Producers: Joe Davola (executive producer) Alfred Gough (executive producer) Miles Millar (executive producer) Brian Robbins (I) (executive producer) Michael Tollin (executive producer) Mark Verheiden (supervising producer) Greg Walker (II) (co-producer)
Cast: Tom Welling .... Clark Kent/Kal-El / Kristin Kreuk .... Lana Lang / Michael Rosenbaum .... Alexander 'Lex' Luthor / Sam Jones III .... Peter 'Pete' Ross / Allison Mack .... Chloe Sullivan / John Schneider (I) .... Jonathan Kent / Eric Johnson (I) .... Whitney Redmond / Annette O'Toole...Martha Kent
Young Clark Kent may be a superhuman alien destined to wear the cape and a big red S...but as a teenager he's as normal as any maladjusted adolescent...with a tendency towards, geekiness, brooding, and girl-watching. In the pilot episode he actually does get a big red "S" on his chest ...but it's not what we had in mind.
The best bit of irony in this whole show is that he daydreams about being Superman. There's a lot of humor in this show, though with a dark edge that makes it non-camp and much closer to cool. I mean, would you have figured Clark and Lana's first almost "date" to take place in a graveyard.
I wondered if the teen crowd that this show is aimed at knew enough of the back superstory to get it, but SFRevu research subject Jamie Archer, age 15, reminded me that he's been watching the cartoon show for years. Duh. Has he ever read the comic? (Shakes head noooo.) Thanks, Jamie.
The show has elements of a lot of shows in it. Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, Roswell, Buffy, and of course, Lois and Clark. Not to mention the X Files.
Actually, a lot of X Files.
On the fateful day in 1989, when a meteor shower hits Smallville with a bang, the baby in a rocket drops into the Kents lives, just like in every other telling. This time though, the meteor shower does more than drop the boy, it levels a considerable part of Smallville, including Lana Lang's parents, waving and smiling across the street from her Aunt Nell Lang. This time too, as they point out at several places, the boy finds them, as he wanders along in the meteor strewn rubble.
Fast forward to "today" and Clark is just trying to get through the day as a normal teenager, trying to find himself, while full of angst and wishing he was free of grownup restrictions.
Smallville isn't the quaint small town it used to be. It's still a quaint small town, but the meteorite shower left a legacy of legacy of meteoric weirdness...including a little green gem Lana Lang wears around her neck. No wonder Clark gets weak-kneed every time he gets near her...though the casting of Kristin Kreuk (who continues on the series Edgemont) as Lana would be enough to explain it by itself.
Tom Weller, who is probably best known for a recurring role on Judging Amy, is a superb choice for the Teen-of-Steel. Really, everybody is well cast. Clark's human parents, played by John Schneider (Dukes of Hazard) and Annette O'Toole (who played Lana Lang in Superman III) are both great. It's probably Schnieder's best role, as the straight shooting Jonathan Kent, as he manages to make his apple pie values seem fresh, while clearly understanding and sympathizing with the conflicts that a teenager, even one who came in an alien pod, would understand.
Every party needs a pooper that's why they invited two; Lex Luthor (who's really bad at heart, and nicely played by Michael Rosenbaum) and Pete Ross (who's a jock, a bully, Lana's boyfriend and played by Sam Jones II, though we understand he's not really a bad guy).
Clark has other friends, Chloe and Whitney, one a school newspaper reporter and a the other a best friend, and there's a backlog of strange doings in Smallville that should keep the episodes interesting.
The sound track is grunge, and Clark's dream sequences add a nicely surreal touch to it all.
About the only thing I don't like isn't the show's fault. It's the foreknowledge that Clark grows up and leaves Smallville, and Lana, behind. Sometimes, knowledge of the future isn't all that helpful, but what Clark has in store for him is what each of us who've passed through adolescence has survived. Good luck Clark, but remember, that green rock only makes you sick...it's your heart that's really vulnerable..
© 2001 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu