Solid family (around teen) entertainment. It's a really shame about the Chloe character though, which cast a dark shadow on the side...
The series finally reaches its potential - an excellent seas
Tom Benton | North Springfield, VT USA | 05/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*Possible spoilers within.*
"Smallville" fans continue to perplex me. It seems that the majority of "Smallville" fans consider what I and those with whom I watch the series have deemed the weakest seasons of the show to be the show's best years. Similarly, while I found the show's sixth season to be its best since Season One, most fans have ranked it among the series' worst. I'm not putting down those who think differently from me, but I have thoroughly evaluated each season and I cannot imagine what these viewers are seeing that I am not. There are those who are now dreading the next season and the season which may follow (creators Al Gough and Miles Millar have said that the show will run no longer than eight seasons). After Season Six, however, I am eagerly awaiting more of a show that has, after years of stumbling through piles and piles of mediocrity, finally reached its potential.
In Season Five, Clark Kent found himself without his most beloved "guiding light" when his father died. The feelings of loneliness grew as his relationship with Lex Luthor crumbled, rebuilt as a bitter rivalry, and Clark was forced to push the love of his life, Lana Lang, away. To make matters worse, Lana took refuge in Lex's open arms. By the end of the season, Clark had learned to deal with his grief and had a better sense of who he was, but he still had a long way to go before becoming the Man of Steel. In Season Six, Clark's destiny grows a lot nearer. Season Six revolves around Clark's discovery of who he is through two major storylines: 1) the tormented relationship between he and Lana Lang (which should have ended seasons ago and has now reached the point of absurdity), as well as Lana's potentially strong affections for Lex, and 2) Lex Luthor's rapid loss of morality and Clark's realization that he alone can stop him. There is a third major storyline as well, dealing with a number of alien ghosts which escape from the Phantom Zone in the season premiere; Clark must round them up before they wreak too much havoc.
There are a number of subplots too. The largest and most popular involves Oliver Queen, played by Justin Hartley, who was cast in the title role of "Smallville"'s failed spinoff "Aquaman." Queen is a young, attractive businessman who arrives in Metropolis with a dark secret: he is the Green Arrow (one of DC's most popular heroes), a hooded rogue who protects those who need protection. He is also a sort of Robin Hood - which is bad news for Clark, whose mother is now a full-fledged, popular politician. Queen also has a checkered past with Lex Luthor, which makes for one of the season's more interesting subplots. Others include Chloe's relationship with spunky young photographer Jimmy Olsen (played by Aaron Ashmore, whom I personally find extremely irking) and Lois Lane's beginnings in journalism.
I had a number of complaints about Season Five, and even a few seasons before that. The writing was foolish and predictable and the dialog was just trash. The acting was lackluster. The directing was virtually non-existent. The music was frankly turgid. The sixth season, however, corrects all of that. The writing is, for the most part, excellent. The season's story arcs were intricate and interesting, and more importantly, each individual episode was a blast, well-written and suspenseful. Thankfully, the writers finally focused a lot less on meteor freaks (in fact, they hardly crop up at all!) and a lot more on other foes, in this case the "Zoners" (those who have escaped from the Phantom Zone). The dialog picked up a lot as well, and felt a whole more natural and realistic than it did in previous seasons.
The acting improved as well. Tom Welling's Clark seemed rather oafish in the previous season, but in this season, he is Clark Kent once more: strong, brave, and noble. John Glover is as delectable as ever, and Michael Rosenbaum gets a much-deserved dose of unflinching evil. Erica Durance begins to show promise as Clark's future love - for example, "Crimson," a fan favorite episode in which Clark is exposed to red kryptonite after a kiss from Lois, who herself has been drugged with a love potion. Allison Mack is especially fun, and the writers have mercifully saved us from most of her godawful one-liners. Even Kristen Kreuk, whose character I couldn't stand in previous seasons, improves slightly.
