Monday, July 28, 2008

This was a great idea.... four or five years ago.

According to Newsarama, Geoff Johns is going to be writing an episode of the 8th season of "Smallville" that will introduce the Legion of Super Heroes to the show. The episode will (naturally, in keeping with the show's one-word episode title format) be titled "Legion".

The big question is: What took them so damn long to come up with this? I mean, in a show that was based on chronicling Clark Kent's teen years, would it have killed them to guest-star some characters who were actually associated with Clark's teen years?

Look at the DC characters our young Clark has already run into over the course of this show, many of whom he didn't meet in the comics until he was Superman.

Perry White. The Flash. Aquaman (aka "A.C"). Brainiac. General Zod. A lame Mxyzptlk. Martian Manhunter. Black Canary. Cyborg(!). We've had a Lois Lane who has already been a season regular for years. A Jimmy Olsen (now the same age as or older than Clark?) who is already a regular. And now a Green Arrow who is about to become one.

We've had a Supergirl who can already fly while her older cousin Clark still can't.

But we've had no Mon-El story. And, until this upcoming season, we've had no Legion. Let me reiterate: Clark has interacted with Black Canary and Cyborg but not Mon-El or the Legion.

The thing is, bringing in the Legion now may be too little, too late.

Why? Let me put it to you this way: Remember how I kept listing what "we" have had regarding the show? Well, that may not be entirely accurate. You see, I haven't been a regular "Smallville" viewer for a season or two.

The main reason? "The Office" and "30 Rock" are on at the same time, and I'm too cheap to get Tivo.

But that's not the whole reason. Quite frankly, the quality of the show has gone downhill over the past few years.

I remember when I first started watching the show. It was far from perfect, but it had potential and improved over time where it had gotten entertaining. Then-newcomer Tom Welling was a little stiff as Clark, but he was counterbalanced by young talents like Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor and vets like Annette O'Toole and John Glover, as well as a surprisingly good John Schneider. (If you had told me back in the early 80's that the actor who played Bo Duke would provide a strong acting presence that would be sorely missed after he left a show, I would have laughed my ass off. But that's what really happened after his Pa Kent passed on in "Smallville".) And while Lionel Luthor and Chloe Sullivan were not originally part of Superman canon, Glover and Alison Mack made their characters popular with their performances.

But the show was not without flaws. Plots became increasingly Lana-centric, which took time away from the Clark-Lex story and the evolving Superman mythos. Clark was rather whiny at times, but I attributed that to growing pains involved with his destiny. Over a period of time, the "Lana-centric aspect came to dominate the show to the point where viewers were nicknaming the show "Lanaville". Also, some characters were being introduced too early in Superman history (Flash, Lois, Perry).

But those were OK initially, because I came to regard the show as an "Ultimate Superman", in the same way that "Ultimate Spider-Man" differed from mainstream Spidey but still retained the same basic elements. However, as the series went on, it became more of an Elseworlds or a "What If". Namely, "What if Clark Kent grew up to become a super whiny moron instead of becoming Superman?" The biggest problem? The show overstayed its welcome. It really should have only lasted 4 or 5 years. Clark not flying at 16 is one thing, but still not flying at 22 (with the exception of one possessed incident)? Something's wrong. It's like watching a baseball player who was a flawed-but-full-of-potential rookie grow over time to...never come close to reaching his potential.

This is the "Smallville" into which the Legion will be introduced.

It's too bad they didn't introduce the Legion back in Season 3 or 4. Back then, I had an interesting idea for an initial Legion story. It was inspired by "The Zeppo", an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". In this episode, Buffy and her crew were all preparing to fight a powerful world-threatening supernatural menace. All, that is, except Xander, who was sidelined and relegated to donut orders for his own safety. The twist was that the majority of the focus was not on Buffy's epic fight (we never got to see the world-threatening monster), but rather on the sidelined Xander, who ended up saving Sunnydale High (as well as Buffy & crew) from being blown up by a gang of beer-drinking terrorist zombies, all unbeknownst to Buffy, the "Scooby Gang", or, well, anyone.

(The Justice League Unlimited cartoon later used a similar plot in "The Greatest Story Never Told" featuring Booster Gold.)

I imagined Clark going against an average Freak of the Week, with Chloe's help, while the original Legionnaires would be going undercover at Smallville High on a different mission. At some point, Clark's mission and the Legion's would intersect. The twist would be that, while Clark would meet the Legionnaires as their undercover selves, he would have no idea of their true identities, powers, or purpose. There would be a follow-up episode, of course, where Clark would learn this information.

Ah, what could have been.

Still, there's some hope. After all, the Legion episode would be written by Geoff Johns, who has recently written some of my favorite comics (Action Comics, Booster Gold, Green Lantern, and now Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge). If anyone can produce a gem from the dirt, he can.


At 2:25 AM , Blogger Ami Angelwings said...

They should have done this SO LONG AGO :\

And srsly, the show has gone SO DOWNHILL, b/c they've been SO AFRAID of changing nething and stick religiously to the "no tights, no flights" rule. And he's 22, when is he going to school and becoming a journalist? Oh wait, Smallville, ppl become journalists at the largest newspaper in the world with only highschool paper experience and no training all the time!


We're also getting Doomsday in the next season too D:

If they use the Legion Flight Ring to get around Clark's inability to fly and still be able to claim to stick to their "no tights no flights" rule, it would all have been worth it tho :D


And I hope the episode doesn't get bogged down into more "destiny" crap and Clark whining about not wanting to be a superhero while the Legion is like telling him his DESTINY to be one... EVERY EPISODE IS BECOMING LIKE THAT, whether it's Green Arrow or Jor-El or somebody telling him D:

Jimmy Olson having seniority at the planet over Perry and Clark makes me laugh and cry at the same time ;-;

Also no Lex next season :(

At 2:45 PM , Blogger notintheface said...

Hey, I've got high school newspaper experience (albeit 20+ years ago) and no journalistic training. Can I work at the Planet?

Too bad about no Lex. Rosenbaum was always one of the show's bright spots, whether his Lex was good or bad. Even when Lex was involved with Lana, which is saying something.

And the stubborn adherence of the "no flights, no tights" rule to the extent of twisting the Superman mythos into a goddamned pretzel is a big reason I'm no longer a viewer.

It would have been cool if they'd renamed the show after Season 5 or so and had him travel from town to town ala Bill Bixby in "The Incredible Hulk".


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