Superman on Television


Interview with "Smallville" Executive Producer Alfred Gough

On Monday May 5th 2003, Warner Bros. held a press junket with various fan sites, enabling them to interview "Smallville" Executive Producer Al Gough. The Superman Homepage was one of these sites and what follows is a transcription from the telephone conversation/interview with Mr Gough.

Here's an introduction and explanation from interviewer Neal Bailey:

Well, hello, folks. Neal Bailey here with an interview with Al Gough. Problem is, the interview failed to tape properly, and so all I have is what I remember. Thus, the following is paraphrases of what actually occurred, so don't legally or even in any respect hold Al to any of it, hold it to me, Neal Bailey, making the claims as to what I heard, and I am human, so there may be mistakes. As I recall, however, this is pretty spot-on accurate, save common colloquialisms...

Q: What was with the "Made in Taiwan" line in the Kryptonian text shown in the "Rosetta" episode?

A: Actually, once we heard about the line, we had production check the ship, and that the line turned out to be an internet rumor, and it was never on the ship.

Q: Since Clark has done everything but swoop through the air will we see him actually take flight in the next season? If so does this mean a relaxing of the no flights portion of the "no flights, no tights" rule?

A: Clark will not fly, but he will continue to flirt with the idea. He may get as far as super-hearing, but flights is for after the show has run its course. Maybe towards the very end.

Q: We've seen one or two villains from the first season return in the second, any plans for more baddies who've come and gone like Prof. Hamilton to return again to plague the boy of steel?

A: Actually, Hamilton is dead, but it all depends upon what occurs in the planning sessions, when the writers try to come up with new ideas and incorporate ideas from the past, but expect more.

Q: Will Lex Luthor ever wholly align himself against Clark in the series, and will the historic Clark Kent/Luthor feud begin taking place in Smallville?

A: From this point on, Clark will not be fully aligned with Lex, but they won't be adversarial until another point in their lives, namely, Metropolis.

Q: Can we have a hint as to the catalyst?

A: Sorry, no. Nice try, though.

Q: Why did the people of Krypton become suddenly malevolent, like in early Byrne comics? Are you contemplating the Eradicator storyline, or is this perhaps a fake message from Clark's family... ?

A: We wanted to appeal to the ideas that we're running with in the show in terms of adolescence. Mainly, what would happen if you wanted a family, but couldn't have one, and then one was given to you, but it turned out to perhaps be not what you expected. This will culminate with the voice of Jor-El and the events you'll see in the finale.

Q: In interviews, it is hinted that Smallville could extend into college. In the comics, Superman goes off to study the world and people for a long period of time. Will this be a part of any extended Smallville seasons, should popularity continue?

A: We plan on sending some of the characters to the University of Kansas and some to Metropolis to study, depending on how things unfold. Most of the things that they see will be broadened, but limited to a college arena, should things get that far.

Q: Are there any sinister implications related to Martha's pregnancy (like she's carrying a pod person) and when will the pregnancy be resolved?

A: That will be mostly resolved in the season finale, so I'll leave it to that.

Q: We've seen some great re-imagining of classic elements of the Superman mythology in the last season. Maggie Sawyer, the Daily Planet, Red Kryptonite, even the fantastic way his heat vision is represented. Are there any other bits and pieces that you can't wait to introduce from the comics into the show?

A: Actually, those are planned as episodes come up, but it is only natural that in the next few years, as things progress more, you'll run into characters that are more familiar. Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, and Lois Lane are characters we've wanted to do, and you've probably also read that we're working towards Bruce Wayne, and we'll do these as they are apt and as we get permission from DC. Expect some mainstream villains next season.

Q: Jeph Loeb is an obvious fan favorite, getting top spots on the Wizard charts... how many episodes do you see him writing for the next season?

A: That's not determined yet, but his work is greatly appreciated. He's fantasic.

Q: Kind of a follow-up... how much does Loeb put into every episode? Is he one among many, or the primary force of plot?

A: He serves as a continuity editor, among his obvious contributions like Red and Insurgence. We use him to check that Superman is not going in a direction that doesn't make sense or is not in line with the comic books, and he's just great for that. Also, he adds the obvious element of his undying love for the character, and he contributes regularly in planning sessions, determining where each show will go next.

Q: Lots of readers ask how they might be considered for writing a plot for Smallville, or for giving ideas, even at no cost, to be reviewed. Is there any forum for this within the production of the show?

A: Actually, no. While we understand that Star Trek and other shows allow viewers to submit ideas, the legal department basically sends any submissions back for legal reasons, like lawsuits and idea theft. Sorry.

Q: Last question... any chance that anyone else associated with Smallville might want to be interviewed, because we, the fans, love talking to people associated with this show we love... and by the way, thank you ever so much for giving us this opportunity...

A: You're welcome, and definitely. The cast is on hiatus right now, but as the opportunity rises we will make more interviews available.