Smallville: The Series (Throwback Review)
Author: Oscar Rendon
Once every few years there are television shows that grab hold of you and never let you go. Smallville, the tale of a young Clark Kent growing up with Jonathan & Martha Kent on the Kent Farm. Hulu has been a great source of nostalgia lately at least for me. Watching all the current DC-CW Shows on a weekly basis I wanted to revisit the show that started it all for the CW. The takeaways from the show are huge, either good or bad. So lets get into it.
Season One of Smallville saw a relative newcomer to the scene Tom Welling take the part of Clark Kent. It was evident that Welling didn't have much acting experience behind him but his look and charm are what made his take on Clark Kent so memorable. It was a nice change of pace to see a young Superman learning about his past while also learning to keep a dual life as a fly by night hero whenever the situation called for it. The show definitely took it's liberties with the character of Clark Kent in the first season, and also hinted to the colors he would one day wear as his alter ego with the paid shirts and solid color tees he always wore. Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor was a pure genius move by casting over at WB. Till this day people praise his performance on the show and have called him the definitive Lex Luthor. I believe so too, any other actor could have made him menacing and a clear cut villain but Rosenbaum toed the line on many occasions. Their friendship was the thing of legend. especially on the show as we the viewers know what would become of it. We rooted for them as friends but eventually they would be pitted against one another as the mythology goes. There were many redeeming qualities to Lex on the show that people to this day ask themselves if things played out differently maybe Lex wouldn't be the villain of the story. Clark Kent on the show was definitely not Superman and made many mistakes on the way getting their. Some say that Clark created Lex and lead him to becoming his rival. I would agree to that statement on many occasions as the show clearly indicates that in many episodes.
Smallville also introduced the Justice League, of course it was a much watered down version with no Batman or cool suits for Bart Allen aka Impulse. Obviously the show took it's liberties with the characters it handled. The Green Arrow aka Oliver Queen was played by Justin Hartley (This Is Us) who's take on the character compared to Stephen Amell's is rivaled between fans. There are many qualities that each possess that make up a good Emerald Archer. Maybe it was rights issue that the show couldn't get a lot of the characters it wanted but damn it if they tried their best to introduce a good amount of them on the show in its 10 season run. Lana Lang portrayed by Kristin Kreuk is a polarizing character herself. She played the love interest of Clark's for nearly 8 seasons which is practically the entire run of the show. Kreuk's chemistry with Welling definitely helped as viewers really wanted the relationship to workout between the two but just like Lex's friendship it wasn't meant to last. The show would eventually cast a Lois Lane played by none other than Erica Durance (Supergirl). Durance definitely brought a strength and girl power to the role many fans were either not expecting or they were. She definitely had instant chemistry with Welling from the opening sequence in the Season 4 premiere. Fans of the 'Man of Steel' were waiting for her arrival to the show and she didn't disappoint, from the start it was clear Durance knew the character and owned it till the very end of the shows run. Among the strong cast of female's, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Clark Kent's best friend and trusty sidekick was a great dynamic to the show and one that the mythos never had. She was created for the show and quickly made it into comics and was even referenced on an episode of Supergirl. Controversy aside the character was strong minded and one of the best parts of the earlier seasons.
Now we can't forget about the Kent's. Jonathan and Martha! MARTHA! If casting was ever so important for a project it sure was for this one. Played by John Schneider & Annette O'Toole they were the perfect duo to bring Superman's parents to life. A lot of the heart of the show came from the scenes between Clark and his parents and they always left you feeling the feels. The writing for those characters had to be difficult, they had to be the humanity and heart of the show when Clark was still doubting himself and his destiny which was a word the show used... a lot.
Overall, the writing at times was repetitive and bled into a following episode which would drag the season along at times. The characters were always well written playing to each actors strength's, except for Lana in Season 6 when she decided to marry Lex and all that cool jazz. It felt frustrating as a viewer and come on, did we actually thing it would last? Tom Welling much like Clark Kent grew into his role and over the years made for a compelling take on the character we had never seen before pre Man of Steel (2013). The show was never perfect and definitely a product of it's time from CG and use of music. The villains always felt easy to defeat after a season build up ie Darkseid in the series finale. The number of eater egg's and surprise guest stars that graced the show in it's ten year run made for a fun series getting us to the point where we could see Clark Kent finally take flight as Superman.
Can we take a moment to acknowledge that great opening theme by Remy Zero? "Save Me" quickly became or anthem in the 2000's and it transported us to Smallville.