Whether it be social, recreational, or professional, some of what represents me is here. Post a comment, or contact me at should you so desire.

The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Smallville: Epic review addendum: Justice League

So, it seems I wasn't completely comprehensive, as I left out an analysis of the Justice League characters. I will provide that here and now.

The first thing we must realize is that this is very much a Justice League in training. The scale starts small and builds up over the course of the series.

Clark meets an extremely fast kid in a red hooded shirt early in the series. Saving Jonathan Kent from being hit by a car, and then stealing his wallet, Clark goes after this kid to find out more about him and get his dad's wallet back. Finding out the kid is much faster than he is, Clark uses his investigative skills to track this speedy character down. Turns out this kid, using a variety of aliases (all previous renditions of The Flash), has been on the run for a long time, using his quick speed to work as a thief. Finally settling on the name Bart Allen, Clark tries to turn him to the good side, saying his powers can be used for good, instead of petty theft. Bart says thanks but no thanks, saying he might stop crime but he's not done seeing the world. Running off into the distance, the show settles that old, but silly debate as to who's faster, Superman or The Flash. (It's obviously The Flash; he has ONE power, he better be the best at it) Later in the series, as the Justice League forms, Bart comes back to help out. An important note is that Bart is not really The Flash, he is actually Impulse. Not knowing too much about Impulse myself, I will say that Bart, in this show, definitely earns the name. He's constantly grabbing whatever he wants, often bringing flowers and chocolates to girls he likes, and eating all the time to keep up with with his metabolism. I would be interested in anyone's opinion of Impulse in the show versus the comic rendition, but I have a feeling that they would be very different and that the Smallville story would be very condensed.

Clark meets Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman during a thwarted attempt of environmental terrorism. Curry, being a fantastic swimmer and lover of all things aquatic, has been working to shut down dangerous weapons produced by LuthorCorp which will seriously harm aquatic life. Curry is a young, attractive, cocky character who runs around in orange shorts and no shirt, for the benefit of anyone who loves abs and pecs. I know only a little of Aquaman as seen in the Justice League cartoon and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, but I have to admit that this Curry is a lot less serious and intense. Many people will probably not like him, if they liked the original, as this Aquaman does not share or seem to have an origin story, and while he seems to be King of all that is under the sea, we never see any of this in the show. He appears to be a mutant, someone one can swim really fast and possibly talk to fish. Also, without water, Curry can still function on land and even has above-normal strength, but without said water, Aquaman literally shrivels up like a raisin. For anyone familiar with the Aquaman from the comics and the cartoon, you'll probably hate this Aquaman. For anyone less familiar, you'll like him for being: attractive, different and refreshing, and an adequate member of the Justice League as seen in Smallville.

Cyborg comes into play halfway through the show, escaping from a LuthorCorp facility. Now, I know little about the comic-book Cyborg, but in this show, he is a young, attractive kid with implants that seem to not only give him great strength, but allow him to connect and interact with computer systems. Clark meets him and forms an uneasy friendship. True to form, Cyborg leaves only to come back later to work in the Justice League. We don't really get a lot from this character. He's cool, and he is funny and works well with the team, but he is clearly a side character and not really dealt with.

Weirdly enough, Hawkman is introduced in Smallville. Mostly done in two episodes, it seems that Hawkman runs the Justice Society of America, an earlier "golden age" team of heroes. Included on his roster are such characters as Hourman, and Dr. Fate. Again, I am not too familiar with these characters, but Smallville doesn't go into depth as to where these characters came from, except for Hawkman. He seems to be an alien, who after coming to Earth with is wife, basically inspired the Egyptian civilization. Hawkman appears to be immortal, reincarnating in some other body after he dies. His character is stern, bold, and quick to lead. From what I know of Hawkman, the Smallville rendition is similar to that in the comics.

The Black Canary was a little disappointing. I am used to a sexy, tough, take-no-nonsense heroine, and while arguably we still got that in Smallville, I didn't really like her as much. We first meet her when she steals some intel from The Daily Planet. Hired by Lex Luthor, she is an acrobatic, ninja-like, short-haired mercenary with an odd ability to shriek really loudly, knocking Clark to the ground with its force. Additionally, we see that her alter ego, Dinah Lance, works for The Daily Planet. Eventually seeing Lex for the man he is, she decides to take her leave and works abroad trying to create positive change in the world. She eventually joins the Justice League, but isn't really important, interesting, or essential to it.

The most interesting member is The Green Arrow. For a certain friend of mine, he might love and hate this. The Green Arrow as seen in the comics is a tough, wise-cracking man whose views on libertarianism are legendary in comparison to the rest of the Justice League. He is also a martial arts expert and pretty much the best archer in the world. Similar to Batman, the Green Arrow has gadgets, a cave of sorts, and fights crime because his parents were killed. Unlike Batman, he doesn't do so with a brooding or nigh-psychotic mentality, but more because it's fun to him and he thinks it's the right thing to do. Now, in Smallville, those traits are the same, but Oliver Queen, (aka The Green Arrow) is a young mega-mogul, a sort of light side to Lex's bad side. Wearing a silly green leather costume, Oliver fights crime because he thinks it's right but also because he's having fun. For anyone familiar with the comic book Green Arrow, you might not like him. He's not as badass, and he is clearly different. BUT, I think you should give him some leeway, and watch more of the show. Oliver becomes a very important character in Smallville and his character arc is one of the best. He falls in love with Lois Lane, but when he finds out more of what Lex is up to, he decides to take more action as both Oliver and as the Green Arrow. Forming the Justice League as an effort to face off against Lex's impending army, Oliver eventually has to break up with Lois because the world needs him more than she does. It's an interesting stepping stone and prelude to the whole Clark-Lois relationship and honestly very heartbreaking. Ironically, Lois finds out about Oliver's secret, but doesn't tell him. After Lex's disappearance, Oliver returns buying out LuthorCorp. The Justice League is still working under his leadership and he keeps trying to persuade Clark to join his team. Clark is reluctant not only to work with them, but also to work as a hero at all. Superman always has this weird dichotomy where he wants to stand alone, but he inspires such teamwork and collaboration. Oliver Queen falls in love with Chloe Sullivan, and never bats an eye at Dinah Lance, contrary to the comics. His love for her is very real, and is developed very nicely over the series. Oliver Queen seems to act as a testing board for many aspects of the show. In many ways, he is the human equivalent/bridge between Clark and the rest of the world. Both are reluctant heroes, both want to do the right thing, but it is Oliver who steps up first. While arguably, Clark has been saving lives longer, it's Oliver who takes the bigger steps, forming the Justice League, and even stepping forth during the vigilante debate. As mentioned in my previous post, there comes a time in the series where the people of the USA are deciding whether or not they want costumed heroes running around, fighting crime. Oliver decides to unmask himself, showing the world that they have nothing to fear; that the heroes are just trying to help. It is a big step, and one which seriously affects him, the rest of the heroes, the people of the USA, and the show itself. The decision, at first, ruins his life. People will not leave him alone and he has to go into hiding because some people are very upset with his life decisions. Oliver goes through a time of great depression, giving up on being a hero, and almost drinks himself to death. During this time, Darkseid's influence gets to him, making him one of the first to turn against good in this struggle. In an attempt to find himself, and via Clark's influence, Oliver changes at the last minute, and overcomes a great evil. He is the first to do so, and his change was probably one of the hardest. While wise-cracking, and seemingly taking nothing too seriously, Oliver has the welfare of the people foremost on his mind. He becomes Clark's best male friend and close ally and it is Oliver who not only makes the big decisions, his influence pushes Clark to become the Man of Steel. Long story short, give him a chance; he's an important character and the actor, Justin Hartley, portrays the Green Arrow very well.

And that's it. There are minor references to other characters, but these are the ones who work in the Justice League. While less awesome than the comic-book rendition, it fits the scale of the show, allowing us to see the start of something greater. There are some problems, some ups and downs, but all in all, not bad, as long as you can keep it in mind that this is like a re-imagining, not supposed to be a direct origin for the characters you know and love.

Smallville: My short recommendation

I started watching Smallville when it first came out in 2001. I followed it for awhile, and then life and my general disinterest in television prevented me from following the series to completion...until now. I recently ran out of other shows to watch and decided it was time to start and finish the entire series.
I make it sound like torture, but it really wasn't. I am a huge Superman fan, and self-proclaimed expert, but the show is 10 seasons long, that's a bit daunting. Not to mention that I already had my problems with the few seasons I had seen and wasn't sure I'd like the rest. But, I figured I cannot properly complain about a TV show until I had either seen enough to break my interest entirely, or until I watched the whole thing and could take it in.
Let me just say here and now that I liked it. It's a long journey, but really does a great job of getting Clark Kent from his Smallville roots to the hero he eventually becomes.
The first couple of seasons are typical high-school drama, basically mixing the usual woes and worries of a hormone-driven teenager with those of a hero in training. It’s a little repetitive and honestly could have been done better, but thankfully, it does get better.
Later, the scale of things increases, the characters become more real and their struggles draw us in. Eventually Clark becomes the character we know and love and I enjoyed watching how these developments came to pass.
While the show changed a few key things, it also kept many of those things intact, and while drawing out the plot of what happens to Clark before becoming Superman can be a bit tiring, it was also very rewarding getting to know the man behind the steel.
If you like Superman, super-heroes, and drama, all played out by attractive 20-something actors and actresses, you’ll like Smallville. Give it a look, but if you’re only mildly interested, I’d suggest watching only some of the later seasons.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Holidays 2011: Part 2

Christmas time around here is always a time of great fun and excitement, and this year was no different. As mentioned in my previous post, my Nannie, my mom's mom, moved in, and so there was a bit more incentive for the entire family to come here. Usually they all end up swinging by, but it was easier to just have one dinner in one place, allowing everyone to spend time together.

