Friday, March 11, 2011

We Are the Heroes!

All of the news and social networking outlets are flooded with information about the magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan. A significant part of my twitter community is involved in comic book, TV, and movie superheroes. It's almost too easy to imagine Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman racing to Japan to put out oil refinery fires, stabilize "at risk" nuclear reactors, and evacuate the thousands of injured victims.

Would the Martian Manhunter and the Flash show up and help cities like San Francisco prepare for the arrival of the quake-created tsunami (and thankfully, Hawaii survived its passing)? Which heroes would be patroling the Pacific, keeping ships and the populations of the many islands in harms way safe?

But we live in the real world. There are no superheroes...

...except us.

I'm not suggesting that we can put on a costume, exercise heretofore unknown super abilities, and "save the day", but we can do something more than sit around and watch it all happen on CNN.

For instance, New York City will help direct local donations to quake and tsunami victims and there is very likely a local or national group you can donate to, as well. Google has already pitched in by launching a person finder for Japanese quake victims, so if you work in technology, you may be able to leverage your skills and your business to assist.

Text "Red Cross" to 90999. $10 will be automatically charged to your phone bill as a donation to the disaster relief. Please Text "Red Cross" to 90999.

This is a link to a page containing links to a number of ways you can help the Japan quake victims.

And, if you are a religious or a spiritual person, you can pray.

Whoever you are, where ever you live, you don't have to turn into someone else and use fantastic, metahuman powers to make a difference. You can help by being just who you are. The only power you need to have is the power of compassion and the will to act on your humanity.

Be a hero. Help.

The Japan Earthquake Seen by Millions of Digital Cameras (Updating Live)

Save Me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What Will You Do After Smallville Ends?

What will you do after Smallville is over? It's ending, you know...forever. On May 13th, 2011, the two-hour Smallville series finale will air. Less than 120 minutes after the opening credits, it will be gone.

And you Smallville fan...what will you do after it's over?

I suppose you could hope, pray, scream, threaten, and beg for a Smallville spinoff series. Maybe a JLA or JSA show is in the works for this fall. After all, if the CW can squeeze a few extra bucks out of Smallville's ten-year run by appealing to it's rather large fan base, I'm sure they will. We've seen how quality always takes a back seat to profits (although in my opinion, producing a quality show would be the best way to ensure profits), so if you swear to buy enough junk that the sponsors sell during the commercials, your hopes (dreams and fantasies) may come true...or not.

Dear Clois fans, what will you do with no new Clark and Lois banter, bickering, and bedding? Superman fans, will the last few seconds of Tom Welling on the small screen, finally dressed in "the suit" really be enough for you? Once the final credits end and the screen goes black, will you still crave more Clark, Lois, Chloe, Ollie, Tess, Lionel, and ... Lex?

Too bad.

Of course, if you don't already own the entire series on DVD, you could go out and buy it. I'm sure after the series ends, there will be a commemorative full ten-season package you can buy at inflated prices. Then, you can start all over again, beginning with the series pilot, and watch each and every episode over again...and again and again.

And keep doing it until you finally get sick of Smallville.

I know I sound harsh, and many of you actually grew up with the series, but keep in mind, popular TV shows have been coming and going for decades. You're just not aware of it. Gunsmoke was one of the longest running prime time shows in the history of American television, having been aired from 1955 (virtually the beginning of television for most U.S. households) through 1975 (this was back when the western was king of TV and films). Star Trek: The Next Generation ran for only seven-years and deliberately ended while they were still producing high quality material (something I wish Smallville would have done) and no one wanted the ride to end.

But those shows and a many, many others, which were loved and cherished by their fans, just as much as you adore Smallville, ended.

And their fans moved on.

Don't worry, though. While there may not be any new Smallville episodes being created, there is always ComicCon and similar venues. Superman: The Man of Steel (2012) is right around the corner, so there'll be plenty of Superman buzz in the months to come. I'm sure, along with the cast and crew of the new Superman movie, Smallville luminaries such as Welling, Durance, and others will proudly appear on stage to thrill the fans. Heck, Shatner, Nimoy, Spiner, and Beltran are still showing up at conventions, years and even decades after their shows ended.

Naturally, they're doing other work that's completely disconnected from the Star Trek venues that made them famous. So will the Smallville actors. In fact, they already are. Allison Mack only signed up for five episodes in the final season and has already appeared on stage. Michael Rosenbaum has been doing other things in the almost four years since he's appeared on the show, and Annette O'Toole continues to act in non-Smallville shows and films.

They've moved on. Welling and Durance will move on. It was fun while it lasted, but it's over now. Savor the sweetness of the departure, miss it a little, and then find something else to do. Smallville was a story about the fictional life and development of the person who would eventually become Superman. That's right, a fictional life. You live a real one. Time to get back to living.

Say good-bye, Clark.

What will you do after Smallville ends? Time to start answering that question. If you want, you can answer the question here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Inconsistent Smallville

I'm so confused. In the recent Smallville episode Masquerade, two important (I think, anyway) events occurred. The first is that Clark officially took on "the glasses" as part of his "disguise", to prevent people from connecting him too closely to the Blur. He also agreed to take on a sudden personality transplant from dynamic, courageous Clark, to "mild mannered reporter for the Daily Planet." Oddly enough, it least in the one encounter he had to test the change, the guy he (literally) ran into bought it hook, line, and sinker. Even though the guy probably had known Clark for months, if not years, he didn't blink at the fact that Clark was acting in a very "unClark-like" manner. Oh well.

The second big event in this episode was we see, under ultraviolet light, that the Omega symbol is on Ollie's forehead, indicating that he's now an "agent of the darkness". Yeah, when he was beating the living crap out of Desaad (which that jerk totally deserved), the darkness took him over.

Now, in the very next episode, Fortune, two things happen that virtually un-create the events created in Masquerade.

First off, Clark isn't wearing glasses. Yeah, he was just among his friends and who would care, but if he's really serious about establishing Clark as separate from the Blur, and if the glasses are part of that disguise, he should wear them all the time, except for when he's being the Blur (or in the shower, asleep, being "conjugal" with Lois, and the like). It is a foregone conclusion that after he got smashed on the magic booze, he'd probably dump the glasses anyway, but he should have been wearing them at the very beginning of the episode (and by the way, if I were Clark, when all was said and done, I would track down Zatanna, spank her nasty, fishnet-covered ass..which would be fun..and make her wish she'd never heard of words like "magic" and "cigam").

The next is just weird. At the end of "Fortune", Ollie and Chloe apparently have a "happily ever after" moment, realize that, while under the influence, they really did get legally married (even though when Chloe called the wedding chapel, they told her the whole thing had been a gag and no one had gotten married), and (again, apparently) left Metropolis (and the show "Smallville") to go live in Star City, where Chloe would be a reporter by day and hero builder by night, and Ollie would...I don't know, practice archery or eventually be a stay-at-home Dad (once they start having kids).

But if Ollie is "evil", his evilness is a total waste as a story element if he's just left the show, unless off camera, the gang at Watchtower hear a few episodes down the road, that Ollie went on a rampage, skewered his blushing bride with his favorite arrow, and then mysteriously died.

It's like these two different episodes of Smallville didn't happen in the same universe or at least in the same year. I know that different writers write different episodes, and different directors direct different episodes, but they're supposed to at least create the illusion that they're telling one, large, overarching story about Clark and Co.

Is this just another Smallville writer's fubar or can Smallville pull these inconsistencies together in the final reel?