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Best & Worst of SV's major villains! - tasabian [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Best & Worst of SV's major villains! [Apr. 19th, 2011|07:56 pm]
tasabian
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Breaking In guest star Jimmie Johnson mentions Michael! Link

With 4 episodes to go, there's not much time to talk about Smallville left...and I still have a bit to say! Ten seasons of SV = ten season-spanning villains....so of the villains with arcs, which were BADASS and which were just plain bad?



Doomsday S8, Rated: F
What a waste! Sam W. is a terrific actor but as a villain, Doomsday was utter fail, from woobie beginning to underwhelming end. Let's count the mis-steps the writers made with this character:

1) Used him to rewrite the mythology from older, better eps like Lineage
2) Put him in a love triangle!
3) Gave him hardly any scenes with Clark - if you bring Doomsday onto SV, his main rival and nemesis should not be Jimmy.
4) Worst fight scene in SV history - it was finished before I realized it had begun.
5) The final revelation: His "human" side was the more evil half! (Huh? And also: who cares?)
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Zoners S6, Rated: D-

The "Blink and you missed them" villains could actually have been cool, uncharted territory for SV to explore. The writers could have mixed canon monsters with original creations. But they took a back seat (actually about ten seats back) to the "Who gets to boink Lana?" melodrama that dominated S6. Shame, because wouldn't it have been fun to watch Clark fight this thing?
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Darkseid S10, Rated: C
Desaad (below) represents Team Darkseid because he's the hottest! Just as S6 was about Lana-feuds, S10 is foremost the story of Clark Getting Engaged, with the Darkseid villains serving as vaguely explained window dressing. S10 has also overcrowded the field with villains: VRA, alt!Lionel, a sadly wussy Suicide Squad, Deathstroke and some of the worst villains of the week in SV history. (Isis, mildly disgruntled cultists.)

My choice would have been to alternate focus between the three Darkseid baddies: Desaad, Granny Goodness and Godfrey - all fantastic actors, and show Clark facing a growing threat. Would have been awesome to see Darkseid jump in and out of Clark's most trusted friends - to show that there are no safe havens and everyone is vulnerable, which makes Clark vulnerable too. Darkseid and his reach should be terrifying and that hasn't been conveyed at all....yet.
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The Teagues S4, Rated C

Surely the oddest villains in SV history: SV takes a swerve into Days of Our Lives and Dynasty territory. Their rock-collecting plotline barely deserves a "C" but Jensen is pretty, Jane is so thoroughly enjoying herself and go figure, Mama Teague vs Lana/Isobel was a better fight than Doomsday. And bonus points for Jason getting the most OTT death scene ever: shot, falls over cliff, swept away by river, crawls back to SV and has house fall on him.
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Zod S9, Rated C+
Callum B. is a very talented guy but Zod needs to be one thing, above all others, and that is scary. And I think "scary" cannot be acted. Tom can be scary with a flick of an eye; Michael, much as I adore him, did not manage a frightening Zod either. (Sexy? Oh yes.) Terrence Stamp is terrifying...Callum B looks like...he could murder a pie and maybe kick your ass at snooker. He radiates affability.

It doesn't help that for most of S9 Zod is a general without a headquarters and spends most episodes wandering in and out of other people's houses and bathtubs. Also, unlike Stamp's Zod, he's not that clever (whispering = ineffective way of keeping a secret on a rooftop filled with the super-hearing) which at least made for a great Clark-victory in Salvation.

Easy on the eyes, though!
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Brainiac, S5 & S7 Rated: B+
James Marsters grumbled that his motivations were never explained to him in S5 but he manages to get Brainiac dead right anyway. Brainiac's defining characteristic is singularity of focus. He does not fall in love with Lana, take baths with Tess, angst about waking up with blood on him: he works at his task with laser-like precision. Marsters, with tilted head and bird-like movements, perfectly conveys this relentless drive. And that's why Brainiac is scary: he is relentless until his mission is complete.
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Lionel, S1 - 3, Rated: A+
Now, speaking of scary...all this bad mofo had to do was steeple his fingers and go "hmmm" and the audience and Lex are quaking in our chairs. The genius of Glover's creation (and it is his creation, as much as the writers) is that for most of season 1, Lionel is an iceberg, most of his activity going on beneath the surface. Oh, we see some bad stuff: corporate backstabbing, sleeping with his son's girlfriend. But so much more is just hinted at, under Lionel's smooth mask of amiability.

