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October 28 2005

Smallville goes Buffy (no really). Apparently last night's Smallville was either a homage to or piss take of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Well Steven DeKnight wrote the episode and James Marsters starred in it. So did it seem like old times?

Normally we would discuss Smallville over at Whedonesque.org but given the content of last night's episode, it seems too good a chance to pass up.

I had thought the episode sounded like a terrible idea when I initially heard about it, and I only managed to suffer through one scene, when Chloe mentioned that the name of the girl heading the vampire sorority or whatever it was, was named "Buffy Saunders."

I refuse to watch a Buffy homage from a bad TV show that has rudely ripped from it in the past...

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2005-10-28 12:28 ]
My thoughts exactly. I have always felt Smallville has been the perpetual underachiever, with great potential and occasionally good moments, but is consistantly disappointing. I appreciate that Buffy has had an influence on it, and subtle nods or hints would be okay, but something so cheesy just makes me shudder.
I thought last nights Smallville was great! The whole Spike being a terminator thing was awesome."Actually, it's my ship. WHOOSH." That was classic.
I don't think it was Spike in Smallville ;)

I'm okay with shout outs in shows. But 'Buffy Saunders' is a little bit OTT.. Heh.

I heard one of the unaired The Inside episodes has Danny talking about the "space western movie" he'd just been to see, which was great.
I don't watch "Smallville" normally, but as I was channel surfing during commercials on "Alias" I stopped on the WB because I saw vampires. Flipped back and forth for a while. Didn't get to see too much of James, but it was weird when Carrie Fisher said something about "slaying Buffy the vampire" at the end. Hope there'll be a commentary on this ep whenit comes out on DVD.
I thought it was a nice cheesy shoutout to the 'verse, not a rip off in any way. Joss didn't invent vampires anyway. At the first mention of the Buffy name Chloe said she changed the names to protect the vamped (vapid?) wasn't sure on what word she used.

Trying not to give any spoilers: Yes it was cheesy, but the vampire aspect was handled completely different from the ME verse and that's what made it work for me. To me, how it was handled, what they were, fit into the Superman universe. It also helped to further along the Fine/Clark relationship.

Fine pulling the "terminator" style stunt was actually pretty cool. It said alot about who/what he is in one brief moment. James' scenes were very good, especially the one between him and MR (the one that was on Yahoo this week).

My favorite regular character is Chloe, she's the best thing on there aside from Lex, and her oblique references to what Clark will one day become are what tells me the show doesn't take itself too seriously.

One thing I'm really beginning to like about Fine's character. He'll drop a piece of information on someone and they'll ask in amazement, "How did you figure that out?" He looks at them like they're a tad bit stupid and says something like, "I just used my brain, or I looked it up..." Like anybody could learn what he just shared, when we know there was a little more to it than that. It happened twice in this ep alone.

Lana as a vampire is the best thing that could have happened to that girl, but I gotta say I was SOOO incredibly disappointed by the ending. That's one dumb girl, or Clark pulled some mojo on her. TO me, the worst thing about the show is her naiveté.

[ edited by Grace on 2005-10-28 13:35 ]
I kinda liked this episode...but then it had more James so I was happy. The vamp stuff was a little cheesy, but hey...it was done in fun, and I think the whole episode was a Halloween shout out. I did however think that Buffy seemed more like Harmony, which truly cracked me up...heee....and to hear James tell Clark 'there are no such things as vampires', and then that little grin he gave after saying it...priceless.

Honestly....if they just concentrated on scenes with James, MR, TW and hopefully JG at some point I would be more than happy. I like James portrayal of Prof. Fine. He plays him with just a little arrogance, a little humility when needed, and a whole lot of mystery. The 'Terminiator ' effect was cool, it was a 'spike' after all.

I wonder if things go well for SV, do you think James will be offered another role on the show? He hinted at something about possibly coming back as another character, but wouldn't that be a bit odd? Or does Brainiac morph into another form with each new 'version' of himself? I'm just curious as to why he even said that.....
I had considered watching Smallville season 5 when it arrives on E4 next year, at least the ones featuring James anyway, purely out of loyalty to one of my favourite actors. From what i've read here though i doubt i will be doing so.

I've already given Smallville two chances to impress me, once when the show began and once at the start of season 4 when i heard that Lois Lane was being introduced, but on both occasions it failed to catch my interest. It doesn't sound to me like James will be enough to make it work any better, in my opinion.

Ah well, it's not like i'm short of other choices this next year. Not exactly a loss.
"I did however think that Buffy seemed more like Harmony, which truly cracked me up"

I almost wrote the same thing. I do believe that WAS Harmony reincarnated! :)

"It doesn't sound to me like James will be enough to make it work any better, in my opinion."

My personal opinion, for what it's worth, is that overall the show IS better than it was. It may come from a pretty shallow well, but then we're talking Superman here.
I think another part of my reluctance to give it another go is the fact that the show is almost certainly ending this season, regardless of how well it does or what impact James has on the quality of the series in general. Knowing that makes it seem all the more pointless trying to get attached to the characters again.

I guess i'll wait and see what night E4 air it on. If i'm not doing anything better than i may give it a look.
I have only watched (most of) this season of Smallville, am not crazy in love with the show, but thought last night's show was definitely an homage rather than a rip off. Was there a great big cheese factor? Well, yeah. From what I've seen that is an integral part of the show...and honestly when isn't there some measure of cheese when you are dealing with vampires?

Anyway, there is a certain kind of story that is all about the punchline or the pun at the end. The story teller goes all over the park and then ties it together with a silly, usually convoluted pun at the end. To some degree that one of the things last night's episode was doing. IMO one of the main reasons for the episode having vampire-like women, besides having James say that there is no such thing as vampires, was to have the words "Buffy the Vampire" and "slay" all come out of Carrie Fisher's mouth in the same sentence. I felt a real writer's love for the verse there folks...and I laughed.
I loved it. Chloe used the name Buffy Sanders in her writing because she was doing a story about some vampire like disease. (It was to protect the innocent and vapid) It was cute.

As for the other two thirds of the show, James is kicking all kinds of ass. I was skeptical but I love his character (and apparently from reading the SMALLVILLE boards at various sites, so does the SMALLVILLE fandom) He's really just incredible in this. (and so evil, as we found tonight in a big way)

ETA: I agree with newcj, hearing Carrie Fisher saying that was just priceless.

[ edited by spikeylover on 2005-10-28 14:19 ]
Funny thing - it felt like a bad rewrite of the Freshman & Living Conditions eps of Buffy (or really bad deja'vu in some scenes), homage I can enjoy but this was more a poor man's parody than anything else and not in a good way. The whole James as Robert Patrick's teminator 2 with the speech pattern of Arnold from terminator 1 (ok maybe not Arnold but the speech pattern he is using still sounds forced at times - I'm guessing it's on purpose) but the overall feel was kinda been there seen that before and better, but hey should save him from a having to do to many fight scenes and if he has any love scenes in future episodes should be interesting to see if he'll apply that particular ability elsewhere (I see Brainac fanfic coming soon). The whole kryptonite stake in the case - yeah couldn't see that coming. I could stand the Fine-Lex scenes barring the speech thing. I could say some more but my braincells have been depleated at least I hope it's only depleation. I will say if any corn fed Iowa boy show up, ... oh wait ... they already have that of the Kansas varity, ok then if the military boys show up this season on that show I may have to throw up.
I liked last nights Smalville. I think of it as a homage rather then a parody or "piss take". It shows what a large part Buffy has became a part of pop-culture.

James Masters was as cool as ever. I am not used to his American accent but he sounds "less Yank" here then on the Angel DVD comentaries and otehr interviews....or is it just me??

