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#21 RJDiogenes

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Posted 22 March 2020 - 06:09 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 22 March 2020 - 01:07 PM, said:

This does represent somewhat of a turning point for the season. While Superboy would still face a lot of human threats the show started introducing more comic book type scenarios. There is time travel, Mister Mxyzptlk, a evil robot, kryptonite, etc.  

That's good, and as it should be.  Superhero adaptations are always too mainstream for me.

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The two head to the alien’s comet lair where the alien starts to divide his essence between his last three remaining bodies. Superboy destroys them all with his heat vision.  

Well, I hope they were already. dead.  :D

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The alien rushes back to Earth to inhabit Lana once again but Superboy uses his super breath to trap the alien inside an empty gas canister.  

I wonder what he does then.  It kind of raises some ethical issues.  What if the thing needs to eat or whatever?

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In a pretty comical scene Perry takes Lois and Clark to meet his secret informant, Sore Throat.

That's cute.  I wonder how many people got it.  It was twenty years later and I'm sure the bulk of the audience was very young.
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#22 Christopher

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Posted 22 March 2020 - 07:36 PM

I've been thinking I should rewatch Superboy. I didn't manage to see the whole series when it was new; I lost track of it after a while and I think I missed a fair amount of its last season or two. It's hard to find at the library (and the library's closed for the crisis), but I see that DC Universe has it, so I might subscribe for a month or so, as long as it takes to watch it all.

Besides, I'm curious to see if I still find Stacy Haiduk as hot as I did back then.


View PostRJDiogenes, on 22 March 2020 - 06:09 PM, said:

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The two head to the alien’s comet lair where the alien starts to divide his essence between his last three remaining bodies. Superboy destroys them all with his heat vision.  

Well, I hope they were already. dead.  :D


Virgil said the entity killed them and then took them over.



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In a pretty comical scene Perry takes Lois and Clark to meet his secret informant, Sore Throat.

That's cute.  I wonder how many people got it.  It was twenty years later and I'm sure the bulk of the audience was very young.

Oh, it was just one of many, many pop culture references to Deep Throat over the decades:

https://en.wikipedia...roat_(Watergate)#Fictional_portrayals

Even if you weren't old enough to remember Watergate, you'd pick up the gist of it from the constant references to it, and probably from All the President's Men being r. I was only 6 when Nixon resigned, but I heard plenty of references to Watergate and Deep Throat over the years as I was growing up. Even if I'd been younger, I'd still have picked up the references, just as I did with the Kennedy assassination, which happened 5 years before I was born, or with earlier things like the McCarthy hearings and WWII.
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#23 Virgil Vox

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Posted 22 March 2020 - 07:51 PM

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That's good, and as it should be.  Superhero adaptations are always too mainstream for me.

The series really embraces its comic book-ness starting in the second season where Superboy faces off against various aliens, vampires, Metallo, magic, a villain that is basically Toyman but not called Toyman, ghosts, etc.

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I wonder what he does then.  It kind of raises some ethical issues.  What if the thing needs to eat or whatever?

He places the canister in a freezer. This will come back to haunt him when the alien escapes in a later episode.

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I've been thinking I should rewatch Superboy. I didn't manage to see the whole series when it was new; I lost track of it after a while and I think I missed a fair amount of its last season or two. It's hard to find at the library (and the library's closed for the crisis), but I see that DC Universe has it, so I might subscribe for a month or so, as long as it takes to watch it all.


Besides, I'm curious to see if I still find Stacy Haiduk as hot as I did back then.

It is a really good show and it only improves over time. It's too bad that a legal battle kept it from being aired for so long or it might have more of a following.

I think Stacy Haiduk is an attractive woman. I don't know if you will still consider her attractive though. She also does a good job as Lana and I'm glad she was with the series for its entire four season run. I'm just happy that they cast two handsome men as Superboy, though I prefer Newton.
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#24 RJDiogenes

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Posted 23 March 2020 - 06:22 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 22 March 2020 - 07:51 PM, said:

He places the canister in a freezer. This will come back to haunt him when the alien escapes in a later episode.  
Okay, that should be interesting.
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#25 Virgil Vox

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 08:13 AM

Superboy – Kryptonite Kills

This episode introduces Kryptonite (though it isn’t called that) though it didn’t go in the direction that I expected.

The meteor rock is found by two boys in Addis Ababa. It makes its way to Shuster University and Professor Peterson (who will be a recurring character for the first two seasons). He displays the rock to his class. At the same time Clark has an attack and collapses in class. While attention is on Clark Lex pockets a fragment of the meteor rock because he thinks it will work as a power supply for a device he has two science nerds building for him.

