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Smallville: Discussion Thread


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It's been doing well on Friday nights. I mean, Friday's not a great night for TV, but still, it's more than holding it's own (and it's DVR and legal download numbers are terrific - Absolute Justice was just put up on iTunes last night and it's already in the top 5 downloads). It's getting better ratings than shows on the CW in better timeslots.

I can't believe how much it shot up in the second hour. According to numbers I saw, the last half hour reached 3 million viewers.

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<p>

<span style="font-size:19.5pt;"><font face="Verdana">Geoff Johns On 'Smallville: Absolute Justice' Easter Eggs, Character Decisions And Costume Changes</font></span>

<span style="font-size:7.5pt;"><b><font face="Tahoma">By by Rick Marshall in DC Comics, News</font></b></span>

<span style="font-size:9pt;"><font face="Verdana">"Smallville: Absolute Justice" airs tonight (February 5), featuring the live-action debut of several members of the Justice Society of America. Written by comics veteran Geoff Johns, the two-hour special introduces Hawkman, Dr. Fate, and Star Girl (among others) to the long-running series' cast of flesh-and-blood DC heroes. MTV News caught up with Johns for an extended chat about "Absolute Justice," including the characters making the jump from comics to screen, the decisions that went into the show's lineup and costumes, and the fan-friendly nods you'll find to the greater DC Universe.

MTV NEWS: You're certainly familiar with the process of taking existing characters and freshening them up for a new audience, but I have to ask: why the Justice Society of America? Whose idea was it to bring the JSA into Smallville?

GEOFF JOHNS: I did episodes for them last season with Legion and they went over really well and they were happy with it, so I had lunch with the showrunners, and they said, "Hey, do you want to do another episode? Do you have any ideas?"

I thought the Justice Society of America would be really interesting to play against the characters. I did the team from the future, so how about a team from the past? They really liked the idea, and liked the idea of Hawkman quite a bit, so we chatted about what the story would be and they signed on pretty quick.

MTV: From what we've seen thus far, it looks like the regular cast of "Smallville" end in both an adversarial relationship with the Justice Society, but are also helped out in some fashion. How do you characterize the relationship between the "Smallville" crew and the Justice Society?

JOHNS: Well, it's tenuous at first. They don't know who these guys are, and because of the circumstances of the story, they're led to believe a few things that aren't exactly true about them. So, it starts off tense. And it remains tense with Hawkman and some of the other characters for most of the show.

MTV: Hawkman tends to have that effect on people.

JOHNS: [Laughs] He does. He has that effect on just about everybody, though Clark's not intimidated by him.

MTV: Hawkman can fly, but for the most part, he's a guy in a costume. With Dr. Fate, however, there's also this entirely different aspect of the character that's relatively new to "Smallville." The series has been touching on the whole nature of magic in that universe, but with Dr. Fate there's suddenly a big magic user in the mix. How did you approach bringing him and his magic-based abilities into the "Smallville" universe?

JOHNS: He was actually the most fun, because in the comic books Kent Nelson hasn't had a whole lot of stories — modern day stories — told about him. So he's more of a blank slate than the other two. They did the Zatanna episode last season, so magic had already been introduced in the show. But with Dr. Fate, bringing him in and working with the magic was actually... It was fairly straightforward, really. He's a guy with a helmet that's inhabited by a mystical spirit that guides him to protect the world from supernatural evil or whatever he's going to run across.

MTV: When you were deciding which JSA characters to bring into the episode, what were some of requirements? What went into the decision? Please tell me you stood around a table filled with photographs of each character and discussed them one by one...

JOHNS: [Laughs] It was pretty easy, because I knew right away it was going to be Hawkman as the leader and the guy who once led this great team. He'd since retired and gotten out of the superhero business, so to speak, but he was always front and center. He was going to have a very kind of gruff attitude, as he does in the comics.

Having Green Arrow there with his attitude and what he's gone through in the show, which is a similar attitude in the comics, that was very easy. Right away I knew that and I wanted to have a legacy character to represent where the JSA was going to go next. There was no question it was going to be Star Girl.

I wanted one other character that was going to be an example of how far some of these heroes had fallen. It won't be very clear until you see what's happened to Kent Nelson and Dr. Fate. There was discussion about Wildcat, but it felt like Wildcat was a little too gruff, like Hawkman, to be one of the main characters. So we just kind of went through it and Dr. Fate has that great visual — that gold helmet with the eyes glowing behind it— I love it. So he was up there pretty fast.

It really wasn't that difficult. It didn't take days to figure out who were going to be the members we were going to use. It fell into place pretty quick.

MTV: In the "Absolute Justice" trailer, I saw some callouts to Sandman and a few other characters — Jay Garrick's silver Flash helmet, etc. In terms of other little Easter Eggs, who and what can we look forward to seeing? Are we going to see anything from one of my favorite characters, Hourman?

