BabyBoomers have a lifelong connection and fascination with "Superman." Just ask any of them.
They read the comic books non-stop in their childhood and watched the original TV series starring George Reeves over and over in syndication.
Although they put their obsession away when the psychedelic movement hit America in 1967, it would be revived again when the major "Superman" movie series with Christopher Reeve revived their enthusiasm in the late 1970's.
In 1961, a pilot of "Superboy," the Adventures Of Superman when he was a boy, never sold and never made it as a TV series.
In 1988, a "Superboy" series from Disney/MGM made its debut in syndication and even the most fanatic Superman worshipper may not even remember or realize this series ever existed.
Some would later latch on to "Lois and Clark" in the 1990's on ABC, but a new TV network, The WB, in 2001 decided to give "Superboy" its first modern cutting-edge retelling.
"Smallville" starring a cast of unknowns, and in the lead role, Tom Welling, a 6' 3" male model who couldn't have been more perfect in the casting, was to become the ultimate weekly TV version of the "Superboy" legacy.
Focusing on romantic and sometimes deadly relationships between Clark Kent, Lana Lang and Lex Luthor, "Smallville" had an amazing appeal to those who were 8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58 and 68.
Compelling storylines, top-notch production values, amazing special effects for a TV show, solid acting, enchanting music (both a series score and use of commercial music) has resulted in consistent quality for a TV series that will be entering its eighth season in the fall of 2008.
I don't watch TV very often. I had been able to catch a "Smallville" episode here and there over the years. Although the episodes are self-contained, they are still part of a storyline. Each episode is connected to every other and if you don't watch every one, things can quickly not make any sense.
There was only one solution to this dilemma. This called for a "Smallvile" marathon.
Every single night for 2 months, I watched 2 episodes of "Smallville" just before going to sleep. I watched all of the 120 episodes currently available on DVD, Seasons 1-6, and was able to catch up on the entire storyline.
Amazingly, "Smallville" just continues to get more exciting and complex where most TV series are finished in retaining interest after a couple of years.
Season 7 comes out on DVD in September. That will be another 10 very late evenings.
After watching 120 episodes non-stop, some observations and thoughts naturally have come to mind.
*Smallville must have the greatest dentists in any town. Everybody in Smallville has the whitest, most beautiful, gleaming and sparkling teeth. Even the villain of the week and various freaks of the week all have the most gorgeous bright and white teeth.
*On many episodes, average people have developed amazing powers and supernatural abilities, and have demonstrated these in front of many eyewitnesses including law officers. Other than local news articles posted on Chloe's "Wall of Weird," why hasn't the U.S. government set up shop in town to investigate this?
*We never see Clark, Lana and Chloe in class. They are always involved in amazing, bigger-than-life adventures, yet it is implied that they still attend Algebra class and AP English. If you've seen the show you'll know what I mean. The two cannot exist side by side.
*In just a few weeks time, Lana is a vampire, a 17th-Century witch, has her body taken over by others, escapes death numerous times, actually dies and is revived, winds up in the hospital numerous times (to be covered later), has premonitions and other highly traumatic events. By now, Lana would be a nutcase. She would have commited herself to a psychiatric institution. But every week she is back smiling as if nothing ever happened except for Clark's continuing secrecy with her. That's the only thing that bothers her. She never says, "Well, when I was a vampire a few weeks ago..."
*It is dangerous to a person's health to be friends with Clark Kent. Every episode shows the outside of Smallville Medical Center. Every major character including Clark's parents have been in the local hospital numerous times. When you catch the show once in a while or even when you see it weekly, it doesn't have the same impact. But when you watch 120 episodes in a row, you actually start laughing because it becomes a farce. The characters spend more time at Smallville Medical Center than they do at home or school or work.
It's clear that this started becoming ridiculous even to the producers and writers.
In Season 5 or 6, they offer a tongue-in-cheek response--although delivered dramatically.
Paraphrased, Clark says to Lex (who is now hanging with Lana), "it seems that since she's been with you she's always winding up hurt or injured." Lex retorts, "And just how many times was she in the hospital when she was with you?"
*The 5th season is tremendous! Spectacular episodes and twists you'd never expect.
*There was one episode involving a blonde bombshell and a "bad" Clark Kent. It was absolutely soft-core porn--right on the screen. I was stunned. It must have been a ratings period. They only did something like this once. This is not cable. This is over-the-air TV. People of all ages, including children watch "Smallville." Had an episode like this been shown on an over-the-air station even 10 years ao, the FCC would have shut the whole network down.
*In one episode, the budget for effects must have run out. The ending scene has the camera dramtically pulling away from the Kent Farm in the scenic Kansas heartland. Problem. Mountains are clearly in the picture. There are no mountains in Kansas. The series is filmed in Canada. The mountains have always been painted out in similar scenes.
*I noticed something really unique which I did not observe when watching an episode here and there. Clark Kent ALWAYS wears combinations of red & blue, the colors he will eventually wear in his Superman outfit. He either has on a red jacket and a blue shirt, a blue jacket and a red shirt, a red plaid shirt, a blue plaid shirt or various other red and/or blue combinations. You would think that those who see him every day such as Lana, would have commented by now on his limited color fashion sense.
Hope you have enjoyed my "Smallville" thoughts.
The Power Of Music -- 4th of July Style
Burbank CA is its own city in Los Angeles and every Fourth of July they hold a grand fireworks show in a small outside theater in the back hills. It is accompanied by a Big Band orchestra. And costs about $20.00 to get in.
A few years ago, Burbank took an old 3 mile railroad track and turned it into a cemented bicycle lane in the middle of the city. The first year no more than a dozen people realized that you could see the whole fireworks show for free on the bike lane. The next year hundreds of people were standing on the bike lane to watch the free show on the 4th.
Tonight I showed up on my mp3/boom box- equipped bicycle for the event.
In advance I had prepared a 20-minute-long mp3 containing the songs In The Mood, I'm Proud To Be An American, Light My Fire and Sweet Home Alabama.
Exactly when the first firework went off in the distance, I started blasting out the medley.
As Americans, we are used to music associated with everything we do.
A fireworks show without music absolutely lacks something. And I provided the soundtrack with a synchronized recording and intentional selections.
With 25-30 people from small children to grandparents at the spot I selected on the bike path, I was taken by total surprise upon the conclusion.
First it was people coming up and thanking me for having added so much to the event.
Next was people asking to take pictures with me so they could remember the special time.
Then it was parents saying that their children wanted to take a picture with the "music man."
I was just overwhelmed. I know that music is a powerful emotional experience and has an effect on all people. And I guess when they realized that somebody took the time to add to their 4th of July experience with carefully selected songs and even show up to play "portable DJ," they wanted to show their appreciation. When some of them let me know they'll be back at the same spot next year--it was like I was in a Disney movie.
Happy 4th of July