Can you believe it’s already been 20 years?! Well, that’s the exact reason for this Blu-ray DVD release of Smallville The Complete Series!
In 2001, screenwriters/producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (the team behind Shanghai Noon) brought an angle to Superman by removing Superman from the equation. By that, I mean the blue and red tights we know as Superman.
Instead, they focused on a teenage Clark Kent discovering his powers and learning what to do with them growing up in the fictional town of Smallville. It was a risk. Would anybody watch a Superman series where Superman doesn’t even appear?
The answer was a resounding “YES!” and Smallville became one of the WB/CW’s biggest series ever, airing for ten seasons. To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Smallville’s first episode (October 16, 2001, BTW), Warner Bros. has released all ten seasons in a Blu-ray set.
The Story of Clark Kent Becoming Superman
Pretty much everyone knows the story of how Clark Kent (Tom Welling; Cheaper by the Dozen) landed in Kansas as a baby and was found by Jonathan Kent (John Schneider; The Dukes of Hazard) and his wife Martha (Annette O’Toole; she actually played Lana Lang in the 1983 Superman III), who raised him as their son.
It quickly became apparent that he had special powers, and he needed to learn how to control them. We also discover that the meteor shower from the night he arrived on Earth (remnants of the destroyed planet Krypton) also caused strange occurrences around Smallville. Local humans gained unusual abilities and powers.
This created a wonderful “monster of the week” format but also gave an interesting twist. Clark’s arrival causes both him to exist but also his enemies to exist. Throughout the series, he dates various girls that many recognize from the Superman Universe. Some of them included childhood friend Lana Lang (Kristen Kreuk; Beauty and the Beast) and eventually, Lois Lane (Erica Durance; Saving Hope). He had friends Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack; The Ant Bully), and Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum; Sweet November) who we all know later went on to be the # baddie in the Superman world.
The series is still great to watch and offers some clever takes on the Superman story. While it started very focused on Smallville and the events occurring there, it later stemmed into some of the larger Superman story arcs. Like the arcs of villains Zod or Doomsday. And it introduces characters such as Supergirl (played by the exceedingly lovely Laura Vandervoort, who is the only acceptable Supergirl in my book).
There are, however, a few inconsistencies in the series later in the seasons. Mainly changing or ignoring events that occurred early. This is particularly true in the case of a main character that died and later is somehow alive. But that’s OK. It’s a comic book show. In my opinion, the show didn’t lose a lot by it.
The Beginning of the Arrow-verse
Smallville should also be given credit for the beginning of the “Arrow-verse.” Introducing Green Arrow in the series led to that show, which has spawned its own entire universe of shows. While not a spin-off in a sense, the Arrowverse is a reboot based on this show.
The show is also peppered with great cameos and easter eggs. SO many that have ever been involved with Superman make an appearance. Christopher Reeves (1970s and 80’s Superman) appears as a scientist. Margo Kidder (70’s and 80’s Lois Lane) appears as his co-worker).
Helen Slater (1980’s Supergirl) plays a Kryptonian that is the adopted mother of Supergirl. Terence Stamp is the voice of Jor-El (Superman’s dad), and you might recognize him as General Zod in Superman 2!
The series also pays homage to the past. The Fortress of Solitude has the icy look of the Richard Donner films. The John Williams scoring shows up. It’s all very new but still honoring the classics.
Of course, this all leads to a finale we all were hoping for and wondering when it would happen. When would he become Superman? Well, we get there, don’t worry. But that’s not really what the show is about. It’s about Clark Kent’s journey to becoming Superman!
However, the show seemed to be running in place the last few seasons. It kept putting off the moment Clark would become Superman. Which was the natural endpoint. This resulted in a show that crawled to the finish line, having stayed on the air a few seasons more than it probably should.
This longevity forced producers to awkwardly cram in comic book elements from Superman’s adult adventures while retconning other plot developments that deviated from the lore (such as Lex dying after season seven when Rosenbaum left the show).
The Smallville Complete Series DVD Set
The entire series is now found in one set. Forty Blu-ray discs hold all 218 episodes plus two DVDs which house over twenty-eight hours of extras including:
- The Adventures of Superboy – The original 1961 pilot starring John Rockwell.
- A Retrospective Look at the Series’ 10-Year Journey – An in-depth, season-by-season look at the creation of this landmark television series.
- Highlights include interviews with Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Michael Rosenbaum, Phil Morris, John Schneider, and many more, as well as rare behind-the-scenes footage.
- A Decade of Comic-Con Featurette
- Paley Festival Featurette
- Smallville’s 100th Episode: Making of a Milestone – An extended version of the original featurette included in the Season 5 set.
- Secret Origin: The American Story of DC Comics – A feature-length documentary chronicling DC’s 75 years of challenges, creativity, and triumph.
- Audio Commentaries, Deleted and Extended Scenes, Gag Reels, Behind-the-scenes featurettes, and much more from all 10 seasons
- Digital Download
All of the Blu-ray discs offer 1080p video resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and these episodes have never looked better. You can see a whole world of detail. The details of the wardrobe, tiny details on the actors’ faces, and a depth of color make this set a must-have.
The audio is also superb. The score sounds fantastic, and the special effects really come to life in 5.1. The dialog is clean and crisp. It comes together in a well-rounded way that only enhances your viewing experience.
If you loved Smallville when it aired twenty years ago or love the Arrowverse, then you need to add this set to your list. It’s a must-have!
Smallville The Complete Series 20th Anniversary Edition is available October 19th, 2021 from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.