Being that it was written by Steven DeKnight and definetly had some allegories going on (something Smalville usually does not deal with) I would say it was one of teh better Smalville episodes I have seen.
Hey, that was purposeful camp, and great fun. Having that song from "The Hunger" was hilarious. It took itself even less seriously than it did last week (and that's saying something, because the Aquaman revivification scene was extremely slashy and funny), so I'm happy with it. When they go this far over the top, winking this much, they want you to know it's all a big silly farce.
I thought it was kind of making fun of the lameness of the Buffy movie (I never saw, only heard).
Vampire with a Gun - according to executive producer Al Gough in a TV Guide interview, this will not be the last season of Smallville.
honestly when isn't there some measure of cheese when you are dealing with vampires?


I'd say Buffy and Angel were two examples where they handled it rather well, matter of factly, not many big theatrics overall. At least Spike and Angel never pulled a BLana and hissed and posed. Blech.


Man, this show is sucking mud, and it's so hard to watch even for James. It's almost unbearable now that I know how good tv can be. And I'm a bit embarassed for the other actors, because boy if I thought they couldn't act before, putting them up against James just makes that difference a glaring one. It's kind of ironic that James is playing someone so superior to everyone else, and a bit of arrogance comes out. That's exactly how I'd feel if I were him on that set! Even the great Michael Rosenbaum seems to be running out of steam...or interest, or whatever. Just not what I expected from him.

BTW, it's an interesting voice James is pulling. Kind of like his own, but trying to be a bit more cultured in tone and tempo. But his 'R's are cracking me up(particularly at the end of words like 'Luthor' or 'failure'). I wonder if this voice is a 'put on' and it will change when other things are revealed, or if this is it for the duration of the character. I don't know, I think it works...has a bit of arrogance built in to it, some impatience. Perfect for a college professor! :~P

[ edited by Rogue Slayer on 2005-10-28 16:27 ]
Yah I think it was more of a shout-out homage than a rip-off. I very very much doubt that the writers were trying to achieve the feel of Buffy or anything. Steven S. Deknight scripted the show, and they probably just wanted to have fun with it.

It was meh, the Chloe stuff was quite great (up to this season's relatively high standard) but the vampire subplot was all kinds of cheese, amusing cheese, but cheese nonetheless. Still, it's tons better than Steven S.DeKnight's witch episode last season.The Buffy Saunders thing was amusing. Largely it could probably be seen as an attempt to have fun with the fans who were jumping aboard to watch James I guess.

As for James Marsters, he was very good, I loved his T-1000 scene.
I tried Smallville when it first aired but didn't love it. Then I watched the DVD for the whole first season and got sucked in and I've been a fan ever since. I loved the whole Buffy homage. It's obvious to me that the people that make Smallville are Buffy fans. Did anyone else find it a little strange to see James acting without an english accent?


And what makes Vampire With A Gun think that this is the last season? I'd say they have at least a couple more years....someone knows something I dont????
My personal opinion, for what it's worth, is that overall the show IS better than it was. It may come from a pretty shallow well, but then we're talking Superman here.


Uhhh... Superman isn't a shallow well, its had some really incredibly thoughtful single issue and arc stories in the comics over the years, not to mention minis and stand alone graphic novels ('Superman For All Seasons', 'Whats So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way', 'Red Son' etc.).
But as Batman said to Superman in Infinite Crisis #1 "Face it, Clark, you haven't inspired anyone ... since you were dead."

One of the best lines ever (and a pretty damming comment on the lack lustre plot arcs of the last 10 years).
I liked the device of Chloe telling the story for a piece in The Daily Planet (which is later rejected by editor-in-chief Carrie Fisher as being a 'tall tale about slaying Buffy the Vampire'. Yeah, I get it).

All the fangs and blood stuff may have been written as more campy and tongue in cheek, but every time Lana went all wild-eyed with the pointy teeth I just wanted those scenes to end. I don’t like the character and I’m not impressed by the actress at all and those scenes could have been a crazy romp but they felt more like cheesy, badly acted horror (and not in the good way) to me. I think the whole thing was supposed to be an homage to more than just Buffy. When Lana put on the sunglasses I immediately thought of “The Lost Boys”.

