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NEW HE Podcast! Episode 80: HERES’S THE LINK

This is indeed Smallville‘s final season which means that soon I will be released from my decade long blood oath and again walk the Earth as a free man. There are either 6 or 1000 episodes left before the end of the season. It’s hard to tell. Time really has no meaning at this point. Somewhere around season 6 I remember saying to myself, “I have wasted over 100 hours of my life on this show. I can either cut myself loose from it now and consider that time lost forever, or I can see this bastard factory through to the end and hope for some kind of payoff. How much steam could it possibly have left in it? One more season at best. Certainly not FOUR.”

Oh, well. I am resigned to my fate. I’m sure it will get an 11th hour 11th season pickup. At that point I will probably just eat a big bucket of wet cement and wait for my internal organs to fossilize.

COMMENTERS: Is anyone out there still suffering with me or am I totally alone? Rest assured that your answer won’t change how miserable I feel about the fact that I’m still watching Smallville. Also, and I think we’ve talked about this before, but what show do you regret holding out to the very end with? What shows are you glad you were able to abandon before they got too terrible?

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  1. I'm also watching Smallville to the bitter end. I didn't stop watching in season 6 when the Lex/Lana plot was making my skin crawl and Chloe's personality and motivations shifted depending on who she was talking to, I didn't stop watching in season 7 when that Veritas plot came out of nowhere and they finished running Lana Lang into the ground as a sympathetic character, I didn't stop watching either time Tori Spelling showed up to set a new bar for terrible acting. Each time I might have considered quitting they'd bring in another JLA member, or the Legion, or the Justice Society, and now Booster Gold's showing up in a few episodes. There's no way out. And at least the last two seasons were better than 6&7.

    I don't know why I subjected myself to the entire "Villains" arc from Heroes. That was just madness. On the other hand, I wish I hadn't stopped watching West Wing in 5th season, so there that is.

    • Wow. You really said absolutely everything I was thinking. The whole thing about "changing personality depending on who they were talking to" used to drive me COMPLETELY INSANE (until i just mentally checked out). I always assumed it was just a really disjointed writers room with a shitty showrunner or EP not keeping everyone on the same page. Often times it seemed like they were just firing all of the writers after each ep and starting over with a new batch who had never seen a single episode or heard of any of the characters. People were CONSTANTLY betraying previously established character traits to the point of absurdity.

      Speaking of the current seasons being better than 6 and 7… it's hard to agree because "better" is a positive connotation but you are correct. At least these episodes seem to be based in the general superman mythos. Where as those (the whole Lana is a witch arche?) could have taken place on any show from One Tree Hill to Days of our lives.

      I feel like if I was able to delete entire scenes, episodes, and seasons from the 210 + episode run of Smallville I would be able to cobble together a cohesive story line. It's a 10 season bag of crap in a 5 season bucket.

      • Oh and in the last episode, the "tribute" to The Hangover, they did an entire scene out of Save By The Bell: Wedding In Vegas. My head a-splode.

        • This last episode was just so weird tonally. If it really was Chloe's last episode, I'll be pissed (though I'm hoping that she's in the finale and they just haven't announced it). I actually did like the scene with her and Clark talking in the barn, and the happy ending with Oliver, but how the hell were those scenes in the same episode as everything else that happened?

          Continuity has always been a major problem on this show. There's never really been any actual character growth, just characters personalities swinging madly around to shoehorn in whatever needs to happen in a specific scene.

          On the plus side, they brought back Lionel. I always like his scenes because I can pretend that I'm watching a show that doesn't suck.

          • " just characters personalities swinging madly"

            The most aggravating part about that is the feeling of "finally, this character has learned a lesson and we can move on" getting yanked away every other episode. Clark has resolved to stop being a pussy and finally get his super-shit together at least 100 times. But only now in the last handful of episodes are we seeing it. It makes sense for a teen to be so wishywashy but this guy is in his mid twenties.

            • Yeah, I wish I had a count on how many times someone had to give a moping Clark the "You're special. You're a hero. You give people hope" speech. I'm pretty sure that during the episode where Lionel and Martha both show up Clark got that from Chloe, Martha and Lois. Three separate scenes of three different characters all giving him the same speech they've told him a million times before. In one episode. Maddening.

              • The thing that killed it for me was the sorority vampire episode with the lead vampire being called Buffy, Leading to Carrie Fisher uttering the immortal line about not wanting to hear about slaying Buffy the vampire.
                What could have, in better hands, have been quite knowing and funny, just came across as a poor attempt to attract fans from a better show.
                At least in the dvd commentary they had the grace to admit that the ep should have been called "What the hell were we thinking???"

