Smallville may not be the best show on TV, but for a host of its fans, it is one of the most fun and addictive.
Over the course of the past decade there have been few shows that I have consistently enjoyed more than Smallville. As a student of television, I watch a large number of shows, including most of those that are considered the best in the medium. Objectively I have never ranked Smallville among the dozen or so best shows on TV, but I nonetheless retain an affection for this show that transcends its aesthetic achievements. What is more, I sometimes find myself looking forward to the next episode of Smallville more than the next episode of more acclaimed shows like Breaking Bad or Big Love.
Certainly there is little on Smallville to justify ranking it among the elite shows on TV. The writing is inconsistent and occasionally downright awful, though it must also be conceded that there are times when it is unexpectedly and delightfully memorable. The acting is not going to win many awards. While Tom Welling—given his uncanny resemblance to anyone’s expectations of what Clark Kent should look like—is absolutely perfect for the lead role, he will never be nominated for an Emmy or Golden Globe. While the revolving cast (only Welling and Alison Mack, who plays Chloe, remain from Season One) is adequate to the task at hand, the show is not going to win any awards for ensemble acting.
There has been a lot of hype about the 100th episode of Supernatural, with various websites and magazines giving away spoilers and gossiping about just how big this episode was going to be. Even though I either knew or guessed a lot about what was going to happen, I was still impressed with how well all of it was done.
The episode mundanely opened with two guys complaining about their jobs in a bar, but one of these guys is no ordinary barfly, it’s Zachariah. Just as the human realizes that there is something different about his newfound friend, the bar is consumed with a loud humming, shaking, and a blindingly bright light. This is the result of a powerful angel speaking to Zachariah, who teleports him “back in the game”.
Meanwhile, Dean is packing his meager possessions along with a farewell letter into a box addressed to Bobby. Sam arrives, realizing that Dean wants to kill himself, and tries to convince him that “running away” is wrong and to keep faith, because “Bobby will figure something out.” Moments later, Castiel appears and teleports everybody to Bobby’s place. While Dean argues with everyone, Castiel finds himself teleported to a decimated forest. After fending off two violent angels with martial arts and their own angel-exorcising knives, Castiel notices some ground moving nearby and pulls a person out of the dirt.
It’s the annual crap shoot known as pilot season in Hollywood again. Here are a few concepts that caught my eye.
Hollywood producers, studio execs and network suits do a little mating dance every spring where they make writers, directors and actors shoot pilot episodes of potential shows. Based on these one-offs, where the creative types pour everything they’ve got into setting up a premise, it is decided what viewers will be offered on network TV in the fall.
One problem. No one in Hollywood has any clue whether a great pilot will translate into a long-lived and rewarding series. Development season is a bit like Christmas for them, except that they can’t tell if they got a present or a lump of coal in their stocking.
So, normally, I don’t pay a lot of attention to pilots. Why get excited about a premise that may never make it onto the schedule, right? But this year feels a little different. Not because the pilots sound better, but because a number of my favorite shows are ending. 24, Lost and Ugly Betty are all hurtling toward series finales. FlashForward seems to be a dead show walking. Scrubs fizzled out without much fanfare (though I suppose it could be back). So I’m starting to wonder what I’ll be watching in the fall (other than the last few episodes of Mad Men, Weeds and Entourage).
Tim Urban has become a legitimate contender by redefining the competition. This year, American Idol might not be about the best singer; it might be about who makes for a pop idol, and since when has that been about awesome singing?
Nine finalists competed again this week after the dramatic turn of events last week in which the judges used their one get-out-of-jail card to snatch Big Mike Lynche from the jaws of elimination. Simon proved that he never gets tired of the fake-out—even taking the other judges for a ride—when announcing the unanimous decision, at which point Mike assumed a gigantic Buddha pose and Ellen did the Lindy Hop. It means that this week, we’ll cut two singers to stay on schedge, and after a lackluster round of Elvis covers, perhaps it’s a shame we can’t wipe out twice as many. Adam Lambert met the kids in Vegas to mentor them, and it’s no secret that Glambo has a little E in him, so he was the natural choice to take care of business this week.
