With our favorite prime time shows on hiatus, TV Fanatic is taking a look back at some buzzed-about programs and grading their performance this fall, with a look toward 2011.
Previously this week, we gave an A to The Vampire Diaries. Up now: Smallville.
Best Episode: "Homecoming." This one was not even close. Even though we did rate one other episode higher, there's really nothing like the feeling of nostalgia and "Homecoming" was the perfect love letter to fans of the longtime series, as it prepares to complete its iconic 10-year run.
Worst Episode: "Isis." You thought we were gonna pick "Supergirl?" Despite having the distinction of being "The One Where Clark Told Lois," the majority of "Isis" made us cringe by taking the umpteenth trip to the possession well. Seriously, how many times can you play the same card in a single series? The overall plot seemed out of sync with this season's direction and even Lois in a shorty dress couldn't bring us out of our catatonic state long enough to fully absorb the impact of Clark admitting his secret to Lois.Best Character: How can it be anyone other than Clark? His scenes with all the other major characters have felt more poignant this year, and rightly so. Whether discussing his future with his deceased father, sharing a romantic moment with Lois, extending forgiveness to Tess, or fighting alongside his costumed brethren, Clark is learning more than ever about the meaning behind his journey and is in the final stages of becoming the ultimate super hero.
Worst Character: Kat Grant. We once called her a "Nancy Drew meets Dora The Explorer nuisance," and we still stand by that description. She's like the annoying little sister who is constantly running to tattle on you with that squeaky, high-pitched whine in her voice. A little goes a very long way with this character, and as far as we can tell her presence hasn't added much, if anything, to the story.
Best Performance: All the regular cast members have upped their respective games this season, but the most impressive transformation has to be Cassidy Freeman from cold, calculating vixen to tortured ally who is desperately searching for meaning in her existence. With powerfully emotional scenes, especially in "Abandonded" and "Luther," Freeman has created some of the most heartbreaking moments of the season. While everyone else is oohing and aaahing over the Clois moments, we are eating up every Tess scene by the fistful.
Hopes for 2011: There's really only one thing we're hoping for as the series bows out in 2011, and that is that the rise of Superman is iconic enough to make the long and sometimes painful journey worth it. Those of us loyal enough to stick through to the end are looking for real payoff, and a single glimpse of Clark in the red and blue flying off into the sunset isn't going to cut it. We hope the writers are listening because there are high expectations for that final episode and there's a good chance of fanboy backlash if it doesn't reach a satisfying conclusion.
Overall grade: B+.
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Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.