TV | Ken Tucker's TV

The CW's identity crisis: Are 'Supernatural' and 'Smallville' better than 'Gossip Girl' and '90210'?

Watching Smallville this week, I had a Zod-like epiphany. The episode was a good one – it peaked with Clark saving a mortally wounded Zod by cutting himself with a shard of kryptonite, letting a bit of his Kryptonian blood drip into the Kandorian’s wound, which resulted not only in Zod’s revival but (unknown to Clark) giving Zod super-powers. This Zod transformed claimed to have had a revelation, telling Clark that he wanted to join forces, that he realized “your enemy becomes your savior.” Nothing good will come of this… except, potentially, lots of good Blur versus Zod warfare.

But watching the hour, I kept seeing commercials for new March episodes of

Melrose Place and 90210 and Gossip Girl and Life Unexpected. I have a soft spot for the lovably twee Life, but it’s not really amounting to much. As for the rest: blechh. Seeing all that promotional posing and pouting, I thought, I’ve pretty much had it with the CW’s cool-hip brigade. And that so includes One Tree Hill.

The CW has never had huge ratings, and it’s struggled to establish its brand identity. So here’s an idea. Why not rededicate itself to being the home of Supernatural, Smallville, and Vampire Diaries (its best cool-hip show primarily because its cool-hip is enlivened by its fantasy element), and develop more shows in this genre?

I know the business counter-argument to this: the network can assert that

it gets more ad dollars by dangling youth and beauty. That Leighton Meester makes more of an impact in the media than Jensen Ackles.

But I don’t write a business column; I advocate for what’s interesting to watch. And at this point in their respective histories, I am certain that Supernatural is more fun to follow than Gossip Girl is, and I know that the people who are doing amusing variations on the Superman mythology in Smallville are giving us better entertainment than the talented folks who are trying heroically to breathe life into the wheezing 90210 legacy.

Am I wrong?

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Originally posted February 26 2010 — 11:58 PM EST

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