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TV/Media Commentary and Societal Insights. With a Beard.
Like any show with as much longevity as Smallville, viewers came and went–ratings dipping from 8 million to 2 million over the ten years proved that. Ask anyone about the best episodes of the series, and you usually get things like “Pilot”, “Rosetta” , “Memoria” and “Crusade” from the early years. There are lots and lots of people who left the series about mid-way through, and most casual fans you’ll talk to probably stopped watching it during season four (those witches really turned a lot of people off.)
It’s to be expected; people simply lose interest in keeping up week-to-week at a certain point. If they come back, it’s usually for the well-marketed “event” episodes–the 100th and 200th episodes, big superhero team-ups like “Legion,” “Justice” and ”Absolute Justice,” and the series finale. And while those are fine and good, just because they’re the ones the that get talked about the most doesn’t mean they’re the best the show has to offer. In fact, there are tons and tons of little gems from the show’s later years that casual or former viewers probably missed out on. There are plenty more (or less) depending on who you ask, but here are 15 underrated episodes I’d recommend to veteran and new viewers alike.
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 Bads, half arc seasons, weirdness sensors, Chekhov’s guns, heavy 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!