T Nation

Smallville vs Hollywood


I don’t watch much tv so I miss most shows when they are run the first time. I haven’t seen the new Blade series and I’m a year behind on CSI and Lost until they release it on DVD. The same holds true for Smallville. Therefore, when I bought the new fifth season that was released it still puts me behind most people.

However, one question I have to ask is how can a tv show get so much right and take the whole Superman legend to a new level that deepens the characters involved…yet Hollywood releases a generic piece of crap in comparison?

The first four episodes alone are better than than the multimillion dollar Superman Returns as far as story and character development.

Why has Hollywood forgotten what makes a good story and why do people buy tickets anyway?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Why has Hollywood forgotten what makes a good story and why do people buy tickets anyway?[/quote]

Hollywood has forgotten BECAUSE people still buy tickets anyway.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I don’t watch much tv so I miss most shows when they are run the first time. I haven’t seen the new Blade series and I’m a year behind on CSI and Lost until they release it on DVD. The same holds true for Smallville. Therefore, when I bought the new fifth season that was released it still puts me behind moost people.

However, one question I have to ask is how can a tv show get so much right and take the whole Superman legend to a new level that deepens the character…yet Hollywood releases a generic peace of crap in comparison?

The first four episodes alone are better than than the multimillion dollar Superman Returns as far as story and character development.

Why has Hollywood forgotten what makes a good story and why do people buy tickets anyway?[/quote]

Well, Smallville is made by Hollywood, too…:slight_smile:

You hit on the problem: character development. Smallville is, at it’s heart, about a kid from Kansas growing up. It’s relatable. The characters, even when dealing with the Freak of the Week, react like normal humans would.

You can especialy see this in the interactions between Clark and his parents. Schneider and O’Toole are good actors with good parts and they make you believe and care about the Kent household. Of course Clark grows up to be Superman; Ma and Pa Kent taught him right from wrong.

Superman Returns, on the other hand, was about Jesus. There was no Clark, just Superman.

I agree and I have asked myself the same question. Superman Returns was a movie that I have been waiting for years to come out. I was disappointed by it for the reasons you outlined. Too late to go into details here. Is it because it was developped by two different entities (studios and rights)? Why not go with what is working in Smallville in regards to the writers, get them to write the next installment of Superman for example. I also think the problem lies with the directors, they want to bring something out of the character so they sometimes dismiss the writing and rewrite it themselves, they get paid to direct not write! Luthor looked bad ass and then it fizzled out, Superman’s character in this one had the chance to be more and also fizzled out, whoops, I said I wouldn’t go into details, oh well sue me. Anyway some directors should be chosen on comic skills, One of the first questions should be when looking for a director in this genre, 1. Did you read comics? 2. What was your favourite and why? 3. Here is the story, do you intend to change it, if so it has to be approved by the writers do you have a problem with that? 4. We are going to invite a group from die hard comic fans to see a partial screening and also fans that are interested in the movie as well, they will give their opinions on it. Do you have a problem with that? 5. Do you workout?

Just thinking out loud :slight_smile: #5 was for fun or maybe not?

As someone who never read comics, it is very strange to hear people discuss these cheesy, pop-corn movies so seriously. I’m sure it sounds the same way life and death football discussions sound to my wife.

So many movies based on novels turn out to be shit, but very rarely do people take it as personally as comic book readers do when their movies turn out to be shit. Is that because so many years are devoted to the stories and characters (versus a few days to read a novel)? Or do you really see that much potential to make a GREAT comic book movie that can stand on its own?

[quote]doogie wrote:
As someone who never read comics, it is very strange to hear people discuss these cheesy, pop-corn movies so seriously. I’m sure it sounds the same way life and death football discussions sound to my wife.