What surprised me about the episode is that the kryptonite is never actually used against Superboy. Yes, it affects Clark in the class and again at the end of the episode but other than Superboy and Peterson no one knows that it can hurt the Boy of Steel.

Lex hangs on to it because it does prove to be a great power source. The device the two nerds (think typical 80s nerds like from Revenge of the Nerds) built for him is a power amplification device. He plans on using it on the power plant to cause a blackout during which his frat brothers will rob a bank. When Superboy puts an end to that plan by saving the power plant Lex holds on to the rock, though he gives it to his girlfriend Veronica as a necklace and tells everyone it is just a replica.

This episode gives Lex a lot of screen time which isn’t a good thing. The actor playing Lex is not very good in the role. There really isn’t an air of menace about Lex and it is hard to buy him as a criminal genius. It is too bad because I think there was promise in the idea of Lex as a criminal mastermind at college with frat boys and science nerds at his disposal.

In a tantrum Lex accidentally starts a fire in the dorm building. Superboy arrives to put it out but since Veronica is wearing the kryptonite necklace he collapses. Lex runs away to escape the flames but Veronica stays to help Superboy which ironically means he can’t be helped.

You have to hand it to TJ, he is serious about his job. When the fire alarm goes off he is in the shower. He runs out wearing only a towel and stops by his dorm room not to grab, say, a pair of pants, but to grab his camera so he can take as many pictures as possible.

Veronica ends up throwing the necklace down a storm drain and Superboy launches the rest of the kryptonite into space but we all know this won’t be the last we see of the green glowing rock.

I liked this episode. I felt that John Haymes Newton did a good job portraying Clark falling ill and collapsing. I bought that he was on the verge of death. There were some nice nods to Superman mythology in the introduction of the kryptonite and Peterson speculated that it was from a planet that had some terrible cataclysm happen to it in the past. I appreciated seeing the more villainous side of Lex even if the actor leaves a lot to be desired. The rescue of the power plant was a nice little scene showing Superboy’s strength and endurance. All in all, if you are a fan of the show this is a must watch episode.

Superboy – Revenge of the Alien Parts 1 & 2

The alien menace returns in a really good two-part episode. I feel like everyone stepped up their game for these episodes and it shows. It isn’t all perfect with some bad guest acting and a few bad special effects but nothing that ruins either episode.

The science building at Shuster U gets broken into, and the thief steals the canister with the alien locked inside. Why he takes it is a mystery but he does. The thief is later confronted by two cops who blast him with shotguns. This also leads to the canister being damaged which releases the alien. He takes over one cop, shoots the other one, and then drives away in a SWAT van filled with weapons vowing revenge on Superboy.

Clark doesn’t know any of this has happened and is having a pretty good day since Pa Kent has arrived to spend the weekend with his son. You can bet the alien takes advantage of Pa’s presence real quick.

Kryptonite makes a return, sort of. While Superboy did throw the strange rocks into the sun Professor Peterson examined the unique radiation they gave off and was able to replicate it using a laser. He does this so he can weaken Superboy’s skin enough to take a few samples. If the professor had his way Superboy would do nothing but he a lab rat for him to study.

I like the fact that they acknowledge Kryptonite (even if still don’t officially call it that yet) and that it plays a pivotal role in the climax of the story. For a show that was largely episodic it’s nice to have these callbacks.

When Pa Kent first arrives he goes to Clark and TJ’s dorm room. I don’t know if I didn’t notice it before in other episodes but TJ’s side of the room is dirty, cluttered, and just messy. Clark’s side is clean and organized. It’s just a nice little nod to the personalities of each character.

The episode gives us a glimpse into the offices of the Shuster Herald as TJ and Clark meet their new boss, Dean Lockhardt. She doesn’t seem to like TJ but she likes Clark. Maybe too much because it definitely felt like she was flirting with him.

The first episode mainly focuses on the alien as he possesses the officer, Johnson. He discovers that Clark is at the Agricultural Research Center and goes there hoping to knock the Boy of Steel off balance enough that the alien can possess him.

The alien shoots Clark with a high powered rifle before switching to a rocket launcher. He fires a rocket but it doesn’t really hurt Clark. This actually leads to a great scene. The rocket explodes in front of Clark, there’s a lot of smoke, the music kicks in, and then Superboy appears standing in a classic hero pose with hands on hips.

The alien fires off two more rockets, the first knocking Superboy back into the SWAT van, and the second exploding the van and Superboy. This was a decent scene but it is so obvious that when the van explodes it is a dummy dressed as Superboy standing there. It really took me out of the moment.

With Superboy unconscious the alien attempts to possess him but can’t. Instead he takes over Pa Kant. This leads to a pretty effective cliffhanger as we see a weakened Superboy being led away for testing and a possessed Pa leaving with Lana as the camera pulls back and an effective piece of music plays.

