average of .366. He responded that he thought he'd hit only .300. When asked why, Cobb responded "You've got to remember, I'm 73." I got the sense while watching an interview with Wilt Chamberlain during the 1997 NBA All-Star Game that Wilt the Stilt still felt that he was capable of a 100 point night if someone could just find him a jersey and a pair of shorts.

Ex-presidents are apparently held to a higher standard.

I can see the reasons for this. These guys belong to an incredibly elite club. Only 43 men have held the office. Of those 43, only 4 remain among the living. We all know that these guys do not march in ideological lock-step. In addition, we're aware that there are all sorts of personal rivalries at work. The Carter-Mondale ticket was defeated by a ticket that included President George H.W. Bush. Bush 41 was defeated by Bill Clinton. Clinton's veep, Al Gore, was in turn defeated by Bush 43.

Although we usually have to read between the lines or learn the information third-hand, it's not as if former presidents have never sniped at current ones. Teddy Roosevelt was not shy about making derogatory remarks about Presidents Taft and Wilson. Of course, TR didn't use phrases like "worst in history" he just called Taft a "fathead". Then again, TR didn't try to "clarify" his remarks either. I wonder what TR would have called that sort of backpedaling.

Mr. Carter appeared Monday on "Today on NBC" to try to add some context to his comments. He denied that he was talking personally about President Bush. He further stated that his remarks were "careless or misinterpreted."

I was a little bit disappointed by this semi-retraction. I found his initial honesty refreshing, and not just because I think his statements were accurate. No, I like the notion of a former president adopting the role of the curmudgeonly retired superstar, not hesitating to say that the current crop of players couldn't carry his jockstrap in a suitcase. I think that a feud between Bush 41 and Bill Clinton would be a whole lot more interesting than Rosie O'Donnell vs. Donald Trump.

Monday, May 21, 2007

K-Ville Part Deux

As promised, your favorite bayou state blogger has the latest news about "K-Ville".

On May 17, Fox announced its 2007-08 fall schedule. The cop drama, "K-Ville", set and shot in New Orleans is a part of the fall lineup. Fox also revealed that "K-Ville" might actually premiere in late August. If that happens, local production could begin as early as mid-June. It's slated to air Mondays at 9 p.m. EST (just after "Prison Break").

I, of course, want to see Tawny Cypress back in prime time as soon as possible. I'm not sure if this show's going to last, though. In fact, I'm pretty concerned.
There has been very little local buzz about "K-Ville". Other than a few people I've told about it, I don't know anyone who knows what the heck "K-Ville" is. And trust me, I know quite a few tv junkies.

It's also slated to air Mondays at 9 p.m. EST, just after "Prison Break". First of all, this means I might accidentally catch the last few moments of "Prison Break". Shudder. Second, "K-Ville" airs at the same time as both "Heroes" and "Monday Night Football". I'm already used to either recording "Heroes" for later viewing or watching it on I'm not sure if I can juggle another Monday night drama. I'm sorry Tawny, but love has its limits.

Finally, I've got to admit that the show just doesn't sound all that interesting. A writing staff has yet to be hired. Apparently, writer-producer Jonathan Lisco is unaware of the fact that I'm available.


That gross oversight aside, Mr. Lisco has stated that "K-Ville" is "basically a cop show about two unlikely cops teamed together. Highly procedural, highly episodic." What this leaves is a standard cop drama whose hook is that it's set in New Orleans. Keep in mind, though, that Lisco has already said that he wants to avoid being overly depressing or falling into cliches about the corruption of the NOPD. I hope I'm wrong, but that sounds like a pretty boring hour of television.

So, I'm still holding out hope for CSI: New Orleans . . . starring Tawny Cypress