The show picks up some wonderful style from its directors, something it was completely devoid of in Seasons Four and Five. A great example of this is "Wither," which features some stunning visuals. I don't know what happened to Mark Snow, but his music went from cringeworthy and stale to downright fantastic. His score is hip, creative, cool, and grandiose, exactly what it should be. I really enjoyed hearing the music in each episode - even when Snow's theme for the Green Arrow is a painfully obvious rehash of Danny Elfman's theme for Tim Burton's "Batman" movies.
As far as the episodes go, this season holds a variety of standouts. The season premiere, "Zod," is great. It's not as epic as the fifth season premiere, but it's very cool anyway. Though I still find the producers' failure to cast an actor as Zod downright despicable, Rosenbaum plays his possession of Lex very well. Hearing Rosenbaum deliver "Superman II"'s classic "Kneel before Zod!" is really a delight, and the splitting resemblance between the disembodied Zod and Terence Stamp in "Superman II" is sure to please fans of the films. "Sneeze" introduces a new power for Clark: super breath. "Justice" is a very fun episode and has been called the best episode of the series by many. I don't agree in that aspect, but it is very neat to see all the show's past superheroes gathered together. The inevitable "It's All In Your Head" episode comes in the form of "Labyrinth," surprisingly a very enjoyable episode (in a twisted sort of way). "Freak" puts forth the revelation that Chloe herself has some sort of meteor power and has become a meteor freak after being exposed to so much kryptonite. That's an interesting and tense episode. "Promise" is a painful, dramatic episode, but its successor, the super-violent "Fight Club"-inspired "Combat," is a real blast. It's probably one of the show's weaker episodes, but it's also one of its most fun. Personally, I loved it: seeing Clark dress up in leather and kick the s--- out a jacked-up wrestler, seeing Lois in tight red leather - grand fun to be sure.
"Nemesis" is one of the series' strongest episodes, in which Clark and Lex are trapped in an underground tunnel and forced to deal with their issues which each other. Kudos to the writers for thinking this one up. The dramatic confrontation between Welling and Rosenbaum, Clark and Lex, good and evil, is just superb. "Noir," unfortunately, is not. What seemed like a brilliant idea - play the show as though it were a film noir in the 1940s - is interesting, but little more than that, and the final product falls flat on its face. As always, the season goes out with a bang, a lot of them, with "Phantom," which leaves one character on his way to jail, three characters possibly dead, one superpower revealed, and introduces a character I have long awaited but thought I would never seen on "Smallville." It also featured a much-advertised "death" of a major character. I would like little more than to see that character actually be killed, but the fact that she's not is ridiculously clear.
At its finish, the sixth season of "Smallville" is a wonderful surprise. It's quite possibly the best season since the show's outstanding first, and it's the first season to truly reach its potential since the series' early years. I have no idea what happened between the end of Season Five and the premiere of Season Six, but everything that was so wrong with the show was drastically improved. Season Six is quality, comic-bookish, fun television, and although the second half of the season is rather lopsided ("Progeny," which features a guest appearance by Lynda Carter, is arguably the most dull episode of the entire show), it's a spectacular season. Clark has yet to fly, and the show hadn't really flown since the beginning of Season Three, but with Season Six "Smallville" soars as it, like its young hero, seemed destined to from the start."
Smallville Still Soaring After Six Seasons
ELC | Grand Rapids, Mi. | 05/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved season six of "Smallville" and will pick up the DVD set the day it is released in September. I think Tom Welling does an excellent job as Clark Kent.The series wouldn't be going into a seventh season if Welling didn't deliver as Clark but he does. The acting has always been a strong point of this series and who doesn't love Alison Mack, Michael Rosenbaum, John Glover, and the rest? "Justice League" was an outstanding episode as was "Combat," "Promise," "Phantom", and others. I didn't care for "Static" very much but that was about the only mediocre episode as far as I am concerned. I can't wait to eventually see Tom Welling don the Superman costume on the final show. Season Seven should be great too."
Smallville Continues to Fly As Clark Finally Accepts His Des
Sean Pasek | Albuquerque, NM | 09/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*Note: Anyone who has not seen the sixth season, I highly recommend NOT reading the back of the box. If you want to be surprised, the synopsis on the back might ruin something for you.
