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Blast From the Past – SUMMER OF SMALLVILLE
Season 1 Ends Sucking

4

Sep

Posted by Steve

It’s been literally three years since I started this blog and this particular feature. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that I thought Season 7 was going to be the last.  Now, as I look forward to the tenth (and confirmed ) final season of Smallville with as much anticipation as I’ve looked forward to the release of Star Wars films I feel like the best way I can honor the show is to finish what I originally set out to do.  Work my way through the entire series with my thoughts on each episode.  If you haven’t read the Summer of Smallville entries to this point, I encourage you to go back and check out one of the first unfinished things I ever did for this little experiment I call Geek Out Online.  They’re easy to find.  Just click Smallville in the Categories column and go to older entries….you’ll see them.  For now though, let’s talk about just how much the ending of the first season sucked.

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Smallville Season 7 Episode 10 – “Persona”

7

Feb

Posted by Steve

Ugh.  I hate being sick.  It doesn’t happen very often, but it did this past weekend and into this week.  I have felt like doing absolutely nothing.   I’ve missed work and was barely able to get through recording the latest episode of The Skynext Podcast with Derek from Starkville’s House of El.

Then, as I was going over some stuff about tonight’s new episode of Smallville, I realized that, in the middle of playing catch up at work and trying to get real life things done, I forgot to post a review of last week’s episode “Persona.”  So here we go.

 I hate to be repetitive when it comes to my reactions to Smallville episodes, but HOLY MONKEY SPIT WHAT AN EPISODE!!!

Roughly six weeks after we found out that Clark was basically being held captive in the Fortress by Jor-El and BIZARRO had taken over his identity and life, we finally get some closure that only serves to open up yet more proverbial cans of the proverbial worms for our rising hero.  Not only that, but Julian revealed himself to Lionel only to be shot and die in Lionel’s arms…at LEX’S COMMAND!!!!  Lana found out that she had been shacked up with Bizarro Clark…there’s no way she’s gonna be ok after this.   Bizarro sought out Brainiac to get help with undoing his weakness to sunlight.  Brainiac turned him onto a Kryptonian named Dax Ur who had been hidden on Earth for over 100 years.   To find him though, Bizarro needed the SOS shield that Kara found in the time capsule back in the third episode of the season.  Well, of course Bizarro didn’t know anything about the shield, and in trying to track it down he makes two critical mistakes.  One, he asks Chloe, who immediately suspects something’s up, and two he goes to the Fortress to look for it.   This alerts Jor-El who frees Clark to clean up the town.  Clark goes to Lionel (Brainiac in disguise) and learns about Dax Ur.  In a cool moment, Chloe reveals that she took the shield and hid it when Clark started acting wierd.  He goes to Dax Ur, gets blue kryptonite, and unwittingly lets on to Brainiac where Dax Ur is.  In the end, Lana destroys Bizarro, Clark and Lana continue in what is now an even uneasier relationship, and Brainiac returns himself to full power by killing Dax Ur and getting the information he needs to completely reconstitute himself. 

AND….if we’re ever going to get THE moment when Lex turns evil, we got it in Persona.

This was a great way to be able to come back to Smallville after the show being gone for a month and a half.  Everything was flawlessly executed.  

Marc McClure had less screen time than I would have liked, but in his few moments on screen I didn’t see Jimmy Olsen, Marty McFly’s older brother, or one of the Houston guys from Apollo 13.   I saw Dax Ur.  A man who is paying his own personal penence for creating what he hoped would be Krypton’s salvation and instead he realized it would be it’s doom.   He’s also a man who loves so passionately that he’s given up any abilities to have a family on Earth.  I liked him.  I hated that he had to die. 

However, his death will give us another appearance by a fully charged Brainiac played by James Marsters.  Marsters was just as captivating in Persona as he was in all of his season 5 appearances.   The idea of Brainiac manipulating Bizarro for his own purposes is a classic villain team up move. 

We got some new shots in the Fortress, a great showdown between Bizarro, Clark, and Lana, and Lex putting the hit out on his own cloned brother.   WONDERFUL.

I think that Lex having Julian killed is what really made this episode come together completely though.   As Julian is shot and the shooter sends the “Job Done” text to Lex.  We see Lex step outside and completely give in to and rage against his inner demons all at once.   The key is this now…if Lex will kill his own brother…who won’t he kill?

This was another solid 5 out whatever I give 5 of episode.  I don’t think the same will be able to be said for tonight’s offering, Siren, but we’ll see.   Overall, though, this season hasn’t disappointed.  In a year that should have been the stumbling block for the series things really got cranked up and rollling.  Too bad it’s ending early. 

Long Overdue – Smallville “Gemini” Review.

10

Jan

Posted by Steve

Several weeks ago, we were left hanging with Kara in Detroit, and the Fortress going nuts on Clark.   Cue Gemini.

OH… MY….LANTA!!!!

If “Blue” left us hanging, “Gemini” left us with our jaws on the floor.

From the get go, the tenseness of the story ramped up with Lois finding out that Chloe had a bomb on her person.  The catch is, the bomber, Adrian, is apparently in the building and watching Lois’ every move so she can’t warn Chloe. 

