The Bearded Awesome

TV/Media Commentary and Societal Insights. With a Beard.

Buffy Already Did It, Part 1: Smallville’s Final Season

It’s common knowledge among our generation that Buffy the Vampire Slayer played a big role in the development of TV series.  If you’re a moderate TV buff, or have visited TV Tropes even once (seriously, there’s a Buffy reference on almost every page) you’re probably aware that many tropes in current serialized genre shows–Big Badshalf arc seasonsweirdness sensorsChekhov’s gunsheavy continuity–were either invented or popularized by Buffy.  Even if you don’t like it, you can’t deny the impact it’s had on how we watch TV.

Unsurprisingly on shows within the same genre or airing on the same network, there’s bound to be even more similarities in plot structures, characters, etc. Sometimes, though, the similarities and parallels border on eerie.  Surely the writers might have similar genre shows in the back of their heads, but at a certain point it just seems weird.  Two shows specifically brought me to writing this up, both of which are cult genre shows that originated on The WB Network–Smallville andSupernatural.  

 I’ll be spotlighting Supernatural in the next entry, but today I’ll be comparing the final seasons of Smallville and Buffy.  Read it after the jump!


 

Smallville was clearly inspired by Buffy from the start; an outcast teen with a huge destiny and great powers grows up in a town where strange things happen, and that teen is the only one who can stop them, all the while facing the trials, soap and melodrama of high school and young adulthood.  By season 10, its last season, Smallville had grown far away from the “Superman meets Dawson’s Creek” idea.  And while you’d expect known final seasons of shows to be similar structurally (bringing old characters back, references to the first season, etc.), there are similarities between Buffy season 7 and Smallville season 10 that are just damn weird.

Buffy: There’s fairly even dissension among fans about season 7; some strongly disliked the season for character derailment, uneven storylines, failure to properly execute the Big Bad, and an unsatisfying conclusion, while others believed it was an improvement over the equally polarizing season 6 and had a fantastic conclusion.

Smallville: There’s fairly even dissension among fans about season 10; some strongly disliked the season for character derailment, uneven storylines, failure to properly execute the Big Bad, and an unsatisfying conclusion, while others believed it was an improvement over the equally polarizing season 9 and had a fantastic conclusion.

Buffy: A key plot point was Buffy’s return to Sunnydale High, where the early seasons of the show primarily took place and was destroyed during the students’ graduation in “Graduation Day, Part 2.”

Smallville: A key plot point was Clark’s return to Smallville High, where the early seasons of the show primarily took place and was (mostly) destroyed during the students’ graduation in “Commencement.”

Buffy: The Big Bad of season 7 is The First Evil, a non-corporeal entity made of CGI that takes on the forms of other people (including Buffy’s friends), feeds on the evil within people and is clearly stated to be evil incarnate.

Smallville: The Big Bad of season 10 is Darkseid, a non-corporeal entity made of CGI that possesses other people (including Clark’s friends), feeds on the evil within people and is clearly stated to be Lucifer himself.

Buffy: The First was accidentally brought to Earth by the Scoobies because it entered our dimension due to repercussions from the resurrection spell the previous season.

Smallville: Darkseid was accidentally released by Clark because he entered our dimension through the Kandorian portal the previous season.

Buffy: The minions of The First: Caleb and the Turok-Hans, are introduced as incredibly powerful beings who will be formidable opponents, only to be very easily dispatched in the final episode, a major complaint and point of confusion for many fans.

Smallville: The minions of Darkseid: Granny Goodness, Desaad and Gordon Godfrey, are introduced as incredibly powerful beings who will be formidable opponents, only to be very easily dispatched in the final episode, a major complaint and point of confusion for many fans.

Buffy: Anya, a female character originally introduced as a villain but eventually grew into a heroic character and joined the Scoobies, was part of the regular cast for three seasons, faced a personal crisis in the final season as she grappled with returning to her evil ways, then ultimately chose the path of good, until being killed with a blade in the series finale.

Smallville: Tess Mercer, a female character originally introduced as a villain but eventually grew into a heroic character and joined the Justice League, was part of the regular cast for three seasons, faced a personal crisis in the final season as she grappled with returning to her evil ways, then ultimately chose the path of good, until being killed with a blade in the series finale.

Got any more?  Shoot me a reply or a message!  Coming tomorrow is an entry that’s probably going to be even more creepy…comparing season 6 of Buffy to season 6 of Supernatural.  Seriously, it’s weird as Hell (pun intended.)

(Originally posted on May 25, 2011)

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