The second part does a great job of playing up the emotional stakes of having the alien possess Pa Kent. He comes across as truly creepy, especially in his scenes with Lana. He also plays with Clark’s emotions when Pa insinuates that since the officer died while battling Superboy that the Boy of Steel is responsible and should hang up his cape. You can tell that Clark is genuinely hurt and confused by what his father is saying.

The alien then comes up with a pretty evil plan. Since he can’t possess Superboy he will simply kill every human on the planet, starting with Pa Kent and Lana. He has strapped bombs on Pa Kent’s body and is going to blow Pa and Lana up. The alien then plans to possess every human and have them all commit suicide, basically.

Superboy does the only thing he can: He offers up his body to the alien. I guess the alien can’t possess Superboy unless Superboy allows him access. It really isn’t explained all that well. I did like that the alien knew Superboy was telling the truth because he is honest and has integrity.

Luckily Superboy does have a plan. He takes the alien (still possessing Pa) to Peterson’s lab. He lets the alien take over his body but has Peterson activate the Kryptonite laser. He did promise the alien his body, just not for how long. Superboy is willing to die to stop the alien.

This was a well done scene where Superboy and the alien basically fight for control over his body. When it seems like the alien gets the upper hand Pa jumps in and fights the possessed Superboy until Clark can regain control. Superboy then has his dad drag him over to the cryogenic freezer and lock him in. The alien decides to abandon ship but can’t survive in the cold temperature, freezes solid, and then shatters.

I want to mention the wire work done on this series. It’s pretty good and John Haymes Newton excels at making it look realistic. There is a scene where he flies down and lands next to a detective. It is very fluid and makes you truly believe that he is flying and not just on wires.

Overall these two episodes were great. The stakes were sufficiently high and I was glad to see that the threat wasn’t just physical but emotional as well since Superboy had to deal with his dad being possessed by the alien. Having two episodes to flesh out the story helped a lot as well. It didn’t feel rushed like a lot of the episodes.
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#26 RJDiogenes

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 06:06 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 27 March 2020 - 08:13 AM, said:

What surprised me about the episode is that the kryptonite is never actually used against Superboy. Yes, it affects Clark in the class and again at the end of the episode but other than Superboy and Peterson no one knows that it can hurt the Boy of Steel.  

Setting things up for future episodes no doubt. And, yes, reading ahead I see that it was used in the very next story.

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You have to hand it to TJ, he is serious about his job. When the fire alarm goes off he is in the shower. He runs out wearing only a towel and stops by his dorm room not to grab, say, a pair of pants, but to grab his camera so he can take as many pictures as possible.  

Too bad it's not on HBO.  :D

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Veronica ends up throwing the necklace down a storm drain and Superboy launches the rest of the kryptonite into space but we all know this won’t be the last we see of the green glowing rock.  

So Veronica knows that it is deadly to Superboy?

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The alien menace returns in a really good two-part episode.

There he is.  That was quick.

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The science building at Shuster U gets broken into, and the thief steals the canister with the alien locked inside.

This is where a Fortress of Solitude would come in handy.

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The alien shoots Clark with a high powered rifle before switching to a rocket launcher. He fires a rocket but it doesn’t really hurt Clark. This actually leads to a great scene. The rocket explodes in front of Clark, there’s a lot of smoke, the music kicks in, and then Superboy appears standing in a classic hero pose with hands on hips.  

Nice.  :thumbs-up:

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The alien then comes up with a pretty evil plan. Since he can’t possess Superboy he will simply kill every human on the planet, starting with Pa Kent and Lana. He has strapped bombs on Pa Kent’s body and is going to blow Pa and Lana up. The alien then plans to possess every human and have them all commit suicide, basically.  

That could probably be the premise of a series all by itself, since it would take about twenty-five years, even if he managed one person per minute.

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The alien decides to abandon ship but can’t survive in the cold temperature, freezes solid, and then shatters.  
I wonder if Peterson will examine the pieces.
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#27 Virgil Vox

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 12:45 PM

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So Veronica knows that it is deadly to Superboy?

Guess I should have expanded on that. She throws it away because she learns that Lex cares more for it than her and because he left her behind in a burning building.

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I wonder if Peterson will examine the pieces.

IIRC, this is the last time the alien would be mentioned though it isn't the last alien threat that Superboy will face. Heck, in season 3 he joins a government agency that is more or less dedicated to tracking down reports of aliens and other supernatural phenomena.
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-- Harry S. Truman

#28 Christopher

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 06:34 AM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 28 March 2020 - 12:45 PM, said:

Heck, in season 3 he joins a government agency that is more or less dedicated to tracking down reports of aliens and other supernatural phenomena.

