The premise of Smallville--Superman as a teenager--takes up just a few pages in Superman's very first comic book appearance (in Action Comics back in 1938), but series producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar flesh out that period by portraying young Clark Kent (Tom Welling) not as the noble Superman-in-waiting, but as an average teen with some not-so-ordinary supernatural powers, including incredible strength and heat vision (Clark hasn't lifted up, up, and away as of yet). Clark's desire to fit in with his peers and make sense of his extraordinary abilities ground him in very realistic and identifiable terms for the series' primarily under-25 audience, as does his appealing and tentative romance with Kristen Kreuk as Clark's dreamgirl Lana Lang. But Smallville also strikes gold when it takes a turn towards more comic book territory, as evidenced by the parade of shape-shifting killers and other outlandish antagonists (many generated, in one of the series' most ingenious notions, by the same devastating meteor shower that brought the infant Clark to Earth) that Clark must harness his powers to face and defeat. Gough and Millar, along with their capable cast (which includes Michael Rosenbaum as a young and already bald-pated Lex Luthor, and Annette O'Toole and John Schneider as the Kents) manage to pull off the precarious high-wire act of combining science fiction with coming-of-age drama to create this highly watchable program.
Smallville: The Complete First Season offers a very complete and attractive DVD package that is rounded out by some highly desirable extras for longtime series fans. The six-disc set offers all 21 episodes of the first season, including the pilot, in widescreen anamorphic format; Gough and Millar are featured on the set's sole commentary track, which appears on the pilot episode. Viewers can also access a number of deleted scenes from various episodes as well as view original pre-production storyboards and WB promotional spots. An interactive "tour" of Smallville rounds out the extras, but DVD-ROM owners can use the discs to access more features via the Smallville web site. --Paul Gaita
I'm not ashamed to admit that I have enjoyed the first three seasons of "Smallville," which touched the youngster in me. I agree with the writer who said that the series got noticeably better after the first season. I'm going to buy all of the seasons (if the third season is released on DVD}.
Maudlin and silly, this continuity-busting show is simply "Dawson's Creek" with teenage Superman thrown in + 1 black helper character (all the networks got in trouble for color-less programming so I thought that I would mention him). You can almost hear the female teeny-boppers go "OOOOH!" when they see Supes in his flannel shirt; too bad that he is such a TERRIBLE actor.
To keep the young, male demographic interested, the show parades some 25 year old looking "teenage" girls around the set and has them pout their lips and whine out some insipid dialog every once in a while. Then their performance stops when Mr. Boring, the teenage Superman, starts giving the beat-down to the villian-of-the-week.
I like what they've done with Lex Luthor. He's an interesting character, poised between his corrupt father and wasted youth on one side, and his own aspirations to become a better person helped by his friendship with Clark on the other. Michael Rosenbaum does a good job portraying him. His dysfunctional relationship with his father and the power dynamics at Luthor Corp is by far the most interesting story line in the season.
The first season's structure is basically monster-of-the-week, in many ways similar to Buffy season 1, featuring the mysterious cryptonite rocks instead of the Hellmouth. Occasionally, the show manages to hit a nerve with the monster, in the same way Buffy did - putting the focus on eating disorders, ignored teens becoming invisible (ring a bell?), etc.
Smallville season 1 has such similarities with Buffy season 1 that I can't help comparing them: High school superheroes with secret identities fight supernatural evil, helped and sometimes hampered by friends and family.