Look! On DVD! It’s Smallville: The Complete Series!On May 13, 2011, after 10 seasons, Smallville aired its final episode, becoming the longest-running live-action Superman series in history. Now that a Smallville: The Complete Series DVD box set has arrived like a rocket from Krypton, fans can watch the entire super-saga from beginning to end. Here's why we think Smallville: The Complete Series should soar to the top of your holiday wish list. By Brett Singer
1. Great Caesar’s Ghost! Guest Stars Galore!
Many Smallville cast members had roles in other on-screen Superman storiesâ€”Terence Stamp was General “Kneel Before” Zod in Superman II (1980) before voicing Kryptonian daddy Jor-El, and Annette O’Toole was Lana Lang in Superman III (1983) prior to playing supermom Martha Kent. (O’Toole played Clark Kent’s first love and his momâ€”how Oedipal.) The great guest starsâ€”cameos and recurring charactersâ€”were part of the fun of watching Smallville. Here’s a small sampling: Helen Slater (Supergirl, 1984), Margot Kidder (Lois Lane in Superman and Superman II), Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain (both from TV’s Lois & Clark)â€”even Christopher Reeve.
2. Tom Welling’s Take On The Man of Steel
Christopher Reeve will always be Superman, but Tom Welling made the part his own, winning over many a skeptical superfan. “Tom Welling is Clark Kent for an entire generation,” Eric Goldman, executive editor for IGN TV, told Snakkle. Welling grew from an uncertain teenage Clark Kent into his own version of the hero fans have loved for decades.
3. Eye Candy for Everyone
Smallville offers oodles of male and female hot bods for your ogling pleasure. Check out Clark Kent’s Kryptonian cousin Kara, a.k.a. Supergirl (Laura Vandervoort), in a bikini. Or perhaps you prefer Aquaman (Alan Ritchson) flexing his abs while being sprayed with water. Bonus video: Watch Ritchson serenade Paula Abdul on season 3 of American Idol.
4. We Do Need Another Heroâ€”as Many as We Can Get
Smallville brought in characters from the DC Comics Universe (a.k.a. DCUâ€”Geek Gold Card, people), including Green Arrow (please give him his own series), Impulse (a younger version of The Flash), the aforementioned Aquaman, Martian Manhunter (a.k.a. John Jones), Stargirl… plus Black Canary, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and many more, even Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna from the Super Friends cartoon. “Smallville remains the only portrayal [many of these characters have] had in live-action,” says IGN’s Goldman.
5. Geoff Johns’ Episodes
Writer Geoff Johns, currently the chief creative officer of DC Comics, penned the episodes “Legion” and “Absolute Justice,” which IGN’s Goldman calls “the showâ€™s high point” because it “firmly establish[ed] the kind of history and continuity… that fans of the comic books love.”
6. Fun Box Set Extras
Individual seasons of Smallville are available, but the Complete Series offers exclusive extrasâ€”a special issue of The Daily Planet, pilot episodes for The Adventures of Superboy (1961) and Aquaman (unaired, starring a pre-Green Arrow Justin Hartley), plus several behind-the-scenes interviews and featurettes.
7. The Villains
We’ve mentioned the heroes, but what about the bad guys? Smallville had plenty of them, such as Amanda Waller (a pitch-perfect Pam Grier), Silver Banshee, Deadshot, even Doomsday and Darkseid, two of Superman’s deadliest foes. See also: John Glover’s Lionel Luthor, Cassidy Freeman’s Tess Mercer, Callum Blue’s Major/General Zod, andâ€”the most evil of them allâ€”Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor, who left in season 7 and made a memorable return in the finale. “Hello, Clark.”
8. Daddy Issues
You think you’ve got daddy issues? Imagine that when you were a baby, your father put you in a spaceship right before your planet exploded, sent you somewhere with a sun that gave you superpowers, then forced you to build a giant ice fortress so he could nag you from beyond the grave. Then your adopted dad, Jonathan Kent, dies! John Schneider and Terence Stamp provided Tom Welling’s Clark Kent with a boatload of daddy issues to deal with during Smallville’s 10-year run.
9. The Big S Revealed
When Smallville began, creators and executive producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar made a rule: “no flights, no tights.” After they left, this edict was (thankfully) dropped. “The final scene, with Clark and Lois [at] The Daily Planet, was terrific,” says IGN’s Eric Goldman, “as was the final shot of Welling running onto the rooftop and opening his shirt, revealing the Superman costume below.” No matter how old you are, the sight of that big S is always a shot of pure geeky goodness; Smallville’s final scene is no exception.
10. The Wisdom of a True Ending
The producers wisely let fans know in advance that season 10 would be Smallville’s last. Why was this wise? Because it allowed them to build up to a satisfying ending. Over the course of 10 years on the air, Smallville survived a network name change (WB to CW), threats of cancelation, and testing the audience’s ability to suspend disbelief that nobody would wonder why Clark Kent was suddenly wearing glasses. “Smallville wasn’t perfect,” says IGN’s Eric Goldman, “but it was an earnest, heartfelt version of a much-beloved character that offered plenty of strong moments through the years, becoming an important and worthy part of Supermanâ€™s long history.” The best way to enjoy any good story is to start at the beginning, and then see how it all turns out, to paraphrase Lionel Luthor. The Smallville: The Complete Series box set is a great way to do just that.
Smallville: The Complete Series is available on DVD from Warner Home Video beginning November 29. Get it at Amazon.com.