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Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
Glen Weldon (Author)
A celebration of Superman's life and history - in time for his 75th birthday. How has the Big Blue Boy Scout stayed so popular for so long? How has he changed with the times, and what essential aspects of him have remained constant? This fascinating biography examines Superman as a cultural phenomenon through 75 years of action-packed adventures, from his early years as a social activist in circus tights to his growth into the internationally renowned demigod he is today.
Hardcover: 352 pages
Hello fellow Superman fans!
This is my first time ever trying to review something for a website, so please feel free to comment about this when you are through if you would like. I take full responsibility for the comments which you will read in this review about the DVD box set of "Smallville: Season 4".
Before I begin, let me introduce myself. I am a little weary about Internet security, so I will not give you my real name. The administrators know my name via e-mails and Private Messages I have sent in the past. And since they are the ones who run this site, I feel it is only fair that since they let me become a member of the Superman Homepage, I let them know who I am. Please don't feel offended, but I just feel more comfortable typing my feelings out on the Internet for the entire world to see in this manner.
For those who would like to just send me a message about this review, my alias is ARM. You may reach me by sending a "Private Message" to that name on this site. As some members who I have sent Private Messages to in the past know, I am normally very good at returning your message if something is asked of me, or I feel the conversation on the topic has not fully ended.
Lastly before the results of my review, I would like to acknowledge the people who have made this review possible. Without them, I never would have considered doing this.
First, I would like to thank Barry Freiman, who noticed my message on the comments board regarding the DVD review of "Smallville: Season 5", and challenged me to create a review for either the Season 4 or Season 2 DVD sets. Next, I would like to thank ALL the writers of the Superman Homepage, in particular: Neal Bailey; Adam Dechanel; Rebecca Cyrus; Saundra Mitchell; and Douglas Trumble, for giving me the blueprints for how to write a review. And last but not least, I would like to thank Steve Younis, who without allowing me to type up this review for his website, it never would have gotten as far as it has. OH! And you should also know that as of the typing of this review, the LATEST episode of "Smallville" I have seen is the season finale of Season 4. However, I just received Season 5 and plan on beginning to watch that in the near future.
Now that all the formalities are finished, let's start with the review for the DVD box set of "Smallville: Season 4". Shall we
Commentary: Crusade - 5 of 5: This is the first episode of Season 4, and as such, the first episode of Lois Lane and Jason Teague in "Smallville" lore. Therefore, a lot of this commentary was about Lois Lane, and Lana's relationship with Jason Teague. "Ugh!" right... Well, Lois and Jason are both new characters to the series, so for this commentary, I didn't see much of a problem of focusing on those two.
"Adding Lois really...gave the show some comedy." (Gough or Millar).
Gough and Millar DID realize that they made a mistake in getting rid of Lex's dialysis problem way too soon.
Jensen Ackles (Jason Teague in "Smallville") was the runner-up to Tom Welling for the role of Clark Kent.
Gough and Millar wanted Christopher Reeve (Dr. Swann) to give Martha Kent the black kryptonite, but Reeve couldn't do it due to health issues, so they decided to create Bridget Crosby and have Margot Kidder give Martha the black K.
Commentary: Transference - 4 of 5: For those of you who love watching John Glover on screen, this is the episode for you. Bad Clark Kent is nice to see also. I haven't seen Welling NOT pull that off yet.
This story was in the works since Season 1. The creators didn't use it until Season 4, because they thought it just fit in Season 4 better than Season 1.
Glover gives some good insight about his working relationship with Michael Rosenbaum.
Glover did his own stunts for this episode, and actually left his own blood on the set from the final prison battle.
This would have been given a 5 of 5 rating, but Glover compared Lana Lang to Audrey Hepburn. That just didn't fit right with me. She was barely in the episode to begin with.
Commentary: Spell - 1 of 5: As much as some people may have thought this episode was the "jump the shark" episode, and while I agree the episode wasn't the best one, it wasn't the worst either. While it was a little quirky, it did help advance the main storyline of Season 4. But the commentary for Spell barely did anything to help give insight into the making of the episode.
There were lines in the script of Spell that even the actresses themselves did NOT want to say on screen.
Erica Durance herself stated the following: "(Laughing) I'm not in much of this show...Just smile Erica, don't talk." (She DID sound happy about that, in a sarcastic way).
At least, from the sounds of things, the actresses had fun doing this episode.
There is a little information about either a deleted scene (which is NOT in the deleted scenes for this episode), or an extension of the "Lexana" near the end of this episode. (Neal's term, not mine).
Deleted Scenes - 3 of 5 Overall:
Gone: 3 of 5
It fills a big plot hole about how Lana found out that Chloe was alive. There is also a great shot of the women in Clark Kent's past, present, and future (assuming you use a combination of "Superman Comics" and "Smallville" continuity). Other than that, it doesn't enhance the episode that much.
Facade: 4 of 5
These scenes show a nice mother/daughter relationship from the past to help the beginning of the episode, and show off Clark Kent's investigative instincts.
Devoted: 2 of 5
This is a nice little Lana and Jason scene, but it probably would have done better with "Facade". It also does NOT explain how Jason got back to normal. But this was just a slight hiccup in the DVD set, so it earns a point for that.