We had 25 people seated at dinner. We have a huge dining room, so that was no big deal, but the meal was amazing as always. My mom has it down to a science now, and while I know it was a lot of work for her, it's spread out over a series of days so it wasn't that bad. Getting the place cleaned and in order was a little annoying, but in the end, the house looked great and even with that many people in the house, we weren't uncomfortable. We managed to Skype with my cousin Roxanne, who's in Winnipeg and celebrating her recent betrothal, so that was nice. Later, the family moved downstairs and we turned on the Kinect.

The next little bit may sound like some promotional work for Kinect, but I love that system. Last year, we had everyone in the house playing except for my two grandmothers, which is saying something considering some of the more reluctant members of my family. This year was more of the same, with some new games, and some new fun. The Kinect unit is really responsive and I am always impressed with how well it works. Also, the games are only getting better, adding voice commands and making for some great fun. We ended up playing until 4am, losing track of time. One surprising and memorable moment was when my dad got up and danced while we played the Michael Jackson game! My dad is a quiet and not very outgoing man, and I've only seen him dance 3 other times in his life, one of those being during my parent's wedding reception. Anyway, it was a really great evening, as I've said.

Christmas Day. Finally. It was a quiet day, and well, anything would be compared to how we spent Christmas Eve. My mom, dad, sister, and Nannie spent the entire day in our pajamas relaxing together. While my parents had said they weren't doing Christmas gifts this year, Santa did happen to give us some movies to watch as a family. Additionally, owing to some ignoring of finances and an overwhelming desire to give back, I got my family some gifts. The one I was most excited about was a Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook for my sister. I'd mentioned it to her and to my mom and both are interested in trying it out over the break. I will work on getting my dad involved, but he may see it as a silly waste of time. We'll see.

So, back to movies. We watched Mr. Popper's Penguins, which was actually quite good; Cars 2 which was better than the first one, having a spy theme and Michael Caine in it; and Cowboys and Aliens, which I had seen before but enjoyed watching again. It was a nice evening, and one I really was looking forward to and needed.

That being said, I look forward to the rest of my holidays. I have a few, very important things to do, and it is my goal to get them done. I hope you all are having a great holiday, and whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you take the time to celebrate being with family, and taking care of what matters.

I've been neglecting that, but I'm working on it. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Holidays, 2011

Wow, it has been a crazy fall term. But it is over, and I am back home for the holidays!

Tonight is my third night back, and really my first time when I've felt I could relax. I had a few labs due so any spare time I had, I was working on those. Additionally, I didn't get back until quite late on Thursday, and my time's been pretty much occupied the last couple of days. So, what have I been doing?

Well, after Thursday night's bus and car ride home, I spent it just relaxing with my immediate family. I always feel like I'm sneaking into the house as I usually end up getting home late, and some family members have to awake just to see me. It was nice. The comforting feeling of home hasn't changed, even though the layout has slightly.

My Nannie, my mom's mom, which sounds funny to say, mom's mom, like a man's man, or something weird like that...where was I? Right, my Nannie moved in with us. For awhile now, my mom has been taking care of her, my Nannie being 82 and all, and now it's just easier with her being down the hall, as opposed to at her own place. My parents, and my sister, did an amazing job of setting up her room. Honestly, sometimes I take their hard work for granted, but my family is ridiculously amazing at pulling off an insane amount of work in a very short time period. And I have to say, I'm impressed. My Nannie's room is pretty awesome; full of her own stuff, 50" TV, pictures of her friends and family, little electric wood stove, it's almost the nicest room in the house. It's also really nice seeing her so much. She gets a little moody, wanting to be at her old home, and she requires nigh-constant vigilance, but it's not so bad, and it's great to be able to spend as much time with her as I want. I do have to praise my mom, my dad, and my sister, though. They've had to deal with so much, and they've done it with their usual high-stressed, but functional, flair. My family has such strength, and it is by their example that I am reminded how strong and capable I can be.

On a less serious note, my dad and I went on a bit of a nature hike yesterday. It was unexpected, as my dad and I rarely do things just the two of us, but it was good. Cold, but nice. We didn't see a lot of animals, even though we were hoping to, just a partridge and a crow. That's one of my favourite things about coming home, the beauty and serenity of my backyard. My family owns ~40 acres of land, mostly forested, and it is so calming to walk around and hear nothing at all. It was a nice walk, and another great start to my holidays.

Today, my family and I cleaned out my Nannie's old house. There was a lot of junk in there, as she's lived in that house for a long time, over 45 years. It's kind of sad knowing that we'll never be back, that we'll never spend another Christmas there, or drive toy trucks over the hardwood floors, but things change. It's harder on my mom than it is for me; she grew up there, and I know she had a bit of a hard time just throwing out stuff that had some sentimental value, but no one would really want or be able to keep.

Tonight, my mom made a wonderful dinner, a stir fry with spaghetti noodles, and we all just sat together, watching a movie and relaxing. Well...we were relaxing, and then my mom decides to decorate the tree. My mom is very particular, and so the tree decorating is a one-person affair. But, the rest of us got to hold things! and hand her things! so we helped...a little, haha. The tree looks amazing, as always, and I especially love that the ornaments are not only as old as I am, but some were even made by my sister and me. There's one bulb that is red, with green sparkles glued to it, that says 2000. I made it as a holiday time-capsule and after forgetting about it for years, I opened it last year. It had a letter, written and addressed to me, in which I told myself to have faith, and never let anyone, especially myself, hold me back. I don't know how I was so cool back then to have thought of it, but I think I may get my sister and I do make some again this year. The stockings have yet to go up, but I have some work to do one those. My mom used to give them out ahead of time and I would decorate mine. The first patch I added was a ghost, because I loved the Ghostbusters so much, that I made when I was eleven. I know how old I was because the ghost is giving the "peace" sign and I did that because his fingers formed the number 11. Aren't I clever? The next year, I didn't finish it, but I made a soccer ball. I was silly though, and instead of sewing patches on, I tried to knit back and forth, filling up the hexagons. I plan on fixing that and adding a new piece, but not exactly sure what symbol to do yet.

Yes, it's nice to be back, and be surrounded by family and comfortable traditions. It's really nice to unwind, recharge, and kick back. I hope to add more holiday cheer to my blog, and to all those still struggling through school, good luck, I know you'll make it through.

To those still stuck at work, those already at home, and those still in school as well, the holidays are soon upon us. You've earned a break and I hope you get a chance to enjoy it and relax.

Oh, also, it's kind of funny. I'm in a position where I am semi-able to actually give presents this year, but oddly enough, my family isn't. So, I may just surprise them with gifts this year. I know they'll feel bad that they can't give me presents, but I'll reassure them of what they've already given me: love, support, and happy stability.

Take care, thanks for reading!

Monday, 12 December 2011


A friend of mine told me about a show quite awhile ago now; a show with Adam Baldwin and nerd references in it. I laughed, said, "That's awesome" and never got around to checking it out. Then, true to form, I was looking for another show to check out. I remembered Chuck, and decided to check it out.

Let me give you some background: IMDB provides the following promotional fare about the show,  

        "When a twenty-something computer geek inadvertently downloads critical government secrets into his brain, CIA and NSA assign two agents to protect him and exploit such knowledge, turning his life upside down."

While enticing, that tidbit works for only about half the show, maybe a little more than half. The show is about said twenty-something, named Chuck, who works at a "Buy More", basically a Best Buy, and his adventures in espionage. 

Let me just say that the show is formulaic; once you've seen 3 episodes, you'll know the pattern. However, the way they present that pattern, turn it on its head, that's what kept me coming back from week to week. The show takes all the classic tropes involved with spy movies, TV dramas, and sitcoms, and presents them to you in a way which demonstrates their familiarity comfort. The show manages to give you a simple format, while presenting it in refreshing, and often surprising ways.

A show with a character's name in the title is only as strong and interesting as said character. Chuck is a relate-able character whose growth over the series rewards the viewers for sticking with him. We first see Chuck as a mopey, ill-confident extended teenager (a person who hasn't grown up and is still stuck without direction, entirely too common in our world today), working in the Buy More, going nowhere. With him, is Morgan, his sidekick, someone who makes even Chuck's low levels of accomplishment seem extraordinary. 

Chuck receives an email from an old colleague named Bryce. Upon opening said email, images flash and Chuck passes out. We learn that he has downloaded "The Intersect" into his brain, a collection of secrets from the CIA and NSA. Once these agencies find out about this, they move in on Chuck.
Enter Sarah Walker, CIA agent. Blond, sexy, confident, she moves in trying to get some idea where the Intersect has gone. Enter John Casey, NSA agent. Tough, gruff, and to the point, he too wants to know what Chuck knows. Chuck ends up helping them both stop a bomb going off and that's when the three of them form an unlikely partnership. The government feels that they can use Chuck's secrets and Sarah and John are there to protect him and exploit said knowledge, thus the tagline given above, in Italics

As the series continues, we obviously become more interested in the characters. Sarah's ice-cold demeanor melts and so too do our hearts (too cheesy?) when we notice her falling for Chuck. Right from the first episode, there is a goodness to Chuck, an innocence, but more importantly a desire to help people that wins Sarah over. Not that it took much convincing for me...err, I mean Chuck of course, for Chuck to fall in love with Sarah.

Every episode makes it clear how awesome and beautiful Sarah is. Every time she enters the Buy More, the scene slows down, her hair waves in the breeze, combine that with her ruthless efficiency as a spy, and her compassion for Chuck, and well, she's a winner in my book. Oh, and the nigh-inevitable girl-fights featured in almost every episode, haha.
But seriously, while a show that showed an obviously sexy woman, doing things that are over the top and meant to showcase her would normally turn me off, I like subtlety, the show manages to do so without me losing faith. Sarah manages to show a vulnerability, and as she struggles with that, we relate to her, and urge her on to give her heart to Chuck. She isn't just something to look at, she's a compassionate woman who missed childhood completely. As their relationship begins to grow, Chuck manages to get her to search within herself and see herself as more than just an agent, and thus, we do too.