I hope in future episodes the ‘special guest star’ gets more than five minutes of screen time. I loved his pool cue scene with Lex. I love how he could say “Clark, there’s no such thing as vampires” without breaking character in any way or ‘winking’ at the audience. I loved how after he skewered the guard his face went cold and hard but not in the same way Spike’s would do it. Damn, he *is* good!
Simon -- too right, just saying its not as shallow a well as Smallville (imo) might make it seem. People seem to be afraid to do anything unique or interesting with the character, except for folks who come in for fill-in single issues or special projects. Understandable, I suppose, not wanting to mess with the icon, but at the same time, wouldn't you want to leave your mark on something so big? Anyway, not a regular reader, perhaps just the comics fan in me defending the medium a bit.
Well I'm hoping Grant Morrison will do something new with Superman, I read the preview for the All Star comic and was very impressed. Supes is one of the greatest comic book characters ever but it's as you say people don't want to take a chance with him.
Killinj, that would have to be the first thing i've heard suggesting that Smallville might continue. I'd definately give Al Gough the benefit of the doubt (he is in as good a position to know as anyone obviously) but pretty much all the reviews, interviews and such that i've read in recent months have suggested that Smallville was unlikely to return for season 6.

Guess we will have to wait and see.
I thought it was all fun and I thought James was great. He really doesn't have that much material and yet he manages to make it incredibly layered and interesting. My brain cells felt quite safe in my head - totally unthreatened (well perhaps by the commercials).
I personally loved everything about the episode except the vampire stuff. The Fine material was fantastic, and the Chloe/Daily Planet stuff was slightly cheesy but also very good. The vampire stuff was just filler, IMO, although ironically it was the A-plot!

For those wondering if this is the last season, as far as the show says now, no it is not. It was in danger last season, but apparently, it's been kicking ass ratingswise this year. It is currently The WB's #2 most watched show, after Seventh Heaven, and last week's Aquaman episode gave the network its highest-ever Thursday night ratings in its history. I think it's pretty safe to say Smallville won't be going anywhere in the near future. And I'm glad. I'd all but given up on it last season. But this year, the plot has been set into high gear, the mythology is at the forefront, and actually focusing on how Clark becomes Superman finally seems to be a priority, after the stuck-in-second-gear place the show was in for the last two years. No, it still isn't perfect. And, yes, they clearly do still have crappy episodes. But overall, the show is doing incredibly well this season. Out of the first five episodes, there's only been one stinker, and even that one had a fantastic B-plot.
I thought the episode was hilarious! Another sharp piece of writing from Steve DeKnight - who was consumately the most qualified writer on the show to write an episode around Buffy the vampire. Very clever references to Buffy lore with the "staking" in the heart, James as Fine saying there's no such thing as vampires (and there was this knowing glimmer in both his and Tom Welling's eyes), and Lana "dusting" Buffy. And we know Smallville is entering new territory when the implication was that Buffy had kissed Lana full on the mouth to transform her.

Also, I liked the episode's being from Chloe's POV, the reference to "1138" (along with Carrie Fisher - some George Lucas connections there), Clark saying he doesn't like costumes, and then later wearing a cape (though I have a sneaking suspicion that is an advertisement for the upcoming Zorro sequel), but says he hates masks.

I have to watch this episode again, because there were other things in there that I know tickled me. The humor in it was the best I've seen in this show.

And James was smoking! EVIL, but so Fine. Fire and ice and hot and cool and sharp objects (spike, anyone?) all tightly compacted into one great package.
I really got a kick out of last night's episode, and I found it to be funny in a campy sort of way.

