I’ve been watching Smallville since meteor freak episode one. And now that we’re halfway through its ninth season (a feat I’m still amazed at), I’d like to submit this open letter to the producers and writers of the show. Because this little hiatus gives everyone time to evaluate what the show is and where it’s going. There are rumblings that this could be the final season. If that’s the case, if this is the final season, then could we fix a few things and end on a high note? And who knows, maybe a few of these could secure a tenth season.
1.) Figure out the story. When Smallville first aired, it was advertised to be the story of how Clark Kent grew up to be Superman. We might not ever see the tights, we might not ever see him fly, but we would see him grow from a boy into a Superman. But somewhere along the way that story got muddled. Clark was racing around, saving so many people, it started to feel like an Elseworlds story, or for the non-comic book readers, as an alternate timeline — a different take on the same story. Because even now, nine seasons later, it’s hard to imagine this Clark Kent growing up to be the Superman we all know and love. Unless Clark initiates some kind of worldwide mind-wipe, how is anyone not going to recognize him when he finally does put on the red and blue suit? Idol (Episode 8 of Season 9) had Clark introduce his “need” for wearing glasses. Isn’t it a bit late for that? Is Lex not going to recognize Superman as Clark, his boyhood friend, when the two finally meet for the first time? Is Lois not going to be able to tell the difference?
I’m not, and I don’t think the rest of the viewing public is, against an alternate telling of the story. It could be fun to say, “this is one way it could play out or this is the Superman of this world.” Just decide and let us know. Because if this Clark is going to grow up to be the mild-mannered reporter who wears glasses to help hide his identity as Superman, you better start getting to those plot points and character developments quick — like, faster than a speeding bullet quick.
2.) More banter. Lois and Clark are comedy gold. They always have been. They can breathe life into the stalest of storylines (this goes for all the movies and comics as well, I’m not singling Smallville out). You have a hot young couple who we all know are destined to be together. It’s time to exploit the Han and Leia relationship. A lot of us (pre-Lois) wanted Clark and Chloe to hook up, largely due to their incredible chemistry, banter, and relationship. But now you have two people who just so naturally and wonderfully get under each other’s skin. And now that they both also love each other, dig down deep, pull out your inner Aaron Sorkin and let the witty banter fly!
3.) Less angst. Hands down, the best episode of this season has been Idol. When I first heard the Wonder Twins were set to appear, I groaned out loud. “There’s no way this will end well,” I said. I watched most of that episode with my mouth hanging open. It was so much fun! Lois was onto Clark, Clark was trying to hide his identity, the twins weren’t cheesy but in total awe of the Blur, in the same way they would be of Superman. The Blur showed up at the end to guide them. Fantastic. Four Stars. I applaud you. Now, not to get all Oliver Twist on you, but, “may I have some more?”
I appreciate Clark mourning Jimmy’s death and regretting his own actions of the past season, but Superman isn’t dark. I know the black suit isn’t permament, but it just feels so wrong. Clark needs to stop brooding. For someone who wants to be a symbol of hope, he sure mopes around a lot. He’s not growing up to become Batman — is he?
4.) Stronger characterization! The story seems to dictate how the characters behave, instead of the other way around. Most recently, in Pandora, Clark immediately assumes Chloe has kidnapped Lois from the hospital, despite Chloe’s nine years of loyalty. Who doesn’t Clark immediately suspect? Tess, the woman who is openly and actively working with Zod, the big bad Kryptonian recently responsible for Clark’s father’s death.
In All-Star Superman, Grant Morrison was able to sum up Superman’s character in one simple scene, with one simple sentence. A girl was contemplating suicide and Supes shows up before she jumps. He takes her in his arms and says, “You’re stronger than you think you are.” Call Superman a god. But what gives him his strength, and what sets him apart from all the other heroes, is that he believes in us.
Right now, Clark doesn’t know what to believe. He just has some ideas and a moral code rattling around in his head. Give him some beliefs. Let him see that humanity is worth fighting for. Let him see that we can be a great people if we wish to be. We only lack the light to show the way.
5.) Flights ‘n’ Tights. ‘Nuff said.
Actually, no. I support the decision not to put him in blue tights and a red cape. But please, please, please. If this show doesn’t end with at least one shot of a red and blue Superman flying over Metropolis (or Smallville), then this whole show will be for naught (on the subject, I also recommend ending the show in a montage, to Five For Fighting’s “It’s Not Easy.” I know it’s been used before, but it’s practically the theme for the show and would end the series so beautifully).
6.) Holy Super Cameo! Keep the superheroes coming. We don’t let them take over the show (like Oliver has nearly done a couple times), but we love seeing them. I’ve given up on a young Bruce Wayne showing up, but how about a multiple-episode Wonder Woman arc? Clark and her could team up and Lois . . . well, I’m sure Lois would just love her. A dark haired beauty who could keep up with The Blur? What would that be? A love quadrangle?
7.) Keep up the good work. Seriously. Sometimes the show is a bit of a guilty pleasure, but it’s always a pleasure. I look forward to seeing what comes next.