What can one say about a show that has been on television for nine whole seasons and only has one more to go? It’s quality, baby. Smallville is a fun and compelling show that just gets better with age, one with the bravery to prune away old characters that have run their course and to add brilliant new ones. Some characters I really do miss, like the evil and misguided Lex Luthor, as played by Michael Rosenbaum. Also Jonathan “Pa” Kent, played by John “awesome” Schneider. One character that serves the “I’m explaining the technical reasons about what’s going on here” purpose but that I could easily live without: Chloe Sullivan. Finally, a character that I love beyond all reason: Lois Lane. Yes, Tom Welling is like a well-oiled (and extremely good looking) machine; he gives a first-rate acting performance and makes even die-hard comic book fans believe that he really is Superman. But, when it all comes down to it, it’s Lois, played by the brilliant and funny Erica Durance that makes me excited to see what’s going to happen to Clark next. She really is the best Lois Lane ever captured on film to date. More after the jump:
Season nine takes off with a bang. Lois returns from the future after having touched the mysterious Legion ring, and after that, increased flirting between Clark and Lois commences. What began as professional annoyance between Daily Planet coworkers has now charmingly blossomed into dating, and Lois and Clark sweetly promise each other to “take it slow.” Bonus: in several heart-stoppingly adorable moments, the two kiss. The passionate and militaristic Major (not a General yet) Zod and other Kryptonians show up on Earth and demand that Kal-El (Clark) show them how to gain their Godlike powers from our yellow sun to become his physical equal. Back-story: Zod and the Kryptonian soldiers were cloned by Clark’s father Jor-El, and were engineered specifically so that they would not gain superpowers if resurrected on Earth. Clark worries that Zod and his group will attempt to gain complete control of Earth, so he resists their pleas for help. Chloe becomes increasingly preoccupied with her technological command center Watchtower, eschewing a personal life of her own. She even begins to eavesdrop on cell phone calls between Clark and Lois, especially when Clark calls Lois in the guise of “The Blur,” Smallville’s resident hero. Tess Mercer continues to remain a confusing figure: is she good, or is she evil? (Who cares?) Finally, the fabulous Oliver Queen, a.k.a “The Green Arrow” overcomes his early-season death wish, and makes some interesting dating choices. Oliver’s romantic getaway with his new squeeze culminates in a very funny “romantic-comedy” themed episode, called “Escape.” To top everything off, season nine also features an explosion of famous DC Comics characters that make appearances within Clark Kent’s sphere in Smallville…awesome! To mention all of the names here would spoil the fun, but for comic book fans, it’s really entertaining to identify a hero or villain appearing in an episode just by the hints thrown into dialogue. Really exciting TV viewing, plus double points for good storytelling.
Smallville Season Nine contains special features, including two episode commentaries and some unaired scenes. A longer featurette, “Kneel Before Zod!: The Evolution of a Classic Evil Character” explores the General Zod character as brought to the big-screen in Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980). These films were helmed by legendary director Richard Donner, who along with the definitive Zod, actor Terrance Stamp discuss Zod’s hair design, makeup, motivation, and just about everything else that went into creating the legend that is “The General.” This featurette is a fitting tribute to Donner’s big-screen vision of Superman that has so clearly influenced the look of all Superman cannon, including Smallville. A second featurette is “Absolute Justice: From Script to Screen – Introducing Venerable Justice Society of America Heroes into Smallville’s Universe.” This documentary explores season nine episodes 11 and 12, which when put together are a two-hour extravaganza that introduce the legendary comic book association “Justice Society of America” and some of its heroes into the Smallville universe. This excellent featurette discusses the care taken by the writers and producers of Smallville while casting legendary DC comic book hero characters such as Hawkman, Stargirl and Doctor Fate to the television show for the first time. The featurette also reveals challenges regarding how difficult it was to translate comic book costumes to the small screen without them looking hokey or cheap. For instance, real feathered wings were created for Hawkman that had a fifteen-foot wingspan. This featurette is a wonderful look into the process of creating Smallville as a show, as well as a tribute to the care and thought that goes into treating this historical comic book material with the respect that it deserves.
To my eyes, Smallville has never looked as dazzling as it does on blu-ray. The show always been heavy on the close ups, but here, viewers can literally count the pores on character’s noses…or the lack of pores, in the cases where the lighting and makeup are fantastic. One can only hope that if there is a Justice League film coming to the big screen in the next few years, DC Comics will allow Tom Welling to reprise his role as Superman, with Erica Durance as the phenomenal and lovely Lois Lane. Even better, there should be a Smallville feature film created soon with these actors, reprising their wonderful characters. For heaven’s sakes, if Sex and the City and The X Files can do it, why not Superman? At any rate, I look forward to finishing Smallville’s final season ten airing now, and finding out what lies in store for some of the finest television characters ever created.