Shades of the DEO.
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#29 G-man

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 08:48 AM

And here I thought it was an effect from the X-Files -- except a quick look reveals that Superboy was off the air before the X-Files debuted.

The DEO, OTOH, wasn't introduced until 1998, some six years post-this series.  It could well be an instance where the TV show might've inspired the comics.  Then again, maybe it was the X-Files with their conspiracies and having the FBI investigating the weird that was the inspiration.  I do recall that Cameron Chase gave off a strong Dana Scully vibe.

/s/

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#30 Christopher

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 09:33 AM

I wasn't suggesting inspiration, just noting the coincidence that we've had two Superman-adjacent TV series in which the Kryptonian hero worked with an agency focused on aliens.


View PostG-man, on 29 March 2020 - 08:48 AM, said:

The DEO, OTOH, wasn't introduced until 1998, some six years post-this series.  It could well be an instance where the TV show might've inspired the comics.

No, because in the comics, the DEO's focus was on metahumans, not aliens. Supergirl changed it because the show focused primarily on alien antagonists (perhaps to differentiate itself from The Flash, which already had a metahuman focus).


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I do recall that Cameron Chase gave off a strong Dana Scully vibe.

I'm not directly familiar with the comics version of the character, but I've seen her described as DC's equivalent of Jessica Jones, although she predates Jones by 3 years.
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#31 RJDiogenes

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 05:12 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 28 March 2020 - 12:45 PM, said:

IIRC, this is the last time the alien would be mentioned though it isn't the last alien threat that Superboy will face. Heck, in season 3 he joins a government agency that is more or less dedicated to tracking down reports of aliens and other supernatural phenomena.  
Do they know he's an alien?  :lol:
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#32 Christopher

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 05:23 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 29 March 2020 - 05:12 PM, said:

Do they know he's an alien?  :lol:

They don't know Clark Kent is an alien, no, and he's working for them in his capacity as Clark. I don't recall whether they know Superboy is an alien.
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#33 Virgil Vox

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 09:41 PM

Quote

Do they know he's an alien?  

I honestly don't remember.

Superboy – Meet Mr. Mxyzptlk

You have to give this episode credit for embracing Mr. Mxyzptlk’s powers on a shoestring budget. The mischievous imp teleports all over the place, frees two convicts and turns their shovels into guns, transforms into Clark, and a lot of other magical stuff during the course of the episode. It doesn’t all look great but at least the show tried to honor the comic book-ness of the character.

Unfortunately it isn’t a home run. Part of that is due to the actor cast as Mxy. Michael J. Pollard isn’t bad, per se, but he picks one tone as Mxy and sticks with it. He delivers basically all his lines in that same tone and never changes the energy of his performance either.

The plot sees a dig site where an archaeologist wants to remove a totem pole. Why he wants it removed is never established. A crane can’t get it to budge so Superboy is called in to help. He struggles with it but eventually pulls the totem pole out of the ground. This releases Mxy who quickly pulls a few pranks before demanding Superboy’s attention.

Mxy wants Superboy to go back with him to the 5th Dimension so they can all learn to be super too. Apparently things have gotten boring since everyone can do magic or something like that. Pollard kind of mumble speeds through his lines so it isn’t easy to tell exactly why Mxy wants the Boy of Steel to go with him.

Superboy refuses so Mxy decides to make a wager. If the imp can make Lana fall in love with him then Superboy has to go back with him. Superboy doesn’t agree but Mxy acts like he does. He fails in getting Lana to fall in love with him as him so he transforms into Clark and woos her that way.

This is where the episode gets really good. John Haymes Newton seems to be having a lot of fun playing Mxy pretending to be Clark. This is the closest we see his Clark acting like the nerdy version Chistopher Reeve portrayed. It is a good performance with some pretty funny moments.

This does beg the question why the real Clark just doesn’t confront Mxy-Clark and show Lana the truth. Instead he goes to her as Superboy and just comes across as being jealous of Lana spending time with Clark.

Mxy decides that he doesn’t want Superboy anymore and instead uses his magic to control Lana and gets ready to take her to the 5th Dimension. Luckily the totem pole came with a warning and instructions on how to return the imp back where he came from.

I liked this episode but thought it could have been better with a different actor as Mxyzptlk. I also wish the reasoning behind Mxy’s desire to take Superboy back to the 5th Dimension had been clearer. I do recommend this episode because it shows the series can do more fanciful comic book type episodes even on their limited budget.

Superboy – Terror From the Blue

I liked this episode a lot. It is mainly a Lana focus episode, taking six plus minutes before Clark even makes an appearance.