John Casey's stern attitude is one we enjoy right from the start. At first I was happy, and a little sad, for Adam Baldwin's seemingly type-casted role as tough-guy John Casey. I mean, I've only seen him in a few other things, but if you happen to remember a little show he was on before, a show cut before its prime, Baldwin played a grunting, gun-blazing, tough-guy, who's lack of words won us over. Well, he's done it again. He's the hero of Burbank, the man we call Jay...John. However, he too grows as a character, albeit slowly, but it is almost more rewarding. At first, he thinks the entire operation is a joke; babysitting a civilian when he could be out there, sniping terrorists. But, his belief in Chuck, and his team, grows as the series continues. The infrequent times that he displays emotion are diamonds in the rough, and makes you love the "big teddy bear" that much more.

Even Chuck's best friend Morgan has an interesting character arc. At first, he is very annoying, providing some comic relief but often getting in Chuck's way unintentionally. However, he finds out Chuck's secret and begins working with the team. His knowledge of Chuck saves the team on more than one occasion, and his working with the team goes to show you how close the two of them are. That was a complaint I had early in the show: that Morgan and Chuck did not seem very good friends despite their claims to the contrary. But, in working together, you can see why they've remained best friends. Morgan grows up as the show progresses, showing responsibility and bravery. His arc is one of the most impressive and noticeable, going from climbing in Chuck's window to hang out and play Call of Duty, to walking through the front door as a man and solid member of Chuck's team.

Finally, there's Chuck. As a friend pointed out, his haircut changed for the better as the show went on, making him look less dopey, so that's good, haha. Additionally, Chuck moves from being a victim to a hero over the course of the show. At first, he is at the mercy of the Intersect, having to do whatever Casey or Sarah asked/told him to do, having to balance his two lives, and lie to his friends and family to carry out missions he never asked for. Later, Chuck's confidence grows and he becomes a real spy, leading missions and saving the day. While his abilities improve, Chuck's natural goodness, and oddity come out, making for some interesting situations and odd saves throughout the show. 

A couple of things I want to mention about the show in general. First, Robert Duncan McNeil is the producer of this show. For anyone familiar with Star Trek: Voyager, he played Tom Paris. For anyone not familiar, well, it makes sense that the most badass, suave, spy-like character on that show ended up making a spy show of his own.

Secondly, there's one really cool thing I love about Chuck. Their lack of deus ex machina, or more precisely, the show's ability to demonstrate it early on and make it seem either entirely believable or at least, not out of nowhere. The first episode, when we first see Chuck, he is instructing his fellow Buy More colleagues, that there is a website out there, with a virus on it that will cause a specific type of computer to literally crash and burn. He demonstrates that and the show goes on. I thought at first it was just the show's way of showing us that Chuck is a normal person, doing a job. Later, however, there is a bomb in a hotel, and while Casey and Sarah think about how to disarm it, Chuck notices that the computer running it is the same model as the one he was working on earlier. He connects it to the website, and the computer crashes, defusing the bomb. Maybe not entirely believable, but makes me feel better when I see a show actually trying to do things right. 

As a nerd, I love the references. The show routinely throws a movie, comic book, or video game reference out there for you to catch. Often, they're lines of dialogue from the ever nerdy Chuck and Morgan, sometimes, they're background content which adds more flavour to the show. Sometimes, a situation will seem to pan out exactly like one in a movie, and just when you wonder if they meant to do that, they make it obvious they did, but they do something to make it fit and make you laugh.

Surprising guest appearances, from Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap, Star Trek: Enterprise), Linda Hamilton (Terminator, Terminator II), to Carrie Anne Moss (The Matrix Trilogy) and even Dolph Lundgren and Timothy Dalton, even Isaiah Mustafa (the Old Spice Guy), the show keeps me interested.

Oh, one more thing: the creators of the show said they are doing only 4 seasons and then stopping. If they go through with it, I'll be very happy. I never want a good thing to end, but I am tired of good shows carrying on way too long, just to pander to the audience, when they should be wrapping up their craft. You know of shows like that, I know you do.

So, that's it. The show is in its final season, and I for one am excited about how it will all end. Check it out, like I said, it's formulaic, but that's a good thing. If you like the first two episodes, you'll love the rest of the show.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Expectations versus celebrations

I think I must be pretty ignorant of certain things.

I am actually getting tired of people celebrating and pointing out when a commercial portrays gay relationships, or when a TV show has a variety of ethnicity.

The concept of same-sex activities and relationships has existed for quite a long time now. It's not novel, and it's been seen in historical references, fiction, myth, and as a commonplace thing for an incredibly long time now. I am not a history major so I will try not to err too much here by giving dates, but homosexuality was quite common in ancient Greece, as I'm given to understand. It permeated their culture and their myth. I'm sure it existed much throughout all of history, but I guess I don't have the research to prove it. At the very least, it has been known to exist for a long time now.

Additionally, I understand that people with certain backgrounds push(ed) around those of a different background. I acknowledge the hardship, the terrifying ordeal and treatment with which anyone not generally accepted by the ruling demographic has had to deal.

Yes, okay, for too long, society at large made people who were involved in same-sex activities feel terrible, scared, hated, shunned, etc. It was, and I guess is, pretty awful behaviour and I honestly wish none of it had ever happened. But, is it still this way?

I was raised to treat everyone equally, until they proved otherwise. That last part was not actually part of my childhood lessons, but I find I give people more credit than they deserve sometimes. Still, better to hope that humanity is decent and competent than otherwise.

I grew up in a town where the citizens had one colour to their skin, a seemingly primarily heterosexual nature, and worshiped around one of several denominations of Christianity. I heard racist jokes and I heard the vulgar depictions of same-sex. Gay was mistaken as an adjective for stupid in my town. But I never stood for it. I would tell people they were wrong, and call them ignorant, or stupid, as the case called for. I've never understood putting people in a box, and I've never understood making claims about an entire group of people especially if you don't know anything about them.

I'm not perfect, but neither is anyone else I've met, sorry to burst the bubble of those of you I know. And, I know this next point is really going to upset a lot of people, but I hope you understand where I'm coming from:

All these "celebrations" over things like lesbians being in a KY commercial, people of different backgrounds being successful in business, theatre, or otherwise, well, it's great. But, sometimes these celebrations make it seem like such a miracle that something like this has happened. When people point out how amazing it was that this or that feature homosexuality or an equality of ethnic backgrounds, I look at them and say, "" Being gay is not a reason to celebrate, being straight certainly hasn't been. One of them is the way I am, and one of them is not. It's neither a great thing, or a bad thing, it's just what I like and it hasn't hurt anyone so far...except for breakups. Being a Caucasian male might have paved a lot of the way for me, but I certainly had no handouts. I come from a low income family, one that laments not being able to help me financially, one whose background in nigh-poverty has taught me a lot about judging things, and people, by its quality, not by labels or surface observations.

This is where I'm ignorant. I am not in a liberal arts degree, I do not follow the news, nor am I particularly connected to issues of human rights. I am an engineer, and even the stereotypes concerning that profession have changed. My current class of students has the same amount of girls as guys, and the first year student body has more girls in it than I've ever seen before. In terms of race, it's a hodgepodge, a mixture of people from all over the place.

And THAT'S THE THING: In engineering, no one cares if you're man, woman, child, or talking duck, they care if you know what you're doing. If a talking duck came into one of my classes and proved me wrong in a presentation about something, no one would marvel at the amazing ability of the duck speaking despite common sense, and it's own evolutionary background, no they would just consider its point on the error in my presentation, nod their heads and admire the fact that it was right, and suggest I get back to the drawing board.

And that's the way I try to see the world. I will presume you are a decent, competent person until you prove me wrong. I will not label you, think I'm better or worse than you, prejudge, joke unfairly about a group of you, no I will go on living my life, hoping to make your acquaintance. Celebrating that which should be commonplace is not only foolish, it's annoying.

N.B. I realize that not many view the world as I do. I'm sure the inequality of the groups I mentioned above, among others, is so prevalent that you'll be angry that I'm not seeing it. But, the fact is, I don't because I choose not to live that way. If I see injustice, you can rest assured I'll swoop down on it like Batman himself, but so far, it has not affected me so I have not had cause to effect change. Representation is hard to get, so I will make more of an effort to recognize those hard-fought battles you've won. But, don't celebrate the scraps from the table, demand the meal.

Long story short, stop celebrating things which you should expect, instead, make sure you get what you deserve.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Courtesy or common sense?

Hi there, loyal reader(s), it's been awhile since I've ranted, since I've had time to complain about things. Truthfully, I've also had a lack of things about which to complain, so now that I have something, it is all too apparent.

I hate litter. It sounds like such a small complaint, but really, it's more infuriating to me because it's such a small and simple matter and shouldn't even exist. My close friends and family know that this is one of my more vocal complaints. I've ranted about it for years, and I always pick it up litter if I can. Every little bit counts, and I try to live in such a way as to improve upon myself and the world around me.

I don't even understand the concept of deliberate littering. Whenever I have some food or drink in a disposable container, I am always aware of it. In general, I worry that I'll spill it, or I'm so hungry and thirsty that I constantly am sampling from it, or at parties, I keep a close eye, not wanting anyone else to tamper with it.

When I'm done, it's never an option for me to just leave it sitting on the table, or counter. I was raised to leave things as they were, or make them better, and litter is such a useless thing that the very idea of it sitting, unattended, because someone was too lazy to dispose of it properly, well, it's actually making me mad right now. I haven't been to that many places in my life, but generally garbage and recycling bins are close enough that you don't have to go far to dispose of your trash. In fact, I once heard a rumour that at Walt Disney World, the trash cans are situated to be no more than 15 metres apart in any direction as that is the maximum average distance a person will hold onto it before throwing it on the ground.