  2. I stopped watching Glee during the mid-season break (ie. at about episode 12 or whatever). I figured that, becoming as popular as it was and being on FOX, it was about to be transformed into a money factory. I've seen enough since to confirm that suspicion, but thankfully not enough to ruin my memories.

    • I think that was when I gave up. I've caught a few recent ones and realized there wasn't a single major character that I wouldn't be happy to see get eaten by rabid wolves, so I decided it was time to stop.

      • No, wait! That sounds like an awesome episode! Maybe the glee clubbers could somehow cover Frank Zappa's Weasels Ripped my Flesh. Now THAT I would watch.

  3. I didn't have access to it for the first few seasons and the few episodes I caught seemed incoherent. So, fortunately I haven't given this show a thought in years.

    • I should also point out that the show is really a springboard for actors' careers. Many of the recurring characters have gone on to star in their own shows. Weird.

  4. When was the big plane crash in Heroes where they had to steal pants from a redneck's clothesline, during the "Maya Weeps A Lot And That's About It" arc? That was the last episode I remember watching, and then suddenly it was two years later and I realized I hadn't seen any more episodes since then and didn't really care any more.

    I just now stopped watching Transformers: Prime, so I'm out before it gets cancelled. I put up with Miko being the most annoying hyoo-mon female on television (you're off the hook for now, Rachel Ray) and I put up with Bumblebee being a frakkin' Keyop for no good reason, but how in the hell do you have a Wheeljack who isn't a mad scientist? It's his thing. Mad science is what he does— that's why he looked like Jamie Hyneman in Transformers Animated, for cryin' out loud! Prime hasn't exactly Ruined Transformers Forever, but it damn sure has jumped the Sharkticon.

    I sorta regret hanging with Basquash to the end. It was awesome to look at, but the last episode was just so lame.

    • Im still watching Prime. I dont think it's terrible. Its just boring. I will never understand the whole "Autobots just lay low and hang out and wait for the Decepticons to do something bad" philosophy. They are out there. They are evil. Go get them! DO SOMETHING.

      • I hear nothing but rave reviews for Supernatural but I still have never seen an ep. I think Im averse to Jensen Ackles after his incredibly confusing turn on Smallville.

  5. I gave up sometime around season 6 or 7. Not sure which. I out lasted all my friends by 2-3 seasons (Lana the witch threw most of them) I kept trying to come back, there seemed to be some good stuff being put in, the JLA stuff gave me hope but turned into nothing, the drama just took over too much of the show. I did watch the first Michael Shanks as hawkman being a fan of stargate, but wow that was a terrible idea.

  6. I stopped watching Smallville around season 8, and it was like quitting smoking. Every time I heard about a new episode, I would feel that reflex to watch again and I'd have to scream at myself not to. It didn't help that occasionally they'd have Geoff Johns write an episode – JLA or LSH is irresistible, but I think I have it licked. When he said that Booster Gold was coming on the show, I felt a tiny twinge, but easily crushed it.

    As a fan of comics in general, Superman in particular, I feel like I am betraying something. But I know I'm not. Right?

    • " I feel like I am betraying something. But I know I'm not. Right?"

      Well, I feel like I'm betraying all common sense and my own mental health by watching it, so I'm going to say you're making the right choice.

      • Is it any worse that I refuse to watch it until the season comes out on DVD? Is that like mainlining evil poo right into my brain?

  7. I was watching “SV” during my student years. Yeah, it was good escapism. I accepted early on that the writers are doing their own thing with the Superman mythos, so I had no problem with the liberties they took. I loved the cliches (I lost count on how many times someone got hit on the head) and some action scenes were inspired.

    I stopped watching after Season 6: The Lexana plot, the 33.1 experiments, Phantoms, it all became too much. I resumed watching after I learned that this was the final season, something like a “goodbye” to the time when I was a student. I endured most of Season 7, remembering all loose ends and characters. Season 8 was better, but Seasons 9 & 10 are fairly enjoyable. I watch the episodes during the early hours of the day, when everyone is asleep. No need to subdue my family to it, my girlfriend tried to watch and she gave up after 5 minutes, telling me “this makes no sense. And where the hell areDean Cain and Teri Hatcher?”

  8. In the last 4-5 seasons I feel Smallville becoming more like "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman"…yuck!

    Alas, I can't stop watching it even if I'm suffering through each episode. Maybe I still have some hope that it will be better.

    The truth is, when friends ask me what shows I watch, I'm genuinely ashamed of mentioning Smallville!

  9. I quit at Season 7, i don't remember what it was but something pushed me over the edge, which admittedly is hard to believe given I made it that far.

    But I just got pulled back in midway through 8 (which is just airing here in Australia). I saw it on a Sunday night and nothing else was on and i couldn't stop watching. I don't know why but I feel compelled to see this out to the bitter end, when you pick a loser you see it through.

