For the past ten years, beginning on the defunct WB, and continuing on it’s successor The CW Network, Warner Brothers Television’s SMALLVILLE brought a new angle on Clark Kent’s formative years.
Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the show introduced us to Clark Kent (Tom Welling) as a socially awkward high school student who didn’t know his alien heritage, and showed us his struggles to fit in, keep his secret even from his friends, and to learn how to use his developing powers for good.
There were plenty of missteps along the way, both by the characters and the writers. There were some episodes so aggravatingly mishandled and seeemingly wrong-headed that you wanted to scream at the television. However, this was mitigated by others that were so beautifully written, filmed, and performed that they stayed with you for hours afterwards. There was often a paplable sense of lurking tragedy, the feeling that becoming Superman might cost Clark Kent everything he held dear: friendship, family, love.
There were characters that symbolized this underlying tension. Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), in this series originally Clark’s friend, and a conflicted soul he wished to save from a dark destiny, yet could not. Another was Jonathan Kent (John Schneider), who would meet an early death, caused in large paty by his unyeilding determination to protect his adopted son.
They both returned in this two-part finale, and though one might take issue with the details of how this was handled, it was emotionally correct.
For a series finale that was presumably planned from the beginning of the season, far too much was crammed into the two hours (approximately 90 minutes of screen time). Some of it was very poorly thought out, in terms of the season’s arcs.
For example, a trio of super-powered villains are destroyed by someone (not Clark Kent) using ordinary weapons, due to the fact that the “magical” weapon he had sought and obtained was destroyed in a previous episode. So why did the mundane substitutes work in such a dramatic fashion? No explanation is given, they just do, and I guess you’re simply not supposed to think about it, despite it being a jarring head-shaker.
The season’s ‘big bad’, Darkseid is also dispatched far too easily, in a scene in which the god-like entity’s avatar and the nascent man of steel each exchange a single blow. That’s it? After a year’s build-up, Clarks gets a knocker across the barn, and a stopped-time pep talk from Kryptonian father Jor-El (voice of Terrance Stamp), helps him accept that he will always be a man of two worlds. This development at long last removes Clark’s self-imposed fear of flying, a last vestige of his longing to be an normal human being. This act of allowing himself to truly fly seems to be enough to suddenly cause his foe to simply fall into dust by soaring into him, coming appart like a sawdust mankin.
A lot of time is spent on Lois (Erica Durance) and Clark’s wedding vows, and we have to hear them twice, first in full as they both in succession go through pre-marital whim-whams, and again in part at the wedding. It would have been much more affecting to hear them only once.
On the other hand, although his screentime is relatively brief, Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor gets some really memorable scenes with both his half-sister Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) and Clark Kent. This really helped in giving a needed sense of closure to the decade-long ride.
And what about the payoff? Ten seasons of the “No Flights, No Tights” dictum, finally gets put aside—more or less.
We do get to see Clark Kent fly, but Tom Welling never actually puts on those blue tights. He’s shown from chest-up, wearing a blue top with a SUPERMAN RETURNS-style three-dimensional S-shield, and a cloth cape. All the full-figure shots are of a “good enough for TV’-level CGI model Superman figure in long shot, or obscured by lens flares.
Maybe not what die-hard comic book fans would have preferred, but, aided by musical quotes from John Williams’ SUPERMAN score, viewers are treated to pretty darn satisfying coda to a long-lasting look at this larger-than-life hero’s journey.
And in my opinion, it was worth the trip.
Starring Tom Welling,Erica Durance, Allison Mack, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman, Micael Rosenbaum, John Glover, Annette O’Toole and John Schneider.
Part One directed by Kevin Fair, written by Al Septien & Turi Meyer.
Part Two directed by Greg Beeman,written by show producers Brian Peterson & Kelly Souders.
A Warner Brothers Television Production, aired on The CW Network May 13th, 2011.
TV Guide is featuring comments by the cast and producers of The CW’s SMALLVILE, as it heads towards its last episodes and series finale after ten years.
Tom Welling in a break from shooting a scene in the Phantom Zone for the episode airing April 29th had the following to say.
“This show, to me, has always been about Clark Kent — it hasn’t been about Superman. And it was very important at the end that we make sure that we wrap up the Clark Kent story.”
This is not to say long time viewers won’t get a peak at Welling in the iconic role. Executive producer Kelly Souders had advice for fans watching the series finale.
“I will just say to keep watching through the whole two hours. There is a very, very special moment that we love, and everyone who is looking for that moment won’t be disappointed.”
Series co-creator Al Gough (with Miles Millar), while no longer actively connected to the show, has his own suspicions.
“The last scene of the last episode was always going to be Clark putting on the suit and flying off into his destiny. And my guess is that, when we all see the finale, it will be some version of that. The wonderful thing about the show is that the people who work on it are just as passionate about it today as they were 10 years ago. Kelly and Brian (Peterson) found a gear for the show and made it work. I know it wasn’t easy. I’m certainly grateful to them that they were able to do that.”
Allison Mack, who plays Chloe Sullivan, the only other cast member to appear in all ten seasons, came back for the finale after completing her contracted five episodes this year.
