It’s taken two years of my life but after 10 seasons and 200+ episodes I have finally watched all of Smallville, DC’s take on the early years of Clark Kent before he becomes Superman.
First of all, let me say this…. it was worth it. Yes, 10 seasons was too long and despite some fans’ indifferent feelings to how it ended, I loved it. Now, on with my retro-review.
A lot of what I read about this show before watching it put me off. It’s like 90210 said some. Well, yes. But it has a lot more going for it.
Essentially the show can be cut in half. The first five seasons is very ‘teen’ with loads of longingly loving shots of teenagers staring into each others eyes declaring their love before deciding they aren’t ready for a big committment. The biggest offender is Kristen Kruek as Lana Lang. A wonderfully beautiful actress though she is, the writers prolonged her stay on the show for two seasons too many. The will they/won’t they scenario between her and Clark, played by the brilliant Tom Welling, became very tiresome after a while, however what kept me coming back was the little added comic book elements interspersed throughout each season.
The gradual introduction of members of the Justice League really added to the show and, in fact, this lead brilliantly into the final five seasons in which fans of the original Superman films and comic books could really get their teeth into. Characters such as Darkseid and Zod, among others, were wonderful however the crowning glory in all this was Michael Rosenbaum and John Glover as Lex and Lionel Luthor. These two actors really grasped the whole concept of the show and produced some great over-the-top performances.
As for the main man himself, Welling plays Clark in a very understated way. Although the writers again stretched his conflicting inner demons as he fights his destiny, our leading man has the right look and feel to pull it off.
However, what, or who, brings the best out in his performance is the eventual introduction of Lois Lane, played by the gorgeous Erica Durance. I can honestly say that her portrayal of the intrepid reporter is easily the best of any portrayal before, whether it be on the small or big screen.
Feisty, ballsy and with beauty to match, Durance really takes the show by the horns when she joins half way through the run. The only complaint I have is that they didn’t introduce her sooner. In fact it was her arrival that probably saved me from quitting because the on/off love affair between Clark and Lana had become a little tiresome. The story that builds between Lois and Clark in the last few seasons is brilliant and had me hooked. I couldn’t wait for his reveal to her.
One important fact to remember if you are contemplating watching the show is that this is not an HBO production. It has a very glossy feel to it while the special effects aren’t bad although the slow-mo running does become a little tired by the end.
However, one of the defining moments in the show’s ten year run was the appearance of Christopher Reeve in a cameo role. I’ll not tell you who he plays but there is a very cool moment when he meets Welling and a well known element of the original Richard Donner films gets introduced. In fact we get the same moment at the end of the tenth season, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
Adding to this, there are some wonderful cameos in the show. Dean Cain, Teri Hatcher and Margot Kidder all add extra ‘cool’ elements to the series as do the performances of John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard) and Annette O’Toole (Superman III) as Jonathan and Martha Kent.
We also get further great performances from Justin Hartley as the Green Arrow (I thought he would have been perfect in the new series of Arrow) and Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, a prominent player in the future Justice League as the series draws to a close.
All in all, Smallville is a great series once it gets past its ‘teen’ phase. Give it a chance and you will be rewarded with some great comic book television. Highly recommended and something I will miss.
Now, how about some Metropolis rumours….
3.5 out of 5 nerds