One of the more interesting points of the show was watching Lois try to be creative in letting Chloe know about the danger she’s in throughout.

Then, when Chloe finds herself on an elevator with Jimmy and realizes that she’s potentially gonna be blown to smithereens, we get one of the best Chloe lines in Smallville. “I have the worst secret Santa ever.”

The confrontation with Adrian, Julian, Lex, and Lois though gives us yet another look at Lex and just how depraved he is.  He has created clones of his brother with the intention of trying to fill the gap in his life that was left by the death of his little brother.  It’s an interesting take on Lex that there is so much he does just to be loved and accepted.  It’s twisted and sad at the same time.  Lex has truly become one of the most sympathetic villains in the DC Universe thanks to Smallville.  However, I have to believe that there will be a point before the end of the show (unless it ends with Season 7) where we learn to hate Lex because everything that we once saw good in him is gone.

The real let down of the episode came right off the top when Clark just showed up.  No explanation as to where he’s been, how he got out, or why he isn’t looking for Kara anymore.  He’s just accepted that she’s gone and now he wants to move forward with Lana by helping her expose Lex.  This takes us, along with Clark and Lana on a stroll through all of the information that Lana has on Lex. 

While on the stroll down expose-the-villain lane, Lana and Clark find themselves in the basement of the building that houses the Isis foundation.  Lana is trying to help a scientist who went into a catatonic state while working on Project: Scion.  The lady is lying there mumbling something.  Clark recognizes it as Kryptonian.  For the first time in any incarnation of Superman on film or radio, we HEAR Kryptonian spoken….very cool.

Clark realizes the woman is repeating something over and over again.  A mystery to be sure, so he goes with Lana to the Daily Planet to find Chloe to try to get some answers. 

Lois is in Grant’s office with Lex and Adrian.   The truth is coming out, and neither Grant nor Adrian is happy.   Lex, in a moment of desparation to get the situation back under his control, shoots Adrian and the remote to the bomb on Chloe’s person is switched on.  In the elevator, Chloe and Jimmy see the bomb start a countdown.  All is lost…or is it.

In the basement, Clark uses his super hearing to hone in on Chloe and hears the bomb ticking and she and Jimmy yelling for help.   Cue the Superman music as Clark superspeeds into the stairwell and launches himself to the level where Jimmy and Chloe’s elevator is stuck.  He runs through a party (complete with cork popping out of a bottle of champagne frozen in mid air) opens the door, gets the bomb, and disposes of it.  AWESOME.

In the end, Lex buys the Daily Planet, Chloe shows Jimmy her healing power and let’s Clark know that the woman’s jabbering was like a computer that is trying to reboot itself (Can you say Brainiac anyone…Clark did.), and Clark is still stuck in the Fortress of Solitude…WHAT?  Yes.

The big reveal came at the very end as “Clark” hugged Lana only to have his face hit some sunlight…IT’S BIZARRO!!!

Yes, Bizarro is back.  Surprising, considering that I wasn’t expecting to see him again with the season shortened.  

This opens up a world of possibilities with the next episode “Persona.” 

So, how did I feel about this episode.  Well, had it not been for the big reveal at the end, I would have been scratching my head about a few things and given this episode a 3.  As it stands though, I have to give the episode a 4.75 out of whatever I give 5 of.  Why?

Honestly, I would have liked to see Michael Cassidy get made up to play Adrian…it would have made a little more sense. 

Other than that, I really have no complaint.  There is just so much good about this episode, from hearing Kryptonian spoken to the Bizarro reveal.   Smallville did in this episode what it does best, it pulled the rug out from under us.  Just when we thought we had the answers. BOOM!!! We…know…nothing. 

Now, with the return of Brainiac on the horizon, Bizarro having taken over Clark’s life, and Lex owning the Daily Planet, it seems that things have been kicked up such a notch that our hero may never recover…if he can get out of that ice….or crystal…or whatever it is.

All in all this entire season has been great and it continued it’s chewy goodness with Gemini.  Now, bring on Persona….

By the way, the screen caps of Clark on Ice and the Bizarro hug are from svfan.com. Jc does a fantastic job every week of capturing the scenes in high def and posting them there. So, thanks to Jc for the hard work and for the screen caps. Make sure you go check his site out and don’t abuse the work he does.

Geek Out Loud Episode 8 – Chest Nuts Roasting.

2

Jan

Posted by Steve

Before I get into the show description, I apologize that this took so long to get out.  I have 50 different reasons why, but let’s be honest, I wouldn’t accept the excuses so neither should you, the listener have to.  There are some things said that are a little dated.  Like “Merry Christmas”, “Happy New Year”, “How about that light bulb, what a great invention.” etc.  But hopefully, you’ll enjoy it anyway. 

On this long overdue episode of the podcast, Derek from Starkville’s House of El joins me as we talk about everyone’s favorite villain, Heroes – “Villains,”  Infected villains, and the magnificent Dark Knight trailer.  This is a long one, so grab some left over egg nog, and left over turkey sandwiches and settle in for a long winter’s geek out session.

