Article by Rennie Cowan
The Smallville TV Series is a direct descendent of DC's golden age and silver age Superboy comic book character who is also Superman. Superboy is basically young Superman, follwing the adventures of Superman when he was a kid, teenager or very young man (college years). It was also inspired by the Alexander and Ilya Salkind syndicated series Superboy: The TV Series which was produced about ten to fifteen years earlier. However, there is one twist and rule to the Smallville show: no flight no tights. The developers of the series, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar didn't want their Superman to fly or wear the classic Superman comic book costume. Later, the WB series Young Justice followed the same motto with the costume when Superboy, a clone in the series, proclaimed, "No tights, no offense".
The Superboy in Young Justice is a clone of Superman and is simply named Superboy. Smallville had started a trend that conveyed the idea that the Superman costume of the comic books was no longer cool as Superboy in Young Justice only wears a black T-shirt with a red Superman "S" on it with a pair of faded blue jeans or baggy military pants. The same is true with Smallville; even when Clark decided to wear the glasses, he just didn't wear the glasses. Not until season 10 episode "Booster" where Lois cracks down on Clark, telling him he has to wear them; he has to slouch and has to be the bumbling, clumsy office fool (the mask that hides his true identity).
The Smallville TV Series actually went as far as bringing in Conner Kent, the Superman Clone (now a DC comic book title called Superboy), into the timeline of the show. And likewise, he wears the black T-shirt with the red "S" emblem on it, with faded jeans. This Superboy is played by actor Lucas Grabeel who is well-known for the High School Musical movies.
Originally, the clone on Smallvile was thought to only be a clone of Lex Luthor. His name was Conner (an Acronym), so one can only guess where this storyline was going. It was discovered that Conner was a hybrid - he had half the DNA of Clark Kent, which stopped his growth accerlation which was killing him. In the 10th season episode "Scion", Clark enrolls Conner Kent into Smallville High School, in harmony with the current timeline of today's Superboy DC comic book. It is being assumed that there will be a spin-off TV series with Smallville's version of Conner Kent, but nothing has been announced by WB and this more than likely is wishful thinking. Below, watch clips of Conner's coming of age in the Smallville episode "Scion".
Smallville is the longest running Superman TV series of all time. It lasted 10 seasons, and by season 9, the show had made significant improvement on an epic level. During season 9, a band of Kandorians were released from an orb invented by Jor-El; the orb consisted of the DNA of Zod and Jor-El and Kandorians who were soldiers in Zod's army on Krypton. By the lead of the Krypton Council, Jor-El was forced to develop this orb. It was openned on Earth and during season 9 Zod and his army, the Kandorians, clones with all their memories before the explosion of Krypton, were released from the Orb. Jor-El developed their DNA with an element of blue kryptonite, knowing that this was disable their powers on Earth. It appeared he knew Zod's true self and that if allowed to have powers on Earth, he would want to rule.
Earlier in the series, General Zod was a phantom in the phantom, but his embodied clone in season 9 made Zod truly episode on the series. The overal arc mirrors the recent DC graphic novels Superman: Last Son or New World of Krypton. If you are a fan of Superman II, then you better watch season 9. To much delight, General Zod (actually at this point, he is called Major Zod as a clone because his clone is younger), Zod uses the famous phrase, "Kneel before Zod". An epic fight scene between Clark and Zod occurs during the season 9 finale. Clark convinces the Kandorians to descend to another planet via the Book of Rao, a kryptonian travel device made by Jor-El. But Zod has other plans, he wants to stay behind and conquer Earth. He wants humanity to kneel before Zod. To watch this episode fight scene, view below.
The Superboy TV Series proved there was a market for young Superman on television. Without the history of the Superboy TV Series which aired from 1988-1992 there probably wouldn't have been a Smallville TV show. Smallville stars Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Kristen Kreuk as Lana Lang and Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor. It also introduced an entirely new and hip character: Chloe Sullivan, played by Allison Mack. She turned out to be a Smallville fan favorite, and even DC Comics bent over backwards to push this character into the Superman universe as an official DC comic book character. The series also starred Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent who originally starred in Superman III as Lana Lang. The former Dukes of Hazard star John Schneider played Jonathan Kent on the series. He died during season 5 of the show in the 100th episode "Reckoning" and is buried at the Smallville cemetary.
