By Ken Tucker
Updated February 13, 2010 at 12:00 PM EST
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At a time when TV is overrun with irony, sarcasm, and hip knowingness, one of the things Smallville does well is innocence and earnestness. The episode “Warrior” was a good example of this.

Comic-book conventions are usually played for cheap laughs (look at all the geeks!), and while the beginning of this hour had a little of that, the central plot — a boy steals a copy of Warrior Angel #0 and becomes a superhero himself — managed to play this out straightforwardly, frequently with a pleasing sense of youthful wonder. It was fun to see the kid turn into a young man (the latter played by Carlo Marks) capable of super-feats but still a gawky pre-teen at heart. The cleverly written (by Bryan Miller) episode had Chloe getting a tad turned-on by Stephen Swift’s muscles, only to become sheepishly embarrassed once she figured out she’d been crushing on a boy who was more turned on by an Xbox than by a blonde inviting him up to her place. (Well, Carlo Marks did play Chloe’s fiance in the “Apocalypse” episode… )

In addition to the reappearance of the Warrior Angel comic in Smallville, there was the return of Zatanna. She figured in the plot as the source of Swift’s Warrior transformation — it was the result of a curse Zatanna’s father had placed upon the heretofore unopened comic book, one designed to result in the hero turning into the villain Devilicus (the most frightening thing about that metamorphosis was an alarming increase in hair-gel).

Zatanna is a tricky character to pull off in live-action TV, mostly because her costume is so — well, as Lois derisively referred to her, “Lady Fishnets.” But Serinda Swan really has a handle on this character by now; she plays her smart but not too smart-alecky, and her crisp dialogue with Clark made Lois’ jealousy plausible. And speaking of costumes: What’s the verdict on Lois Lane as Wonder Woman — or is it, as one Commenter suggests below, Xena, Warrior Princess? (She does refer to herself as “this Amazon princess,” but I do see the Zena resemblance, and the episode was called ‘Warrior’… ) Nonetheless, I come down on the side of less Amazonian than simply cute, a quality that suits this Lois well.

I guess when you direct the episode, as Allison Mack did, you get to put yourself in the final scene: The heck with Clark and Lois — Chlollie was in full effect, as Oliver guided Chloe in shooting an arrow, his arms enfolding her. One imagines that after the closing credits, they pulled out a boomerang arrow that would… well, fill in your own Valentine’s Day/Cupid’s arrow joke here.

Oh yes, my suggestion: Watching Smallville on Friday and Supernatural on Thursday, I thought, why the hell doesn’t the CW pair up these two shows on one night, as they used to be? Vampire Diaries may be more successful (in terms of numbers) than both, but I’ll bet ratings would increase for those two other shows if you brought their fan-bases together again; Vampire can hold its own by now, anyway. (This assumes, of course, that both Supernatural and Smallville will be back next season.)

What do you think of my idea? And what did you think about “Warrior”?

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the action and heartbreak of Clark Kent — before he was all things Super

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