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What to do with Smallville after 10 Seasons
The Simpsons have achieved a landmark as one of only two shows to have twenty seasons, and it would appear that Smallville is one of the rare shows to achieve half of those. With Smallville’s Tenth Season, one would have to wonder what more can be done with it.
When Smallville premiered in 2001, it was quickly picked up by the comic-book community as an interesting angst-ridden science-fiction drama that was similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The story of a young Clark Kent was very intriguing, and it was fairly apparent from the first episode that the creators of the show, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, were creating an entirely different legend of the Man of Steel. It was nothing like the movies or the comic book, and had a darker and more realistic feel. Clark doesn’t wear the blue and red Superman outfit, and he doesn’t fly.
Unlike most Superman adaptations which took place in the fictional city of Metropolis, this show focused on the Kansas town of Smallville, a town with a stained past when it was struck by a Meteor shower. Jonathan and Martha Kent found the young Kyrptonian boy in the aftermath, and Tom Welling played a Clark Kent who was extremely guilt-ridden over the event. Especially when the girl he loves, Lana Lang, had her parents killed in the disaster.
The pilot episode introduced Lex Luthor as not “the greatest criminal mind of all time”, but a rich rebellious son a ruthless billionaire. Michael Rosenbaum managed to create a new type of Lex that was diabolical, but at the same time sympathetic, as he was a product of his emotionally abusive father, Lionel (John Glover). The fact that Clark and Lex were friends with secrets to hide was the height of the show’s dramatic potential.
Of course, what is a superhero show without super-villains? On earlier seasons of Smallville, most of the villains that appeared on the show were the by-product of the meteor rocks. These meteor rocks are the Kryptonite of Superman mythos.
In the first season, the plot of Smallville usually consisted of Clark stopping a “freak of the week” as fans would call them. There was always a sub-plot about how Lex would come close to finding out about Clark’s secret, which he suspected from the first episode.
Of course, Lex could never find out about Clark’s true identity, as it would effectively end the show. Viewers learned early that it would be clearly an end for Smallville if Clark puts on the tights, learns to fly, and eventually moves to Metropolis and becomes the Superman that everyone knows about.
Sadly, the show has taken a lot of weird turns before it will even be close to establishing a traditional Superman. In Season 2, the show became less about the Villains and more about the relationships of the characters. Clark finally hooked up with Lana, but lost her after he unintentionally causes an explosion on his farm by resisting his real father, Jor-El. This is extremely different from any film.
By the end of Season 3, Clark’s father takes him for a while, and Lois Lane is introduced at the beginning of Season 4. Season 4 is spent finding these three stones that eventually become the Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic. In Season 5, Clark hooks up with Lana again, and loses her again because he won’t reveal his secret. This season also reveals the villain Brainiac, and the show makes a slow transition into Metropolis.
Season 6 reveals the Green Arrow, who becomes a regular on the show. He is one of several DC comics characters given life on Smallville. In an odd play, Lana marries Lex. Season 7 really takes the show in a bad direction as Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl, joins the cast and Lana and Lex leave the show by the beginning of Season 8.
Now the show is at the point where Clark is working at the Daily Planet with Lois, and it feels a lot like the traditional Superman set up.
Though there were some interesting plot twists over the years, the episodes have progressively got worse over the years. Recent episodes keep bringing characters from the DC comics universe into play, and the show is getting less and less realistic as a drama and more and more comic-book.
It is by now means campy, but it is something that has truly ran its course. I highly suggest pulling the plug like Fox has done to 24, as there nothing more that Clark can do but put on the tights, fly, and become Superman.
In fact, I have heard recent news that Warner Brothers wants to do a “darker” Superman movie. I say, why not have Tom Welling move into Superman in film, and then start the franchise again.