The series certainly brought in a nostalgia of actors from the Salkind Universe, including Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.
The original Superman: The Movie theme conducted by John Williams was brought into the Smallville universe as well, drawing in a crowd of Superman movie devotees.
During the infancy of the show, Clark had a secret crush on Lana Lang. She was the most beautiful girl in school and had a special heart for kindness. However, far into the series Lana's character took a turn, and she became highly criticized because she marries Lex Luthor. Of course, Clark had kept his secret power from her until she ends her realtionship with Lex. When Lana absorbs kryptonite radiation she can no longer be close to Clark.
Ultimately, Lana leaves the show and this didn't hurt the ratings at all. In fact, Lex left the show as well. Chloe Sullivan is left to take over The Watchtower. Chloe was obsessed with her "wall of weird" during Smallville's High School years but eventually discovered Clark Kent's powers and became a force for good. She was in charge of The Watchtower for the heroes of Metropolis. Chloe became one of the most loved characters on Smallville. She was even going to marry Jimmy Olsen played by Aaron Ashmore, but Jimmy Olsen died in season 9 by the hands of Doomsday played by Sam Witwer. There is some argument as to whether or not he is the real Jimmy Olsen of the Superman universe because he had a younger brother named Jimmy. The younger brother had the older Jimmy's camera at Jimmy's funeral. By season 10, Chloe was a computer genius and very swift in combat scenarios.
Clark Kent is the focus of the series, not Superboy or Superman. In fact, it isn't until season 10 that we actually get to see most of the Superman lore swoop in concerning Clark's secrety identity. The show is truly one big teaser; you will see Clark wear red and blue colored clothes, but don't expect more.
For the most part, Clark would wear the same red jacket throughout most of the series. It got a bit redundant, however, we got the idea. Red and blue = Superman. Tom Welling only starts to wear the Clark Kent glases in the episode "Homecoming" during season 10. He also flies for the first time around the Daily Planet globe in season 10, with Lois Lane in his arms. This was only in virtual reality, not the real world to every fan's dismay.
In the Lois and Clark series we got to see Clark stand in front of a mirror trying on different costumes to wear as Superman. In Smallville, Clark actually wears different costumes for a time, trying on different Superman-looks if you will. The first look was a black trench coat with a black Superman T-shirt that had a dark grey "S" on it.
As the real Superman costume was finally introduced on Smallville, it was kept locked up in the fortress of solitude and greatly resembled the Superman costume that Brandon Routh wore in Superman Returns. Eventually, there was an overhaul to the black trench coat and it was replaced with a redish leather jacket with an S-Shield on it. You can actually purchase a replica of this jacket from the actual makers of this peice of wardrobe (it costs a high $2,500). Simply visit this website if you deep pockets.
Lois Lane in Smallville is played by Erica Durance who popped up during the forth season to annoy Clark with her fast non-stop talking and spunky personality. Her nickname for Clark is "Smallville". This is probably a nod to Superman: The Animated Series where Lois called Clark "Smallville" in the second introductory episode titled "Last Son of Krypton" Part 2. Swaying away from the traditional Superman mythos, Lois actually attended Smallville High for a time. As Clark used his powers only when he was the red, blue blur Lois became fascinated by the mystery. She fell in love with the red, blue blur, somebody she had never even seen. Clark corresponded with her as the red, blue blur via cell phone and a voice distortion device so Lois would know who he was. She finally discovered the blur was Clark Kent when the blur kissed her in a dark alley. I guess only Clark could kiss like that.
