Friday, November 02, 2007

Rant of the Week: I'm Super, thanks for asking!

(Spinning the Wheel of Blog Posts... tikka tikka tikka tikka tikka tikka... And the winner is: geek-ranting about "Smallville"!)

Yes, I'm a fan of the show. I love the Superman story, so this retelling of the adolescence and young adulthood of the iconic hero is interesting to me. And this show has been truly awesome, at times.

Lately, however...

In last week's episode, the town of Smallville was invaded by Hollywood, as they chose the quiet Kansan hamlet as the location for the big-budget film version of the "Warrior Angel" comic series (a transparent nod to Superman himself). In the WA comics, the hero's girlfriend is killed by his mortal enemy; however, this film version was going to rewrite the story. Suddenly, someone tried to kill the female star playing the girlfriend, and Clark and the gang have to protect the girl and find out who the culprit is.

Turns out the culprit is an obsessed fan working on the film crew, who frequently commented on Warrior Angel message boards and fansites about the girlfriend's survival not being part of the comic "canon." He's shown as a lunatic, so obsessed with the comics that he can't tell reality from fantasy. His cries of "stay true to the icon and the mythology" are seen as deranged at best and homicidal at worst.

There are quotes from Clark like, "Message boards, fansites--this stuff is pretty extreme... How do we find out which psycho would actually try to force things to change?"

Excuse me?

This episoded was supposedly a "gentle" tag at fans who vehemently oppose Clark's continued adoration of Lana on the show. But it felt like a pretty harsh slap at a substantial portion of the show's devoted fanbase. Talk about biting the hand that feeds; without the "obsessed" "psychos" that so often post and argue and discuss on the fansites and message boards (including yours truly), the show's ratings would have tanked, and it would have gone the way of failed superhero series like "Birds of Prey."

I think the ire directed at "Smallville" by the anti-Lana contingent of fans is justified, because the series has shown time and time again that it is precisely Lana that is standing in the way of Clark becoming Superman. And while I'd hate to see my favorite program go, it's been 7 years--time to move on already.


This week's episode was so rife with logical inconsistencies and plotholes that I felt compelled to talk about it on one particular fansite. Suddenly, I was met with a backlash of poorly spelled replies.

When I started posting on the main Smallville fansite, I'd talk back and forth with people who were knowledgable of the series and comics, mature enough to deal gently and fairly with newbies like myself, and had good insights into the stories and themes of the show. Now I find that the fansite is populated with a bunch of friggin kids who can't spell and whose critical grasp of the show is decidedly lacking. Constant polls of "Which coupl do U think is hottter?" and "Isn't this the BEST SEASON EVAR???" fill the boards. When I dared (!) suggest that the show was disappointing these past few weeks, their replies were usually thus: "Its just a TV show, get over it!"; "It cant be perfect, what's ur problem?"; "If U hate it so much, stop watching!"; and "Why all the hate? Its a great show, just watch it for entertainment and stop being so critical!" (I'm only slightly exaggerating.)

So this is my rant of the week: my favorite TV show has lately been equal parts insulting and poorly, poorly written; and the fansite that I usually go to for insightful commentary has been overrun by ignorant kids with no critical thinking skills who consider challenging something to improve as tantamount to "hatin'."

(And no, the irony of sounding like "a grumpy old man" when talking about the internet fansite of a scifi TV show has not escaped me.)

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