  10. Not me. I saw the intro song and immeditely knew what Smallville was going to be about.

    Not that I haven’t eaten my share of shit that I’ve watched until the last episode.

    And of course, you have Lost. A gourmet meal that ended in an enormous plate of shit. THAT was a helliva of lost time, where the producers where saying “oh, sure, we’re going somewhere, don’t worry!”. The bastards.

  11. I suffered through until about the middle of the 8th dvr was backlogged so i skimmed through most of the remainig episodes and watched the season finale. after that when season 9 started back up and the episodes started to pile up again and i finally said screw it and deleted them and stopped the series from recording. ive been smallville free ever since

    • wait i did watch teh first episode of season 9, then the only other episode i watced was the season finale. I flled in the blanks looking up episode summarys on wikipedia. i just deleted all the crap in between. after the season 9 finale i decided i had enough of this nonsense, and removed it from my dvr record list.

  12. I wish I had quit Heroes after the first season. I just kept praying it would get better… I never quite finished season four, and I keep thinking I should go back and wrap that up, but it just feels too depressing.

  13. I watched Heroes until the bitter end. I watch Glee. I checked out on Buffy about mid way through season 6, before the ep "Once More, With Feeling". I checked out on The Cloak after one show. That shite is awful. Same with No Ordinary Family. I love Julie Benz from her early Buffy days, but that show makes me wish I had eaten lead paint chips as a kid.

  14. I'm in the exact same boat as you, Joel – I've invested a decade in watching Smallville, and I'm not stopping before it's over now. I have to admit, this last season has been more coherent than it has been in seven years – it's nearly Buffy-esque, with an overarching plot that makes more sense than renegade clone Kandorians.

  15. I was late to the party here, and in fact I think I remember giving you Joshesque shit about the show back in 2001ish. But around 2002 I got hooked, probably around the time Reeve guest starred. I haven't even tried to hide the track marks since then. I love the show, even though I despise it and wish to see it burn in blackest hell.

    It's probably the music that keeps me. Even though that's terrible, too. It's certainly not the damn suit.

    I know this is unoriginal, but Kal Emo better start fucking flying like a pro before this is over.

    • What kills me is he KNOWS he can fly, yet he never even tries. I get that they want his first real flight to be a sort of "rebirth" from Blur to Superman, but when a dude knows he can fly and doesnt spend at least a weekend trying to get it right I just cant abide that particular dude any more.

  16. I too have admittedly not missed a single episode of Smallville. I think I was mostly just enjoying the periodic character introductions and nods to loose canon (or cannon if referring to Chloe and/or various writers) whilst awaiting Lex's hopefully-triumphant-in-it's-badassery return. Also there is the anticipation of something POSSIBLY happening SOMETIME EVER that finally sets Clark up to become Superman. For real.
    And revisits from Aqua Man. No, no. That's a lie.

    Show I most regret sticking with till the end: Lost.
    Show I am glad I abandoned: Heroes
    Show I am most angry at for not getting good until it was completely futile: Dollhouse

  17. I too lost track for a couple of seasons. Wizard mag would tell me about some special arcs coming up (and, to be true, it was the LSH one that brought me back) and kept watching — the JSA one, in particular I loved. The JLA is sorely underused, as if it is just Clark and Ollie. The Deathstroke thing I've found a bit silly (but how cool is it that Michael Hogan is wearing an eyepatch again?), but am genuinely interested to see where the Darkseid arc ends up.
    This season, in my opinion, is pretty good, as we inch closer to it being what Superman should be.

    • At least you dont have to worry about Wizard Mag getting you to watch anything you dont want to any more. [since they're dead]

  18. I've seen about…three episodes of Smallville and will be watching one more, because I have been assured by the internet that there will be a Booster Gold/Blue Beetle episode (HELL YES). I did enjoy one of the episodes I saw, which featured the Flash(es), but all else I've heard of it was fairly meh.

  19. My own personal shit-indulgence is actually HijinksEnsue.

    It's sort of like looking at a traffic accident. Grown men talking incessantly about tv shows. I have trouble picturing a mind this empty.

    But I was *not* prepared for this installment: people complaining that they are watching shit, as if something were forcing them to.

    You just blew my mind.

    • As if this is the only place in the entire universe where people come together to discuss their likes and dislikes in a forum that isn't populated by textspeak. You don't like us? DON'T READ IT.

      There is such a thing as product loyalty. We had to suffer through Smallville 90210 to get to better things, because we had hope that the series WOULD get better. Lo and behold, it did. So don't knock us for seeing beyond the flavor of the month…maybe you should go back to watching "The Cape."