Most television series tend to be on their down-slope by the time the sixth season rolls around. Writers usually have trouble coming up with new and inventive stories to keep the audience intrigued. In fact, I can only think of a handful of shows that are either as good as when they started, or they are actually even better. It doesn't happen often. Trust me, after watching television series for over 30 years, I know. Smallville's writers have succeeded in placing the series in the with the few and far between; the shows that have been able to continue going strong.
The sixth season marks the time and point when Clark finally accepts his destiny. He finally realizes that he must use his powers to help the people of not only Smallville and the friends he loves, but the world. Granted he receives a little nudge in that direction from a new ally, but he finally realizes that his destiny far outreaches the boundaries of Smallville. The challenges that Clark must now face are new, but no less painful and deadly as the challenges he has faced in previous seasons.
Exactly how does one deal with the fact that the love of your life is now with your arch-nemesis? At least the first half of the season focuses on how Clark deals with Lana being with Lex. The Clark-Lex rivalry hits full throttle in this season. We finally see that Lex isn't only manipulative, but he has now added unbridled cruelty to his list of unpleasant characteristics. Lionel can still play the game, but he wasn't nearly as cruel or vindictive as Lex has become. Just watch what happens when anyone threatens to take away something that Lex believes is his. We really start to see a much clearer picture of the Lex Luthor who will ultimately be Superman's greatest enemy.
Clark's new mission this season is to round up the "ex-cons" from the Phantom Zone. He feels that he is responsible as well as feeling that he is the only one capable of stopping them from ravaging Earth. Clark has a great sense of responsibility. The writers must be careful not to add too much "guilt" ingredient to that, otherwise you're wandering into Spider-Man territory. Superman's motivation has always been responsibility and a keen sense of justice.
There are many questions that will be asked and answered during the course of this season: What is Jor-El's true intentions for Clark? What kind of a person was Jor-El? What is Lionel Luthor's interest in Clark, and will he prove to be Clark's asset, or downfall? And how does Clark deal with what potentially proves to be the loss of another loved one?
For those of you who are familiar with DC Comics, a couple more heroes will be revealed, and several others will make another appearance. Keep an eye out for the Green Arrow and one more famous hero who I will not mention here. Flash (Impulse), Aquaman, and Cyborg return. The episode that has them all working together is both fun and exciting. It also opens the door for possibilities outside of the Smallville storyline.
Tom Welling continues to shine as Clark Kent. He has rounded out the character so well that he's the best actor to play the role of Clark Kent in television history. He knows how to deliver a line or even a simple look. I still feel that many people overlook him. He also pulls off the naiveness of Clark perfectly. This is very hard to do, but Tom makes it work. It is a talent that many of the show's directors have stated that Tom has mastered, and that few actors can pull off.
Michael Rosenbaum, who is the best Lex Luthor, is able to successfully transform Lex to such a degree, that he is able to keep the audience guessing. For those who have grown with the series and remember Lex when he was a decent guy and a good friend of Clark's, we almost can't believe the things that he is now doing. The writers ingeniously use this to keep the audience guessing. Is Lex behind this? Is it someone else? Can he possibly be that deplorable?
We've also seen Kristin blossom as an actress. For now she must show us that by being with Lex, she has adopted certain Lex-like tendencies, whether she's aware of them or not. Can Lana be just as manipulative as Lex? How far will she go to the "dark side?" In many ways, the character of Lana Lang is a tragic one. Don't believe me? Think back to how she was in the first season, and then track where she is now. Her character is as tragic as that of Lex Luthor. She's a woman who really only desires one thing: to be loved, and to be loved by the one person that she loves. Lana has lost almost everyone in her life that mattered to her. It is not a great leap to consider that a person might become a bit desperate, and thus, run to the arms of the person who appears to shower you with love and affection. And for Lana, that person is Lex. But some interesting events will take place to really make Lana think about the decisions that she has made.
One bright addition to the cast is that of Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olson. We finally get introduced to the young, excitable character that Jimmy has always been depicted as in the films and comics. He's also Chloe's love interest, but something is amiss for young Jimmy. He's unable to figure out the relationship dynamic between Chloe and Clark. Jimmy is not as endearing toward Clark at first.