“It was important for me to pay homage to the character, the people I’ve worked with and the fans. I had a realization, while I was doing the middle five episodes, that this has been such a huge part of my life, and I am so blessed and so lucky to have had this opportunity. I wanted to make sure that I was respectful of that.
… I think that the writers have respected my character for such a long time, and she goes out with the same affection she came in with.”
See the entire article at the link above.
“…A fame-hungry superhero from the future, Booster Gold (guest star Eric Martsolf, “Days of Our Lives”), sweeps into town and begins making saves and posing for press ops, completely winning over the city of Metropolis.
Booster begins his campaign to take The Blur’s place as the “World’s Greatest Superhero” and tries to charm Lois into writing a story about him, but she’s not having his antics and begins her own campaign for The Blur.
During one of Booster’s saves, an alien weapon in the form of a scarab falls from a truck and fuses itself to a boy named Jaime Reyes (guest star Jaren Brandt Bartlett), turning him into the Blue Beetle. Unfortunately, Jaime is unable to control the suit and Blue Beetle starts attacking Metropolis. “
Also seen is what looks like an iconic moment for the future Man of Steel.
Series star Tom Welling directed the episode, written by DC’s Geoff Johns.
SMALLVILLE returns Friday April 15th, with Kent, which features some alternate Earth action. Booster is set for the following week.
According to Deadline , Michael Rosenbaum will return as the adult Lex Luthor for the two-hour season finale of SMALLVILLE.
The article states that the deal was finalized Friday night for the actor to reprise his role, which he played for seven years on the CW Network (originally the WB) program.
Since his departure, body doubles and both younger (Jakob Davies, Connor Stanhope, and most recently Lucas Grabeel) and older actors (Mackenzie Gray) have been used to depict various incarnations of Lex Luthor, some of them “damaged” clones, others possibly the actual, though masked and injured man. While acceptable in these roles, these substitutes don’t really compare to the original.
SMALLVILLE showrunners Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders are quoted as saying:
“It feels like the stars are aligning, literally. We couldn’t be more excited about having Michael back. And as far as the way he returns … there’ll be no doubt about how Lex becomes the great rival in Clark Kent’s life. He is the villain of the story.”
Michael Rosenbaum says he’s delighted to return to wrap things up for the series, now in its tenth season.
“I’m simply doing it for all of the fans out there who made SMALLVILLE the great success it is. I appreciate all of their passion, their relentlessness and even their threats. Ha-ha.
I can’t wait to hug the old crew back in Vancouver one last time and see all of my old friends once again… Oh, and for Lex to become the badass he’s destined to be.”
Rosenbaum and the writing staff always took care to depict the character as complex and human, a person wounded and damaged by his upbringing, desperately seeking love, friendship, and trust—all undermined by his ingrained fear of beytral and subsequent need to control.
DC Comics’ The Source blog premiered this new CW promotional art for the second half of SMALLVILLE’s 10th and final season, entitled “Destiny is Now’.
Note Clark Kent’s (Tom Welling) red & blue reflection, a nice touch.
SMALLVILLE returns to the CW with new episodes Friday, January 28th, with ‘Collateral’, picking up from the mid-season cliff-hanger of ‘Icarus’.
Here’s a preview clip from this Friday’s episode of SMALLVILLE, Icarus, and the offical description:
The VRA (Vigilante Registration Act) is in full effect, and things take an unfortunate turn of events after the Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) tries to stop a mugging, but is attacked by citizens for being a super hero. Clark (Tom Welling) discovers that the civilians who attacked Oliver were all marked with a darkness tattoo.
Carter Hall (SG-1’s Michael Shanks) and Star Girl (Britt Irvin) return to help Clark deal with Slade’s (BSG’s Michael Hogan) re-emergence after he kidnaps Lois (Erica Durance).
Cassidy Freeman also stars.
Mairzee Almas directed the episode written by Genevieve Sparling.
The spoilerific stuff:
Clark Kent proposes to Lois Lane, and this episode may be the last we see of Hawkman on the show. Given the episode title, one might suspect it’s a dramatic exit. Time will tell.
This is the mid-season finale; the show wont be back until 2011.
SMALLVILLE airs Friday at 8:00 PM/7 Central, followed by a new episode of SUPERNATURAL, Appointment In Samarra.
Has it really been 10 years and 200 episodes of SMALLVILLE? Wow, yeah it has been—and what a trip. Ten years, two networks (the late WB, and its co-joined twin the CW), departures and additions in cast, changes in setting, turn-overs in producers and writers. It’s real survivor in genre TV terms, a show with an unusual amount of history.
Using Clark Kent’s (Tom Welling) five-year Smallville High class reunion was a great way to reference and visit some of that history, and also (hopefully) point the way to the future.
Lois Lane (Eric Durance) has to badger a depressed and self-doubting Clark to attend, and she has some cause to regret that, as no one seems to remember her from the not-quite five weeks she attended. She’s a little put out, but she also fears that she’s reviving memories that are making Clark even less happy.
