Landing somewhere in between, we now take a quick look at the network's longest running series, Smallville, as we continue with our 2010-2011 Season Report Cards.
Best Character: We love Clark and recognize the show is about his journey, but this season we fell more in love with his soul mate, Lois Lane, than ever before. Erica Durance brought out a maturity and vulnerability in this final season which had us running through every emotion on the spectrum. Whenever Clark was ready to give up on himself, she was right there, serving as a powerful tether to his destiny. Even when she doubted herself and their future together, Lois never gave up on the hero he was yet to become. Without her at his side, Clark may never have taken that final step toward standing for truth and justice. As iconic as the Man of Steel himself, Lois Lane's last year in Smallville proved that behind every great man, there's an even better woman.
Worst Character: It's difficult to pinpoint a weak one among the cast of regulars, so we chose to select one of the recurring characters: Lionel Luthor. His reappearance in season ten felt awkwardly injected back into the story and didn't bring anything new to this long-weary character. All his presence did was leave us with a feeling of "so what else is new?"
Best Episode: Can we really go with anything other than "Finale?" Despite a few things we would have preferred to see handled differently, it ultimately delivered a satisfying and nostalgic end to the ten year jaunt. With the long awaited return of Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, an unequivocal answer to the question of Tess' loyalty, Martha and Jonathan Kent reunited (even if unconventionally), a Jimmy Olsen cameo, enough CLois sweetness to induce cavity, and Clark (finally) gaining the ability to fly just before brandishing his family crest in its most well known form, "Finale" made ten years feel like it had flown by in a matter of days.
Worst Episode: "Fortune." Oliver "Drag" Queen. Enough said.
Character Most Deserving of a Spin-Off: We mostly think The CW is missing a fairly hefty boat by not creating a Justice League series, spinning off Green Arrow, Black Canary, Impulse, Aquaman, Cyborg and Stargirl into their own ensemble series, but we're also of the mind that Booster Gold deserves some type of spinoff treatment all his own. Eric Martsolf brought the oft-mocked character to life with the hotdogging cockiness we expected, but then handed us a servile humanity that we didn't. While Blue Beetle didn't exactly rock our world in the same episode, we think Booster gave enough reason why a series built around he and Skeets would be…er…gold.
The Doomsday Effect Award For Imposing Villain Turned Feeble Foe: Oh the chills we got when Darkseid first appeared atop the Daily Planet building in the season premiere, promising to give us Clark's most formidable opponent yet! Instead, we had a glimpse here, a glimpse there, flaccid encounters with his three cronies, and then a final confrontation that contained all the ferocity of a hiccup. While production budget may have had an impact on the ability to have Darkseid battle Clark in a more profound way, we're miffed he didn't get to use his Omega Beams even once. Even Doomsday had a better run in season eight, and he came off like a World Wrestling reject.
The Final Redemption Award: Although the fandom has had a love-hate relationship with Tess Mercer over the years, we never doubted her for a second! Well, that's mostly true. Since she first learned Clark's secret, we'd been hoping she would stay on the side of truth and justice and with her final act to thwart Lex and preserve Clark's secret she made it clear once and for all that her place would forever rest on the side of the heroes; a fitting and appropriate end to her character. Cassidy Freeman left an indelible mark on this series that, for a time, made us forgive the absence of Michael Rosenbaum. Almost.
Overall Grade: B-. We're liable to get flack over that, but while overall the series ended in a place of contentment, the season had its rough spots. If there had been more focus on the Darkseid saga and fewer tangential efforts ("Isis," "Fortune") we might have been a little more forgiving. That doesn't mean we aren't still going through wads of Kleenex over the fact that we won't get to spend anymore time in Smallville. Ah, if only it could continue on as Metropolis. Sigh.
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.