A most impressive pilot episode starts off "Smallville" big
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 07/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In recent years Superman has been honored with a stamp and as one of the Top 10 American pop culture icons of all time. With the pilot episode of "Smallville" we have yet another successful small screen version of the strange visitor from another planet who is coming back to the silver screen later this year. The great twist this time around is that the story is about a Clark Kent who is still a high schol student and years away from putting on the suit with the big red "S." But his powers are just starting to really come into play and as the cover indicates, he ends up with a different type of big red "S" on his chest. The other key thing is that at this point the woman with the initials "LL" in his life is named Lana Lang, and she is the girl next door (a relative concept in the farm country of Kansas).
Keep in mind that when Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created the Man of Steel in 1939 there was no Superboy until 1949, when he began part of the futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes. All we knew about the early days is that just before the doomed planet Krypton exploded to fragments, a scientist placed his infant son within an experimental rocket ship, launching it toward earth. When the vessel reached our planet, the child was found by an elderly couple, the Kents. They adopted the super tyke and with love and guidance shaped the boy's future. As he grew older Clark Kent learned to hurdle skyscrapers, leap an eighth of a mile, raise tremendous weights, run faster than a streamline train, and that nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin. When his foster parents passed away, Clark decided he must turn his titanic strength into channels that would benefit mankind.
The key part of "Smallville" is that creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar go back to a much simpler beginning, with young Clark (Tom Welling) growing up on the Kent farm with Martha (Annette O'Toole) and Jonathan (John Schneider). From the "Superboy" comic books the series borrows the characters of girl next-door Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) and best buddy Pete Ross (Sam Jones III). But in addition to covering the basics, Gough and Millar come up with a key triad of additions to the original Smallville mythos that not only make the series work but make this pilot movie stand up so well.
First, they add young Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) to the mix, knowing that he and Superman are fated to be (im)mortal enemies, but that for the present he and Clark are friends after Clark saves Lex's life in a car accident that should have killed them both. The key thing is that they truly are friends and that "Smallville" is as much about how Lex would become a super villain as it is about how Clark would become a super hero. Throw into the mix Daddy Dearest in the form of Lionel Luthor (John Glover), and Lex would have already pulled all of his hair out if it were not for what happened that fateful day in Smallville.
Second, is the brilliant reconceptualization of Superman's arrival on earth where the small spacecraft shows up in the middle of a shower of glowing green meteors that are all that remains of the planet Krypton. As much as the little boy in that spaceship, those meteors change Smallville forever, turning a little girl into an orphans and a young boy bald, and the small Kansas town into the self proclaimed meteor capital of the world. More importantly, those little green rocks will have continue to have an impact as they cause a series of mutations with which young Clark will have to contend. This also accounts for the great in-joke that Clark always becomes a bumbling idiot around Lana because she wears a locket made of kryptonite.
Third, there is the multi-purpose character of Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack). The driving force of the Smallville High School student newspaper her "Wall of the Weird" documents all the strange things that have happened around Smallville since the meteor shower, making her the show's resident mistress of exposition. But she is also the tragic figure who longs for Clark the way he casts puppy dog glances at Lana, creating a nice example of teenage love triangle pathos.
Overall, Miller and Gough had created an extremely solid premise for their series, which creates multi-dynamics for all of the plotlines. The pilot also gets off to an impressive start with the devastating arrival of the meteors from Krypton along with the spacecraft carrying the infant Kal-el. My only serious complaint is that Schneider's Jonathan Kent has too much of an angry edge, which takes away from his font of parental wisdom. Martha really needs to mellow him out so that he cuts Clark some slack. I understand that Jonathan is motivated by fears and concerns about his adopted son, but I always liked the gentle influence personified by Glenn Ford in the first Christopher Reeve "Superman" film. My only real question is has to do with how Lana and Clark end up being in the same grade given that she is clearly a few years older when he shows up in the opening part of the pilot.
Yes, we can also throw into the mix that Clark and Lana are played by a couple of cute young actors. Welling is not too serious as the kid who is going to grow up to be the hero who stands for truth, justice, and the American way, and I was going to say Kruek was the WB's new Katie Holmes except after her soft-core Lana scene in the school swimming pool goes way beyond the world's biggest collection of midriff revealing tops. But the bottom line here is that either the Clark-Lana or the Clark-Lex would be enough to make this a good show and "Smallville" has both of them and a lot more, including the brilliant metaphor of the scarecrow immortalized on the cover of this DVD."
Smallville is a must see
R.C.G. | 04/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here we have the release of the Pilot Mini-DVD release. I must say Smallville is an AMAZING show. The Legend of Superman you've never seen. Smallville is a show that has been running for four years on the WB network. No, it's not Superman and other heroes flying around saving each other. Smallville is a show of surprises, action, adventure, suspense. 'The boy he thought he was and the man he is destined to become' is still the show's core, as we tag along with future-Superman Clark Kent and future-Arch-enemy Lex Luthor, and many other cast members including Lana, Chloe, and Jonathan and Martha Kent.