So many movies based on novels turn out to be shit, but very rarely do people take it as personally as comic book readers do when their movies turn out to be shit. Is that because so many years are devoted to the stories and characters (versus a few days to read a novel)? Or do you really see that much potential to make a GREAT comic book movie that can stand on its own? [/quote]

For me, I never really got into reading comics as a kid. When Spawn came out and really took off, I was in college. His animated show was hitting HBO and it caught my attention (honestly, there aren’t many black heroes in comics so I paid attention to him more). That is what got me back into it a little.

Other than that, many of these characters represent to kids what the ideal persona would be. They grow up with these mental images that are dominated by people that are stronger and more powerful than anyone else. Obviously, when dealing with concepts that people were truly raised on, it makes perfect sense that some take the stories more personally than a random movie of the week.

I was always into movies more than comics. Christopher Reeves might as well have been Superman as far as was concerned as a kid. So when shows like Smallville appear, I pay attention…because that is what links me to those same images I thought of growing up.

To be honest, no other show (not Clark and Lois, and not the lame Superboy) has come close as far as writing to this one. The writers aren’t just making up flat characters and ridiculous story lines. The entire pulse of the show is based on WHY Clark would become Superman when Lex would become his opposite…when they started out as friends. They focus on parenting and how much a difference in values can make on who a person becomes. That is what makes it stand out among other crap that I see on tv lately.

It isn’t about the comics but the characters. Superman is so much a part of pop culture history that you could have never opened a comic and know exactly who he is.

The character has become a lot more a result.

[quote]doogie wrote:
As someone who never read comics, it is very strange to hear people discuss these cheesy, pop-corn movies so seriously. I’m sure it sounds the same way life and death football discussions sound to my wife.

So many movies based on novels turn out to be shit, but very rarely do people take it as personally as comic book readers do when their movies turn out to be shit. Is that because so many years are devoted to the stories and characters (versus a few days to read a novel)? Or do you really see that much potential to make a GREAT comic book movie that can stand on its own? [/quote]

You’ve never read comics and you ask a question like that? A movie can be shitty based on any writing material. We are just discussing the ability to make better movies based on comics. The question here is perhaps if you know the movie was based on a comic would you go?

[quote]dmanor wrote:
doogie wrote:
As someone who never read comics, it is very strange to hear people discuss these cheesy, pop-corn movies so seriously. I’m sure it sounds the same way life and death football discussions sound to my wife.

So many movies based on novels turn out to be shit, but very rarely do people take it as personally as comic book readers do when their movies turn out to be shit. Is that because so many years are devoted to the stories and characters (versus a few days to read a novel)? Or do you really see that much potential to make a GREAT comic book movie that can stand on its own?

You’ve never read comics and you ask a question like that? A movie can be shitty based on any writing material. We are just discussing the ability to make better movies based on comics. The question here is perhaps if you know the movie was based on a comic would you go?

[/quote]

to doogie,
If you aren’t the type of person who cares whether a movie is good or not, I would imagine it is a nonissue. Novels aren’t the same is comic books even though they also have fan followings. Comics spread over the course of DECADES allowing more character development than most would see on the longest running tv series.

People were pretty riled up when Cheers when off the air. It makes me wonder why those same people would turn around and act as if they don;t understand why people are pissed that Superman sucked.

Hollywood wants movies that will put asses in the seats. Thats it. How well a movie will do is based on its marketing. If a movie is marketed well it will put asses in the seats regardless if its a piece of shit or not. Those are the movies that make the money at the box office and thats what studios want to see.

Movies that are done with complete disregard for what a studio wants rarely make box office blockbusters. There are a few exceptons Passion of the Christ is one example along with almost all of Clint Eastwood directed movies. Studios cant care less of artistic integrity or appeasing to the “Transformer nerds.”

Looking at Transformers, the studio knows the Transformer nerds will go and see it no matter what piece of shit they put out there. So they have to make it more appealing to the masses, hence some of the robot changes. Studios try to maximize their profits at the expense of almost everything.

SNAKES on a Plane would have made zero money at the box office. But because of the marketing it pulled home some bank. Although it fell below the studios expectations.

