Lately I've been venturing beyond LJ for Smallville news, to sites devoted to everything from the show itself to Superman to comic books to celebrity gossip. What I've discovered is a lot of negativity. Show bashing, character bashing, actor bashing, and even fan bashing. Of course I don't expect or want everyone to like Smallville, and I understand completely why many people have left it behind, or never watched it in the first place. And I'm perfectly okay with people expressing their frustration with the show however they see fit. What I'm really getting tired of, however, is reading that if I still like the show, I must be stupid, know nothing about good storytelling, and only watch because Tom Welling is pretty. Why the need to harsh my squee? :( So to cheer myself up, and in the hopes of finding anyone else who feels the same way I do, I decided to make an entry celebrating all the reasons I still love my favorite show. And because it's me, there are ten of them. :) 1) Tom Welling Wow, big surprise, huh? ;) Tom is the reason I first fell in love with Smallville, and his performance continues to captivate me today. He came to the show with a boatload of natural talent and a determination to do justice to a legendary role, while telling a story no one had ever heard before. He has grown into a skilled actor with a gift for nuance, and has shown me a Clark Kent of great emotional depth, who is both heroic and human. Tom's Clark is still finding his way in the world, but I know he will be Superman one day, and I can't wait to see the rest of his journey. Tom is also one of my favorite directors on the show, and his new role as co-executive producer makes me even more optimistic about what we can expect to see from Clark in the future. I admire him for his leadership and professionalism, and I adore him for his hard work and complete lack of excess ego. And yeah, he's pretty. Unbelievably so. :) 2) The Cast I really think Smallville has the greatest cast around. They all seem to love being a part of the show, are passionate about their characters, and get along great together. I'm glad to welcome them all back for another season (Allison, Erica, Justin, and Cassidy, you rock my world!), and I'm thrilled to see Callum Blue join the show as the newest series regular. I've enjoyed his previous work tremendously, and he promises to bring us a deliciously evil Zod. For me, the actors ARE the show. They have my loyalty and my love, without reservation. And they, too, bring the pretty. Big time. 3) Guest Stars Casting has always been Smallville's strong suit, and I know I can always look forward to fabulous guest stars throughout the season. Of those we've already heard about for S9, I'm most excited to see Brian Austin Green as John Corben/Metallo in the first two episodes. He's a wonderful actor, he's totally HOT, and he's a fanboy to boot! I can't wait to see Tom and BAG onscreen together. I'm also looking forward to seeing Allison Scagliotti, the best part about Syfy's Warehouse 13, in 9x05. She's in Vancouver filming right now, but deleted the spoilery tweets she had posted, perhaps at the show's request? And evidently the very cool Alessandro Juliani will be reprising his role as Dr. Emil Hamilton. Yay! 4) The S9 Trailer Shown at Comic-Con I've only seen the blurry bootleg version on YouTube, but I'm still totally pumped for S9 because of it! If you're one of the three people on the planet who haven't yet seen it, or if you just want to watch it one more time, you can find it HERE (be sure to watch it in HD). The WB site has been hinting that some version of this trailer will be released for public viewing; I hope they're right! 5) Pics of Tom Filming in Vancouver JayPat from DTTW took a trip to Vancouver, and came back with some truly special pics of Tom filming. Our star was on a very tall platform, with several cranes holding film equipment around him, dressed as the (no longer Red Blue) Blur, apparently filming a scene where Clark will appear high above Metropolis. SQUEEEE!! Doesn't he look magnificent up there? I can't wait to see how this scene will play out when all the effects have been added! You've probably already seen these pics, but if not, click on the thumbnails below to see them BIGGER. In the pics taken of Tom on the ground, look for him in a black tee and a white safety harness, with a woman who might be Erica standing next to him in a green shirt. Thank you to JayPat for so generously sharing his pics with us! 6) Lois and Clark The interaction between Lois and Clark was one of my favorite things about S8. I enjoyed the scenes of them working together at the Daily Planet, and investigating stories. I loved the funny, flirty banter they traded, and the jealousy that took them both by surprise. And I liked seeing the beginning of their romantic feelings for one another, which we've been assured will deepen in the season to come. I'm glad the show is taking things slowly with them for now, with a stronger focus on Clark's identity issues, and his need to find a balance between his human and Kryptonian sides. So far, I think they're doing it just right. When Smallville started, it was all about Clark and Lex, and that was amazing. No two characters on this show have ever approached the chemistry they shared, and nothing was more fascinating than watching them struggle to trust one another and fail, dancing endlessly around the truth as they moved ever closer to their inevitable, tragic destiny. But Michael is gone now, and Lex with him (no more Fake!Lex, please!), and so the show has had to change. If there is one relationship on Smallville that has taken center stage now, it's Lois and Clark, and I'm okay with that. 7) Geoff Johns and Bryan Q. Miller My two favorite S8 writers, back for more in S9! Geoff Johns, arguably DC's best asset, gave us Legion, and promises to work his magic again this season with a story about the Justice Society of America. Bryan Q. Miller's scripts (Committed, Bulletproof, Hex) are entertaining and funny, and I LOVE the way he writes Clark. I already know I can look forward to the episodes these two will give us. 8) The Move to Friday Night I am a little worried about Smallville being scheduled for the "death slot," but selfishly, I'm looking forward to new episodes on Friday night. I never go out on Friday, I'm way too tired from working all week; Saturday is my night to party. Friday is my night to pick up Chinese, grab a beer, and kick back on the couch, remote in hand. And now that relaxation ritual will include my favorite show as well! Awesome. Besides, with no work in the morning, I can stay up late to watch the episode again, write my review post, and share the squee! 9) 174 Episodes and Counting I can't even remember the last time I watched only one episode of Smallville in a week. I'm constantly going back to watch episodes from past seasons again, especially now that I have S1 and S2 on my iPod (thank you, iTunes!). With my DVDs, I might put together a Red!K mini-marathon, or watch all my favorite Michael episodes, or delight in the episodes Tom has directed. Sometimes I'll pick a random season and watch it straight through. My point is, I never get tired of this show, and each repeat viewing gives me something new to enjoy and appreciate. Right now I'm doing an online re-watch with bananabehr and ophelia_77, where we synchronize our DVD players and watch the best episodes of the entire series together, in order, and chat while we watch. It is the most fun ever! We just finished S1, so Clark and Lex are the best of friends, the Kents are still on the farm, the Clana is sweet, and the original Scooby gang of Clark, Chloe and Pete are tackling the mystery of each new FotW. Good times. 10) My Fandom Friends Finding the Smallville fandom on LJ quite literally changed my life, and many of the friendships I've made online are every bit as real and meaningful as those I've made face-to-face. I love you guys! I know not everyone I've met because of Smallville still likes or watches the show, but I hope we can find new ways to connect and stay in each other's lives. Bros before shows, right? And I hope to continue to make new friends with whom to share my squee over this crazy, wonderful, infuriating, exhilarating show about Clark Kent, the farmboy I love beyond all reason. When you come right down to it, the reason I love this show can be described in one word: escape. When I lose myself in Smallville's fantasy world, with all its pretty people, vibrant colors, and a big, beautiful hero I adore, I don't have to think about my next door neighbor who just lost her five-year battle with cancer, or my co-worker whose son just got his high school girlfriend pregnant, or my friend who was laid off six months ago and still can't find work, or the job that's killing me, or the boss who hates me. RL is glorious and full of joys to be found, but it can also be a bitch, and sometimes I just like to forget, 43 minutes at a time. Who wants to join me?