James delivered, and he delivered well. As per usual. Loved his line to Clark about there being no such thing as Vampires.
"Uhhh... Superman isn't a shallow well, its had some really incredibly thoughtful single issue and arc stories in the comics over the years, not to mention minis and stand alone graphic novels ('Superman For All Seasons', 'Whats So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way', 'Red Son' etc.)."

I should probably rephrase. I guess what I'm saying is that coming from someone who does NOT really read comics with any regularity, is that my perception of comics tends to be that they're usually one dimensional and not with much depth. Keeping in mind that perception, truth and absolutes almost never stand together in the same room! :)

I'm really getting a kick out of the varied opinions folks have on this episode.

[ edited by Grace on 2005-10-28 17:23 ]
*passes Grace the entire run of Sandman, along with Watchmen* ;) Sidenote for Sandman fans -- annotated Sandman archive at MIT, though it oddly does not include The Tempest.
Thanks zeitgeist, but I probably have those and more in my garage, where my other half stashes his rather large comic collection. I just never really got into comics. I tend to get distracted by the art and stare at the graphics and forget to read the story! :)

[ edited by Grace on 2005-10-28 17:30 ]
Well in my opinion the whole purpose of writing this episode was to get to a point where James Marsters could deliver the line "There is no such thing as Vampires". It was a little heavy handed, the jokes lose some of their humor when they hit you over the head with them repeatedly, but still: silly fun. I loved Brainiac and Lex facing off over the pool table, and I really loved Carrie Fisher (I hope she shows up a lot, I'd keep watching).
is that my perception of comics tends to be that they're usually one dimensional and not with much depth.

I had the same perception until I started reading them. Some really are crappy and have no depth, but some are as deep and intelligent as the best 'standard' novels. It's like any other medium. There will be some crap and there will be some things that blow you out of the water.

BTW, zeitgeist, hubby talked up Watchmen so much to me that I just started reading it the other day!
"and I really loved Carrie Fisher (I hope she shows up a lot, I'd keep watching)."

I meant to add that too. Just one thing, has time not been too kind to her or was that part of the character? Maybe it was just the shock of having Princess Leia in my head for all eternity and then to realize those folks really have aged just like the rest of us.
Rogue Slayer -- good to hear, hope you dig it :) Totally right, there is all manner of seething mediocrity, but there are some really, truly great things to be read, too.
I meant to add that too. Just one thing, has time not been too kind to her or was that part of the character? Maybe it was just the shock of having Princess Leia in my head for all eternity and then to realize those folks really have aged just like the rest of us.

Is it wrong for me to think that time has been much kinder to me than to Carrie Fisher? Maybe I'm just thrilled that someone famous and in front of the camera who can afford to have all sorts of corrective work done and have personal trainers looks worse than I do (though I think that's always been the case with CF). She's a year older than me, but looks about 15 years older! I'd say I admire her for not succumbing to the knife to compete with younger actresses, yet her lips tell me she has resorted to some sort of artificial enhancement (or bad make-up).

Whatever the case, it was fun having her on the show along with the other George Lucas shout out. I watched the episode again, and it just confirmed for me that I loved it - cheese and all. (Then again, I like cheese, even though it is fattening.)

ETA: Superman comics have been all over the place in terms of quality. Some were just mediocre action fillers, whike others took on world issues. There was one time in either the late 80's or early 90's that I actually bought a Superman comic - well past the age of my giving up comics - because he was grappling with the dilemma of whether he should try to single-handedly end the nuclear arms race. He had nightmares about the world ending in a nuclear holocaust, and felt that he had to do something to prevent it. Pretty heavy stuff.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-10-28 18:33 ]
It's unlikely this would be the last season of Smallville, assuming it keeps it's current rating run. And that's not a Smallville fan talking - I don't like the show. From a business point of view, if it's doing well for the studio and network, they will order more episodes.
Well, I think it's pretty easy to guess Smallville will be renewed for next season...if you look at the ratings.