The other story is the ongoing evolution of Tim Urban, who has become a legitimate contender by redefining the competition. This year, American Idol might not be about the greatest singer; it might be about who makes for a pop idol. Tim isn’t a singer of great skill. And neither was Shaun Cassidy or Leif Garrett or Britney Spears. Since when is awesome vocal ability a requirement for teen idolatry? Tim, by virtue of his Ringo haircut and loyal-puppy demeanor, has won over voters who have moved singing down to third or fourth place on the list of support criteria. What’s hilarious is that Vote For The Worst is claiming “victory” every week that Tim survives, which is getting to be like “saving” Crystal every week. If VFTW really wanted to prove that they’re making any difference in results, they’d put their support behind Aaron or Andrew—otherwise they’re no longer voting for the worst. Here’s what we found out Tuesday.
This week’s episode of Parenthood opened at the parent/child yoga class that Crosby was attending with his son. While he ogled the woman in front of him, reminding me of why I never do yoga in public, Jabbar befriended her son and the two quickly planned a play date. There was no mention of Kate in the whole episode, as Crosby drooled over this rich divorcee until she actually made a play for him. In an astounding show of bad parenting, the two left their kids alone with a seemingly dense pool boy. Crosby had enough sense to note that was a mistake, however, angering the yoga mom. Later on, Jasmine chastised him for using her son as “chick bait” and revoked his babysitting privileges.
He wasn’t the only Braverman that couldn’t catch a break. Adam kept trying to make quality time with his family, but Max’s tight schedule with Gabby prevented it. Then he had to impress two obnoxious clients from work at a “hip restaurant” (a Mexican-themed bar surrounded by red Christmas lights), when all he really wanted to do was spend some time alone with his wife. It didn’t much help matters much that he saw Gabby at this same bar, drinking a large quantity of alcohol. Not to mention, Kristina called him to bring home some cornflakes, because she accidentally bought the kind that comes with strawberries, which Max thinks looks like toads. (My guess is that they got “Special K: Red Berries”?) All of this led to a hung over Adam shouting at home that he has a schedule instead of a life and that he feels “like a household appliance”. Kristina just calmly told him to “take a break”, which he did at the end of the episode, by surfing. Ironically, my mom noted that he looked like a big toad then.
When Kristina wasn’t consoling Adam, she obsessed over helping Haddie with her career day assignment, following Julia at work in the law firm. Unfortunately, Haddie’s raving review of Julia’s glamorous yet meaningful work depressed Kristina, who felt that her accomplishments were ignored. Adam noticed this and took Haddie to a local park, which was only there because of Kristina’s efforts. After Haddie compared her to Erin Brockovich, she played personal assistant by bringing her mother a cup of coffee home.
Haddie’s career day assignment also got Julia thinking, as she remembered why she wanted to be a lawyer and her promise to give back. When she told Joel her plans to work in legal aid, however, he laughed them off as a good-intentioned pipe-dream.
As Mr.Cyr and Sarah started their romance, Amber crushed on her teacher by repeatedly listening to a SAT word prep playlist that he downloaded onto her i-pod. After Mark (Mr. Cyr) held her hand, sent her flowers, and kissed her a lot, Sarah giddily told all of her siblings about her new relationship. Adam realized that Amber was infatuated with Mark, so he broke the news to Sarah. Though Sarah doubted and criticized her brother, she recognized that Amber needed to know what was going on. Amber’s tearful reaction to that news painfully led Sarah to break up with Mark. But while that was happening, Amber blew off her SAT test to run away with Damien, her boyfriend from Fresno.
Finally, next week’s preview says that we’ll see Zeke make a fool of himself at Jabbar’s birthday party and that Sarah catches up to her daughter and Damien.