If you want to check out that Heroes teaser click here.

For that amazing Dark Knight trailer click here.

2007 – The Year In Geekdome (Part 2)

11

Dec

Posted by Steve

With 2006 behind us having given us a 14 disc Superman collector’s DVD set, Pirates of the Carribean 2, Superman Returns, and Peter Parker outing himself to the world, 2007 kind of started off with a whimper offering us THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN in a straight to DVD release.  Things were looking bleak. 

Fortunately, in the straight to DVD market, we weren’t left floundering about.   Marvel’s next release of the year came several months later in the form of DR. STRANGE.  

I was never a big fan of Dr. Strange in the comic books.  That is not to say that I didn’t like the character, just that I only knew him from guest appearances here and there.  In fact, the most exposure I ever had to Strange was in the short lived Defenders reboot in the late nineties.   In the title, he, The Silver Surfer, Namor, and the Hulk were bound by a curse to not be able to break up the team.   In the end, they brought out the darkest side of themselves and set up rule on the Earth to ultimately defeat the being that was behind the curse.  (I think that’s why they did that.)

Having little knowledge of the Dr. Strange mythology, I sat down to watch the DVD with little or no expectations and as the credits came up on my television screen, I was glad that I had picked up the DVD.   DR. STRANGE gave us a true hero’s journey complete with a great final confrontation and room for a sequel.  Things were looking up in the straight to DVD market and DC was getting ready to throw their hat into the ring with SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY.

You can read my complete review of SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY here.  Suffice to say that I really enjoyed it.   While Doomsday wasn’t really the centerpiece of the story, the movie itself was good.   It was a smart move on the part of the promotional team to use the words “inspired by” rather than “based on” the best selling graphic novel of all time.  For, while the Death and Return of Superman took place, very little else resembled the story from the comics.  However, it was a Superman movie, and it was good enough (to me) to watch more than once.

In the theatres, things went a little better than they did on the DVD shelf.  Not at first, but they got there.

The first comic book adaptation of the year was GHOST RIDER.  Ghost Rider is another character I was never really into.  Unlike Dr. Strange, though, I really never liked the character.  Visually he’s interesting and he makes a good guest appearance, but I never thought he was strong enough to carry his own book.  To carry his own film, he was gonna need more than Nicolas Cage.  A lot of work went into the Ghost Rider film.  It’s easy to forget that sometimes when something falls flat.  However, if you dig on the net a little, or watch the special features on the DVD, you’ll learn that the effects guys worked hard to make fire effects that wouldn’t look fake, stunt people worked hard and dangerously to accomplish some great stunts, and the heart of the director was in the right place.

Sadly, Ghost Rider couldn’t do what Blade accomplished so well in his first outing on the big screen.   I saw this movie in a packed theatre.  If nothing else, the promotion machine for the film did it’s job.  People bought into the visuals and funny bits from the trailers that flooded movie theatres and televisions. 

Honestly, Nic Cage wasn’t bad in the movie.  I don’t generally like him in much, but I enjoyed his role in this film and it gave me the great moment of “You’re walking all over Karen.”  The problem came down to trying to make Ghost Rider too funny.  There didn’t seem to be enough trust in the character as he’s written in comics, and anytime a movie maker chooses not to do that, the movie itself suffers.

I left the theatre not feeling like I’d wasted money on the movie, but disappointed that it wasn’t what I knew it could have been…the surprise hit of the year.  However, my disappointment wouldn’t last long.

While on television, Heroes was rushing to learn to stop an exploding man and Smallville was (again, in my opinion) stumbling it’s way toward one of the best season finales the show has ever had, Leonidas and his 300 were defending Greece against an onslaught of Persians.  I had never read 300.  In fact, (I’m a bit embarassed to admit) I didn’t know that Frank Miller’s graphic novel was a fantastic interpretation of an actual historical event.  

What I did know, though, was that Frank Miller’s unique stylized art was wonderfully reproduced in moving picture form.  That alone was enough to bring me to theatre to see this film.  When the movie was over, I walked out of the theatre hoping someone would oppress me just so I could KICK THEIR…ahem…so I could rise up and defeat them. 

Everything about 300 was amazing.  I wasn’t bothered at all by the slow motion to quick motion fight scenes.  I reveled in David Wenham’s portrayal of Dilios and his ability to tell the story of 300 and make us feel like he was truly standing before 10,000 Greeks getting them pumped for the battle ahead.  In fact, I was totally caught up in all of the characters.  I hated who I was supposed to hate, loved who I was supposed to love, and found myself profoundly sad for and proud of the men who gave their lives in the name of stopping tyrrany in it’s tracks.  Suddenly, as far as movies went, 2007 was looking up. 

However, we still had a long way to go.  People were buzzing over Venom, preparing for The Surfer’s rise, arguing over flames on Optimus, bemoaning the fact that John McClane was going to be PG-13, anticipating Harry’s induction into the Order of the Phoenix, and awaiting the return of Jack Sparrow.   Yes, 2007 was a long way from over.