And on the netlets, new episodes of "Smallville" (households: 3.4/6, #11; adults 18-49: 2.6, #7) and "Everwood" on The WB (households: 3.0/5, #5; adults 18-49: 2.0, #T4) easily cruised by new episodes of "Everybody Hates Chris", "Love, Inc.", "Eve", and "Cuts" on UPN.

Compared to this week a year ago.

The WB (households: 1.6/3, #6; adults 18-49: 1.1, #6) with "Blue Collar TV", "Drew Carey's Green Screen", and a repeat of "Charmed". Finishing last among the networks.


From it's ratings for Smallville last season - from the same week.

Finally on the netlets, "America's Next Top Model" (households: 3.4/5, #12; adults 18-49: 2.2, #11) and "Kevin Hill" once again put UPN (households: 2.9/4, #5; adults 18-49: 2.0, #5) over The WB (households: 2.6/4, #6; adults 18-49: 1.9, #6), which served up a new "Smallville" (households: 3.2/5, #13; adults 18-49: 2.5, #10) and the Wednesday premiere of "Jack & Bobby".


The only thing that might kill 'Smallville' returning at this point is the contract negositations with the actors for a few more seasons.

[ edited by RavenU on 2005-10-28 19:15 ]
I get the impression that MR might not be up for another season. He looks worn out!
Ah, poor Michael Rosenberg! He and John Glover have been the only consistent shining lights in Smallville. Must give him a lot of credit for the scene with JM -- hoyay galore. I cannot believe they actually did a scene involving pool sticks and the funniest line of dialogue, Lex saying: "You expect me to swallow that?" Oh. My. God.
Yes, working on Angel really did rub off on Steven Deknight.

So to speak.
Ah, poor Michael Rosenberg! He and John Glover have been the only consistent shining lights in Smallville. Must give him a lot of credit for the scene with JM -- hoyay galore. I cannot believe they actually did a scene involving pool sticks and the funniest line of dialogue, Lex saying: "You expect me to swallow that?" Oh. My. God.

Oh wow, that reminded of the commentary from Fool For Love when (I think) Doug Petrie said that the girls were so excited that the boys were going to stick their poles in each other! (From the scene underground where Angelus almost stakes Spike)
"I think another part of my reluctance to give it another go is the fact that the show is almost certainly ending this season, regardless of how well it does or what impact James has on the quality of the series in general. Knowing that makes it seem all the more pointless trying to get attached to the characters again."

Nope. The ratings are doing the thursday time slot better than it ever has. The show is a shoe-in for a 6th season. Sadly we can't say the same for Alias.
In case anyone is wondering why there's no Firefly episode discussion tonight, it's cause Sci Fi have a Halloween theme night. Objects in Space will be on next week.
" I cannot believe they actually did a scene involving pool sticks and the funniest line of dialogue, Lex saying: "You expect me to swallow that?" Oh. My. God. "

LOL. There was quite a bit of masculine posturing on both sides! Aside from the slashy elements I also see a comparison to sharks (pool shark, ahem), they circled each other and the camera circled them as they tested out the waters and tried to see how far they could push each other, to see which one had the bigger set of...

[ edited by Grace on 2005-10-28 21:10 ]
I'm coming late to the party, but I just wanted to say that I hated the episode -- despite my general respect for SdeK's work. The acting of the sorority sisters was too camped up (and, yes, I thought the Buffy character was an over-the-top Harmony), while everyone else seemed to be playing everything straight. The only scenes that did work for me were the ones between MR and JM, and there is really a strong dynamic building there. But the rest, blah.

