Warner Bros. // 2008 // 1012 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 3rd, 2009
Metropolis wants to know: who is the Red-Blue Blur?
Season Eight of the C-Dub's flagship hourlong flies...um, runs real fast onto Blu-ray, bringing with it a meteor's worth of plot holes, inconsistencies, cornball moments, and big fun.
Following the explosive aftermath of Season Seven and the destruction of the Fortress of Solitude, Clark Kent (Tom Welling) has gone missing. The Green Arrow eventually tracks him down in Russia, but perhaps if Clark knew what awaited him this season he would have stayed put. See, there's something dark, deadly, and dastardly afoot in Metropolis and he goes by the name of Doomsday. Currently inhabiting the body of a hapless paramedic (Sam Witwer), the evil Kyptonian bad-ass has been set to Earth with one purpose: kill Kal-El.
Meanwhile, Jimmy and Chloe wed, Lois (Erica Durance) slowly begins to realize the depth of her feelings for Clark, superheroes from the future make repeated appearances, Brainiac returns with a vengeance, Lana (Kristin Kreuk) pops in for a five-episode arc, and a new woman named Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) assumes Lex Luthor's vacated seat of power -- her intentions: unknown.
Twenty-two episodes, four Blu-ray discs, and more superhero angst than you can shake a stick of black Kryptonite at.
Full disclosure: I am a Smalville noob. I scoped the pilot episode when it aired way back when, but lost interest and never revisited the show. I like Superman and all, but wasn't feeling the Dawson's Creek-with-laser-vision vibe, so I checked out. Fast-forward seven years and...well, I'm interested. Season Eight is probably the perfect place for a viewer like me (i.e. impatient with endless teen melodrama and itching to get on with the Supes mythology) to check out the show. I can't speak for the preceding seasons, but this one felt like a Superman television series. It's not a flawless batch of episodes, but it held my attention and, at more than a few points, kept me transfixed.
What I Liked a Whole Lot
Lois and Clark
I got a real kick out of the Lois and Clark stuff. It could have easily gone too far schticky in either direction -- too brooding or too syrupy -- but I think the writers struck a good balance. Welling and Durance have chemistry. Plus, it helps that you know what lies ahead for the characters, as they're steadily building towards a galaxy-renowned romance.
Clark vs. Oliver
This Green Arrow guy is a nifty character and his nuanced view of justice juxtaposed with Clark's endless idealism represented the most interesting theme explored this season...and it pays off in the finale. Actually, the producers should have subtitled the season Always Listen to The Green Arrow, A-Holes!
What I Sort of Liked
The Duality of Doomsday
While there was certainly no new ground tread here in the man-holding-back-a-monstrous-killer-within setup, I got a kick out of the Davis Bloome/Doomsday character. Witwer did well in generating sympathy for his character, despite the...er, questionable antics he perpetrated throughout the season. Too bad the wheels came off in the end.
What I Found Lame
I'm not privy to the extent of the emotional baggage the Lana/Clark match-up had, but Holy Crap was this five-episode arc tedious! Just as the Lois and Clark stuff was getting good, she disappears and we're left with a staggering amount of heart-to-heart conversations, a ludicrous backstory about Lana's disappearance, an even more ludicrous endpoint involving a Kryptonite bomb, and a contrived plot twist designed to ensure that Lana stays away from Clark. Fine by me, actually. Nothing against Kristin Kreuk, but whenever Lana was onscreen with her endless pep talks or condescending lectures about the human race, I wanted to smother myself with a couch pillow. And since we know that relationship ain't happening, it all seemed utterly pointless. Seriously, I don't know how you guys did it for seven years.
Chloe's Decision-making Skills
I won't get into it for fear of spoilers, but why anyone would listen to what this girl has to say ever again is beyond me. At pretty much every step, she made the worst possible decision, particularly with regards to Doomsday. Someone might want to make sure she isn't on Zod's payroll.
Crap I Despised
The Final Fight
Keeping this brief, but wow was the big fight this entire season was building up to a total letdown. I mean, this is Dooms-fricking-day! That bout deserved better than a few minutes of screen time and some stock footage. A total cop-out and a crippling disappointment.
I don't want to the end on a negative, so I'll just reiterate that I did in fact find this season highly entertaining. Some episodes were clunkers and more than a couple of storylines depended on characters making idiotic decisions or convenient plot devices, but I had a good time with this -- and may have even been convinced to tune in for Season Nine.
Fans would be advised to pick up the Blu-ray set. The video quality (1.78:1) is simply outstanding. This is precisely what a high-definition television show should look like. Given the stylized, fantasy-rich world the show occupies, getting the HD should be a no-brainer. The colors are thick, beautiful, and omnipresent, bolstering the high-gloss resolution. The only downside is the boosted visual fidelity can make some of the more economic visual effects look especially chintzy. Audio comes courtesy of a standard-issued 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. Lossless-addicted audiophiles may be disappointed, but the it's active and does the trick.
Extras: Commentaries on select episodes, deleted scenes in high-def, plus featurettes on Allison Mack's first stab at directing an episode and the Doomsday creature design.
It was an uneven experience and the finale kind of sagged (save for a pretty cool cliffhanger), but I had a fine time with proto-Supes. The Blu-ray visual mojo looks killer.
Not Guilty. Up, up and -- oh never mind.
Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 1012 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site