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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dukes reunited in Smallville

November 2, 2005
by Jennifer Squires Biller

Someone call Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. The Duke boys are together again. Except this time, they’re a long way from Hazzard County.

On Thursday, Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) reunites with former Dukes of Hazzard costar John Schneider (Bo Duke) on the WB series Smallville.

That’s right. Luke Duke will be mixing it up with Clark Kent, Lex Luthor, and former-cousin Bo, now known as Smallville’s most responsible father, Jonathan Kent.

Yep, I’m pretty much giddy at the thought of it.

Wopat is playing the character Jake Jennings, whose name, I’m assuming, is a clever nod to Dukes balladeer Waylon Jennings. Rumor has it that Jennings has a passion for classic cars and will be driving a ‘69 Dodge Charger. Hmmm…do you think the car doors will open, or will he have to climb through the window as an homage to the good ol’ days?

I couldn’t be more pleased that the extraordinary Smallville is the venue for this long-awaited reunion. As loyal Tube Talk readers know, Smallville is appointment TV for me. I’ve done everything short of bribery the last few years to get you to watch the young Superman in training. And I’m not above that, if it will get you to tune in on Thursday.

For those of you who have heeded my advice, thank you! Ratings for Smallville are the highest they’ve been in four years. The show is kicking butt in its new Thursday timeslot, despite stiff competition. (Sorry Everybody Hates Chris and The O.C.) For those of you who are still ignoring one of the best shows on television, you should know that I’ve reported your names to Lex Luthor, as possible candidates for scientific experiments at Luthorcorp.

Quite simply, here’s why you should make a weekly date with Smallville: it’s good. Watching young Clark Kent discover his super abilities and grapple with learning to use them is a fun-filled adventure each week. It’s a refreshing spin on the classic tale of good versus evil. Along with the weekly tales of heroism, Smallville offers humor, a superb cast, amazing special effects, and the most beautiful cinematography you’ll find on the small screen. And at the core, the story is rooted in family values.

We all need a hero to believe in. And in the capable hands of the charming Tom Welling, Clark Kent is that guy. His heroism doesn’t play as schmaltzy or insincere.

Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor is the perfect contrast to Welling. Rosenbaum’s Lex is dark at times, but played with a vulnerability and humor that makes viewers root for him, despite his dark side.

For you die-hard comic book fans who’ve refused to watch the show, I know the odds of convincing you are about as good as Lex Luthor growing hair. But, you should reconsider. Not every detail of Smallville may mesh with DC Comics history, but that shouldn’t exclude you from enjoying the magic of the show.

An added incentive this season is the addition of James Marsters, as Brainiac. I know it’s a stretch to see Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the smartest guy in the room, but, trust me, Marsters makes it work. He actually one-upped Lex Luthor last week in a game of verbal badminton. That rarely happens. And then there was the Halloween episode in which Marsters uttered, “There’s no such thing as vampires.” Sure, it was a too-obvious nod at his vampire history on Buffy, but I laughed like a hyena anyway.

For those of you who think it’s too late to get on board with Smallville, I have one word for you: DVDs. (Well, technically it’s one word, if you just say the acronym.) You can rent or buy the DVDs of all four seasons of Smallville. Some seasons have hilarious commentaries by cast members, including Lex and Clark, as well as deleted scenes and gag reels, that alone are worth the price of the DVD.

Or you can just tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. I’m pretty sure Rosco P. Coltrane will be watching, too.


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