Throwing it on the ground? What is wrong with you? If you throw garbage on the ground, you have no right to complain if I came over and littered on your floor. Of course, you'll never have cause for that complaint because littering is something I will NEVER do.

I understand that sometimes your hands are full. Sometimes, you just forgot your stuff on the table, but deliberately leaving your mess either because you don't care or because you expect someone else to clean it up, that's just wrong and I will not stand for it.

Yes, there are so many bigger and more important problems out there. But, littering is a symptom of a much larger "disease"; that of apathy and disconnection. If you litter, it says more to me than you're lazy. It says you are either not aware of your effect on the world, you don't care about it or the world around you, or you think that you are better than others and entitled to treat their share of the planet like garbage.

So, please, don't litter. If you see someone litter, ask them why and make them throw it out properly. It's one of those "issues" that shouldn't exist because it's so easy to dispose of. And, if you are a litterer, don't be too surprised if you see a man in a cape moving toward you at high speed.

Thanks for reading.

Critical Decision

So, I've recently made a decision which will affect the next couple of years of my life. As it stands, I was considering trying to finish all of my classes this upcoming term and then go to graduate school the September after that. However, after thinking about it, that is not a very feasible goal.

Trying to complete 7 classes, including some very difficult ones, and some that require a lot of time and attention, as well as getting my grad school research and applications done by mid-January, is nearly impossible. I have faith that I can perform the impossible, but I don't see why I have to. I would love to be done, and moving toward the next step, but if I take some time, I can do each task more excellently.

So, my new plan is to take only some of the 7 classes I have left next term, apply for some internships by late January, hopefully to work from May-December, and then finish the rest of my classes the following January-April. This will give me time to figure out where I want to go for my graduate studies, help me determine what I want to study exactly, give me the breathing space to bring my grades up and finish my undergraduate with honours, and also give me a chance to work in the field adding that experience to my profession.

Like I said, part of me does not like the idea of prolonging my undergraduate. But, I would rather do a thing correctly than hastily, and as a new friend recently said, "sometimes, it's good to just go with things, take your time and just see what's out there." Everyone to whom I've spoken has been very supportive, as always, and I thank them for the constant and immediate pride and loyalty, and I thank you for reading this here and now.

Wrapping up the school term: assignments, exams, final projects

I apologize for not completing this sooner, but I have been working very hard lately to get everything done, and done well.

I feel very elated right now. I am in the heart of it, still busy, but making progress and feeling good about it. So, what have I been up to?

Last Thursday and Friday, I worked on two reports that are due tomorrow. The first is the culminating report and presentation for my Payload Design class, in which my colleague and I designed a radiation detector for Mars. The second report was for my Mechanical Design course, in which we were designing the Magnetorquer.

Still putting the finishing touches on the reports, but the presentations are finished. I'll explain a little about each device and how it stands here and now:

The Mars Radiation Detector is a combination of instruments meant to observe, record, and analyze the radiation on the surface of Mars. To do so, our design includes: a telescopic lens, 4 silicon semiconductor detectors, and a plastic scintillator. For our design, and to save you reading the entirety of Wikipedia articles, the semiconductor works like a CCD camera, basically a grid of cells (pixels) which capture the radiation as it strikes the device. This radiation is converted to electricity which flows along the detector and the information about this energy is logged by a computer. The plastic scintillator works much the same way, but more like a Geiger counter. This is used to study any neutrons which strike the device. As they do, they excite the plastic, which lights up and information concerning this is guessed it, to the computer. We had to do a lot of research for this project, and we learned a lot not only about radiation, which was my choice for choosing the project, but we also learned about the instrumentation involved and what factors contributed to a good design. It was a good stepping stone for me, learning more about Mars, radiation, and the tools we use to work/understand our universe. I am very proud of how it turned out, and I am more confident about my choices and my designs. I want to especially thank my colleague, Natasha Gadkari, for her diligence, hard work, and constant motivation. Without Natasha, this project would be greatly lacking and I would not have enjoyed the process as I did.

For Mech design, the magnetorquer, which some of you may remember from my previous posts, is going well. We have come about as far as we can without assistance from the school/the YU Laboratory. We have completed a lot of materials research, and have brought this device very close to space-standards. Currently, we have a prototype, made of enameled magnet wire and stainless steel. It is less than 1 cm in diameter, and 7 cm in length. With this, we have requested the aid of our professor for testing. As our current design stands, it is both over performance and under cost. Further work needs to be done to test the device, and the exact method of mounting it to the frame of a small-satellite has yet to be resolved, but we are close. Additionally, at this stage, we believe the performance and mass requirements would be better met with the use of a material known as Permalloy. Unfortunately, this material is also quite expensive. However, we have simplified and shown that the implementation and manufacture processes are quite simple and inexpensive, so even with the purchase of custom ordered parts, we believe our magnetorquer will be less expensive than European parts and will still perform as expected. Anyway, tomorrow we present our prototype and I sincerely hope they are impressed and aid us in completing the process as it would be nice to contribute to a working satellite!

Other than that, I have exams, assignments, and lab reports due. Nothing too exciting, for the moment, on which to report, but lots for me to do. Thanks for reading, and I'll "see" you next time.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Preliminary Design Review for 4th year Engineering Project

So, I've been a bit behind in posting as of late, but I have been busy. Additionally, while a lot has been going on, it's more or less similar to the work of which I wrote before. That being said, let me tell you a little about my PDR that I had this week for my engineering class.

As you may or may not remember, my 4th year engineering course is a year-long project with a budget of under $1000. We are supposed to design, plan, and develop a project which lies within that scope and present our progress over the course of 8 months. This past Wednesday was the first of said presentations, known as a Preliminary Design Review.

While our classmates and professor knew a lot about our project, this presentation was also in front of some prominent members from the engineering industry, such as some members of the Professional Engineers of Ontario, and several corporate sponsors.

Everyone was very nervous, but honestly, I was more excited than nervous. Our group, Team BDN (not being very creative and using our first initials for our team name), had practiced several times, and I was confident of our impending success. Additionally, with some help from my friends, Marco Barrettara and Meredith Thompson, our presentation came with a snazzy video which was sure to wow them.

If you are interested in seeing the finished presentation, feel free to contact me.

Our group went first, and I used my usual charm and confidence to win over the audience. The presentation went very well, and it felt very good to have finished. My only concern with the entire process was the issue of marketability. After every presentation was finished, the industry leaders asked several questions and suggested some additional areas of focus, but they also asked about our business plan. While having a target market and knowing how to sell your product is important, it is kind of funny to note that no where in any of my engineering courses do we concern ourselves with why we are designing/making a product. We only deal with creating requirements, functional and performance, for determining how well a design should function. So, being asked so much about how we were going to market our product was a little annoying and a little frustrating as we never even cover it in our curriculum. Also, there's the fact that my team's product, particularly, is not going to market. We are making our integrated GPS/IMU path-tracking device so as to learn more about the software and hardware involved and also for the benefit of our professor who wants to use it once we are done for further research.

Anyway, like I said before, it was a success, and I look forward to our next presentation in the Winter term. Thanks for reading!

Friday, 25 November 2011

A sneak peak at things to come? Rovers and grad work

So, I promised yesterday that I would give you some details on an excited event which took place, and here are said details.

I've been trying to talk to certain professors at York University about grad school. I want to get their advice, in general, and I'd like to talk to them about their own work and also about possible letters of reference. Yesterday, I was asked by one of those professors, Michael Daly, with whom I've been in contact, to come in and see what he was working on.

The 4th floor of the Petrie Science building at York University is definitely a place to go if you want to see some applied science, especially in the field of space sciences. If you're ever feeling bad or thinking that York is a crummy school, you should go there and see some of the cool things some of our professors are working on.

When I arrived at Professor Mike Daly's lab, it looked pretty impressive. I'd been there before, for one of his classes, but the level of activity combined with the decor impressed me. First thing I noticed, was the 50 inch Aquos Quatron display TV sitting on the wall, with what looked to be some sort of map with waypoints on it. On the left side of the room, lay a couple of work benches and a cross between a messy field of wires, and some instrumentation, mirrors, 3d microscopes, and the like. To the right, were a couple of students working on brand new iMac computers, seeming to be running simulations of something. After knocking, tenuously, I was invited in. Prof. Daly welcomed me in and explained what they were doing. A second team was located at Steeles and Dufferin, in a warehouse of sorts, and said building was more or less turned into a faux-Martian environment, complete with sand. From the site at York University, they were controlling a rover, moving it around the terrain, not only mapping it out via their on-board cameras and laser system, but they were looking for something. The team at the site had hidden a hose, spewing methane, and it was the rover's job to find it. Later, some people from the Canadian Space Agency came in and were evaluating the process.

Now, for a guy whose head is full of dreams, this reality was almost too exciting to be real! Using said enthusiasm, I dove right into things. I asked the students what they were doing, and they were more than happy to explain, and listen to any thoughts I had on their procedures. I also introduced myself to the CSA members, explaining that I was just an enthusiastic student, not actually working on the current project, but highly interested. The thing that almost always wins me over was my professor. I had two classes with him last year, Space Mission Design, and Physics of the Space Environment. I found him to be a straight-forward, to the point, exciting individual, who brought his real-life experience to the classroom, and made learning that much better. He was one of the main members of the Phoenix Lander team, and his work brought forth the LIDAR system which helped show that Mars has a seasonal cycle and that it actually snows on Mars! For more information on his current work, check this out: Prof. Mike Daly's newest mission!