So in S2 when Lionel is blackmailing a man into committing murder, is it a surprise? No. Nor the cloning, nor the tampering with Lex's memories, nor the shift to mass murder in S3. You could look at Lionel in his very first episode and think "yes, this is possible." (Even "reformed", good Lionel is scarier than full-on Doomsday.)
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Agree? Disagree? 'caps by acampbell
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: jeannev
2011-04-20 12:20 am (UTC)
This is well done, and really interesting. I can't disagree with a thing. And BTW, thanks for reminding me what a total waste of freaking space the Darkseid stuff has been this season, and how much better it could've been.

Something just occured to me though...this show could've used more female villains of substance.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-20 12:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! Steve Byers is so perfect as Desaad it bums me out he hasn't gotten more screen time.

Something just occured to me though...this show could've used more female villains of substance.
I didn't count Tess in S8 because I saw her as more the anti-hero - and I agree. I like how Faora turned out in S9, especially ST's performance, but they could have gone the other way and made her the truly scary one of the couple.
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[User Picture]From: rosy5000
2011-04-20 01:10 am (UTC)
Having not see much of Doomsday or Zod, I can't comment on them, but I totally agree with everything else. Though, thanks for reminding me what S10 is supposed to be about. lol I actually forgot all about it.

You picked the perfect cap of Lionel and Lex too. Just Lex's expression shows how uncomfortable he was with Lionel.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-20 01:18 am (UTC)
Though, thanks for reminding me what S10 is supposed to be about. lol I actually forgot all about it.
If you're only planning to tune into watch Michael in the finale, it may not matter by then anyway!

Just Lex's expression shows how uncomfortable he was with Lionel.
Lionel and his bad-touches! (And JG loving to catch Michael off-guard...)

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[User Picture]From: rosy5000
2011-04-20 01:33 am (UTC)
I have actually been watching this season. I've enjoyed most of the eps so far. :)

I actually broke out my S1 DVDs last night and re-watched the first two eps. OMG! They were soooo young! lol
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-20 01:34 am (UTC)
Such pretty l'il things in S1!
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[User Picture]From: cinderella81
2011-04-20 01:39 am (UTC)
Totally agree!!!!

Lionel is by far the best villain in SV history!!!
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-20 01:44 am (UTC)
Lionel is by far the best villain in SV history!!!
And SV invented him - their legacy baddie!
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-20 02:31 am (UTC)
Thank you!

He's a cutie trying too hard to be tough!
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-20 03:07 am (UTC)
Do you remember the episode where Doomsday, Oliver and Jimmy are all sitting around the basement together? Quite a brain trust right there!

I would have enjoyed seeing Clark & Davis circle each other a lot more. Sam W. can be very scary but we hardly got to see it.
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[User Picture]From: gildinwen
2011-04-20 03:16 am (UTC)
I agree that Callum's Zod wasn't as menacing as Stamp's. However I mostly put that down to that Stamp's Zod had, had years to climb the political ladder ( He IS slightly grey at the temples in the film), and cultivate air this culturel almost Lionel-esque persona whereas Blue's hadn't had that yet. Still liked him though.

Jeannev brought up the unfortunate fact there haven't been any female villians, and yeah :(. I suppose that Granny Goodness, could count? and Geneiveve? And Head!Lillian ( and real! Lillian to some extent?)

And I will never not being in awe of John's Lionel, what a character!!!!

But what on earth were they thinking when they brought on Doomsday???
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-20 03:26 am (UTC)
But what on earth were they thinking when they brought on Doomsday???
If he'd been a smiling sociopath who fooled everyone except Clark...it might have worked,. I think SW would have made a better Vandal Savage though.

