SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Tom Welling as CLARK KENT
Allison Mack as CHLOE SULLIVAN
Erica Durance as LOIS LANE
Justin Hartley as OLIVER QUEEN
Cassidy Freeman as TESS MERCER
Callum Blue as ZOD
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The ninth season of the popular CW show “Smallville” sees Clark Kent in Metropolis, writing for the Daily Planet. Still in pre-Superman mode, Clark dresses up all in black, saving people faster than they can see. Dubbed “The Blur” by Lois Lane, Clark is trying to balance being the main hero in Metropolis with a regular life. In this season, we see a romance blossom between Clark and Lois while Chloe helps the hero make peace with Oliver Queen. But there is a new villain in town, the Kryptonian named Zod, who has his sights set on world domination.
WHAT I LIKED
Back when “Smallville” started nine years ago, I heard a lot of good things about it, but I wasn’t much of a TV watcher back then. After many years of nagging from a zealous Super Friend of mine, I finally got a chance to check out the series, and I have to say that I am impressed.
Superman adaptations seem to have been cursed throughout the years. There have been some decent ones, like the old George Reeves TV series and the early “Superman” serials. Even the Donner movies were okay for me as a comic book-reading young nerd. But for the past several decades, the Superman adaptations have been plagued with problems. “Lois and Clark” was an okay television show, but it suffered from the cheesy of the early 1990s. And “Superman Returns” was a big, fat load of “meh.”
In fact, in the past 30 years, the best DC adaptations (save for “The Dark Knight”) have been in animated form. But “Smallville” manages to give us a pretty solid adaptation of the old comic books. I think this comes from the fact that comic books are soap operas for fanboys, and the CW knows their stuff when it comes to putting together somewhat youthful soap operas.
But most of the angst and overt soap opera nature has been filtered out of “Smallville.” Now that the original audience has grown up a bit, we end up with some pretty strong comic book stories. This season features several familiar heroes, including a two-part episode with the Justice Society of America as well as the Wonder Twins as guest stars. Likewise, there are some classic comic book villains (e.g., the Toyman, Metallo and the classic character of Zod) brought to life.
Unlike the truly mediocre “Birds of Prey” series a few years back, “Smallville” isn’t afraid to go to its comic book roots. And it’s not just all about Clark Kent. In fact, Clark is not even the best thing on the show. The cast of characters and enjoyable line between campiness and serious drama is what makes this show work.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The ninth season of this series breaks down in places, mostly when the relationship drama gets too heavy (although I suppose you can blame the comic books for the ongoing saga of Clark and Lois) and when the dialogue gets a bit too cheesy. Lois Lane ends up with some choice lines, and sometimes guest stars (I’m talking to you, Michael Shanks aka Hawkman) really chew the scenery.
Oh, and that completely out-of-place, teen pop theme song has to go. Seriously. Somebody save me from that song.
The ninth season Blu-ray comes with commentaries on two key episodes plus deleted scenes on many episodes. There are two featurettes – “Kneel Before Zod: The Evolution of a Classic Evil Character” and “Absolute Justice: From Script to Screen” – which examine the new characters plucked from the comic books for this season.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the Superman stories and the DC universe in general.