And, Rogue Slayer, I was so happy to read your post above where you mentioned JM's "r's". I kept thinking last night (as I had thought last week) that there were a few lines where it almost sounded as though he was talking through loose dentures, because of the "r's" and an occasional lisp with an "s". I thought maybe I was imagining it last week, so I'm happy to see someone else make the comment. He's still acting circles around everyone, and I don't say this as a criticism, but I wondered about the unusual inflections.
I loved the pool scene with Lex. I expected Fine to say "Ownage" as he walked out of the room. And another scene I liked was when Chloe is on the phone with Clark and in mid-sentence he whooshes over. Great stuff.
About the pronunciation of the hard "R's"... could it be because he's an android/computer thing that he pronounces them this way - like a phonetic pronunciation rather than a colloquial one. OR, James is resorting to theatre enunciation because it's been so long since he's pronounced his "R's" while acting. That, though, seems silly since when you meet him, or he's up on stage at conventions, his "R's" are noRmal.
It just reaffirmed the schizo nature of the show for me. Incredibly silly/campy events that will have little to no consequences -- Lana killed a girl, anyone notice? Disease or not, isn't that illegal? -- coupled with some of the best acting out there (Lex, Lionel, Fine).

And during the entire pool scene I couldn't help picturing slashers and shippers lunging for their keyboards...
Yes Chris, I had also noticed the lack of consequences on the show. Since Lana had a fairly fuzzy memory I would guess the other girls affected would too so they can get around it that way. But they really do not have death affect people in that town...tough crowd.

Since the episode I keep picturing a little gift box wrapped with a bow from SdK with Joss's name on it and inside a continuous loop of Princess Leia saying "slayed Buffy the Vampire" over and over. ;-)
Hehe, hubby and I were joking about 'how will Lana lose her memory of this'? I particularly enjoyed the lame, "just because" reason for why she lost her memory....
"At least Spike and Angel never pulled a BLana and hissed and posed. Blech."


The hissing and posing was horrendous. Yet so.very.funny.
anybody think they will release this episode seperately on DVD?
The episode was to honor Buffy by spoofing it. Considering who wrote the episode and who was in it (JM), I think it was sort of a wink wink nudge nudge to Buffy fans. At the same time, it was written in a way that non-Buffy fans could enjoy the episode as well as a Halloween episode.

Not to mention the uber bonus scene where JM shows Lex his pool cue is as big Lex's. I was almost expecting in an English accent...."SO SOD OFF MATE" from James on his way out. :)
" I cannot believe they actually did a scene involving pool sticks and the funniest line of dialogue, Lex saying: "You expect me to swallow that?" Oh. My. God. "

That narrowly beat out Aquaman's "Wet.... and ready" and Lex's "Did you tell them about my pitchfork" from last episode as my favorite oddly homoerotic line of the season.
Well for Smallville it was one of the better eps for me. As mentioned above in other posts, I also feel the Luthors have been the only interesting characters in the show, now Fine is added, and James does a great job. After 4 years I will now be making a little effort to remember to watch Smallville.

No one has mentioned this: when I watched James play the Fine part there were very strong moments for me where I saw Spike, even though James had a diferent accent, there were mannerisms that were so Spike-like I giggled.

Rabid - I am sorry I missed the Aquaman episode now that I know of the "Wet...and ready" line.
Now, see, I don't see Spike at all in Mr. Fine. He's not a sexually charged love sick character, he's a calculating one. There's a quirk of the eyebrow or very intense eye contact that is Spike-like, but that would also be a James thing.

I have to say, I really enjoy watching the Braniac. He's so EVIL to the maximum, and James is playing the hell out of him.
I love the homoerotic subtext of this show...it's so subversively funny. Watching Lex and Fine spar over who gets to manipulate Clark, makes me giggle. But, seriously, Smallville has gotten much better over the last two years. The addition of Erica Durance (Lois Lane) and now James Marsters has transformed this show from mediocre teen soap to something significantly more watchable. The focus towards the Superman mythology and the dramatic descent of Lex Luthor to the dark side has really done wonders for Smallville. I'm really enjoying the show despite the absolutely horrid Kristen Kreuk (just change the channel when she's on).
I also enjoyed the episode. I did have to keep telling myself, "it's supposed to be camp and silly, keep watching, honoring Buffy, not making fun of". I finally realized, yes, it is an homage. Especially now that I know SSD wrote the episode (I missed this in the credits) of course it is an homage! I recorded it, and I think I'll watch it again with hubby.

