Over the years, whenever something big happens in the world of DC comics, especially regarding Superman, people all over social media seem to talk about one adaptation of the character in particular, and until this year, I had not seen this show myself. This show was called Smallville, and it first aired back in 2001, when I was just 6 years old.
Some years ago I disliked Superman as a character, based on very little evidence however, since I didn’t even give him a chance, reading none of his comics and only seeing him in animated adaptations where he came across as some overpowered being that seemed unrelatable to me. In 2013, I realised that I could not be more wrong. Director Zack Snyder took the character of Superman and crafted a film so beautiful that I fell in love with the character and couldn’t wait to read more or watch more of the adaptations based on the character. ‘Man of Steel’ knew exactly how to represent this character in a relatable way despite his Comicbook story of being an alien trying to be a human, but within this film I saw a character that wasn’t just trying to be human, he was trying to ‘fit in’ with the people around him. He was trying so hard to be human, but realised he might never be what we would call ‘normal’, and he eventually learns to accept that, by becoming the person he was always meant to be.
I finally decided to watch Smallville, and boy do I wish I watched this show years ago. As of writing this, I’m in the early episodes of season two and loving every second of it. This show gives us an incredibly humanising portrayal of Clark Kent (portrayed by Tom Welling) prior to his days of being Superman. Instead it gives us a young man growing up in his high school years, learning the difficulties of being a human, emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Even with his superpowers, which he’s still learning to control, and later on he discovers even more of them that he didn’t know he had, Clark Kent is just as troubled as any other young man in those years of his life. Learning the importance of friendship, of love, trust and the consequences of truths and lies. All of this, makes this show an emotional rollercoaster for the viewer, because this show was written so beautifully, that it is truly felt by the audience. It’s such a heartfelt series that gives us the action, drama, emotion and intensity that a good Superman story needs.
The show feels somewhat like the early days of shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, where we have a group of young students fighting supernatural beings, and somehow the rest of the world seems either none the wiser, or merely disinterested in what’s going on no matter how crazy or scary it gets. In Buffy it was mostly Vampires with the addition of other ghoulish creatures, and at the end of each episode the main group of friends have defeated the enemy for this episode and carry on with school waiting for the next villain to appear, in Smallville, the premise is very similar.
Season one focuses heavily on people affected by the meteor shower, the meteor shower that just happens to be connected to Clark, since that’s when his spaceship landed, and the meteor fragments turn out to be the remains of his home planet Krypton. The radiated fragments of meteor, which fans know as Kryptonite (although that name is never mentioned yet because Clark still has no clue about his home planets name etc.) seem to have given certain victims new abilities, mostly of a cellular level, given them powers that they often use for selfish purposes, which is why Clark is always there to save the day.
Clark and his closest friends, Pete Ross (Sam Jones III) & Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack), all share their stories about Chloe’s so called ‘Wall of Weird’ which documents all the strange and supernatural events happening in Smallville since the meteor strike. Despite this however, Chloe and Pete seem to be completely comfortable talking about these events and beings as though it was almost normal to see them. These villains come with all sorts of abilities from absorbing a person’s body heat completely, leaving them frozen to death, to starting fires with a single thought, which to Clark is nothing that he should be surprised about even before he discovers his own heat vision ability, because whilst he may not be able to explain them, he understands what it’s like to have abilities, but to Chloe and Pete seem way to calm after each event.
However this does not take away from the incredible cast of this show and their portrayals of their characters. Tom Welling is a charming Clark Kent, Michael Rosenbaum is a menacing and mysterious Lex Luthor, Allison Mack is a beautiful and loveable Chloe Sullivan, and Kristin Kreuk portrays a strong and beautiful Lana Lang. Not to mention the adults of the show, especially John Schneider and Annette O’Toole as Johnathan and Martha Kent who are the loving and protective parents of Clark, with a great on screen relationship that steals the show any time the three of them are on screen together.
Since I’m watching this show for the first time in 2019, I would be very foolish in discussing the CGI since we have come such a long way over the last 18 years since this show first started. However, some of the effects haven’t aged badly at all, and in terms of their appearance to represent the abilities Clark has, I love how they’re represented, especially his heat vision being made to look like actual heatwaves rather than red lasers shooting from his eyes. The effects are not awful in any sense, and if like me you have only just decided to see this show, or haven’t yet made up your mind, please know that it is watchable and that the effects make the show the incredible series it is even to this day.
This show has an incredible soundtrack to go along with it, with the theme song ‘Save Me’ by Remy Zero being the obvious standout because I refuse to ever skip the intro for each episode! There are some absolute classics on this soundtrack though, from artists such as The Calling, R.E.M, Weezer, Gorillaz, Papa Roach and Sum 41 just to name a few!
Overall season one of Smallville gets a 4.5/5 from because the only thing holding it back is the lack of impact each victim holds on the rest of Clark Kents world. In some episodes people are injured but in many of the episodes there are many people both student and adults who are murdered, and yet once the episode is over we hear next to nothing about any of it happening.
That is my only fault with this show so far. Maybe it changes in the later seasons but until then, I have to stick with this decision.
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