Science Fiction Romances, Part 5: Star-Crossed Teens in the New Millennium

The early 2000s were an age of star-crossed teens and some pretty unearthly adult couples as well (The Firefly crew, for example).

Roswell (1999-2003) introduced us to three super-powered extraterrestrial teens and the friends who got involved in their story. Max, Isabel, and Michael were trying to keep a low profile until Max used his healing abilities to save the life of a beautiful classmate who worked in her father’s alien-themed diner. From that time on, the three of them struggled to stay hidden. The teenager in me loved the characters. I don’t think the parent in me would have approved of the level of sexuality taking place between these supposedly high school-age characters though. Max cheats on Liz with Tess and gets her pregnant. Then Tess turns out to be an alien assassin. That’s the kind of mess unbridled hormones will get you into, so let that be a lesson to you, boys.

Emilie de Raven has always been a cutie though, so I can understand why Max might be tempted by her wiles. But really, Max.

The Superman legend spans the decades. The 1990s had Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and the largely-forgotten Superboy series with John Newton and Stacy Haiduk. (It was pre-CGI so the bad guys looked pretty cheesy, but the series had a good heart to it.)  The millennium had Smallville which ran for ten seasons (from 2001-2011).

Smallville was a creative reimagining of Superman’s boyhood in small town America. Clark Kent, in this version, doesn’t know where he came from and isn’t able to fly until the series finale. (Not much, at least. There was the tornado episode.) The series is full of angst-ridden teenage romance.  (Parental warning label: It’s pretty innocent for the first couple of seasons but gets steamier toward the end as the characters get older. You should probably preview it anyway.) I liked those first seasons better overall, but did enjoy the guest stars of the later seasons.

In those early seasons, Clark absolutely adores Lana Lang, but the relationship is doomed from the outset. It’s always two steps forward, three steps back. In one episode, Clark shares his secret with Lana, and she dies as a result. He gets the chance to go back in time and relive the day and breaks up with her to save her life. This scene, complete with a nice James Blunt soundtrack, comes at the end of the episode. It’s pretty typical of the “Clana” anguish Smallville put us through:

 

Chloe Sullivan is one of Clark’s closest friends. She wants, more than anything, to push their relationship beyond terminal buddyhood, but Clark only has eyes for Lana. Clark started to date Chloe a time or two, but the inexorable gravity of the Lana-crush kept pulling him back. This clip shows some of Chloe’s heartache. If the last scene didn’t give you enough anguish….

 

 

One thing writers sometimes struggle with is characters that develop minds of their own. The plot calls for the character to behave in a certain way but, when the time comes, the behavior just doesn’t fit the character. That, to me, is how it struck me when the writers of Smallville tried to end Clark’s relationship with Lana. Clark and Lana broke up repeatedly, but the chemistry between the characters kept pulling them back together. The problem was that over sixty years of DC Comics tradition had established that Lois Lane was the adult Superman’s love interest. The writers finally had Lana infused with kryptonite so Clark couldn’t be near her, and that finally ended their relationship. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXW1Qc-Kdfk

Well, dang it.

After that, Lois Lane was Clark’s main love interest in the series. Erica Durance’s version of Lois was feisty, competitive, and fun to watch. She added a comic element to the romance.

 

If you’d been able to vote, which of Clark’s three gal-pals would you have chosen for him?

You’ve got…

  • Lana Lang, the dream girl of Clark’s youth with her prom queen looks. In comics tradition, Lana was a redhead, but Kristen Kreuk’s Lana is half Asian (Kristen is half Dutch and half Chinese.) and kind of exotic.
  • Then there’s Chloe Sullivan, as portrayed by Allison Mack. Chloe is the faithful friend who would have made a great girlfriend for anyone who hadn’t already fallen for someone else. Chloe remains loyal to Clark even when she realizes they will never be anything but friends.
  • Finally there’s the youthful Erica Durance version of Lois Lane, the feisty and competitive army brat. She has a tender heart, but it’s well guarded.

It’s a tough choice. What do you think?

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