The Telefile
Bright Tights, Big City: How to Fix <i>Smallville</i>

In many ways, this season of Smallville has been a drastic improvement over what has come before. There were more superheroes, more supervillains, more comic-accurate storylines... but there were also awkward career changes, forced romances and the return of tired characters we had more or less written off for dead. With the show recently renewed for a ninth season, we thought it was time to look at what needed to change on the show in order to keep us watching. ...Of course, we're not making any promises, but it will be a hell of a lot more likely.

1. More Guest Stars
Not famous celebrity guest stars, mind you, although we'd love Michael McKean's Perry White to come back, since he's such an important part of Superman lore. Rather, DC Comics guest stars, meaning superheroes. The romantic stories on Smallville only go so far, and sometimes they even go backwards, but the last year's worth of great superhero movies has only made us hungrier for spandex. The appearances of Maxima, Doomsday, the Persuader, Toyman and the Legion of Superheroes so far this season have been a fanboy's dream come true, and even Oliver seems to be getting back into the Green Arrow costume more often after an extended plainclothes run. But beyond that, the remaining episodes of Season 8 look a little light in the tights. Fishnet-clad sorceress Zatanna will appear in one upcoming ep, and that's fantastic, but if they're gonna rely on Doomsday to carry the rest of the season, he better stand in the sunlight, because the heavily shadowed thing isn't doing it for us. And hopefully the rest of the Justice League will return soon? Either way, Season 9 needs a new superhero or supervillain in pretty much every episode in order for us to keep checking back.

2. More Flights, More Tights
Included in that desire for more superheroes is Superman himself. The producers may not think they can put Clark Kent in actual blue-and-red tights and make it work -- hell, there may be some kind of Warner Bros. decree that they don't, lest they kill the Superman film franchise in its infancy -- but at some point they need to give him a hero outfit and a secret identity outfit. Assuming he's going to start wearing dressier clothes to the Daily Planet offices (along with a pair of fake glasses), the hero costume can be anything, but please, please, please retire the red jacket. Tights may be a bit much, but I see no problem with Clark looking to Green Arrow, his only real superhero role model, for inspiration. Can you say red vinyl hoodie? Heck, he could always go the Superboy route, by simply wearing an S-shield T-shirt and a pair of blue pants. Perfect for a fight with Doomsday or a night on the town! The flying we're less hung up on, but c'mon -- the guy's gotta fly sometime. There's gotta be a way to show it that doesn't break the bank.

3. No More Lana and Lex
I'm assuming that the recent, totally unnecessary return of Lana Lang was meant to be her final send-off, even though we'd all pretty much forgotten about her already. But if that Kryptonite-flavored tease comes back on the show one more time, it is over. I'm walking. And if you need to bring Lex Luthor back, since he's the most famous Superman villain, don't hire a Michael Rosenbaum impersonator and cover him with injuries and breathing apparatus. It cheapens him. Either get Rosenbaum to show up and do the guest spot, or write a storyline where someone tries to bring a parallel-universe Lex Luthor into our world, and the one they get is 55 years old. (Or, you know, Jon Hamm.) An older actor, playing an older Lex with all of young Lex's memories, would be a suitable replacement in my book, because everyone knows that we get more evil as we get older, and the Lex of the comics has traditionally been older than Superman. Sorry, Rosenbaumers -- it has to be done.

4. Resolve This Whole Chloe Mess
Let me get this straight, show -- you've created Chloe, a character that everyone loves, but who has no place in the world of Superman. She was a brilliant journalist, but once you introduced Lois Lane to the show, you actually made her give up journalism, because that needs to be Lois's shtick. You actually had fans theorizing that Lois Lane would die, and that Chloe would assume her name, even though now that would mean that Clark Kent would be married to Jimmy Olsen's ex-wife. Hell, you even make fun of the whole controversy in an upcoming episode, when the two women switch bodies. You really, really, need to clear this up. We know that two characters die in the season finale -- if it's not one of these two women, please let it be me.

5. Change the Damn Name of the Show
This may be a chicken-or-the-egg question, show, but do you keep the characters as residents of Smallville because you want to keep the show name relevant, or because you can't afford to build any more Metropolis sets? Because the show should totally be called Metropolis, and unless you're trying to depict the realities of being a suburban commuter, it makes no sense to have Clark and Lois living on a farm in the sticks when they're both working at the Planet building. (Ditto Chloe continuing to live above the Talon, and Tess Mercer living in the Luthor mansion.) Granted, you probably can't change the name of the show, but could you at least repaint the Smallville sets and make them loft apartments in Metropolis or something? Or better yet, build another Metropolis city street to go with that one nighttime intersection you use all the time? That corner has seen a lot of action, and there should be cops on it 24-7 by now.

What would you like to see changed on the show? Do you even want another season?




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