Jump to content


Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

Details in this thread

Unintended Re-Watch: Smallville Season 1

Smallville Superman

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,393 posts

Posted 08 April 2015 - 07:13 PM

A few weeks back during Spring Break I broke out my Smallville Season 1 DVD and intended just to watch the pilot because it's a really good episode. I ended up getting hooked and watched the entire first season. Because I've apparently become a re-watch and post about it addict I figured I'd do just that.

Despite several problems, which I'll get to later, I found this first season pretty strong overall. The idea of showing how a young Clark Kent becomes Superman is a fascinating one, ruined only by the show going on ten seasons and refusing to make Clark Superman even when he's surrounded by other costumed heroes. But I digress. This first season has a lot of potential and a lot going for it.

The cast is all pretty strong. Tom Welling plays a young Clark really well. He's not the most talented actor out there but he's believable as a teen with all these powers he has to hide and a crush on Lana Lang. This is also before Clark becomes really sanctimonious and gets all upset when people keep secrets from him even though he's keeping secrets himself. John Schneider and Annette O'Toole are great as the Kents. Sure the Kents are held up as paragons of morality but both actors are able to bring out the flaws in the characters and this season does show they're not perfect, like Jonathan's hatred of Lex.

I've always been a fan of Lana though I think the writers did her a huge disservice by never really moving her character away from the role of Clark's crush and perpetual damsel in distress. In the first season thankfully she isn't attacked every week and the will they/won't they plot between her and Clark isn't annoying or soul crushing. Instead it works. Allison Mack as Chloe is of course a highlight of the season and the series in general. I never understood Clark's crush on Lana when he had Chloe right there. Her investigations into the weird stuff in Smallville is always a source of fun and I'd forgotten how much I'd missed the Torch. It's right up there with the library from Buffy.

I don't think I realized just how underused Pete was until I re-watched the season. Remove him from every episode and the plot isn't significantly changed. Sam Jones III is great as Clark's best friend and side kick but he's never as important as Lana or Chloe. I'm guessing that changes next season when he is let in on Clark's secret. Whitney is pretty much there just to be the main obstacle in Clark's path to Lana. I was surprised that as the season progressed the show did try and give Whitney more to do than just be the jealous boyfriend. The plot with his dad being sick and how that affected him and his future was well done. I liked that at the end of the season Whitney apologized to Clark for stripping him and hanging him up in a cornfield.

Michael Rosenbaum is just fantastic as Lex. He owns the role. What I love is that if someone didn't have any knowledge about Superman they never would guess that Lex would ultimately become a villain. His arc seems to be one or redemption, where he steps out of the shadow of his father and proves that he is a better man. It would have been easy to have Lex be a villain. Instead he's a young guy trying to do right. It's just that sometimes he is a believer in the ends justify the means philosophy. Nothing he really does this season is truly evil and he honestly seems to be a genuine friend of Clark's. It does make one wonder if Lex might not have turned dark had Clark confided in him and if people like Jonathan didn't automatically assume the worst about him.

While the season doesn't have any long arcs like later seasons in the show, I was surprised that it wasn't just a ton of stand-alone episodes. There are little mini-arcs peppered throughout the show. Several mentions are made of an incident involving Lex at Club Zero before we actually see what went down. Dr. Hamilton makes a few appearances as he works to uncover the secrets of the meteor rocks. The medical problems with Whitney's father plays out over several episodes and factors in heavily in the "Kinetic" episode. There's a four episode mini-arc involving Victoria Hardwick and Lex basically double crossing each other. Roger Nixon, the reporter hired by Lex, finds out about Clark's secret and pops up a couple of times.

The season does rely heavily on freaks of the weeks. Not all of them are bad, but some are like the fat vampire. I think they worked best when they were showing some aspect of Clark. In "Hug" Clark sees what having powers did to one man who cut himself off from civilization. That was also the first time Clark met a good meteor infected person. "Leech" gave Clark a glimpse of what it was like to be human, and also showed him just what a responsibility hos powers were when Eric totally abused them. Still, it was nice that the show finally recognized that it didn't have to rely on freaks of the weeks as bad guys. "Rogue," "Zero," "Stray," "Obscura," and "Tempest" all worked without having Clark do battle with a meteor infected person.

I do have to wonder how dumb people in Smallville are. There are many occasions when Lex, Chloe, Pete, Lana, and any combination thereof are helping Clark solve whatever freak of the week problem is going on. It usually ends with Clark speeding away and saving the day. Yet no one ever questions Clark about where he runs off to when the danger is imminent or how the freak was defeated? There's also all the times someone is knocked out or loses his or her memory before Clark uses his powers in front of them. It doesn't happen a ton this season, but it definitely ramps up as the series progresses.

