Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Cast: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Sam Jones III, Eric Johnson, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider
Synopsis: The first season of a series that will this year see its tenth and final year. It is a reimagining of the Superman mythology, following the story of a young Clark Kent as he learns to deal with his new powers. To complicate matters, weird occurrences are par for the course in Smallville, largely as a result of the “meteor rocks” that fell on the town the same day Clark himself arrived.
As promised in an earlier post, I am fulfilling my intention to start reviewing DVD/Blu-ray sets of television series in addition to my regular movie and convention reviews. Given Smallville is coming to a close, I have started viewing the series from the original episode. In its original run, I quite enjoyed it, but other life factors got in the way of me keeping up with it. Hence the DVDs, I can now watch it at my leisure.
Marathoning a series has its positives and its negatives. It is time efficient, and cliff-hangers are no longer a concern. However, for shows that are just getting their start, and where there season and series-spanning story arcs are just being established, shows like this can get a bit “episodic”. By this I mean that each episode is a contained story, and yet the formula can get very familiar. In the case of Smallville Season 1, it was the repetition is in what way are the “meteor rocks” involved. The concept that fragments of krypton fell all over Smallville when Jor-El arrives is itself logical and a clever conceit on which to build a series. I did get a bit sick of hearing the term meteor rocks, which we all identify as kryptonite, irritated me a little. Also, in this season there was an abundance of hinting gags at Clark Kent’s destiny. By themselves, quite enjoyable, but in a long run of episodes a bit repetitive.
The are perhaps my only complaints however, as take these away and this is a superior television series, which succeeds in rebooting and updating the Superman mythology. The characters are all well written and performed, with no one character being cookie-cutter good or evil. Even Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) , future arch-nemesis of our hero, is here presented as a young man seeking to do good despite the darkness of his upbringing and past. Clark himself (Tom Welling), though always well-intentioned, is clearly frustrated at the secret identity clause of his life, and is prone to making mistakes. Kristin Kreuk’s Lana Lang was also refreshing, not your classic Mean Girls style Queen Bee, but a girl who is popular perhaps because she is not at all nasty. Even rival to Clark’s affection for Lana, Whitney (Eric Johnson), though classic Jock to start with, is sympathetically portrayed and by the season finale quite difficult to dislike. Best friends roles go to Pete Ross (Sam Jones III) and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack). Chloe is a well-developed character, given a larger role given her investigations of the meteor rocks, however Pete Ross is a little underwritten and does not get much screen time. Finally Clark’s parents (Annette O’Toole, John Schneider) are really well-played, providing a moral compass while also not entirely sure how to respond to each new situation themselves.
The effects are generally quite good, though the CGI is on occasion a bit obvious. This is forgivable given budgets and timeframes to complete episodes for television. Most importantly, the stories themselves are often well told, and have an emotional impact and also raising some good moral dilemmas along the way.
Now I am gearing up for season 2!!
4 stars out of 5
Season 1 Opening Credits [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSN6et9eze8]