Lana is set to have an interview with Lt. Harris (a recurring character) but he is running late. Instead of waiting for him in his office she decides to take a walk outside. She is passing an alley when she sees Harris getting gunned down by another police officer. It seemed Harris had discovered that Slade and several other officers were corrupt and had confronted Slade about it before turning them in. With Lana the only witness Slade and the other officers spend the entire episode hunting her down.

This was a fast paced episode that was well directed and had a decent amount of suspense. Lana is clearly out of her depth here. She barely manages to get away. She contacts an officer Harris told her was trustworthy but doesn’t realize that the man she is talking to over the phone is actually one of the corrupt cops. She then calls Clark and TJ to let them know what is going on but tells them to watch over Harris who has survived the gunshots and is in critical condition at the hospital. Lana is still in danger but she doesn’t know it and neither do her friends.

We get a few good Superboy moments here. When he reaches the hospital he sees a corrupt cop about to pull the plug on Harris. He has this frightening look on his face as he approaches the cop. We then cut to the hallway where another cop is approaching only to see the bad cop come flying out of the room. At the end of the episode Superboy confronts Slade who was about to use a welding torch on Lana. Superboy grabs the villain and is about to punch him when he reins in his anger and simply throws Slade away.

This is a good showing for Lana. Usually she is the damsel in distress and while she is that here she is also a survivor who more or less makes the right moves and saves herself on a few occasions. I did think it was dumb that she didn’t run away from Slade when he came at her with a welding torch. There was plenty of room for her to run considering they were outside.

Slade makes for a good villain, in part because he is played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. He is certainly a better guest actor than this show normally hires and makes a one note villain into a genuine menace.

I don’t have anything bad to say about this episode. It was well done, gave Lana the spotlight, had some nice Superboy moments, and had a nice guest star for the role of the villain.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#34 RJDiogenes

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 05:37 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 03 April 2020 - 09:41 PM, said:

You have to give this episode credit for embracing Mr. Mxyzptlk’s powers on a shoestring budget.

I always ask people this:  How do you pronounce Mxyzptlik?

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Michael J. Pollard isn’t bad, per se, but he picks one tone as Mxy and sticks with it. He delivers basically all his lines in that same tone and never changes the energy of his performance either.

I think he's only got that one tone.  He was on a few things back in the day (including "Miri," on Star Trek) and I never liked him.  He's probably a nice enough guy in real life, but something about him always rubbed me the wrong way.

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I also wish the reasoning behind Mxy’s desire to take Superboy back to the 5th Dimension had been clearer.

Mxy doesn't need any motivation other than being an imp.  As I'm sure you know well by now, I hate the dark and grittier reimaginings of characters, but one example of it working very well was what Alan Moore did to Mxy in "The Last Superman Story."  It worked so well because it made so much sense.  It was character development in the tradition of guys like Steve Englehart and Roy Thomas (and, later, Kurt Busiek) who were able to develop characters in interesting and surprising ways that were still totally consistent with their history-- because they thought through the implications of what had gone before.  Totally unlike the random and uninspired reimaginings of today.

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Lana is set to have an interview with Lt. Harris (a recurring character) but he is running late. Instead of waiting for him in his office she decides to take a walk outside. She is passing an alley when she sees Harris getting gunned down by another police officer. It seemed Harris had discovered that Slade and several other officers were corrupt and had confronted Slade about it before turning them in. With Lana the only witness Slade and the other officers spend the entire episode hunting her down.  

Very film noir, sounds like.

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We get a few good Superboy moments here. When he reaches the hospital he sees a corrupt cop about to pull the plug on Harris. He has this frightening look on his face as he approaches the cop. We then cut to the hallway where another cop is approaching only to see the bad cop come flying out of the room. At the end of the episode Superboy confronts Slade who was about to use a welding torch on Lana. Superboy grabs the villain and is about to punch him when he reins in his anger and simply throws Slade away.  

Yeah, it's not good for Clark Kent to lose his temper.  You know what Superman's greatest power is, right?  
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#35 Virgil Vox

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Posted 13 April 2020 - 06:10 PM

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I always ask people this:  How do you pronounce Mxyzptlik?

According to Wikipedia, like this: miks-yez-PIT-el-ik.

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I think he's only got that one tone.  He was on a few things back in the day (including "Miri," on Star Trek) and I never liked him.  He's probably a nice enough guy in real life, but something about him always rubbed me the wrong way.

That's what I thought. I know I've seen him in other stuff but I can't recall what.

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Mxy doesn't need any motivation other than being an imp.

True, but since this episode goes out of its way to give him motivation I wish they had made it better.

Superboy – War of the Species

This was another well done episode though I wish it had been longer because it introduces some interesting ideas at the end of the episode that never get fully explored.