JOHNS: Yes.

MTV: Excellent. Are there any other Easter Eggs that you want fans to keep an eye out for?

JOHNS: There's about four dozen. Honestly, it's that extensive. I went to great lengths in the script to enrich the universe and the concept of the Justice Society. It's a society, so it's got to mean something big. It can't just be a couple guys who used to hang out. And the production people up there went crazy on this thing. They created more props and they research more comic book lore than they ever had before by quite a big margin. So, it's a lot of fun.

Literally, there's more Easter Eggs than I could list right now. And a lot of them aren't just Easter Eggs, they're just pieces of the story.

MTV: So now you have to tell me how many of these props you took home with you...

JOHNS: [Laughs] None right now... although actually, I do have the painting.

MTV: The painting of the JSA that we see in the trailer? Very nice.

JOHNS: Yeah, I have to figure out where to hang that now.

MTV: You're going to end up with Jay Garrick's helmet too, aren't you?

JOHNS: [Laughs] I'd like that. That would be cool. Actually, I want [star Girl's] cosmic rod — but I'd give it to my parents. I think they would really like that. But the painting, I think I'm probably going to hang that up in my comic shop.

MTV: You mentioned Star Girl, so I have to ask: what was it liek to see this character that you've nurtured since its infancy brought to life on the screen? I know that's a character you're particularly close to, so it must have been a huge thrill.

JOHNS: It was great. ["Smallville" showrunners] Brian [Peterson] and Kelly [souders] were so inclusive on this, so I was involved in the casting and the costumes — particularly with Star Girl. The initial pass was a little more "Smallville" ... they initially wanted her in high heels and so on, and it just didn't quite fit for the character. So we had a big discussion about the character. She's a fun character. She's cute. She's not really sexy — she's a little young for that.

But she's just a fun character, so we went through the costume and at the end of the day they made her a costume directly from the comics, and it translates pretty well — especially in action. When you see it, it's just terrific. The feeling of seeing that and watching her come to life, it's pretty great. It's terrific.

MTV: You're in a great place to really understand the difference between the universe of "Smallville" and the comics side of the DC Universe. Does it require a different approach to wrap your head around the characters in "Smallville" and their motivations and those of their comic book counterparts? How do you shift gears when you're going back and forth between them?

JOHNS: Ironically, in this case, Hawkman is Hawkman, and Star Girl is Star Girl... and Dr. Fate's slightly different, but you'll see what I mean by that when you see it. He's slightly different from the Dr. Fate you know in the comics, but they're the same characters.

Writing Green Arrow [in "Smallville"] to me was just like writing Green Arrow in the comic books, though I haven't done it much. He's just a little younger, and more inexperienced. And the same goes for Clark Kent and Lois Lane. It wasn't that different. Although "Smallvill" has strayed from the mythology and kind of done its own completely new spin in the past, throughout the last two seasons it's gotten more and more in line with the comic book mythology and the characters. To be honest, the only difference for me was budget and time.

MTV: Still, the parallel seems especially unique for you, since you're also writing the "Secret Origins: Superman" comics. You're basically working on two origin stories for Superman simultaneously.

JOHNS: Yeah, I guess so. I look at this two-hour "Smallville" TV movie as the origin of the modern day Justice Society of America. That's really what it is. It definitely puts Clark in a different mindset, as well as Green Arrow, and Martian Manhunter. Quite frankly, the whole Justice League is in a different mindset from where they started, but essentially it's more of an origin of them and of what the JSA will mean today... and going forward.

Again, much like the comic books. I wanted to introduce the characters. If we're trying to introduce our characters from off the comic book page into a bigger audience, there's a reason Hawkman's appealed to people for 50-60 years. You want to keep that alive. You want to keep who he is alive. And you want to translate that out to the audience, because otherwise what's the point of adapting it? You might as well create something new. The same goes for Star Girl and Dr. Fate and everybody else.

"Smallville: Absolute Justice" airs tonight (February 5) at 8 PM EST on The CW. Keep it locked to Splash Page for a full review of "Absolute Justice" after it airs.</font></span>

<span style="font-size:10.5pt;"><b><font face="Tahoma">http://splashpage.mtv.com/2010/02/05/geoff-johns-on-smallville-absolute-justice-easter-eggs-character-decisions-and-costume-changes/</font></b></span></p>

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Thanks for that interview.

Dr. Fate was probably my favorite JSA'er. He was fantastic, I loved all of his scenes, but the ones where he spoke to Clark and Lois about their fates were so well done.

The other awesome thing was the introduction of Waller. Pam Grier was freakin' awesome.

I really enjoyed Geoff's writing for Clark and Lois, as well as Green Arrow. The Carter/Ollie bickering was well done.