However I mostly put that down to that Stamp's Zod had, had years to climb the political ladder ( He IS slightly grey at the temples in the film), and cultivate air this culturel almost Lionel-esque persona whereas Blue's hadn't had that yet. Still liked him though
I liked him too - CB is cute & he's the kind of Zod you want to go for a beer with! But he just didn't quite click for me as a supervillain. It's very true he's not fully formed yet but I was still hoping for a few scares - TS scared me so much I had to watch him through my fingers!

Jeannev brought up the unfortunate fact there haven't been any female villians, and yeah :(. I suppose that Granny Goodness, could count? and Geneiveve? And Head!Lillian ( and real! Lillian to some extent?)
I wish we'd seen more of Granny as a menace pulling the strings in the background. The actor that plays Lillian can be quite intense too!
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[User Picture]From: jlvsclrk
2011-04-20 03:41 am (UTC)
Agreed, though I'd give S5 Brainiac an A, and rate Zod somewhat higher since I kind of liked the Smallville twist of having him without powers for most of the season. I love how you've pinpointed why CB didn't quite work in the role.

I'm curious how you'd rate S7 Lex. Ignoring the transition years being pretty rock thanks to the Lana obsession, I thought he had turned into a pretty chilling villain by the end. Of course, he only is doing what he thinks is necessary - that's what makes him so darned dangerous.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-20 04:01 am (UTC)
I'm curious how you'd rate S7 Lex. Ignoring the transition years being pretty rock thanks to the Lana obsession, I thought he had turned into a pretty chilling villain by the end. Of course, he only is doing what he thinks is necessary - that's what makes him so darned dangerous.
I put Lex in the anti-hero category - he never had a full season of being the chief villain - in S7 Brainiac still out-does him; locking Lana inside her own head is still one of the nastiest things SV has ever done. And Lex is still being manipulated by Brainiac in Arctic.

Agreed, though I'd give S5 Brainiac an A,.
Maybe I should bump Brainy to A -...I docked a few points for his S5 plot just petering out (due to the producers deciding JM wasn't buff enough to take his shirt off & going with MR for Zod instead!) But JM was truly awesome.

and rate Zod somewhat higher since I kind of liked the Smallville twist of having him without powers for most of the season. I love how you've pinpointed why CB didn't quite work in the role
Thanks! It's highly subjective. I think if CB conveyed more menace (and had the scripts to allow it) Zod without powers could have been a ticking time bomb. But I really think scariness can't be manufactured by an actor, no matter how great their craft. You have it, or you don't. Tom has it - the first time we see Clark get mad and smash a post in "Rogue" = YIKES.
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-21 12:31 am (UTC)
His human side being the more evil one is actually the one thing that I liked about Doomsday's arc. I found it both unexpected and an interesting take on Doomsday (the hidden monster inside an appealing human exterior as opposed to a monster on the surface that he transformed in periodically). But of course, that's not enough to redeem how poorly he was used as a villain throughout the whole season.
It definitely could have been an interesting sucker punch to the audience...if Davis had seemed to be a wide-eyed innocent, who turned out at the end to be worse than his demon. But the mutual-sporking moment with Jimmy just didn't shock me, it was a "is that it?!"
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[User Picture]From: complicat
2011-04-20 08:25 pm (UTC)
I pretty much agree with your ratings. Lionel's definitely the best SV villain - effortlessly evil and scary! James Marsters did a good job with Brainiac - shame his plots were confused and disappointing.

All the rest were several shades of boring and/or stupid really. I had forgotten that the zoners even existed (as did the writers after about 2 eps).
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-21 12:27 am (UTC)
I had forgotten that the zoners even existed (as did the writers after about 2 eps).
The small child zoner was creepy but the others, not so much! I do think was potential for a fun range of villains there.

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[User Picture]From: ariss_tenoh
2011-04-21 09:21 pm (UTC)
Marsters was brilliant in his role. Definitely a villain to be feared!
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[User Picture]From: tasabian
2011-04-22 05:58 pm (UTC)
James is such a talented guy!
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