The trailer is a HUGE proponent in how a movie will do also. The Superman trailer was done really well as with most blockbusters. Add an intensive marketing campaign and you have the absolute makings of a guaranteed blockbuster.

[quote]dmanor wrote:

You’ve never read comics and you ask a question like that? A movie can be shitty based on any writing material. We are just discussing the ability to make better movies based on comics. The question here is perhaps if you know the movie was based on a comic would you go?

[/quote]

I watch the comic book movies on DVD.

I’m not knocking them, I’m just curious why people who read the comic books are always so let down by the movies. Moreso than people who read novels and then are disappointed in the movie version.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

to doogie,
If you aren’t the type of person who cares whether a movie is good or not, I would imagine it is a nonissue. Novels aren’t the same is comic books even though they also have fan followings. Comics spread over the course of DECADES allowing more character development than most would see on the longest running tv series. [/quote]

Unless you go to the theater to get head in the back row, who doesn’t care if the movie is good? I think the rest of this paragraph answered my question, though.

[quote]

People were pretty riled up when Cheers when off the air. It makes me wonder why those same people would turn around and act as if they don;t understand why people are pissed that Superman sucked.[/quote]

I didn’t say anything about not understanding why people are pissed that Superman sucked. It’s the degree to which they seem to take it that I find odd.

Using your example, if a Cheers movie was made:

Who would really expect it to be good?

and

Who would be UPSET if it wasn’t?

The only way there can be a great comic book movie is if it is animated and VERY cheap to make. Then the movie could be made to appeal just to the fanboys. If there is any type of budget involved, the movie has to appeal to a broad audience. That means trying to summarize DECADES of character development into a two hours while still trying to tell a compelling story.

Or maybe someone will have the balls to shoot multiple movies at once (like with Lord of the Rings) allowing more time for backstory, trusting the movies will be good enough to make money.

I just wanted to say that I love smallville, and I cannot wait for the new season to start!!!(its the only show on TV that I watch)

[quote]doogie wrote:
The only way there can be a great comic book movie is if it is animated and VERY cheap to make. Then the movie could be made to appeal just to the fanboys. If there is any type of budget involved, the movie has to appeal to a broad audience. That means trying to summarize DECADES of character development into a two hours while still trying to tell a compelling story.

Or maybe someone will have the balls to shoot multiple movies at once (like with Lord of the Rings) allowing more time for backstory, trusting the movies will be good enough to make money.

[/quote]

I disagree with you about a movie needing to be animated because Batman Begins and the First Spiderman are considered “great” comic book movies. They went into the character more instead of just a bunch of flash and a complete focus on the powers like what happened with Superman Returns. Did the lead in that even have more than a sentence to speak in the whole movie? There was no character development at all. They just found a guy who looked like Christopher Reeves and tried to put enough make up on him so that no one would notice he really couldn’t act all that well. It was about as unrealistic as they could make it.

With Smallville in its sixth season, why would they ignore how they tackled the story altogether?

I think the main reason is that Smallville is written by actual comic book writers. Jeph Loeb being one of them if I’m not mistaken?

Another reason is that I think with a tv show you can take more and more chances with an already established audience. A movie is a one shot deal and the bean counters put a lot more restraints on movies than they do tv shows. Especially when it’s a big lump of cash on one “show” vs cash spread out over many shows. You also have several seasons to improve your product.

Plus the motherfuckers have Kristen Kreuck. :wink:

ProfX:

If you’re looking for more black super heroes here is a few links. Although you might have trouble finding them. I remember a while ago I wanted to nab a few of these due to hearing the one writer talk on a tv show. But I don’t think I had much luck. :frowning:

[quote]ArcaneCocaine wrote:
I think the main reason is that Smallville is written by actual comic book writers. Jeph Loeb being one of them if I’m not mistaken?

Another reason is that I think with a tv show you can take more and more chances with an already established audience. A movie is a one shot deal and the bean counters put a lot more restraints on movies than they do tv shows. Especially when it’s a big lump of cash on one “show” vs cash spread out over many shows. You also have several seasons to improve your product.

