Thursday, October 09, 2003

The Case Of The Missing Plot: Smallville and Angel

Okay, so that wasn't it.

Smallville angered me today. I'm growing quite fond of the show, even though it concerns Superman, quite possibly my least favourite comic character (closely followed by Captain America-see a pattern?). I thought the first season was pretty awful, but the second season was pretty strong. Still no replacement for Buffy at its best, but still pretty good.
Tonight, they dealt with last week's silly ending quite quickly, which is good, as it was quite silly. Meg points out that the reason they did it was so they could smash up lots of stuff this week, which they did. I still think if they'd done it the way I suggested (see this time last week for more), it would have been more dramatic, albeit less action-packed. Anyway, this is all beside the point. I was angered by this week's epsiode because they left out a whole chunk of the episode's plot. There are spoilers below. Only click and drag the mouse pointer if you're prepared.

Nasty gangsters have kidnapped Clark, and have tied up the lovely Kents. Lana turns up, notices these weird fellows with guns hanging about (very astute), then, quite audaciously, beats them up. These must be the worst gangsters ever. During the fight, Lana knocks one gangster onto a pitchfork, where he unsurprisingly dies. Ma Kent looks horrified. Lana bgins to cry. Cut to advertisements. We come back from advertisements. No Lana or Ma Kent or shish-kebabbed gangsters. Okay, they're teasing us with it. They'll come back to it later. Next time we see the Kents, they're having Happy Time with Clark (who has rescued himself) and Lex (who they've sort of adopted). No mention of the dead gangster in the barn. Next time we see Lana, she rides onto the farm on her horse, having left her car at the farm already when she killed the gangster. She and Clark have Sad Time. End. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GANGSTER? Did they bury him on the farm somewhere? Did the police come along and let Lana and the Kents off because they're major characters, and it just wouldn't be the done thing to have them rot in jail? And what happened to the gangster's gangster mate, the one who wasn't killed by Lana? Now I realise that they may be saving this for a future episode, but if so, surely there should have been hints about it, rather than just dropping it altogether? Weird, and frustrating.

Meanwhile, Angel featured the reintroduction of a character thought to be dead. The spoilers are all out of the bag now, and you'd have to be really dedicated to avoiding them to not know who this character is, but I'll leave it unsaid just in case (and I know I mentioned their name here a week ago). Anyway, this character steals the show, as expected, and the episode is a lightweight one, obviously deisgned to get this character back into action with the minimum of fuss. Unlike Smallville, the plot for tonight's Angel was all there, but none of it made any sense. In an attempt to make it look as if Angel, the resurrected character and a third character were all conspiring against each other, we were treated to a plot where a lack of writing ability replaced any mystery, to the extent where Angel had to explain the plot of the episode to another character, and the audience, at the end. Shoddy. But it was good to see the once-dead character back in action, even if it cheapens their death somewhat. That said, there's a definite air of desperation in Angel. The show's not doing badly, otherwise it wouldn't have been renewed, so I can only assume that it's a case of the Angel creative team worrying too much about holding onto any audience that has jumped over since the end of Buffy. As a result of this, the cast of this show are starting to resemble the Buffy gang too closely (for instance, Fred's dialogue has gone from "scatterbrained" to "just like Willow's"), and almost every scene references Buffy in some way. It's not welcoming, rather it's, as I said above, clingy and desperate.

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