So, anyway, long story short, I think he's pretty awesome and would obviously love to work with him. Back to what he was doing yesterday. So, the rover was remotely controlled by his team at York, and using a retroflector (basically a reflector), a laser, and a spectrometer, they were moving around the environment, looking for this methane. They would pick a destination, click on the map to tell the rover where to go, and using it's own obstacle detection system, it would try to find the best way to that spot. Once there, it would fire its laser at the reflector, and the rover would analyze the signal once it passed back through the air, from the reflector. It would then take overall and average readings of the air through which the laser passed, hopefully giving them the data they needed to make a rough map of the distribution of methane in the environment. It was slow going, as science tends to be, but it was interesting. In the end, their data, and their technique still needed refining, but Prof. Daly's estimate of the methane location was pretty close. What's also nice is when asked by the CSA members, who had already been to the other site and thus knew the location of the methane seep, Daly first asked the students in the room, including myself, to give our thoughts. I like this about this professor, he doesn't keep up that veil of distance, where I'm a lowly student and he's the god-like professor. I don't get it too often now that I'm in my final year, but some professors make me feel that way, and thankfully, Daly seems to actually want my thoughts, from time to time. Anyway, I gave my ideas and he agreed with my logic (yay!).

Oh, and for all you gamers out there: while the rover was being controlled by pointing and clicking on a screen, it could also be manually overridden via a pre-programmed Xbox controller! That was fun to watch.

So, sorry about the lengthy rant, verbose narrative summarized: I was invited to check out some work that a prospective graduate studies professor was working on, which involved using a moving robot to find a source of gas leakage in an "unknown" environment, and I found the experience exciting and educational. Thanks for reading, hope you had a decent time doing so.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Smallville: My epic review

I started watching Smallville when it first came out in 2001. I followed it for awhile, and then life and my general disinterest in television prevented me from following the series to completion...until now. I recently ran out of other shows to watch and decided it was time to start and finish the entire series.
I make it sound like torture, but it really wasn't. I am a huge Superman fan, and self-proclaimed expert, but the show is 10 seasons long, that's a bit daunting. Not to mention that I already had my problems with the few seasons I had seen and wasn't sure I'd like the rest. But, I figured I cannot properly complain about a TV show until I had either seen enough to break my interest entirely, or until I watched the whole thing and could take it in.
Let me just say here and now that I liked it. It's a long journey, but really does a great job of getting Clark Kent from his Smallville roots to the hero he eventually becomes. Let me also say that Here: There be spoilers!
I will start off by synopsising the story of Smallville, move into character analysis of some of the key figures, and finally move onto expectations, and differences of the show compared to the classic mythos.


            For those of you unfamiliar with the classic Superman tale, I will provide you with a short synopsis here:

            A baby from an alien planet arrives on Earth, in Kansas. The last son of an advanced race whose planet was destroyed, the baby is taken in by a couple of loving farmers and raised as one of their own. Developing abilities beyond that of humans via the energetic yellow Sun, the child grows up believing in truth, and justice. He eventually learns his origins, moves to Metropolis, works at the Daily Planet (as a reporter) and becomes Earth’s greatest hero and protector: Superman.

            That is the story of Clark Kent, of Superman, as seen over countless renditions. Smallville contains all of these elements, but explores more of Clark’s past, his youth, before he became Superman.
            Smallville is the name of the town Clark grew up in, and the show starts with his adventures through high school. The first couple of seasons follow a predictable, typical youth-dramatic plot with Clark struggling to learn more about himself and in keeping relationships with those around him. The meteorites which crashed upon Clark’s arrival are radioactive rocks from his home planet, Krypton, and their existence has always threatened Clark, being a material that can kill him, even when bullets cannot. In Smallville, these rocks also affect human beings, causing mutations, unpredictable abilities and usually abnormal personality changes. Clark spends the first few seasons investigating and fighting off these unusual mutants.
            Additionally, the craft which brought Clark to Earth contains an artificial intelligence; that of Jor-El, Clark’s biological father, and through that intelligence Clark learns more about his origins and abilities. The yellow Sun which keeps us warm also powers Clark, giving him super-strength, speed, and other powers. Interesting to note, is how these powers develop/are explained, and I will go into this later when comparing this show to the classic Superman saga.
            Eventually, the scale at which Clark can effect change grows, and he moves to Metropolis, and begins working with and for The Daily Planet, fighting crime and stopping alien threats including clones of some of his own people, fellow Kryptonians. Joining with other super-powered heroes, making the Justice League, Clark eventually comes into his own, becoming Superman at the end of the series.

            And that’s the show, that’s the majority of what happens, concerning Clark. There are several episodes, arguably seasons, dedicated to the major plot twists, and character arcs. In the later sections, I will go into detail concerning those characters, and finally, I will attempt to explain the major differences between this show and the main Superman saga.


Jonathan Kent

Clark’s adoptive father, married to Martha Kent (see below), became state Senator
One thing I have to say is that I love Jonathan Kent. First off, I love the fact that the actor who played him, John Schneider, also played Beau Duke from the Dukes of Hazzard. More than that, I’ve always loved the role of Jonathan Kent; a simple farmer who discovers a baby in a cornfield and tries to raise said baby with good moral principles. Jonathan Kent has always been a source of wisdom in Clark’s life in the comics, in the 1978 movie, and here in Smallville. 
Let me just say that Jonathan is one badass man, and usually the only one in the show with any common sense. In the crazy world that is Smallville, Jonathan often is the one asking the questions I ask; the questions I expect any sane, cutting-to-the-chase audience member to be asking. Being a simple farmer may seem like a limitation to his character, but it is actually a great strength. It grounds his character in reality, helping us to relate to him, and while a bit judgemental at times, Jonathan’s simple ways often make sense.
The only time he strays from this is when the Luthors are involved. For more on the Luthors see below, but succinctly, they are the business-mogul “evil corporate” types. Due to some shady dealings in the past, plus the dichotomy between simple farmer and mega-mogul, Jonathan goes from calm to crazy the instant a Luthor is mentioned. It's understandable, but it really bugs me when characters or just people in general are so closed-minded about one subject. More often than not, his skepticism and distrust are justified, as the Luthors usually turn out to be serving an evil purpose, but it still creates a strange metronome of relation between Clark and Jonathan.
The show is about Clark, thus we are supposed to relate to him, and side with him on everything. However, sometimes Clark, being an impulsive teenager, is limited in his actions by the warnings of Jonathan. Sometimes, when this happens, it angers us, or at least me, making me say, “Oh come on, Jonathan, you don’t know what you’re talking about!” But sometimes, his wisdom just makes too much sense, and we side with him, willing Clark to think for a moment. I guess the toying with emotions is all part of the dramatic experience and what helps draw us in, and involve us with the characters and the show. This emotional tug-of-war is probably a lot more real, and a lot better for a show of this nature, than a one-dimensional paternal love.
Either way, Jonathan is amazing. He's tough; he’s forthright, and he raises his family with compassion, strength, and wisdom. This strength of character is obvious to the people of Kansas as well, as he is elected state Senator based on it.
If you know anything about a hero’s journey, you’ll know that the mentor, that anyone on the hero’s side who is more capable than (s)he is, usually dies or is otherwise incapacitated providing the hero with more incentive and responsibility to live up to his/her heroism. Jonathan Kent dies in the fifth season of Smallville and it is one of the saddest things I have ever seen on television. Being a die-hard Superman fan, I knew Jonathan was going to die, his death being a staple of the story in all but one rendition, but knowing that ahead of time did not prepare me for the emotional impact of losing him. I will go into further analysis of this moment later, but for now I will just say that his loss was deeply felt and goes to show how important his character is in Smallville.

Martha Kent

Clark’s adoptive mother, wife to Jonathan Kent, takes over as state Senator and becomes Governor, later becomes Red Queen, fights for and wins on bill concerning vigilantes

Played by Annette O’Toole, who, oddly enough, played Lana Lang (see below) in the movie Superman III.
Just as strong as her husband, Martha’s characteristics generally come through in a more subtle way. For anyone familiar with the comics, Martha Kent is usually depicted as an old lady who sits at home after Clark moves out. She’s not usually developed as a character, but Smallville does a great job of carving a niche. Curious enough, Martha used to be a business mogul; she lived in Metropolis and was known as a shark in the high finance world. However, her love for Jonathan made her give up her old life and move to Smallville. She never regrets her choice, but as the show goes on, she starts to feel the pull to do something more fulfilling than tending cows.
Eventually, Jonathan decides to take up politics as he realizes that there needs to be someone with a good heart in office. After his death, (gasp! I’ll talk about that later), Martha takes on the role. She works her way up to becoming Senator and even Governor of Kansas. I wasn’t so familiar with American political titles at first, but basically, a Senator is one of two elected officials per state who votes on that which runs through the state politics, whereas a Governor is the head of a state and generally only answers to the President, in terms of rank. This is pretty amazing, Martha Kent, usually depicted as a stay-at-home mom, becomes the head of an entire state. Her strength, her passion, and conviction carries through the later seasons even when she’s less than present.
Later in the series, the American people become split on the idea of vigilantes. Whether they should be locked up or allowed to serve the greater good becomes an important question, and while I won’t get into that argument here, Martha fights for the right for heroes like Clark to help people. Toward the end of the series, when things become hectic and full of conspiracy, Martha Kent becomes a serious player in a game involving vigilantes, secret government agencies, and corporate espionage. She comes out of nowhere and is seen as the Red Queen, a character that everyone feels is running the game. Long story short, Martha’s cleverness and compassion continue to surprise throughout the series, and I really love what they did with her character.


Clark’s biological father, great scientist who foresaw his planet’s destruction and sent his child away to be safe. Represented in the show by an artificial intelligence of his own design which guides Clark.