Jinx: 5 of 5
This is probably the best "Clana" (another term I'm borrowing) I've ever seen, and it should definitely have been in the episode. Not only does it really, really fit in with the whole Clark and football storyline, but the dialogue is well written, and Welling and Kreuk capture the emotions between Clark and Lana extremely well in this scene. I wanted to give this scene a 6, but the Superman Homepage rating scale only goes up to a 5.
Spell: 4 of 5
There are three scenes with this episode. One involves interaction between Martha and Clark, which is nice to see. Another explains how Jason and Lana stayed together after Isobel (and did NOT need to be seen.)
Finally, for all of those people who wondered how the cave incident was explained by Clark to the girls, there is a deleted scene that sort of explains how Clark explained the cave to Lois and Chloe. It was nice to see that the writers actually did write that scene in. It probably was time constraints though that kept that scene from making the final cut.
Bound: 3 of 5
My notes read: "Do you remember the 'Calamity Jane' cop from Season 2 (I can't think of the character's name :-[ )." Well, as of this episode in the season, I really don't recall seeing that cop, but Sheriff Adams reappeared out of the blue in a later episode.
Anyways, this scene could have used Sheriff Adams instead of Lex's lawyer. It probably would have had the same effect.
Scare: 3 of 5
There was a scene with Lionel in the prison which seemed to have VERY religious undertones to it. It would have received a 4 rating, because it really enhanced Lionel's story since "Transference" up to that point. It got a 3 because it really didn't help "Scare" that much; however, fear is mentioned.
Also, the nightmare Lex had that was IN the episode was really awesome. But since it used a lot of past footage, I thought the deleted scene nightmare was better. It was creepy, disturbing, and also a slight delight to see, all at the same time. The delight is because it continued to explore the Julian storyline. The storyline about Julian Luthor was used a lot during Season 3 though. So having this scene probably would have been overkill, and a definite "jump the shark" moment of the series. I still gave this individual scene a 4 though.
Unsafe/Pariah: 3 of 5
(These scenes were under "Pariah" only. But seeing as how "Pariah" was the second part of a midseason two-part episode, I included "Unsafe" in the evaluation of these deleted scenes).
There were three deleted scenes. One showed Alicia and Clark going to Karaoke Night, but I think Lois' reaction at the Talon served the episode better. One was a Lana/Jason moment (which I have now dubbed a "Lason" because they have gotten completely annoying). And one scene reminded me of "Metamorphosis". (Season 1: Episode 2. Another midseason two-part episode). It reminded me of the scene between Lana, Whitney, and "Bugboy". That scene was really good. Only the deleted scene in "Jinx" topped it for me.
Krypto: 3 of 5
One deleted scene was actually used later within the episode in a slightly different setting. And Jane Seymour is a good actress, but she is no Michael Rosenbaum.
Sacred: 4 of 5
This is the first deleted scene in "Smallville" I've ever seen that has NO dialogue. It's really cool, not to mention a little chilling. But if you haven't been following the episode, OR you don't know about Lex Luthor in the future, you could get really confused.
Onyx: 3 of 5
There's a nice, and somewhat spine-tingling Kent family scene, (and it involves Shelby for you dog lovers out there). There's also a nice scene that shows Lex's evil side. However, if the deleted scene with evil Lex was included within the episode, it would have hurt the hospital scene that was in the episode.
Blank: 4 of 5
There is a tiny plot hole involving Chloe that is filled with the deleted scenes. And there is a wonderful Kent family moment, which really should have been added, if not for its message, just to give Annette O'Toole and John Schneider some screen time for the episode.
Special Feature: Being Lois Lane - 5 of 5: The "Superman" comics; "The Adventures of Superman"; "The Superman movies with Christopher Reeve"; "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman"; "Superman: The Animated Series"; "Smallville". What Superman fan does not like at least one of these versions of the Man of Steel? Well, remember the age-old saying: "Behind every great man, there's a woman" Lois Lane is that woman to Superman. This feature gives viewers the viewpoints of every person, beginning with Noel Nell who played Lois Lane in the series I've mentioned above (EXCEPT Teri Hatcher). Hatcher's viewpoint on Lois Lane is missing, but this is still a great feature for Superman fans in general, NOT JUST "Smallville" fans.
Special Feature: Behind Closed Doors: Inside the Writer's Room - 2 of 5: I've got to give the DVD makers credit for having the title of this feature be what the feature is. Other than that, the feature isn't much. It's a bunch of interviews with the writing team (and some actors and actresses of the show), about what the writers do on a normal basis, with some actual footage of the writing team in the writing room. I've seen interviews like this on DVD sets of "Smallville" since the set for Season 2. It's nice to see things like this on a DVD, but when you have the same feature over and over, it gets kind of boring. Hence the low rating.
Overall - 4 of 5: Season 4 wasn't exactly the best season that "Smallville" had to offer. But this DVD set helped explain a lot of the inconsistency of Season 4. As with most of everything, the DVD set had its ups, and its downs. But this is still a nice thing, not only to have, but also to watch for Superman fans.