A Bald Kevin Spacey is not a Sufficient Villain

Brad Wilson’s reluctance to see Superman Returns hits on a reason I prefer series over feature-length movies:

Smallville’s Lex is smart, devious, capable, and above all, not yet evil. The on-again, off-again friendship between Lex and Clark, and the tremendous loyalty that they have both shown to each other, makes the idea of seeing a fully-evil, hell-bent on destruction Lex a lot less interesting. The Lex of Smallville is a conflicted, emotional, sometimes unstable human being. The movie Lex has tended to be an unrelentless force of super-human evil, a character of less dimension and interest.

When you have 24 episodes a season, you can afford to develop characters in depth. And if you’re working with a mythos with nearly 70 years worth of comics, movies, and cartoons, you need that space.

  • http://www.leftfield.org/~rawdon Michael Rawdon

    Or you could just write a better story.

    The Khan of Star Trek II owes almost nothing (just his existence and his motive) to the Khan of the TV series, and yet he’s a terrific and memorable villain.

    The problem with series is that it’s rare that a series really produces solid episodes week after week, so there tend to be a few clunkers and quite a few mediocre episodes. (C.f. Sturgeon’s Law.) This is why I eventually stopped watching Smallville – too many mediocre episodes, and things were just moving too darned slowly. Does it really take 75+ hours of tube time to tell this story?