The previous episode focused on Lana and this episode gives TJ the spotlight. TJ questions whether he has what it takes to be a photojournalist after he learns that he didn’t win a prestigious journalism award that he thought he had in the bag. Then he lets his film get confiscated by the military because he forgot to keep a dummy role with him for purposes such as that. This makes him do a very dumb thing and gets him in trouble that only Superboy can save him from.

The trouble in question is an android built by Dr. Stuart as part of a military project. As the episode begins the android kills another scientist that was helping Stuart. Clark, TJ, and Lana go to the lab to interview Stuart. TJ and Lana decide to do some exploring on their own and run into the homicidal android and are only saved by Superboy’s intervention. Obviously the three heroes want to turn the android over to the police but a military man steps in and says that everything is classified and that they should forget what they have seen.

TJ eventually goes back to get more pictures of the android but is caught by Dr. Stuart. He decides to use TJ as bait to lure Superboy into another fight with the android to test its battle capabilities. Obviously Superboy wins and defeats the android.

Here is where things get interesting. It is revealed that Dr. Stuart is an android himself from another planet. There the androids gained sentience and demanded their freedom. However their organic masters refused. Since the androids are programmed for non-violence there wasn’t much they could accomplish. Stuart fled the planet and came to Earth so he could create an army of androids that were designed to do nothing but cause violence so he could free his people.

Look, AIs turning against their masters is nothing new in sci-fi but this wrinkle provided a nice back story to Dr. Stuart and kept him from being another mad scientist. I wish this had been a two-parter because it would have been nice to learn more about Stuart and his fight for freedom.

This might be one of TJ’s best episodes. It gives him a lot to do and shows that he does have the making of a great photojournalist. I also love episodes where we see Clark and TJ do investigative work because I feel that is a part of Superman’s identity that gets overlooked a lot.

It seems they replaced the actress who originally played Dean Lockhart which is a good thing. This new actress is much better.

There was a nice callback to the homeless camp from the episode “The Invisible People” as well as some mentions of TJ’s desire to also be a stand-up comedian.
Lana’s role as a crusading liberal continues here as she accompanies Clark and TJ to the lab so she can write a paper over the military-industrial complex and the harm it does.

The android is okay. It looks as good as it can considering the budget. My only gripe is that they left the actor’s face uncovered so he really just looks like a man wearing a battle suit. I wish he had a helmet or something to give him more of an intimidating android look. Once the twist concerning Dr. Stuart is revealed it makes sense as to why the android has a humanoid face.

All in all, another pretty good Superboy episode.
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#36 RJDiogenes

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Posted 14 April 2020 - 06:08 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 13 April 2020 - 06:10 PM, said:

According to Wikipedia, like this: miks-yez-PIT-el-ik.  
I gave up back in the 60s and started to just call him Mixxle-pixxle, which I still do.  :lol:

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TJ eventually goes back to get more pictures of the android but is caught by Dr. Stuart. He decides to use TJ as bait to lure Superboy into another fight with the android to test its battle capabilities. Obviously Superboy wins and defeats the android.  
Probably should have started small with Elongated Man or something.

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Here is where things get interesting. It is revealed that Dr. Stuart is an android himself from another planet.  
Okay, I didn't see that coming.  I always wonder how these undercover aliens set up their identities. Nobody ever devotes much detail to what would be a major undertaking.

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Look, AIs turning against their masters is nothing new in sci-fi but this wrinkle provided a nice back story to Dr. Stuart and kept him from being another mad scientist.  
Agreed. It's an interesting loophole to Asimov's Laws, and one that Asimov himself very self consciously avoided (by saying that the laws were built into positronic brains at the conceptual level, so you'd have to start over to have a positronic brain without laws-- but Daneel would have had the time and resources to do exactly that. The subject also came up in a spinoff trilogy about a robot named Caliban, but wasn't really explored there either. But I digress.).
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#37 Virgil Vox

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 10:07 PM

Superboy – Succubus

This was a decent episode. As the title suggests, Superboy goes up against a succubus. The succubus in question is Pamela Dare, a famous author who has lived for centuries by draining the life force out of people. She meets TJ when he does a photo shoot of her for the college newspaper. They seemingly take a shine to each other but Pamela is only using TJ to get to Superboy. She believes that by taking his life force she will become truly immortal.

This is kind of a weird episode but that’s not exactly a bad thing. There is a sequence where Pamela enters the dorm where Clark and TJ live and as she is walking down the hallway she is glowing while behind her is a bright white light and a lot of fog. A guy comes out of his dorm room and collapses after seeing her. I honestly thought it was a dream TJ was having at first because it was just so weird. Also, TJ sees her doing this and phasing into his room where Clark is asleep but apparently he isn’t bothered because he never mentions it for the rest of the episode.