            Jor-El has been a part of this story for a long time, however his presence and guidance has only been present since the 1970s. Made most famous by Marlon Brando in Superman (1978), Jor-El has since been seen as some sort of messianic, wizard of Oz character, speaking behind the curtain, guiding Clark. As I’ve been including some trivia for most characters, let me just say that the voice of Jor-El in Smallville is provided by Terrence Stamp, who played Zod in Superman II. For anyone unfamiliar with Zod, basically, he was the lead general of Krypton and a very bad guy.
            Speaking of which, I heard a rumour from a friend of mine that I have not been able to validate, that the creators of the show thought Jor-El was in fact Zod, in the sense that Jor-El was supposed to be a villain to Clark. I don’t think it’s actually true, as you don’t tackle a story like this without doing your homework, but I will admit that, in the beginning, Jor-El is not a very nice guy.
            Jor-El’s involvement starts as a mere voice echoing from the spaceship which brought Clark to Earth. Telling Clark that he has a greater destiny, he pressures Clark and even threatens him. Obviously, at first, Clark sees Jor-El as an enemy; a dead, estranged father, with plans quite unlike his own. However, Jor-El is not content to just whisper and begins tampering with Clark’s life, even punishing him to make his lessons clear.
This show was all about exploring Clark's background and he needed a conduit, a link, to his home planet. And Jor-El has been present in Superman comics since the beginning, but Jor-El is a hard character to relate to and you really have to watch the entire show before you can understand him, and his ways. In fact, the first few times he is portrayed in the show, you wonder if he really is here to help his son. Through the show, he constantly tests Clark (an interesting analogy to Lionel Luthor as seen later) and his will and decisions are often absolute without compassion or compensation. Jor-El causes a lot of pain in Clark's life, and all in the name of helping him.
One example is that Jor-El warns that someone will have to die before Clark can move on to accepting his destiny. It’s one thing to say that people might die in his quest, but to actually say someone will die and to be so specific, comes across as a threat, as opposed to a warning. Halfway through season 5, Clark decides to tell Lana Lang his secret, against Jor-El’s warning. For more on her character, see below. Lana then suffers a fatal accident causing Clark to wish he had never told her. He begs Jor-El to somehow make it right, to take it back, and Jor-El gives him a do-over, sending Clark back in time to before he told Lana. He then avoids telling her and it’s Jonathan Kent who then dies.
It’s a terrible tragedy in the show, but what makes it worse for me is that Jor-El seemed to know it was going to happen, and actually seemed to make it happen. I understand having to tell a hero that his path will be a lonely one, but Jor-El comes across no better than Lionel Luthor, pushing his son to pursue his destiny no matter the consequences. Perhaps this was done intentionally, to draw a comparison and strengthen the similarities between Lex and Clark, but I found it hard to handle at times. Jor-El wants his son to protect the people of Earth, yet he nearly tortures his son and the people he loves to force Clark to accept his destiny. It’s not until the end of the show that you can really understand Jor-El, but even so, Clark never really likes him, and while making Clark abandon his heritage in order to better embrace humanity can be a good thing, I would have preferred that he not think so poorly of his origins.

Lionel Luthor

Business mogul, father to Lex Luthor (see below). At first, seen as an evil, corporate type, enemy to people like Clark; later takes on a greater role.

Lionel Luthor was a character created just for the show Smallville. At first, his presence is simply to be the father and the reason for Lex Luthor’s destiny. For the first few seasons, we see him as cold, calculating, and conniving. Not only in his attitude do we not trust him, but it never helped that you could practically hear Jonathan Kent growling whenever Lionel’s name was mentioned or whenever he made an appearance. Even with his calculating nature, at times you feel like you understand Lionel. He may be an unloving father, but he is doing his best to teach his son the ways of the business world. It doesn’t make his behaviour right, but it does give a more human connection to his character rather than seeing him as purely evil. Also, with all the super-powered people running around this universe, Lionel’s ability to know things seems to be super-human in nature. He discovers Clark’s abilities and origins way before anyone else, and he constantly seems to know what everyone is doing at all times. As Lex becomes more conspiring later in the series, Lionel actually seems to become a willing ally for Clark. Obviously, no one trusts him right away, but the fact is he helps Clark quite often, no matter his ulterior motives. Eventually, as Jor-El’s influence becomes more prominent, we see an unlikely allegiance between Lionel and Jor-El.  
A little more than halfway through the series, Jor-El seems to know that Clark’s destiny is at stake, so he basically downloads his consciousness into Lionel. This interaction gives Lionel the insight to see Clark for what he is. Now, Lionel had already determined Clark’s abilities, but this event filled in the gaps, and even created a bridge of understanding between him and Clark. Not to be trusted right away, he struggles to help Clark, all the while fighting the man he is, and the son he has raised. Lionel falls in love, or at least is extremely attracted to Martha Kent, and this combined with his past makes it extremely difficult to trust him. Eventually, Lex’s mistrust drives him to murder Lionel, but not before Clark finally sees Lionel as a changed man, a good man in the end.
Lionel’s character arc is interesting. Never fully coming over to the good side, at least not without a selfish price, Lionel is important for driving Lex’s character, for bringing Jor-El’s intentions and presence forward, and for the thoughts provoked by considering his actions. Also, John Glover is very talented at playing the bad guy, at least for awhile.

Chloe Sullivan

Friend of Clark’s, Lois Lane’s cousin, works for the Torch, then Daily Planet, then Watchtower

Chloe Sullivan was another newly created character for Smallville. In order to further ground her in the series, the show’s creators make her Lois Lane’s cousin. Her character arc is quite interesting and it's incredible what she adds to the show. As the show increased in scale, so too does her role and importance.
 At first, Chloe is seen as a friend of Clark’s, working for the high school newspaper, The Torch. Her role is pretty straightforward: the bright, energetic, informative character whose insights and investigations often lead to the main character solving the case, or saving the day. Whenever Clark needs to find out more about someone, or attempts to connect the dots between strange things happening in Smallville, Chloe’s office is the first place he looks. When Clark arrived in Kansas, as a baby aboard his spaceship (I know, sounds funny, doesn’t it?), his arrival is accompanied by a meteor shower. Chloe is the first person to attribute a link between said meteor shower and all the strange events that occur in Smallville.
Chloe always impresses us with her talents. At first, she’s a research hound, drawing together information better than anyone else in the show. Her snoopiness gets her into some trouble, but nothing too risky. Eventually, she moves on to work at The Daily Planet, the world’s foremost newspaper franchise, and interestingly enough, it’s her influence that interests Clark and Lois to reporting. Not only that, but referring to her talents again, it’s almost reality-breaking how skilled this girl is. She hacks into everything, has tech to handle almost any situation, it seems a lot to dump on one character, and if I were to be objective, I would say it’s unrealistic how connected she is.
However, Alison Mack, who plays Chloe, only improves in acting ability, and I find myself cheering her on every step of the way. The fact that she gets more and more attractive as the series progresses lends some bias to that. Chloe has a crush on Clark right from the start, and honestly, I really wanted things to work out with them, in the beginning. Instead, Clark seeks out Lana Lang, and I’ll get into why that’s so stupid later. But what adds credence to Chloe’s character is her ability to move past that, to be supportive of Clark, at any cost.
She discovers Clark’s secret, but doesn’t tell him, and doesn’t really begrudge him for not telling her. She drops some obvious hints, trying to get Clark to confess, but understands that he is trying to protect people, trying to do the right thing. She moves past any emotions she has, becoming his strongest ally and closest friend. Eventually, in the fight between government agents, the army, and vigilantes, mentioned in the story section, she becomes a major player. In fact, her love and willingness to protect Clark go a little too far sometimes; she being willing to do anything to protect him, and he not being too comfortable with that.
Additionally, Chloe helps run Watchtower, Smallville’s take on the Justice League, and it is just another amazing way she helps Clark fight for truth and justice.
All in all, she starts small, but works her way to being one of the most important people in the Smallville universe. Chloe is a major player, and the show would have suffered greatly without her. 