Before marrying Clark Kent by the series finale, Lois was dating a rich playboy named Oliver Queen who eventually hailed himself as The Green Arrow from the popular DC comic books. Oliver Queen is played by Justin Hartley.It is interesting to note that in the season 7 episode "Fracture", Lois takes comfort in Clark during an emotional scene over her and Oliver's former romance and it eludes to a possible new beginning with Lois and Clark.
Kara of Argo City who is actually Supergirl in the Superman Universe appears on Smallville as Clark Kent's cousin. Supergirl aka Kara appears during season 7 for the first time. And in season 10 she appears in a Linda Lee disguise. If Clark Kent won't wear the classic red and blue, then Kara will- but partially. In the photo below, she has yet to wear the cape yet it appears to be a close call for the classic supergirl costume. Kara eventually left Clark and joined the Legion in season 10.
Season 10 is the final season of Smallville, as was announced by CW at 2010's upfronts. The 10th season premiere was on Sept. 24th, 2010. John Schneider returned for season 10 as a ghost of a man, and as an alternate Jonathan Kent in Clark Luthor's world (an alternate Clark who was raised by Lionel Luthor). Allison Mack announced she would only be returning as a guest star on a few episodes during season 10, but it felt like she was around for the entire season; her return was enough to close the character on a good scale. The series finale ended with a bang, and even Lex Luthor returned to begin his quest as Superman's ultimate enemy. In the episode "Prophecy", Laura Vandervoort (Supergirl) ties-up her character storyline during the 10th season. She leaves Clark and joins the Legion. Meanwhile, we also discover that the Legion of Dooms lurks.
The series finale of Smallville gained tremendous praise as well as criticism. But for the most part, it was an emotional moment and a farewell to a great series. Lois and Clark have their wedding, but as we know, weddings never go well on Smallville. The previous wedding of Chloe and Jimmy in season 8 ended with bloddy carnage after Doomsday crashes in on it. Likewise, the power of Darkseid crashes in on the wedding of Lois and Clark. Clark is able to save Lois, his friends and guests. However, Lois and Clark remain unwed seven years later due to the event; and also because of the rampant emergencies that keep popping up. Despite this, the Wedding in itself was done beautifully. Credit must be given to the Director of Photographer, Glen Winter. He did 87 episodes of the series. Much of the gorgeous, soft/warm lighting you see on series was done by him.
Three million viewers were said to have tuned in. Tess Mercer, one the most interesting non-canonical characters of the series (and Lex Luthor's sister) died by the hands of Lex. Lex stabbed her with one of his swords while giving her a gentle hug; poetic in a sense as the Luthor's were killing each other. However, Tess protected Clark's secret identity when she touched Lex with a brain enducing substance that made him forget everything. Below, watch the final climatic scene between Luthor Luthor and LuTessa.
Tess died, but she didn't lose. Tom Welling did become Superman and he was seen wearing the costume from a distance (via CGI). For a television show, the finale scenes with the Superman feats were spectacular as well as the CGI work on Apokolips. After Superman (Welling) literally saves the world, there is a flashford to seven years later. There we see the Daily Planet in all it's glory; Perry White is the Editor in Chief and real Jimmy Olsen is in place. Clark and Lois are still trying to get married, but emergencies keep it on the back-burner.
Below, view Welling in action as Superman....
Welling performed various Superman feats including saving the Air Force One from crashing and pushing Darkseid's planet Apokolips out of Earth's atmosphere before it destroyed Earth. He was seen up-close wearing the Superman top and the cape, and the cape actually had the "S" on the back of it in contrast with the cape in Superman Returns. Apparently, the Superman Returns costume was used in the season finale most likely due to budget cuts. However, most agree that when Welling is seen up front wearing the Superman top and the cape, the colors are much brighter. Much brighter than the Superman suit that ghostly Jonathan Kent handed to Clark in the Fortress before he made the costume and took flight as Superman.
You can download episodes of Smallvile on amazon.com. You can watch season 9 in HD quality on amazon.com for $2.99 per episode here.
You can purchase every season of Smallville on amazon.com. Only a few seasons are available on Blu-ray, unfortunately. Visit the amazon.com Smallville webstore.