Plus the motherfuckers have Kristen Kreuck. :wink:

ProfX:

If you’re looking for more black super heroes here is a few links. Although you might have trouble finding them. I remember a while ago I wanted to nab a few of these due to hearing the one writer talk on a tv show. But I don’t think I had much luck. :frowning:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milestone_Media[/quote]

Thanks.

All I know is season 6 can’t start soon enough god dammit. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while.

I don’t want to spoil it for x, so skip the next line.

FUCKING ZOD!?!?!

I’m glad you posted this Professor X. I think Smallville is sorely underated. I remember taking a glance at it on television once and making fun of my younger brother for watching it, then I paid attention for a few more minutes and become a raving fan and a flaming Tom Welling fan, hahaha.

The writing and the effects are admirable, and it is the only show on the tele that I will make sure to see if not, the HDTV episodes are available online.

The only weakness I see in the show is the “freak of the week” episodes about some kid getting affected by metero rocks, way too damn bland.

A+ Show.

Season 5 is very, very good, keep watching it only gets better.

Smallville. I’m ready for the new season now that its starting to really expand. But i’ll still never understand how it can be so good and so bad at the same time. I’ve watched it since it premiered and despite the corniness, the over used freak-o-the-week concept, and the large volume of on and off bad acting, they always have me coming back for more. When this show is good, its really good. But damn can they ever nail dumb too! hahah

As far as Superman Returns, I thought it was excellent and I enjoyed it. My only complaint was that it had to be Luthor as the villian, but I suppose thats fitting. Why introduce some new villian to that movie universe when the story is really about him trying to understand who and what he is? That’s what i took away from it anyway. He came back feeling (and knowing) he was more alien than ever before and he questioned his place amongst men and whether or not he wanted to shoulder the burden of being their protector, and he found his answer. It all worked well for me, though of course, I walked in with teh baggage of the previous movies and shows and comics that I’ve been exposed to since I was a child. When I think about it, I’m not sure I was expecting much development outside of the concept of the story because of all that previous background information. I mean, I knew it was a continuation of the universe established in the original two movies and I always thought all the “Clakr bumbles around and acts weak” stuff was kind of goofy, so this one came across more serious and solid to me. More along the lines of Batman Begins, though not as good.

Hell, they’re all at least a little flawed.

[quote]doogie wrote:
As someone who never read comics, it is very strange to hear people discuss these cheesy, pop-corn movies so seriously. I’m sure it sounds the same way life and death football discussions sound to my wife.

So many movies based on novels turn out to be shit, but very rarely do people take it as personally as comic book readers do when their movies turn out to be shit. Is that because so many years are devoted to the stories and characters (versus a few days to read a novel)? Or do you really see that much potential to make a GREAT comic book movie that can stand on its own? [/quote]

When a book is made into a bad movie, you it’s usually at least somewhat like the book. The bcharacters are atleast minimally developed.

People assume comic books are all smash and pow action, when in reality they have just as much and sometimes more character developement and plot than normal books. So the movies come out incredibly campy, cheesy, and repetitive.

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
doogie wrote:
As someone who never read comics, it is very strange to hear people discuss these cheesy, pop-corn movies so seriously. I’m sure it sounds the same way life and death football discussions sound to my wife.

So many movies based on novels turn out to be shit, but very rarely do people take it as personally as comic book readers do when their movies turn out to be shit. Is that because so many years are devoted to the stories and characters (versus a few days to read a novel)? Or do you really see that much potential to make a GREAT comic book movie that can stand on its own?

When a book is made into a bad movie, you it’s usually at least somewhat like the book. The bcharacters are atleast minimally developed.

People assume comic books are all smash and pow action, when in reality they have just as much and sometimes more character developement and plot than normal books. So the movies come out incredibly campy, cheesy, and repetitive.

[/quote]

…unless they do it right and you end up with Batman Begins if they focus on the character and why they act the way they do.