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Every superhero has a beginning . . .

Smallville

Smallville Overview

 

This version of Superman is taken from the years before the Man of Steel became Superman.  He is a sweet, innocent, yet troubled young man, forever feeling as though a greater force, his long dead father, controls his destiny.  Clark Kent (Tom Welling) has a wonderful relationship with his family.  His loyalty and willingness to listen to his parent’s advice is something that is rare to find.  If possible, he would die for anyone if it came down to it.  Clark always looks for someone to help save, though a troubled darkness seems to follow his footsteps wherever he goes.  His aversion to Kryptonite and solid, though tentative friendship with Lex Luthor is always popping up.  The love of his life, Lana Lang, as the audience knows, will never be his, which is the tragedy of his love.  It is fun to watch the episodes and look for the little clues that the writers drop into the scripts that point to the man Clark will become.  As Pete Ross, Clark’s best friend said: “Clark Kent, Man of Tomorrow.”

 

This version of Superman has to be the best ever portrayed, if only for the steadfast loyalty of the Kent family and the solid friendships Clark makes with those around him.

 

Currently, the story arc is concentrating on Clark’s biological father, who apparently wants to control Clark.  For comic book readers, this is an interesting twist on the original storyline, and many are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the third season.

 

 

 

Music Overview

 

The music of “Smallville” has inspired many articles on the internet and in a few newspapers and magazines.  A CD has been produced that became quite popular.  Being a music major, I can be quite sensitive to what music a show produces.  “Smallville,” I can happily say, has provided quite a mix.  Over the past three years, music of the original “Superman” movies, Johnny Cash, Dave Matthews, Five for Fighting (most predominantly), Evanescence, and even opera music has been heard.  Music that spans over several centuries has been played on a present day show.  There is a lot of variety, though most of the time the music is from present day performers.  The thing I am most excited about is that “Smallville” is not afraid to play classical music.  Opera music has quickly become the music of Lionel Luthor, and other classical music is frequently played as well.  I am happy to see that people who watch this show and might not normally hear opera or classical music, are hearing it, perhaps for the first time, and in a context that they can identify with.  I hope they keep up the good work.

 

 

 

The Best Episode

 

An episode I consider one of the most well done occurred in Smallville's third season: "Memoria."  The basic premise of the episode was Lex trying to figure out what it was his father erased from his memory using electro-shock therapy.  He knew that his father was trying to hide something from him, and so he resorted to drastic measures, subjecting himself to dangerous experimentation with immersion in kryptonite.  While the experiment did not reveal what Lex was hoping for, it did reveal something else that he had tried to push out of his memory.  When he was a young boy, his mother had another son, JulianLionel believed that Lex had killed Julian when he found Lex standing over the baby's crib one night, protesting that Julian would not stop crying.  Julian lay still and silent, and the later news was that he had died of SIDS.  From that moment on, Lionel had treated Lex as an adversary rather than his only son.

 

Lex, angry towards his father, decided to reveal the truth after the experimentation showed him that episode over and over again.  In a truly emotional scene, Lex revealed to his father that it was not he that had killed Julian, but his mother.  Lionel’s wife, determined not to let Lionel treat another child the way he had treated Lex, killed her son, claiming that he was better off that way.  She could not bear to see another child raised to think the way Lionel wanted his children to think.  Lex decided to take the blame so nothing would happen to his mother, and he knew that being the sole heir, Lionel would do nothing to harm him.

 

Shaken by what Lex had revealed, Lionel appeared to truly not know what to say or do, stammering, “Son, if I had known . . . things would have been different.”  In this one episode, indeed in this one scene, we are shown the beginnings of the roots of Lex’s dark side.  His father, a truly coldhearted person, had raised his son as an adversary, and this is all that Lex knows how to do: compete at vicious levels.  This was an emotional episode that every “Smallville” fan should remember when thinking about how Lex, Clark’s best friend, could have turned out to be his main adversary.

 

 

 

Is Smallville Science Fiction?

 

First off, I should say that most television series’ that are based on comic books end up as fantasies.  Comic book concepts themselves are so wildly beyond the believable that they are automatically categorized as fantasy.  The primary reason comic book concepts are categorized as fantasy is because the characters are larger than life.  In science fiction, the characters must be believable.  Comic books also tend to stretch facts beyond the truth, pushing the boundary between fact and sort-of-fact.

 

“Smallville” is based on one of the oldest comic books in existence: “Superman.”  The character, Superman/Clark Kent, is a larger than life character that is toned down only by his completely human nature.  “Smallville” tones this larger than life character down even more, which is one of the reasons that I can say that “Smallville” brings the original concept of “Superman” closer to actual science fiction than fantasy.

 

Another reason “Smallville” may be science fiction is that it incorporates scientific research on the mysterious kryptonite meteor rocks.  Rules are slowly being developed on the outlandish properties of this strange rock, rules that were not touched on in the comic series.  Also, Clark Kent, the alien from Krypton who was apparently sent to live on Earth, has to deal with his alien heritage, a concept that many science fiction authors have explored.  The characters are well built, but not quite so large that they may become unbelievable.  The storyline carries a logistic certainness on its concepts, keeping solidly in the scientific believability of the show.  In the beginning, this scientific incorporation was given much leniency, but over time it has improved.  The first season of “Smallville” I would be hesitant to call science fiction, but as it has progressed, it has become more of a science fiction show than a fantasy show.

 

 

Death in Smallville

 

January 2006 marked a major turning stone for the characters of Smallville with the death of Jonathan Kent, Clark's father.  Fans of the original Superman comics knew that this was inevitable, and the writers of the show attempted to keep viewers guessing by first killing off Lana (who should have died, in my opinion), and then turning back time so Clark could save her.  The guilt that Clark felt should have been equal to the guilt Spiderman felt after his uncle was killed, but the emotion was gone.  Before this episode aired, my speculation was that either Jonathan would die, or something radically different would happen: that Lois Lane would die and Chloe would take her name as a pen name for her position in the paper.  Chloe makes more sense as Lois than Lois does herself.  Chloe's passion for journalism and mystery rival Lois', and Chloe's secret crush on Clark would twist the Lois Lane storyline even more.  Lois only makes sense because of her and Clark's passion for fighting with each other and her ability to get into trouble.  The fact that Jonathan died proved that the show is getting to the point where anyone who knows anything about Superman can predict what will happen next.  The only reason I am sad Jonathan is gone is because he was the one moral voice among the characters, voicing his opinion without care of anyone's feelings - and most of the time, he was right.  Any thoughts?  Email me.

Smallville Links

Smallville: Town of the Weird

Smallville Place

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