    • Actually, most of my conversations would go this way if the people who got me hooked on TV shows shared the loyalty I feel for them. My friends frequently bail on fandoms after getting me involved, leaving me to suffer alone. That's why I love HijinksEnsue so much, Joel just really *gets* things like that.

      After you've invested so much time into caring about the characters and plotlines, you can't just walk away. Or at least, many can't. If you were to believe, it's a psychological feature of the human brain. So I will sit through crap just to find out what happens with Clark and Lana and if he ever freaking gets to fly. Now just because talking about geek cultural entertainment is a hugely vast area of interest for many of us doesn't mean we are empty headed. I also knit, instruct skiing, repair computers, read extensively, and am pursuing a teaching credential in Music, but why would I want to talk about those things all the time? No, geek culture is just more fun.

      PS: Loyalty aside, I did bail on Smallville after season 8 because it just became too much. I may do a "final seasons" marathon now that it's ending, though. Also, I downloaded all the soundtracks for the seasons I watched. I found them to be quite amazing.

  20. I watched most of the first 6 seasons of Smallville (Mostly because the guy playing Lex was brilliant and I lusted after Chloe to an unreasonable extent for a man of my age) but all the time I was thinking "Why am I watching this when I could be just be watching my old Buffy/Angel dvds?"
    At least we dodged the bullet (ahem) of the young Bruce Wayne series which was in the works before they went with Smallville instead.

  21. Prithee, fellow Whedonites, have mercy upon me: There are times I regret sticking with Dollhouse until the end. *brace for impending smackdown*

    The show I'm glad I got out of before it destroyed me: 24. I stopped watching after the president was killed off in the first season. He was my favorite part anyway.

    • Don't feel too bad about that. I am a die-hard Joss freak, and even I didn't like Dollhouse much. It just suffered the same fate as all his other stuff — they had to push too fast to the finish line.

  22. I remember figuring out that if they jumped straight from Smallville to a series of films with the same cast, they'd have a JLA movie… four years ago. Brandon who-th?

  23. Oh poor bastard. I often tell my husband that the only abusive relationship I had been is Smallville, the show disappoints me, beats me, insults me, cheats on me and then bring flowers with a brilliant episode once in a while or Chloe being amazing or Michael Rosenbaum being amazing and I take it back like an idiot.

    Funny thing I jumped out with Henry James Olsen and now I'm back because something I was expecting happened and now I need to pay attention to see if they deliver at the last minute like I had been expecting for 8 years now. If not I'm going to need help so much help.

    Anyone saw the Smallville is like crack comparison post on the net. Totally spot on.

  24. This show's first season was my senior year of high school. And was the source of much eyeball love for an 18 year old comic book geek girl. That being said I stumble onto an episode every once in a blue moon, and the discussion after wards with my sister always begins the same way… Me: So wait, Tess is alive??

  25. I too, am holding on until the bitter end. I bravely watched the "Will Clark tell Lana the truth about himself…and what's with the fucking Indian caves, anyway?" plots. I held on through the "Lana is possessed by a French witch" crap. I sat in agony through the "Lana married Lex and his having his fake baby" arc. I tried hard not to hang myself during the "Lana divorced Lex and is trying to kill him and now she's poisonous to Clark" shitstorm.

    Then the clouds parted…Doomsday was coming! Then Doomsday became flaccid and impotent at the last minute. At least the Legion episode helped ease the pain. But worry not, dear SV fans- Zod was coming! And the JSA! And Checkmate! And Amanda Waller! And it actually didn't suck!

    So now here I am, 10 years later, watching and waiting for Darkseid. I've already been subjected to SV's versions of Deathstroke, Rick Flagg, the Suicide Squad, Desaad, Glorious Godfrey, Granny Goodness and Amos Fortune. I still have to look forward to Booster Gold, Blue Beetle and Superboy (whoops! did I blow the surprise?)

    In conclusion, all that's left is Lois and Clark getting married, Clark putting on the suit, joining up with the JLA , and beating the living shit out of Darkseid. When that happens, I will have a geek-gasm so hard, every fertile woman within 10 miles will become pregnant with my child.

  26. For better or worse, I never willingly saw an episode of Smallville.

    I do, however, want to commend you on your use of continuity for Joel’s SV viewing habits. I wonder wonder many others caught it.

  27. Never watched the show regularly…primarily watched in hopes of a shirtless Tom Welling.

    Did catch some Aqua Man/Green Arrow episodes. Yep, there was shirtlessness.

  28. As soon as I saw that Clark's best friend was the Black Guy, I stopped watching. I'm Black, and I hate that shit. Waiting in a restaurant for an order, they had it on the tv there, and I heard 'Darkseid'. I told the counter guy I had to go outside for a smoke. I DON'T SMOKE.

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