Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TV on DVD Review: Smallville - Season 7



Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Many great moments between characters we love
Cons: Story continuity at times, Kara's treatment in second half
The Bottom Line:
Supergirl appears
Could have added more to show
Still a good season




"I Should Have Known You Were Clark's Cousin from All the Primary Colors."

I've heard that Smallville starts to decline in the second half of the show's 10 year run.  I didn't see that with season 6, but I did feel that with season 7.  Part of it might be the writer's strike, but overall, I just felt the writers got a little sloppy.

As always, the season starts off by resolving the cliffhangers from the previous season.  In this case, Lois Lane (Erica Curance) and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) are trapped under the dam that is crumbling.  Meanwhile, Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) is presumed dead after she was scene getting into a car that exploded.  And Clark Kent (Tom Welling) is fighting is doppelganger Bizarro.

In the middle of all this getting resolved, someone new with powers rescues Lex Luther (Michael Rosenbaum).  That someone is Clark's previous unknown cousin Kara Kent (Laura Vandervoort).  Kara, aka Supergirl, has been frozen for the last 17 years and wakes up with no idea how to react to the human world she is finding herself in.

Meanwhile, as the season gets rolling, Lana and Clark finally seem to be making their relationship work as they move into the farm house.  A doctor thinks he has a cure for the meteor infected, which is great for Chloe since she is freaking out about her new found powers.  And Chloe's secret leads to problems between her and Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore).  A superhero movie is filmed on the Kent farm.  A new editor at The Daily Planet gives Lois a job at the paper.  Pete Ross (guest star Sam Jones III) returns for a final episode.  And thanks to Kara, Clark learns a bit more about his family while Lionel Luthor's (John Glover) past in Veritas comes back into play.

As you can see, there is plenty going on this season, and overall, I did enjoy it.  These characters are great, and I enjoyed spending time with them.  There is still a great mix of action, comedy and pathos.  The story can be very compelling.

Which is why it is frustrating when things just don't work as well as they could.  The worst example of that is Kara.  Here's this great new character, but they obviously don't quite know what to do with her.  Early in the season, as we are getting to know her and she is revealing information about Clark's past, she's a great addition to the show.  But in the second half, the writers seem to go out of their way to write her out for several episodes at a time and then to treat the character poorly when she comes back.

There were also some times when the story seemed to jump a bit with no real idea how the characters got to where they were.  Some of that was filled in eventually, but it was rather jarring.  Other parts of it were only filled in by the deleted scenes in the set, and there were plenty of them.

Both of these problems I am laying squarely at the feet of the writers.  It's certainly not the actors who are all in top form here.  Laura Vandervoort fits right in with the rest of the established cast, who are still masterful at bringing their characters to life.  Fun guest stars this season include Dean Cain, a former Superman himself, and the movie's Jimmy Olsen, Marc McClure.

The special effects are still great as well, which is important for a show dealing with super powers on a weekly basis.  Trust me, you'll believe everything you see as you watch.

After my complaining earlier, I have to praise my favorite episode of the season.  "Siren" brings back Green Arrow and also introduces Black Canary.  The dynamic in the episode is pure fun, especially as Lois learns something surprising about Oliver Queen.  I would have enjoyed it even if I hadn't seen Arrow introduce Black Canary this year as well.  Once again, I enjoyed comparing and contrasting the two very different takes on the heroes.

This was the season that aired during the writer's strike a few years back, and thanks to that event, there were only 20 episodes in the season.  (Might that have affected the writing story elements I was complaining about earlier?  Possibly, but I can only judge based on what we got.)  All of them are preserved in wide screen and full surround on five of the six discs in this set.  The sixth disc contains a look at Supergirl over the years and a fun featurette with four actors who have played Jimmy Olsen talking about their experiences (why weren't either of Lois and Clark's Jimmys present?)  There's also a digital comic book and a collection of Mobisodes featuring Kara.  The deleted scenes I referenced above are scattered throughout the discs with the episodes they came from.  There are also audio commentaries on two of the episodes from the middle of the season.

This season also marks the end of the road for the creators and three of the original cast members, who moved on to other things.  I'm quite interested in seeing how that changes things for the final three episodes of the show.  Meanwhile, season 7 of Smallville proves to be entertaining while still being a step down from the last couple of years.

Season 7 Episodes:
1. Bizarro
2. Kara
3. Fierce
4. Cure
5. Action
6. Lara
7. Wrath
8. Blue
9. Gemini
10. Persona
11. Siren
12. Fracture
13. Hero
14. Traveler
15. Veritas
16. Descent
17. Sleeper
18. Apocalypse
19. Quest
20. Arctic

2 comments:

  1. I just finished watching Season 10. It started going down a while ago but I still enjoyed the entire run.

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    Replies
    1. That's good to know that it is still enjoyable even if not as strong as it was in earlier seasons. I'm definitely glad I've been watching it.

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