During the dance, in which Clark has been miserably made the center of attention as Homecoming King (the dead-eyed, depressed look on Welling face is priceless), what at first appears to be his enemy Brainiac (James Marsters) appears, stopping time for all but them. This however is Brainiac 5, the good-guy version of 31st century, free of whatever corrupting influence that set him on the wrong path. He wants to help Clark put his own feet back on track as well.
Brainiac 5 shows Clark Kent some of the things that have blocked him from becoming the person he wants to be; his guilt from the past, his inability to let go, his fear of the future. He shows him that he did not directly cause his father’s (John Schneider in flashback) death in some kind of time-travel Russian Roulette, but that Jonathan Kent chose to protect Clark, even at the cost of his own survival. In many ways, since then Clark has blamed himself for every misfortune that has befallen anyone close to him.
The emissary from the future also opens his eyes to the harm he is inadvertently doing to his friends by distancing himself from them. Oliver Quinn is distraught, really needing Clark’s emotional support after revealing to the world his identity as Green Arrow, shaken that his friend apparently won’t return his calls. It never occurred to Clark that that was even a possibility.
He’s shown Lois’ vulnerable side exposed, distraught that she really doesn’t know if they still have a relationship or future. (The character she’s talking to says Lois is the moth, not the flame, a humiliating if apt comparision.)
Best of all, however, is that Clark Kent winds up in the future, and finds confirmation that he can inded become one of the world’s protectors, and that his life need not leave him a bleak and lonely figure, always apart from the humanity he wants to serve.
In very amusing and touching scenes he’s by turns agitated, confused and pleased that he and Lois Lane seem to be together and on intimate terms at the Daily Planet, and that’s she knows his secret. Sent off to the elevator by an affectionate if somewhat scattered Lois, he hears a familiar voice say: “She’s a handful, isn’t she?” And turns to see himself, seven years older —Clark Kent in glasses, slicked back hair and a trenchcoat.
Tom Welling does a great job here, playing a younger and slightly petulant Clark, while his “Mr. Kent” is confident and forceful, giving the impression that he’s both coolly amused and a touch exasperated at his past self. It’s good (and implied planned) that younger Clark is there in 2017, because a massive A-Bomb-like explosion goes off, sending a red and blue blur the future knows as Superman off to deal with that menace, while Clark is “ordered” to the roof.
There, in a scene that echoes SUPERMAN: The Movie, Clark saves Lois and her pilot from their out-of-control helicopter. She knocks out the pilot to preserve Clarks secret ID, and rewards him with a passionate and familiar kiss.
Back in Smallville Present, courtesy of Brainiac 5, Clark is finally able to let go of his father’s death, and symbolically bury the past. Feeling Lois was short-changed of their dance at the reunion, Clark sets up the Kent barn for a dance, and with confidence he quiets her fears and need to complicate matters. He tells her he loves her, she admits she loves him, and without music, they sway together—no they float, up off the floor. And if they don’t notice in the moment, we do.
So many things went right in this episode, and that was a real gift to viewers, letting us know that no matter how the many twist and turns there might be on the road from SMALLVILLE to Metropolis, the characters will end up at their final destination.
The CW Network
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc, written by series producers Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders. A Warner Brothers Television production.
In this clip from the CW’s SMALVILLE, Clark Kent (Tom Welling) goes pretty iconic Superman-ish — to save to save the Planet — the Daily Planet globe, that is.
Lazarus, the Season 10 premeire, airs this Friday at 8:00 pm/7 Central on the Cw Network, followed at 9:00 by the Season 6 premiere of SUPERNATURAL.
MILD SPOILERS ahead! Proceed with caution! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
SMALLVILLE fans rejoiced when they heard that John Schneider would be making a return appearance as the beloved Jonathan Kent during the show’s final season. Now, new stills from the CW show with Clark (Tom Welling) at the Kent farm in the Season 10 premiere, entitled “Lazarus”.
Amid what many SMALLVILLE fans have considered a low-key and disappointing marketing campaign for the series’ farewell season, these photos show that the CW hasn’t completely forgotten about the longest-running Superman TV show in the character’s 72-year history. It is odd to note, however, that while the network has been compiling and airing season premiere trailers for most of its other flagship series (VAMPIRE DIARIES, SUPERNATURAL, GOSSIP GIRL), SMALLVILLE fans only have cell-phone-quality YouTube videos of the sizzle reel shown during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic Con in July. Perhaps these shots indicate the network’s desire to get behind the show which kept them afloat during financially turbulent times. In any case, enjoy!
Hollywood Life quotes series star/executive producer Tom Welling as confirming that Season 10 be the final one for the long-running CW show.
“Season 10 of SMALLVILLE will be the last season” Welling told the site.
This news has been expected, as the producers have mentioned it online, and it’s been known for two years that the star’s re-negotiated contract only called for him to continue in the role of young Clark Kent for this past season and the next.
The CW will likely make an official announcement at it’s press “Upfront” on their new season, tomorrow.
Still unknown at this time is whether co-star Allison Mack (Chloe Sullivan) will be signing as regular for the final season.
UPDATED: Mack will not be returning as a regular. See article.