Instead of reviewing individual episodes, I'd figure I would just list the ones that I really liked and really didn't. So here goes:

Favorite Episodes
Pilot
Hothead
Rogue
Leech
Zero
Stray
Tempest

Least Favorite Episodes
Craving
Shimmer
Reaper
Drone

All in all, this was a strong debut season. Not the strongest season of the show but it started the series off right and put it on a good path.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#2 Orpheus

Orpheus

    I'm not the boss of you!

  • Administrator
  • 17,759 posts

Posted 08 April 2015 - 08:46 PM

Hmm... I doubt I've seen a total of 30 minutes of Smallville all put together. This smells like an opportunity to me.

#3 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,393 posts

Posted 19 April 2015 - 03:32 PM

This show would make for a good marathon. With ten seasons it will last you a while and as it goes on the show reinvents itself. It also experiences a renaissance of sorts when season 8 hits. Those last three seasons might as well have had Clark don the suit and call himself Superman.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#4 Orpheus

Orpheus

    I'm not the boss of you!

  • Administrator
  • 17,759 posts

Posted 23 April 2015 - 11:25 PM

I'm about to begin my S1 Smallville first-watch. I feel a bit intimidated (10 yrs of fans/canon) and worried that my reactions will offend

#5 Orpheus

Orpheus

    I'm not the boss of you!

  • Administrator
  • 17,759 posts

Posted 23 April 2015 - 11:39 PM

Ten minutes in, and I'm wondering: are the multiple layers of Pre-Christian Judaic and early Christian iconographic references intentional? How could they not be? I'm guessing that this was thoroughly explored in Smallville fandom, but I'm late to the game.

#6 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,393 posts

Posted 24 April 2015 - 01:08 AM

Quote

I'm about to begin my S1 Smallville first-watch. I feel a bit intimidated (10 yrs of fans/canon) and worried that my reactions will offend

I'm sure you'll be fine. There were plenty of conflicting opinions about Smallville so I'm sure you'll fit right in.

Quote

Ten minutes in, and I'm wondering: are the multiple layers of Pre-Christian Judaic and early Christian iconographic references intentional? How could they not be? I'm guessing that this was thoroughly explored in Smallville fandom, but I'm late to the game.

Pretty sure it was intentional. I believe that the creators, Gough and Millar, talked about how they were afraid people might react negatively to the comparisons of Clark and Christ, especially the promotional material that featured Clark tied crucifix style to a post in just his boxers.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#7 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 32,924 posts

Posted 24 April 2015 - 08:02 AM

I don't know why so many filmmakers feel compelled to inject Christ imagery into Superman's story. I mean, his creators were from Jewish immigrant families, and if anything, his origin story owes more to Moses, as well as the immigrant experience in general. Siegel and Shuster were also influenced by Nietzsche, wanting to create a moral, activist ubermensch in contrast to Nietzsche's "beyond good and evil" approach. And they had other influences like Doc Savage (an ideal man whose first name was Clark and who had a Fortress of Solitude) and probably John Carter of Mars (who had superpowers when he traveled to a world with lower gravity than his own).

But then, I think it was probably Richard Donner who first put the Christ imagery into Superman, and Smallville was nothing if not imitative of the Donner films.
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Facebook Author Page

#8 Omega

Omega

    Maktel shcree lotak meta setak Oz!

  • Moderator
  • 4,028 posts

Posted 24 April 2015 - 09:47 AM

I've always suspected Smallville was a show that had enough really excellent content that you could edit it down to four or five seasons and get something fantastic out of it...

#9 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,393 posts

Posted 24 April 2015 - 04:56 PM

Quote

I've always suspected Smallville was a show that had enough really excellent content that you could edit it down to four or five seasons and get something fantastic out of it...

I mainly agree. While seasons 6 and 7 have some good stuff in them both seasons just felt like they were spinning their wheels, IIRC. Season 8 realy jump started the show again and got Clark's journey to being Superman back on track. The problem was that really by season 9 he should have been Superman. Running ten seasons is what hurt the show. That was too long to drag the concept of Clark becoming Superman, especially once other costumed superheroes started showing up. Clark just looked dumb for not suiting up once he saw that as a viable alternative to hiding in the shadows. Still, I can't complain too much because I enjoyed all ten seasons even if some of these seasons could be horribly frustrating.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#10 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 32,924 posts

Posted 25 April 2015 - 11:56 AM

I actually stopped watching in season 7, it had gotten so terrible. But season 8 really revitalized the show and brought me back.
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Facebook Author Page

#11 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,393 posts

Posted 03 May 2015 - 12:41 AM

Quote

I actually stopped watching in season 7, it had gotten so terrible. But season 8 really revitalized the show and brought me back.

I don't remember much about season 7 but what I do remember is pretty bad. Introducing Kara was great but IIRC they gave her amnesia and she disappeared for a while. Then there was the plot about Lex's brother that seemed to drag on but really added nothing to the season and didn't amount to anything either. I think it was pretty clear that Miles and Gough were out of steam on the show, and them stepping down was the best move as it ushered in a great new era for the show.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Smallville, Superman

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users