Like a lot of other episodes, this one does suffer from only being 20 minutes. The writer tries to pack in way too much stuff. TJ has fallen head over heels for Pamela and is crushed when she dumps him and seems to want Clark. He acts like a spurned lover and punches Clark when he seems him in the newsroom.

Sadly, this is really the only scene that deals with the tension between the two friends because TJ and Lana get captured by Pamela shortly after. We are also given a glimpse into just how old Pamela is and learn some of her history. She is actually a compelling villain but there’s not enough time to really flesh her out.

There’s a nice scene where Superboy plays a charity baseball game where he plays all the positions. I liked it because this is something Superman has done in the comics and there is a similar scene in Lois & Clark where Clark plays a game of baseball by himself.

For some reason Pamela can only take someone’s life force if they are scared and she doesn’t exactly scare the Boy of Steel. She lures him to her house and shows that she has TJ and Lana in medieval death traps. This puts the fear into Superboy allowing Pamela to drain some of his life force.

His life force doesn’t just keep her young, it actually de-ages her. When she turned into a baby I figured that’s how the episode would end. Instead she then turns into a pile of crystals because I guess succubae start out as crystals? I don’t know. The episode doesn’t explain it whatsoever.

All in all, this was an okay episode of Superboy. It isn’t one I would highly recommend but it has some charm and I really liked the baseball bit.

Superboy – Luthor Unleashed

Here we are. The season finale of Superboy’s first season and it is pretty good. The premise sees Lex stealing a prototype weapon from an army base. Clark and TJ are asked by the police to help investigate since the police have reason to believe the thieves are Shuster U students.

Those two suspect Lex because who else would it be but before they can question him an experiment he was working on blows up, trapping Lex in his lab. Superboy rescues him and Lana is there to make sure he is alright.

This actually seems to be a turning point for Lex because he is grateful to Superboy for saving him and he starts to woo Lana. He even postpones the sale of the weapon he stole. This is short lived when he wakes up to find that he has lost all of his hair, likely as a result of all the chemicals in the lab. He blames Superboy and vows to make the Boy of Steel pay. He decides he will use his sonic weapon, the military weapon, and three assassins to finally kill Superboy.

There is a lot to like here. Scott Wells has been pretty weak in the role of Lex but here he steps up his game and makes the character a legitimate threat. It is a strong performance and I wish he had been like this the entire season. I also love the bad wigs Lex wears after he goes bald.

The fight between Superboy and the assassins is decent. Lex’s sonic weapon hurts Superboy enough to give the assassins a chance, just not much of one. I have to say that the wire-work during the fight was really well done as Superboy gets blasted through the air several times.

I was afraid that Lana would become a damsel in distress again when Lex goes to her after he wakes up bald but we get a great scene where Lex slaps her and Lana punches him back. I was like, “You go, girl!”

The episode ends with a kind of cliffhanger. Lex and Leo escape while Superboy is dazed and we see them hiding out at a monastery with Lex vowing revenge. The camera then pans up to the sky with a lightning strike and ominous music.

This was a really good episode to end the season. It had high stakes, a good performance from Scott Wells, and some good fight choreography.

Overall, I’d say that the first season of Superboy was pretty good. It definitely has its share of bad episodes, especially early on, but the show finally found its groove and started to figure out what worked and what didn’t. They embraced more of the fantastical elements of the character as the show progressed by including aliens, robots, time travel, magical creatures, Mxyzptlk, etc.

John Haymes Newton was great as Clark/Superboy. I loved him in the role. He did a good job portraying Clark and Superboy differently so as to make it believable that they are two different people. He looked the part when he was the nerdier Clark or the heroic Superboy. It is a shame that he was let go and didn’t get to play the character for more seasons.

Stacy Haiduk is the show’s MVP since she is the only actor to be in all four seasons. I like her as Lana but this season didn’t seem to know what to do with Lana. She is used as the damsel in distress way too often. Not only that, but the show can’t decide exactly what her relationship to Clark/Superboy is. Sometimes she seems to see Clark as more than a friend and others they are more brother and sister. Sometimes she and Superboy seem to be an item and sometimes they don’t. It hurts the character. Luckily Stacy is a good actress and makes it work. Her character will definitely improve as the series moves forward.

Jim Calvert did a good job as TJ, and I was sad that they got rid of him after this season. TJ was a likeable guy who had a nice connection to Superman mythology by being Perry White’s son. His character wad fleshed out a decent amount throughout the season, especially in regards to wanting to be a stand-up comedian.

Superboy may not be the greatest show out there but this first season has some really strong episodes and some solid performances from the main cast.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
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#38 RJDiogenes

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 04:39 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 16 May 2020 - 10:07 PM, said:

As the title suggests, Superboy goes up against a succubus.  