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Interesting.... I suddenly have the impulse to catch up on the show. I think I am back at Season 3, although I'd probably start from the beginning. :lol:

Years of the show seemed to be devoted to loving closeups of Lana and then the rest being about the Red Kryptonite Villain of the Week, so you might not have missed much.

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<span style="font-size:10.5pt;"><font face="Arial">Smallville Creators Sue Warner Bros., CW

"Smallville" just became the latest battleground in the war over vertical integration in Hollywood.

Creators/executive producers Miles Miller and Alfred Gough and series co-producer Tollin/Robbins Prods. on Friday sued Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind the long-running sci-fi series, and with the CW, the network that recently renewed the show for a 10th season.

Causes of action for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are alleged against Time Warner and its divisions -- WBTV, Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution, the now-defunct WB network, where the show started -- and the CW, a co-venture with CBS. The complaint says WBTV made license fee deals with the WB and then the CW that "were not arms-length." The complaint does not specify damages but, given the allegations and the longevity of the series, they could total in the tens of millions of dollars.

"Warner Bros.' practices of unfair self-dealing include licensing the series for broadcast on its own affiliated WB and CW networks for unreasonably low, below-market license fees, resulting in lower gross revenues for the series and less compensation for plaintiffs, and failing to renegotiate the series' license fee to cover its production cost," the suit claims.

Sound familiar?

It should. So-called "vertical integration" cases were all the rage at the beginning of the decade, thanks to the consolidation of TV production and distribution following the lifting of "fin-syn" rules. That resulted in a wave of lawsuits brought by profit participants on shows whose owners were licensing content to sister-company distributors. Participants on "Home Improvement" and "The X-Files" reportedly received massive settlements after claiming in lawsuits against Disney and Fox, respectively, that vertical integration cost them millions. A trial over profits from NBC's hit comedy "Will & Grace" actually reached a jury, but the case was settled before the verdict was read.

The "Smallville" producers also claim that Warner Bros. sold the show in foreign markets and "lumped it in with several other, less successful shows" in a package. In allocating individual license fees to the series afterwards, "several series that are less popular than 'Smallville' were allocated a higher per-episode fee than 'Smallville' " and "Smallville's" allocation was "well below the value of the series in the foreign markets."

The misallocation theory mirrors claims in a lawsuit filed in 2004 against Warner Bros. by Alan Ladd Jr., a profit participant on several Warners hits from the 1980s who argued that his movies were lumped into packages and undervalued when Warners allocated license fees across hundreds of films. That case ended in a $3 million-plus jury verdict for Ladd in 2007, which is still on appeal.

Additionally the suit claims that Warner Bros. improperly withheld foreign taxes to the tune of $3.3 million, improperly reported production costs that resulted in $4 million in withheld revenue, didn't pursue or did not report savings from the Canadian tax credit stemming from the fact that "Smallville" is produced in Canada and thwarted plaintiffs' audit attempts.

As a whole, the producers accuse the Time Warner divisions of "depriving them of compensation to which they are entitled ... by failing to maximize profits from the series, all to the benefit of the vertically-integrated conglomerate Time Warner," and are looking to recover "millions of dollars" of unpaid compensation.

Warner Bros. had no comment on the lawsuit, which was filed by attorney Michael Kump.

http://www.hollywood...9</font></span>

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Clark singing about Lois in the shower? Gold.

Clark's "Lo...is" with that very cute grin when he saw her naughty lassie costume? GOLD.

And holy, Clark tossing Lois up on that counter? HOT.

Hartley killed me with the 'You guys like to play, it's cute' and the context clues line. SO funny.

It was a fun episode.

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Hostage was probably one of the best episodes this season. I floved the Lois & Perry scenes, every one of them. Michael McKean is awesome, as was Annette O'Toole. The scene were Martha thought she saw Jonathan in the doorway had me in tears :(

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Finally caught up on all the episodes - watched the last 4 episodes yesterday and today. "Sacrifice" was so good - who knew Justin Hartley can write! I'm surprised TPTB gave him such a big episode to write. It was such an action packed episode! Loved Tess/Chloe working together.

Best scene of the episode:

Zod: If I ever learned that insurrection had spread across my ranks, if I ever discovered that my men had aligned themselves against me, I would raze this planet. I would burn it to the ground till the last ember went cold beneath my boot! Now only I will lead us to the next age. All will follow Zod.

Faora: You already sacrificed one world for your ego.

Zod: You know nothing of sacrifice.

Faora: I know more than you ever will.

Zod: Kneel!

Faora: Never.

Zod kills Faora and then realizing she was pregnant...he listens to his baby's heartbeat slowly fading away. That was such a deep scene.

So the Red Queen is Martha! That was a cool twist. I liked Perry too. I thought he was funny.

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