It's funny, at times I really think this show's about to take themselves seriously, but then I notice that they just can't (or if they try to, it normally just makes me roll my eyes). I enjoy it so much better when I don't try to understand the writer's choices in plot developement/mythology, and I just laugh at it and have fun. For example, the Aquaman episode. The acting, horrible (beside MR and JM of course). The guy that played Aquaman made me cringe he was so bad, but then he started called Clark "bro" and he was all surfer dude. That's funny.

This past episode reminded me so much of the witch episode from last year. The witch episode was so bad it was good. I strongly suggest watching it with commentary. Kristen, Allison, and Erica laugh at themselves the entire time, it's hilarious.
I've seen most of the first three seasons of Smallville. Remember the kinda poor early Buffy episodes, like Reptile Boy or Inca Mummy Girl? Smallville is basically stuck in those sort of episodes instead of taking the good ingredients they have and making something good out of them.

Even the first season of Buffy was fairly silly, in general, but the wit and energy with which the subject matter was treated, and the endearing performances from the cast made the characters likeable and believable despite the circumstances. And only very occasionally did you ever feel that the plots were similar.

With Smallville, almost every episode involves some sort of kyrptonite enhanced baddie or something similarly supernatural coming in, usually becoming close to Lana or Chloe, then trying to kill a few people. Clark shows up to stop it, his friend who he is trying to save is conveniently knocked out so they won't see him do it, he then stops them without ever having to kill them, and then it's the reset button and the episode ends as it starts, with Clark and Lana not together.

I mean seriously. I could take the kinda repetitive but admittedly entertaining superhero and villian elements of each episode, if there were a lot of interesting, believable characters to care for, but I really don't. Remember even in the first season of Buffy, the most uncomplicated of them all, with the basic Buffy/Xander/Willow/Angel love triangle, where we loved all of the characters and felt their pain, and were interested to see what happens.

Clark and Lana are two of the most boring, bland characters ever and I franly don't care about them. I do think the Luthors and Chloe are interesting, although Chloe is underused, and I hear that Lois is a good character, and of course I want to see what James is going to do for the show. So I'm hoping seasons four and five are better.
Razor, my opinion of Smallville is basically the same as yours, with the difference that I think that even the weakest of the early "Buffy" episodes FAR surpass the Smallville stuff. Inca Mummy Girl has a silly premise, but there are such wonderful character moments that I never minded. Also, Smallville episodes are a pale imitation because they keep the demon-of-the-week formula but lose the metaphors that gave that device resonance in Buffy. And in comparison to the kind of writing a Whedon fan is used to, the writing in Smallville is...painful. "Charmed" meets "Dawson's Creek" is where I'd say it's at.

Anyway, the episodes invariably end the same way, with Clark gasping and helpless from the Kryptonite, about to be killed, and then somehow saved in ways I can never remember afterwards. And the "villains" are always psychotic high school kids...there are a LOT of, shall we say, socially challenged kids in Smallville, apparently. It seems strange to me that so many people should be so irredeemably evil.

I've watched it this far (mid-season 4) for Lex and Chloe, but by now I feel like a sucker. The episodes are getting worse, even Lex is getting tedious, and Chloe is barely there. And Lois has been introduced, and the writers seem to have deliberately set out to make her annoying...with great success.
Me, I like Smallville. I enjoy the mythic story where individuals actually have some power to effect big events. That said, I wasn't a fan of this episode (I wrote more about it at Texo.ca). It seemed that they should have spent a little more time making sure that the story was solid - and a little less time trying to fit in every last homage and sly reference that they could. I got a distinct impression that Steve DeKnight might have been working out some Buffy/Lana slash fic he'd had bottled up for a couple years... and yet STILL it didn't work for me.

[ edited by writer on 2005-10-31 09:01 ]

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