Lex Luthor

Business mogul. Befriends Clark and then becomes his greatest adversary

Lex Luthor is introduced as a cocky but intelligent young man, son to Lionel Luthor, mega-business mogul. Lionel is shown right away as a distant, tough-to-handle father who constantly tests and challenges his son. Lex's presence in Smallville turns out to be another trial, the result of Lionel testing Lex's ability to run even a subsidiary of LuthorCorp. Having Lex Luthor in Smallville was an interesting twist, and gave us a chance to know his character. Too often, Lex Luthor is seen as just the darkness to Superman's light, and I enjoyed this show's efforts of exploring the character of Lex, not just exhibiting his evil.
Lex’s story gets started right away with an accident that sets the scene for the rest of the show. Lex, angry at his father, speeds along the back-roads of Smallville in his Porsche. Clark, absorbed in his own world, full of drama and the high school blues, doesn't notice Lex's car spin out of control. He crashes into Clark, and both go off a bridge. Clark, unharmed of course, saves Lex.
This is the most important moment of the first season, and arguably one of the most important moments in the entire series. This is how Clark and Lex meet, and this accident is responsible for their friendship, Lex's obsession, and his inevitable betrayal. Lex is sure he hit Clark, but he can't prove it. He befriends the bumbling teenager while subconsciously envying Clark's normal life. Clark has friends, a loving family, and his seemingly only cares are those of a typical teenage boy. Lex, on the other hand, has no friends, and a father who doesn't love him, or rather treats him more as a future replacement than as a son.
Their friendship was a nice change in the show. It was great seeing Lex before he was a mega-business mogul. Michael Rosenbaum, who also did the voice of the Flash in the Justice League cartoon, dons the role well, with one part suave, one part cheeky rich boy, and one part dark and mysterious. Lex struggles with his friendship with Clark, and most of the time, it’s not Lex’s fault.
First off, his family name, Luthor, sets everyone against him. Everyone prejudges him, even with his intentions are clearly good. As mentioned, Jonathan Kent himself suspects Lex at every turn. Yes, usually Lex does have some ulterior motive, but it’s hard to be good when the whole world seems to have written you off as evil.
Secondly, Lex struggles with his father and his destiny. Lionel Luthor, Lex’s father, is constantly testing him, attempting to best him, lying to him, all in the name of preparing Lex for a greater future. Lionel sees anything other than his own plans for Lex as foolish and even tricks Lex into doing something that casts him in the wrong light.
Finally, Lex struggles with Clark’s secrets and high moral standing. The reason for the latter is obvious: Clark’s been raised by Jonathan, to follow a strong moral code and I will get into the judgemental problems with this later. For now, let’s just say that Clark often jumps the gun, and is more judgemental of Lex and of many situations than he should be. Because of this, Clark often is one of the first to suspect Lex of wrong-doing.
The former, that being Clark’s secrets, is again an understandable reason for a friendship to struggle. Clark feels he needs to hide his secret from everyone. Not only because he thinks people might turn on him, but also because Clark thinks someone could use his secret to harm those he loves. The problem is, Clark isn’t very good at hiding his secret at first. Lex’s collision with Clark which marked their meeting was all too obvious to Lex. Several times, Clark rushes in to save the day, and barely escapes Lex’s notice or suspicion. Additionally, Clark seems hesitant to share his obvious feelings for Lana Lang, (see below) and this causes Lex to question his motives. Strange things surround Clark, and Lex’s obsessive personality cause him to search deeper and deeper, driving him and Clark further and further apart.
 Eventually, Clark and Lex stop being friends, and Lex’s schemes become grander as he begins to accept his destiny. Lex worries about the possibility of invasion by powerful beings, beings capable of explaining all the strange occurrences in Smallville. His concern and obsession grow and, eventually, Lex creates an army of Kryptonite mutants.
All of this drives a major part of the story and drama of Smallville. What I find most fascinating, though, is the downward spiral of Lex Luthor. I have a friend who believes, wholeheartedly, that Lex Luthor is not a bad guy, not an antagonist. He believes that Lex’s role is to serve as the ultimate human being, and stand against the idealistic, powerful, uncontrollable Superman. I, being a fan of Superman, do not like this opinion, but I have to admit it has times. Smallville does a fantastic job of showing how everything around Lex turns him onto his greater path, and how it can all be defended as trying to do what’s best for the human race. The problem is the question of the means justifying the end. Lex is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure a protected humanity, and if that includes murder, conspiracy, espionage, sabotage, blackmail, torture, then so be it, as long as it gets the job done. I have a hard time justifying this, but we’ve seen this debate many times in the past, and I for one have seen the benefits of both sides of the debate. I cannot say which is right, and I cannot entirely justify Lex’s actions, but it is important to note that he was not inherently evil, but rather was driven to paranoia and obsession, mostly and inadvertently by Clark.

Lana Lang

Friend, and love interest to Clark, went to Smallville high school.
Lana Lang has been a part of Superman comics for years; there have been many comics dedicated to her relationship with Clark. The main subplot for the film Superman III, released in 1983, featured a love story between Clark Kent and Lana Lang, his high-school sweetheart. Funny enough, Annette O'Toole, who plays Martha Kent in Smallville, played Lana Lang in this film. Usually, Lana Lang is seen as a high-school friend of Clark’s, who falls in love with him. Clark usually reveals his secret to her, saying the world needs him, and moves away, leaving her at the very least, heartbroken, and at most, extremely bitter.
            True to form, Smallville turns things upside-down, featuring Clark as the one who falls for Lana. Initially, besides a pull at Clark’s heartstrings, Lana’s presence in the show is to provide a seed for the guilt Clark later feels by his own existence and arrival to Earth. Lana’s parents were killed by some meteorites that fell when Clark arrived. Her character is very vulnerable and a little angry because of this tragic event, and Lana’s main affect in the early part of the series is to make Clark feel extremely happy and sad at the same time.
            I had heard some good things about Kristen Kreuk, who plays Lana, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Perhaps the character overshadowed her ability as an actress, as I ended up not liking Lana very much. I will have to admit that she played the part admirably, it is just unfortunate how her part played out.
            So, the show starts, as many youth dramas do, in high school. Clark is seen as a bumbling teenager, being most awkward when the beautiful brunette, Lana Lang, is around. (The fact that she has a Kryptonite necklace doesn't help) Their friendship grows, and Lana usually ends up playing the damsel in distress. I don’t know what it was about this show which drew me to Chloe so much more than Lana, but I can tell you that most people I know who watch Smallville can agree that Lana needs to go away and Clark needs to be with Chloe. Perhaps, it’s because of Chloe’s more interesting and perhaps compatible character. Perhaps, it has something to do with the trouble Lana inadvertently puts Clark through. Either way, I honestly can say that I yelled at my screen more than once because of Lana.
            Eventually, Lana Lang grows up and toughens up as a character. Suspicious of Lex Luthor, she begins to investigate him and even play his cat-and-mouse game. The tension and drama build as her feelings go back and forth between Clark and Lex. Eventually, in an attempt to protect Clark and destroy Lex, Lana goes on a girl-power training adventure which makes her a pretty dangerous character. Lex, however, wins in the end, forcing Lana and Clark to part ways forever.
            I guess it’s supposed to be sad, but honestly, I had moved past Lana and was far too interested in Lois Lane at this point. That’s mean to say, but it’s the truth.

Lois Lane

Chloe’s cousin, reporter at The Daily Planet,

            For anyone familiar with the Superman mythos, you’ll know Lois Lane. She’s the Juliet to Clark’s Romeo, and she has been a part of the story since the very beginning. Certain traits are almost always present in the character of Lois. She’s headstrong, determined to get to the truth of things, works hard, and moves fast. I don’t mean she has super speed, I just mean that she embodies the busy atmosphere that is the urban, and Clark often feels more like a farmboy in comparison.
            We first meet Lois in Smallville, the town itself, rather than in Metropolis, as we are accustomed. Cousin to Chloe, Lois’(s) arrival to Smallville comes about because she needs to finish some high school classes, having never finished as she moved from place to place as an army brat.
            Lois adds a lot of energy to the show. The actress, Erica Durance, has starred in a few other things, but it was my first time seeing her. Still, Lois Lane is not an easy character to portray, and usually she comes across as either too bossy, too naive, or paradoxically as too vulnerable. This vulnerability comes about because Lois eventually becomes the damsel in distress and the audience, in previous renditions, gets a little frustrated at Lois’(s) carefree attitude, walking into danger because she knows Superman will save her.
            Contrary to previous versions, Lois does not start out wanting to be a reporter here in Smallville. Instead, her curiosity and obsession with getting to the truth about things causes her cousin Chloe to suggest she go into journalism. Pursuing this, Lois eventually moves to Metropolis and, like everyone else it seems, works for The Daily Planet. Eventually, she teams up with Clark Kent and we get to see the chemistry play itself out again.
            Lois doesn’t really undergo a character arc. She starts out as a headstrong, independent truth-seeking character, and that doesn’t really change. However, her character is not only interesting, but essential to the mythos. For one, Lois takes on the role of the one who cuts-to-the-chase. She is bold, and blunt, but often asks the questions we are all wondering, and it’s nice to not see someone being entirely clueless. Additionally, the show’s creators did a wonderful job of keeping the secret of Clark’s secret identity hidden; she never having seen the face of her hero until she discovers the truth anyway.
            Finally, Lois is essential to Clark Kent. As they mention in the show, she grounds him, but also pushes him to become the man he needs to be. She inspires him to push for truth and justice, while at the same time, reminding him of what and for whom he is fighting. Erica Durance meets all these requirements well, and did a fantastic job, actually the best I’ve seen so far, of portraying Lois Lane and, well, she is quite nice to look at, there is that too, haha.

Clark Kent

You should probably know who he is by now.