Not similar to the succubi in Lost Girl, I'm guessing.  :D

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There is a sequence where Pamela enters the dorm where Clark and TJ live and as she is walking down the hallway she is glowing while behind her is a bright white light and a lot of fog. A guy comes out of his dorm room and collapses after seeing her.  

Collapses as in dead?  Does she have to kill people, or can she just nibble a bit on their life force?

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Also, TJ sees her doing this and phasing into his room where Clark is asleep but apparently he isn’t bothered because he never mentions it for the rest of the episode.  

Must be some Mesmerism involved in her powers.

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Like a lot of other episodes, this one does suffer from only being 20 minutes.  

There's a real art to writing short stories like that.  There's a bunch of old thirty-minute adventure shows that did it quite well, but it's not something you see often these days.

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His life force doesn’t just keep her young, it actually de-ages her. When she turned into a baby I figured that’s how the episode would end. Instead she then turns into a pile of crystals because I guess succubae start out as crystals? I don’t know. The episode doesn’t explain it whatsoever.  

The de-aging to babyhood "and beyond" is an old and overused trope in plots like these.  They should have come up with a new twist, based on the alien nature of his life force.  Like she's young in sunlight and old in the shadows or something.

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Those two suspect Lex because who else would it be but before they can question him an experiment he was working on blows up, trapping Lex in his lab. Superboy rescues him and Lana is there to make sure he is alright.  

Does Lex....?

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This is short lived when he wakes up to find that he has lost all of his hair, likely as a result of all the chemicals in the lab. He blames Superboy and vows to make the Boy of Steel pay.  

He does!  :D  I love it.  The hair-loss-as-villainous-motivation is one of the silliest things ever, but there it is, and I admire writers who embrace it.

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I also love the bad wigs Lex wears after he goes bald.  

It was always a source of amazement that this brilliant mad scientist who can invent super-robots and death rays and everything else can't cure baldness.  It's the principle of the thing!  :D

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The camera then pans up to the sky with a lightning strike and ominous music.  

Nice.

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Stacy Haiduk is the show’s MVP since she is the only actor to be in all four seasons.
It's really unusual to see a show clean house like that, and then recast characters rather than create new characters (although they could hardly replace Superboy).  It would be interesting to know just exactly what went on behind the scenes.
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#39 Christopher

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 04:54 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 17 May 2020 - 04:39 PM, said:

It's really unusual to see a show clean house like that, and then recast characters rather than create new characters (although they could hardly replace Superboy).  It would be interesting to know just exactly what went on behind the scenes.

According to the Superman Homepage, it was over a salary dispute, though it's unclear whether Newton was let go or chose to leave:

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At the end of the first season, Newton tried to exploit this popularity and went to the Salkinds to re-negotiate his contract, demanding an increased salary for the second season. The Salkinds were nothing if not pragmatic and made a decisive move based solely on the bottom line. The Salkinds chose to release Newton from his contract and quickly hired Gerard Christopher to replace him as Superboy for the second season assuming that it was the costume, and not the actor that wore the cape, that attracted viewers.

"It was my choice to leave the Superboy series," Newton told the Superman Homepage. "The producers asked me back repeatedly. I asked for a small raise (20%) which had been previously promised to me and then retracted when the second season was to start. This was due to the amount of dangerous stunts I was performing as well as two serious accidents, one involving a substitute flying rig operator swinging me into some power lines. (They happened to be insulated)."

At the time, I read an article saying that Newton had gotten into some sort of legal trouble and was let go because it tarnished his reputation too much to play Superboy. But no modern-day reports seem to bear that out. Maybe it was flack from the studio trying to discredit him? Or maybe just a tabloid rumor.
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#40 Virgil Vox

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 11:18 PM

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Collapses as in dead?  Does she have to kill people, or can she just nibble a bit on their life force?

I'm assuming not dead since there isn't mention of a murder later in the episode. It's not shown if she can nibble or not. Every time she drains someone (except for Superboy) they die. Maybe not right that second but they still end up dead really soon.

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At the time, I read an article saying that Newton had gotten into some sort of legal trouble and was let go because it tarnished his reputation too much to play Superboy. But no modern-day reports seem to bear that out. Maybe it was flack from the studio trying to discredit him? Or maybe just a tabloid rumor.

I read an interview that Newton gave around the time of Superman's 75th anniversary. I can't remember the exact details but he talked about how he had gone joyriding and ended up trespassing on someone's private property. The police got involved but it was settled pretty quickly. Somehow that morphed into the story that he was arrested for drinking while driving and the show used that as an excuse to make their case for not bringing him back, saying he had tarnished his reputation and the reputation of the character, or some such nonsense. I'll try and find the interview again.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman


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