Saturday, February 06, 2010

Absolute Justice

Last night the CW aired one of the most anticipated episodes of “Smallville” ever, and it represents a turning point in the TV series. While it may be what many fans have been waiting for, the episode, “Absolute Justice,” might also be where “Smallville” finally jumps the shark.

The episode’s story has Clark, Chloe and Oliver (where is our Green Arrow spin-off already?) helping to solve the case of an assassin hunting down the forgotten and disbanded members of the Justice Society of America. It’s an Easter egg filled geekfest, and I’ll be the first to admit to a geekgasm while watching, but I wonder what regular viewers of “Smallville” thought of it. This was a solid break from the usual soap opera aspects of the show and full frontal dive into comic book land.

Yes, it was great seeing Doctor Fate in the flesh (although a taller actor would have been better) as well as seeing Stargirl, Sandman, Icicle, Star-Spangled Kid, Amanda Waller (yeah, Pam Grier!) and Hawkman come to live action life. That said I had problems with the rules to Fate’s helmet being reworked for TV. But the good far outweighed any quibbles.

We got to see Superman’s red cape (that series star Tom Welling has sworn he’ll never wear), and got two hours of spandex superhero action. We also got to see J’Onn J’Onzz not only back but repowered, green and almost in costume. And did I mention superhero action? Heck, the Stargirl/Icicle battle lasted longer than last season's clash with Doomsday. But with this introduction of the spandex set to “Smallville” continuity, the game has changed, and there’s no going back now.

The show has gone from freak-of-the-week to an “X-Files” wannabe to a “90210” wannabe to what “Heroes” should be – but this, this just might be what makes the series jump the shark. Spandex and superpowers are conceits that comic book fans just accept, but the visual reality of said may be too much for television audiences. Time will tell.

As for me, even if this is the last season, all I have to say is bring on the superheroes!

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