Justin Hartley is fantastic as Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. He is young, athletic, and has an almost Batman-like detective prowess. He's also a love interest for Lois. But can it last? And where does Green Arrow's history cross paths with Lex?
As with all Smallville seasons, there is yet another cliff-hanger. It will see the introduction of yet another classic Superman villain. It will also leave the well-being of several Smallville characters in doubt. The main climax, however, finally comes down; a revelation between two characters that fans have been dying for ever since the very first episode aired.
The writers of this show must be given their credit. I think Jeph Loeb, especially is responsible for the tremendous success of the show. As an executive producer and consultant from DC Comics, he knows what will work on the show, and what won't. He also understands that many things that work in the comic book world don't necessarily translate over to television. He is able to find the bridge between the two worlds. Few people are able to do this. I truly believe that he a big reason why Smallville has remained so successful and a top-quality show.
It isn't hard to imagine why one of America's greatest heroes is fictional and yet has such a tremendous following spanning several generations. Heck, there is even a town called Metropolis in Illinois dedicated to America's favorite hero. For a while, Superman has badly needed a face-lift to make him appealing to new generations while keeping the core of the character intact. Clark is now someone that people can relate to. He endures many of the same problems that many people and young people face today. Smallville has continued to make Superman timeless, for the power of good, justice, and decency are badly needed now more than ever before. In short, the world needs a Superman, and I don't mean the fictional world. I mean OUR world.
As you finish watching season 6, think of Clark throughout the course of those six seasons. Remember all of the pains, trials, and tribulations that he has gone through, and yet the core of the character remains intact. He still tries to see the best in people and his unwavering faith in his friends (often when it is not returned) makes him stand apart from virtually any other person that we know, fictional or not. Clark always has hope...hope for the world, hope for his friends, and even hope for his enemies.
"Your greatest strength might also be your greatest weakness. Hope."--Martha Kent to her son.
I must mention that this DVD has one flaw: no actor commentaries on any of the episodes. It's a shame. The commentaries are really good, and I was looking forward to listening to more of them during this season.
Smallville... Finally On Blu-Ray...
Argenis | Vass, NC USA | 09/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being an avid fan of Smallville, and after owning the series thus far on DVD, and also viewing it on an upconvert player, I decided to purchase the Blu-Ray version, just to see what the differences were between the two formats. After having viewed an episode on blu-ray, I must honestly say that the picture and sound quality was nothing short of amazing. The palette of colors were incredibly vibrant, and the sound in dolby digital 5.1, gave my speakers a definite run for their money. I highly recommend the blu-ray format in favor of the standard edition, provided that those of you who own, or are considering the purchase of a blu-ray player.
The only disappointment that I feel, is that Warner Bros. did not release the other seasons on blu-ray as well. Now I may not be an expert, but I do know about sound and picture quality, and believe me, you will not be disappointed with the hi-def edition of this series.
Bravo Warner Bros... Now please, keep them coming..."
Good show, poor DVD
Hillbo | 10/03/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I am a confessed Smallville fan and believe that the show has gotten better with each passing year, with the acception of certain forced romances, but I digress.
The DVD really isn't that good. Included are the following features, a documentary of the Green Arrow and how he's developed in the comics, a documentary of sorts about fans of Smallville and the Oliver Queen Chronicles for sprint phones and the Justice and Doom deal that occurred during the season.
Aside from that, some of the episodes boast deleted scenes but that's it! Zero! Zip! Nada! Nothing more! There were good episodes that I would have liked to have had commentary on. Arrow, Labyrinth, Justice, Noir, Phantom, Zod but there are none! Also, there aren't any other blooper reels or any behind the scenes sort of features like they've had with previous seasons.
While a good season, the DVD just doesn't measure up to how I would have liked. While I would definately recommend the season and the series to see a re-envisioning of the Superman mythos I can't recommend the DVD at the current prices. Wait for it to come down a little more in price because there just aren't enough special features to warrant a $40 purchase right now."