Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kneel Before Zod!

Tonight marks the sixth-season premiere of the adventures of young Clark Kent, "Smallville" (CW, 8 p.m.)

One thing I've always enjoyed about Superman, in any of his film or TV adventures, is that the current project usually tips its cap to one of the previous incarnations. For example, the 1978 movie had the scene where the young Lois was riding the train with her parents when she sees the teenaged Clark outrunning the train. Lois' parents were played by Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill, the original Superman and Lois from the 1940s movies.

"Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" saw Phyllis Coates, TV's first Lois Lane, cast as Teri Hatcher's Lois' mom in an episode.

Neill, who later replaced Coates in the George Reeves' TV show, also played Lex's wife in "Superman Returns." Jack Larson, the original Jimmy Olson from that series, had a cameo as a bartender in the same film.

"Smallville" is full of actors out of Superman's past. Annette O'Toole, who plays Clark's mom, was Lana Lang in "Superman III." Terence Stamp, who played General Zod in "Superman II," provides the voice of Jor-El in the show. Superman himself, Christopher Reeve, had a memorable couple of guest appearances before his death on "Smallville" as a scientist mentor named Dr. Swann to Tom Welling's Clark. After Reeve's death, to continue that plot line, the producers cast Margot Kidder, the Lois to Reeve's Superman, as Swann's assistant Brigit. Michael Rosenbaum, "Smallville's" Lex Luthor, provided the voice of the Flash in the "Justice League" cartoons.

"Smallville" is a bit of a revisionist history of the character, combining both Golden and Silver Age mythos as well as changing some other elements from the comic book universe, but as a purist, I haven't minded much of the changes. The show started out a bit as "Buffy"-lite, but has evolved in interesting ways, especially once the character of Lois (the delightful Erica Durrance) was introduced two seasons ago.

Tonight's premiere picks up where last season ended, which General Zod back from the dead thanks to Brainiac (James Marsters) and inhabiting Lex Luthor's body. Clark has been imprisoned in the phantom zone and Metropolis lies in ruins.

The sixth season promises to have a lot of punch, with other DC heroes introduced in previous episodes such as Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash joining with Clark. Green Arrow will also be introduced this season.

OTHER HEROES: If "Smallville" hasn't given you enough of a superhero fix, NBC's "Heroes" has gotten a lot of positive buzz and good ratings in its debut this week. If you heard about the show but missed it on Monday or Tuesday, fear not. NBC's sister stations Sci-Fi is re-running the pilot on Friday at 7 p.m., while USA will re-run it Monday night at 11 p.m. (so you will have to tape episode 2 that night on NBC and watch the pilot first).

For what it's worth, a lot of people around The Telegraph's office have been talking about it the past few days, with very positive comments, so it's not just me praising the show.

THURSDAY'S BEST BET: One of last season's best, if unheralded, new shows was "Supernatural" (CW, 9 p.m.) which survived the demise of the WB. The show, which stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki, involves two brothers who chase down demons for a living, sometimes with their dad (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of "Grey's Anatomy" fame).

Last season ended with the Big Bad demon they have chased all their life possessing the body of the dad. All three were traveling in a car when it was t-boned by an 18-wheeler. Who survived? Is the demon still in charge? Tonight's premiere will hopefully answer some of those questions.

You also can't go wrong with "My Name is Earl" and "The Office" (NBC, 8-9 p.m.), TV's best hour of comedy. On "Earl," Joy has to ask for Catalina's help. It's part two of a continuing storyline that revolves around Joy's arrest last week. On "The Office," newly hired Ryan goes on a sales trip with Dwight.

Also making it's debut tonight is "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 8 p.m.), which wasn't previewed because of ABC's policy of leaving me off its screener list. No new show over the summer got more advance positive buzz than "Betty" did. Based on a popular Spanish-language soap opera and produced by Salma Hayek, it stars America Ferrera in the title role.

Oh, and based on the ads, "Survivor" (CBS, 8 p.m.) is apparently ending its social experiment/race war and merging the tribes. Someone will have to tell me how that works out for them.

1 comment:

Zodin2008 said...

I realize (right now) I am one of the only people who posts in here but you really don't have to make people kneel to me...but it's much appreciated. :-)

seriously though, the "Smallville" season premier was excellent and I can't wait to further delve into season 6.

As for "Supernatural", I am only going to say this to actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan: STAY AWAY FROM HOSPITALS, PAL!!! He seems to keep dying there.