Starting on October 16th 2001 on The WB, and ending on May 13th 2011 on The CW, spanning ten seasons and 218 episodes, was Smallville. Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and starring Tom Welling as a young Clark Kent, the series dealt with, at first, Clark Kent’s senior high school year, going on to document the journey from awkward superpowered highschooler discovering hidden abilities and learning to cope with them, to Daily Planet reporter struggling to come to terms with his destiny, and finally with him embracing that destiny and becoming the Superman of the comics.
Straight off the bat I’d like to confess that this is one of my favourite television series ever. Not just in comics, but overall. There are, of course, episodes I am not that fond of, and I’m sure others will be the same in saying that season two really did spark this show off. Season one is great, but for me there were too many one off episodes, and it was even (affectionately) dubbed the ‘freak of the week’ season, as the villains were, as far as I can remember, all meteor rock empowered people. But it’s not a bad season, and I honestly don’t know anybody that made it to season two that didn’t make it all the way to season ten. Before I delve more into what I liked about this show, scroll down for a quick overview of the seasons. If you want a bit more info about the show (I believe that this show is better if you don’t know what will happen in later seasons) there are links at the end of the review where you can find out everything you wanted to know….
Seasons 1 through 4 dealt with Clark’s senior year. Season 1, as already mentioned, was mainly ‘freak of the week’ episodes. Season 2 went more into character development and became much richer for it. Season 3 continued this and then season 4 was where we first saw the character of Lois and the nature of the Kryptonian stones was explored more.
Seasons 5 through 7 then moved on to the beginning of Clarks real training. We were introduced to the Fortress of Solitude, the love triangle between Clark, Lana and Lois was developed, and other characters such as Green Arrow, Bizarro, Brainiac and Jimmy Olsen were introduced. We also saw more of the Phantom Zone, and season 7 drew to a close with some big secrets revealed.
Seasons 8 through 10 dealt with Clark’s final trials before becoming Superman. He also starts working for the Daily Planet. Some of the most powerful villains were introduced in this final third, including Zod, and we see a culmination of everything that the show has been building to.
So, that’s a short overview of the seasons, now for why I loved the show so much…..
I’m going to start with the actors: I truly believe that this series gave us the best Lex Luthor (live action) that we have seen right up to this point. Rosenbaum manages to show a human side to Lex at the same time as keeping an underlying psychotic ruthlessness bubbling under the surface. Welling, as Kent, had some pretty big boots to fill, but if THE Superman himself, Christopher Reeve, raved about his performance then who am I to disagree? It really is something to keep viewers hooked for that long and always be able to surprise them with something new.
I also have to say that there has not been a better Lois (Durance) in live action. I was so glad when they introduced the character when they did, because in my opinion it was perfectly timed as the Lana/Clark romance was starting to get a bit stale, although they still had some great scenes. Kreuk is a great actress, so it wasn’t anything to do with her, but I just felt at that time there was too much back and forth with that particular romance. Introducing Lois allowed them to wrap that arc up nicely and unhurried. In fact, I’m really struggling to think of a performance that wasn’t great from the main cast, and even up there with the best screen versions we have seen.
Add to that the sheer number of characters from the universe they managed to give us in the show’s run, almost all of them adding something great to the story, certain costumes and effects aside (will we ever have a truly great Doomsday?) it was one of the things I looked forward to in the show the most.
The soundtrack rocks. It really fit the show well. I challenge anyone not to be singing along to the intro after a few episodes (really, really badly in my case, terrible singer). The track is called Save Me, by Remy Zero, but there are tracks by a whole host of great artists in the ten seasons.
Script-wise, it rarely loses your interest, and even then not for long. As I’ve mentioned, season one is kind of a collection of individual episodes, but overall this was solid writing for ten straight seasons.It’s only fair that I should point out that there are a few plot points that are either unanswered or a bit of a contradiction or reach, but over ten seasons you are going to have a few of those.
Overall, I highly recommend that any comic book fan watch this if they haven’t already, especially newcomers, as it really helps introduce a lot of popular as well as fringe characters and tells a part of the story, or a version of it, that is usually left to a couple of scenes or a few seconds in a montage.
Here’s the box set trailer:
So do you agree with my review? What was your favourite season, character/actor and story arc? What didn’t you like about it? Let me know in the comments section!