            The character of Clark Kent has remained more or less consistent over the years, usually coming across as bumbling, humble, and mild-mannered. As is common to many comic book heroes, the persona of Clark Kent is an act; a meek persona meant to throw everyone off of the hero within. In the television show, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Dean Cain, who played Clark, decided to make the role a little more confident. Strong, but disarmingly kind, Cain’s Clark managed to successfully throw people off track without compromising his strength, without compromising his character. An interesting critique of the character of Clark Kent is given in Kill Bill 2, and I’ve provided it here. Bill's critique on Clark Kent
            In Smallville, there is no need for a disguise, at least not in the beginning. The show is about Clark, not about Superman, so we get a great chance to get to know what he is really like.
            First thing I have to tell you is that I didn’t like Clark for a long time. He’s stupid, he’s a liar, and he’s quick to judge. It takes a long time for Clark to discover himself and a long time for me to like him.
            Let’s tackle the stupidity. Clark Kent/Superman has always been seen as a little foolish, especially in comparison to other heroes. Superman has so many powers and is so nearly invincible that, often, making him a little foolish is the only way the comic/television writers can make their hero not so perfect. You know the saying about fools rushing in? Well, Clark rushes in. That’s his M.O. The second Clark hears of some trouble, he runs in with no thought to himself, ready to save the day. He then rushes out and later has to cover up any suspicions that anyone has. Now, rushing in, and caring only for the safety of others is all well and good, and honestly an admirable trait, but rarely having the wherewithal to make sure a trap isn’t set for his arrival, well that just bothers me. Clark has telescopic, microscopic, X-ray and several other types of vision and yet he rarely sees trouble ahead of time, falling for many traps. Like I said before, his bravery is admirable, but it’s a fine balance between courage and foolishness, and one which the writers struggle to achieve, not just in Smallville, but with Superman comics in general. So, stupidity is almost forgivable here.
            Clark is a liar. He has to be. Without lies, people would find out his secret and either ruin his life, or harm those about whom he cares. In Superman, the eponymous hero said he never lied. I hate that line. It, in itself, was a lie, and like I said, lies are necessary for a vigilante. However, you combine Clark’s lies with his stupidity and you get issues. Clark’s lies push people away from him, which isn’t too bad in itself, a hero’s journey being a lonely one. But Clark’s lies are usually so weak, so foolish, that he causes more trouble than was necessary. Clark’s haphazard attempts at explaining himself, where he was, or what a logical and non-super-powered explanation would be for the events around him are so terrible at times that I actually shouted at the screen. His lies cause him to break up and seriously hurt Lana Lang, a girl he loves for a long time, and they are a great driving force in making an enemy out of Lex Luthor. Like I said, lies are a necessary evil, as it were, in the superhero business, but Clark’s lies are so bad that he really hurts the people he loves. I guess this complaint is a silly one, especially since as the series continues Clark gets better at it. I guess it’s a part of his character development and necessary to give Clark a weakness, but it was a little annoying to watch.
            Finally, Clark is quick to judge. Unlike his lying and stupidity, this is not a necessary character trait, in my opinion. Superman is always rash and impulsive, and while he may jump to conclusions a little quickly, he rarely does so with the speed and absolute conviction as seen in Smallville. Throughout the series, as soon as Clark gets any inkling that someone is up to no good, he immediately rushes in with that assumption and it takes a lot of convincing and proof to convince him otherwise. Perhaps, this is due to Jonathan Kent’s quick mistrust of the Luthors, but either way, it’s a little frustrating. I guess it’s all a part of his character arc, as it does become less and less of a problem later in the series, but it is a frustrating part of his character through which I feel the audience has to suffer.
            But, of course, it’s not all bad. Clark’s bravery, compassion, determination, and humanity come through over the course of the show, and the trip, while long, is worth it. The faults I mentioned earlier, add to his character, and while a little frustrating at times, add to the depth and complexity of all that is Clark Kent. As the show progresses, we see Clark overcome his character weaknesses and become the man he wants to be, the Man of Steel. The last season especially shows Clark becoming a man, capable, confident, compassionate, and Tom Welling, virtually unknown to me before this series, does a fantastic job. His ability to show the depth of the character, the contradiction of emotional strength and weakness, and the paradoxical juxtaposition of humane and alien values is what has always drawn me to the character, and as I’ve said before, Tom Welling does a great job of delivering.

Comparison to classic Superman – including similarities, differences, what I liked and didn’t

            By now, you have read, or skimmed, many of my comments concerning the comparison of this show to the usual Superman mythos. I will sum them all up here.
            The origin story is exactly the same, with Clark arriving on Earth as a baby, sent from a devastated advanced alien world. However, the key difference is that this show explores Clark’s youth, and how he became the Man of Steel.
            One interesting twist was the intermediary step Clark takes before becoming Superman. As Clark moves to Metropolis and begins helping people on a larger scale, he earns the nickname The Blur. As you can imagine, the nickname is earned due to the fact that Clark speeds in, saves the day, and then zooms out before anyone can see him clearly. Like most good nicknames, it starts small and then sticks. It is a great way for Clark to try his hand at being a hero, without going into the spotlight. This allows Clark’s actions to build a repertoire with the people of Metropolis, and for Clark to not have the constant pressure of heroism weighing upon him. Ultimately, however, he realizes that his actions are not enough. That the world is looking for some inspiration and that they cannot get that from an unseen hero. It takes awhile for Clark to realize this, and appreciate it, but by the end of the show, he steps into the spotlight as Superman, embracing his destiny.
Another exciting thing about Smallville is the opportunity to learn the origins of certain things. Clark's powers, for example, provide an interesting, and often humorous, basis for episodes. In the beginning of the show, Clark has super-speed and super-strength. As mentioned earlier, Clark getting hit by a car demonstrates that his strength extends to his body's toughness. While in gym class, Clark becomes distracted and suddenly discovers he can see through walls, a bit humorous and creepy as the first thing he sees is the inside of the girl's locker room. In a later episode, his heat vision arises from his becoming sexually attracted to a hot teacher, which sounds odd, but was handled well in the show. His frost breath (I know, too many powers, too many silly names) arises from a Kryptonian virus weakening him and giving him a cold, and his sneeze blows the barn door off. It's not only an interesting and somewhat exciting element of the show to follow his path and discover his powers with him, it's nice when his powers seem to have some kind of explanation, or at least a reason as to how Clark knows he has said abilities.
            Flight, as usual, is saved for last, and it took me awhile to find out why, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the show handled it. In the regular story, Clark discovers he can fly either through guidance by Jor-El, or just by accident after his turns 18. In this show, his inability to fly is a major problem for him and is mentioned quite often as the show progresses. When several cloned Kryptonians appear, they can all fly, and it bothers Clark as to why he cannot. As it turns out, and is mentioned toward the end of the series, Clark’s inability to fly is psychological and a result of his close relationship with humans. He has always seen himself as one of us, or at least tried to, and so something in his mind was blocking his ability to fly, to go to that one extreme beyond mere homo sapiens sapiens. It might seem a little silly, I mean, Clark can stop bullets, run faster than them, shoot heat from his eyes, etc., so why should he struggle with one more amazing power, but on the other hand, it kind of makes sense, and provides an interesting character development later in the show. Not to mention some sort of explanation which had been lacking in the past.
In the final episode of the show, Clark finally realizes who he is, and accepts both sides of his heritage. In a typical final-episode-montage, Clark realizes all the struggles, all the trials, everything was building to this moment, guiding Clark to become the man he needed and truly wanted to be. It was quite cathartic and somewhat epic, to finally get there, and really makes the effort of watching the entire series worth it.
I said somewhat earlier because that’s what it was: somewhat epic. There is a problem with this show which I will go into now. The show builds the tension and the drama and raises expectations to such a point that when it finally tackles the big issues, it’s not as epic as it should be, for all that time and interest invested. Two good examples of this are the fights Clark has with Doomsday and with Darkseid.
            Doomsday, in the comics, is basically an alien epitome of survival of the fittest. He cannot be truly killed as he regenerates, and every time he is killed, his body regenerates to be stronger than before. In 1993, Superman’s fight with Doomsday brings about both their deaths, in one of the most amazing and emotional moments in Superman comics.
            So, Doomsday, kind of a big deal. In season 8, the threat of Doomsday looms over everything. We, the audience, are basically told that Clark is going to have to fight Doomsday, and the characters struggle over Clark’s intention of not killing him. This was going to be it, I said, this was going to be a live-action super-fight of epic proportions. Nope. The fight between Clark and Doomsday lasted for 30 seconds, and the only cool thing about it was that Clark tackled him into an explosion.
            All that lead up, all that emotional build-up, waiting and needing to be released through an epic last stand, never happened. I’m not saying violence is needed, or necessarily cool. But, when you spend an entire season painting someone as a threat, you really have to follow through with showing this threat, and with having a fight between the villain and the hero which shows how dangerous the villain is and how tough the success is for the hero. Without doing so, not only do you bore your audience, but you make it seem as if you lied to us by exaggerating the threat in the first place. Additionally, we fail to see the hero rise and display just how powerful they are, instead we see their victory as too easy, as less than meaningful.
            Now, I might be over-analyzing this, might be over-analyzing the entire show, hence the 8000 word critique, but I think this is an important element that most Superman renditions are missing. Without showcasing the difficulty in overcoming hardship, we fail to see the hero as heroic.
            Plus, it didn’t just happen once. Like I said before, the Darkseid fight was lame. The entire last season of Smallville heralded an inevitable fight between Darkseid and Clark. Darkseid, in the comics, is the ruler of another planet, who treats his subject like less than dirt, and honestly wants to kill everything to restart the universe, thinking it would be better that way. He is a tough foe, and Superman barely stands toe-to-toe with him. In Smallville, Darkseid is more like an evil spirit, one who threatens to overshadow the Earth making everyone his slave. Okay, threat seems real enough. Everyone warning or praising Darkseid’s impending arrival makes it seem like he’s nigh-unstoppable. Clark worries and plans for this encounter.
            In the end, one punch from Darkseid literally sends Clark flying, as he is hurtled through the air, that’s when Clark has the sudden “I can fly” montage mentioned earlier. He then flies right through Darkseid, again showing himself more as a spirit, and then Clark pushes Apokolips, Darkseid’s invading world, into space. Not only was this not amazing at all to me, I had seen it before, the whole pushing the large object thing is not only commonplace for Superman, it was done in Superman Returns. Not to mention that one brisk flyby should not be enough to destroy Darkseid and end his threat. I guess his newly discovered flight confused Darkseid and that plus his ability to inspire led to people shedding the darkness that was in their hearts thus saving the day.
            Balderdash! (Sorry, just watched A Christmas Carol) But seriously, really? I wanted something more, I wanted a struggle which would finally show Clark to have matured and be ready to don the cape and be the Man of Steel. I wanted an enemy so tough that even I would doubt Clark’s ability to come through. Nope. Didn’t get it. I have a lot of concerns over the upcoming Man of Steel movie, but I will give them extra points if they can create a villain and feature a fight awesome enough for me to care.
            Just for a quick recap and iteration, consider these two fights. Superman vs. Darkseid from the Justice League and Superman vs. Doomsday in Smallville The first is the last part of the Justice League cartoon, and features a fight between Superman and Darkseid. The second is the entirety of Clark fighting Doomsday in Smallville. Please watch, and note the epic difference. Sure, one’s animated which makes some things easier, but honestly, what Superman says is more epic to me than how he acts in that scene, it’s not the special effects, but the special effect that the hero has which makes the first scene great, and the second one lame, in my opinion.

...and that’s it. That’s all of my ranting and raving over Smallville. Thanks for reading. I’m sorry that this got out of hand, but I think I was able to provide you with some interesting things to think about. If you did happen to read all of this, I am extremely proud of you and would appreciate if you told me you did so, so I may congratulate you more and ask your opinion.

Thanks for reading!