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End Of Eternia, Part One
Review By Arsenal, Media by Stu

Episode #13 - End Of Eternia, Part One
Original Airdate May 16th, 1998

Eternity and Infinity recruit the Surfer as their champion in a battle to the literal finish with Thanos.

Written By: Larry Brody, Michael Steven Gregory
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi

Review: "End of Eternity” benefits from tighter pacing and a great, sci-fi plot, but some of the problems that have limited the series persist here.

Thanos has found a way to destroy the universe by reversing time, and Surfer bounces through a plethora of cameos and monologues to get to the final conflict.

Silver Surfer has never been a fast-paced series. Stories that could be done in one are stretched to two parts. Minutes are wasted each episode, so the Silver Surfer can wax eloquent about his missing Zenn-La and Shalla Bal. Even here, in a relatively well-paced episode, time is still wasted on a few too many backward-time effects.

And time is of the essence here, because for the audience to feel the tension, every second has to feel important. There are just a couple too many lags to call this a great episode.

Pretty much everyone pops back up in this episode, whether you want to see them or not. Drax, Pip, Nova, Galactus, Beta Ray Bill, Thanos and Shalla Bal all get some screen time. You almost wish some of the cameos could have been cut to show Silver Surfer actually come up with a strategy. Y’know, something besides shoot colored beams at the problem.

Yes, the episode ends up with a cliffhanger, possibly the biggest cliffhanger possible. I mean, how do you top the destruction of the universe? Marvel went bankrupt so the show ended. A second season had been approved, and scripts for the first eight episodes had been written. (If you want to know what happened next, I’ll give you a hint. The universe did not end.) I would be remiss if I reviewed the series finale and not the series as a whole. Silver Surfer, in its entirety, was a failure, but an audacious failure. It had good ideas, but they were often poorly executed, perhaps because of budget or time constraints.

The main problem I had with this series was the protagonist. The Silver Surfer never commands attention. He moralizes, pontificates, bemoans his fate, but he never engages the audience. We never relate to the guy. The Hulk, Batman, Superman, Wolverine, Spider-Man—they all still have moments where they feel human. The Silver Surfer does not.

Maybe it’s his shiny exterior. Maybe it’s his stilted dialogue, but the guy comes across as a concept, not a character.

Some of his supporting cast did better. Nova was almost always a pleasant accomplice. Galactus had all the swagger an omnipotent planet-eater should have, and he also benefited from the best character design. (I would like to think that Kirby would have loved this version of Galactus.) Thanos, Ego, Nebula and even the Wanderers had unfulfilled potential.

This show could have been better. It had the right idea and a niche to its self. Silver Surfer is cosmically powered, so let him deal with cosmic problems. Let him be the Lone Ranger of the stars. But he and several of his villains needed better characterization.

I would like to think that Silver Surfer was a series that could have learned from its first season mistakes. X-Men: Evolution, Justice League and The Batman also had lame first seasons and developed into great shows. Would Silver Surfer have done that? I can’t tell you.

I will say this. I have read the eight second season scripts. Some of them show improvement. The humor is often funnier, Thanos is interestingly revised and Silver Surfer is slightly (just slightly) less verbose; but none of these episodes feel like an epiphany. If Surfer was to hit its stride, it would not have been in the early second season.