Monday, December 12, 2005

TV Perfection

I have to say there are moments when a TV program just makes me go "hell yeah". Those moments are few and far between, and they're when the show just captures something perfect.

TV isnt a medium that seeks perfection. A TV actor once said working in TV was like working in a coal mine. You put your hours in and worked to produce something solid, sturdy and useful. It wasnt pretty, it wasnt perfect, you went for something sturdy and reliable and worth peoples' time.

But there are those moments when everything comes together, and a single moment seems to both define what a show is all about, and remind you of why you watch it every week.

DS9, my favorite of the Star Trek series had one, when Sisko, having lied, cheated and murdered (with Garak's help) to bring the Romulans into the Dominion War looks right into the camera and says "I can live with myself".

The Original Series had one too, with Kirk bellowing out "We might go up into the biggest ball of fire since the last sun in these parts exploded but we've got to take that one in ten thousand chance!"

Buffy had one in its second episode, when Buffy, having killed most of the Master's servants, makes the remaining few scurry off with a look. I mean a look. A look that made me go "who is that girl".

And I just added a 4th moment to my list of TV perfection and it came from Smallville.

See, I like Superman, and the "origin story" of Superman had never really been told.

At the end of the first episode, when I saw how the writers were using Kryptonite to cause weird mutations around Smallville (and also of course mess up Clark on a regular basis) I knew the show had a winning formula.

But Lex is the character that brings me back to the show time and again. Smallville has taken the most stock, over the top villain in comics history (sorry Doctor Doom, you come in second) and turned him into a tragic hero.

That's right, I said it. Clark is the hero of Smallville, but so is Lex. You're watching comedy and tragedy at the same time. The story has two heroes, but only one gets a happy ending.

And frequently, I find myself rooting for the wrong one. The bald one.

But the one moment, in the final episode of the first season, when Lex, red blood perfectly framing one eye looks down at his father, trapped beneath a beam during a tornado, knowing if he doesn't help him his father will die. THAT was the moment we see the Lex of the future for the first time.

And the only thing I could say was "hell yeah".

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