The first season begins and unfolds as Clark learns his true origins, and faces many meteor-infected meteor freaks. (Pilot) As the season ends, a disaster tornado heads right towards Smallville, and leaves Lana trapped in the vortex... (Tempest)
Season two begins as Clark rescues Lana, and Lex's father, Lionel, becomes blind by the twister. (Vortex) This season progresses as Clark learns more and more about his destiny. Christopher Reeve makes an unforgetablle appearance, as Dr. Virgil Swann, a high-tech scientist, who tells Clark about Krypton, his home world. (Rosetta) The season ends with a shocker as Clark and Lana finally get together, Chloe is jealous and turns to Lionel to investigate on Clark, Martha, who was pregnant, looses her baby, Lex gets married, but his jet falls from the sky and crashes into the ocean. But Clark turns to Red-Kryptonite (which makes him a bad boy) after he caused his mother's miscarrage by blowing up his rocket ship so his biological father, Jor-El, cannot send him destiny messages. He rides to Metropolis, the big city north of Smallville, on his Harley and in his leather jacket, turning to the life of crime. (Calling, Exodus)
Season 3 opens as Clark (now known as 'Kal') is in Metropolis and wrecking havoc. Jonathan Kent makes a deal with Jor-El to bring Clark home. (Exile) But when he returns, Clark pays the price as a crime boss named Morgan Edge comes back, looking for a vial of blood Clark should've stolen for him in Metropolis. (Phoenix) Season 3 continues with many interesting storylines such as: Lex going crazy and getting himself into an insane asylum (Shattered, Asylum), Jonathan having a heart attack (Hereafter), Clark giving up his relationship with Lana, Lana getting a call from the future (Crisis), and Pete Ross, Clark's best friend, leaving Smallville, burdened by Clark's secret. (Forsaken) Season 3 ends with a bang as Lionel is in jail for murder, then getting his head shaved, Lana leaving for Paris, Chloe entering a house that explodes, Lex has been poisened by his brandy, Jonathan's braindead in the caves after Clark was mysteriously sucked into the Phantom Zone, and the Kent Farm is on fire... (Covenant)
Season 4 begins as Clark is reborn as his alter-ego Kal-El. Lois Lane comes to town, Lex is in Egypt searching for a mysterious crystal, Lana has a new love, Jason Teague, in Paris, and she also gets a very strange mark on her back, Chloe is still presumed dead, Martha is alone on the farm, and Lionel is still in jail. (Crusade) Later, Lois and Clark investigate Chloe's death, and find her, alive, in an abandoned warehouse. (Gone) More highlights: the future Flash comes to Smallville (Run), Lionel and Clark switch bodies (Transference), Mikhail Mxyzptlk (My-kal mix-yez-pittle-ick) jinxes everyone in Smallville (Jinx), Chloe, Lois, and Lana become possesed by 17th century witches (Spell), Lex is accused of killing a woman he slept with (Bound), a virus enters Smallville and everyone thinks their worst nightmare is a reality (Scare), Clark's former-flame returns (Unsafe), someone learns Clark's secret (Pariah), Clark heads to Metropolis on a college football recruiting trip (Recruit), Clark finda a super-powered dog (Krypto), Lex, Jason, Lana, and Clark head to China in search of a Kryptonian crystal (Sacred), Lois Lane's younger sister, Lucy, comes to Smallville (Lucy), Lex gets split in two by Black Kryptonite (Onyx), a girl who can enter people's bodies does on the night of the prom (Spirit), a boy who can wipe out memories clears out Clark's mind (Blank), Lana and Clark find an abandoned baby in a cornfield (Ageless), a boy who doesn't want high school to end has the ability to make his own fake world kidnaps high schoolers and traps them in his world (Forever), and a mysterious meteor shower strikes Smallville... again. (Commencement)
I hope you enjoyed my season reviews of Smallville! Season's 1-3 are now available on DVD. Season 4 comes to the stores on September 13, 2005. Don't forget to buy 'em!"
R.C.G. | Redondo Beach | 04/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first episode of this series, also known as a pilot, is by far one of the best in the series. Before Superman became the Man of Steel we are all familiar with, he had to deal with his adolescence and the discovery of his super powers. This is his story.
The story begins with a shot of space. A meteor shower and a spaceship are headed towards earth.
Next, a married couple named Jonahtan and Martha Kent drive into town, where the Crows, the local sports team are celebrating a recent victory. They both want a baby but unfortunately are unable to have one. Jonathan buys Martha a lovely bouquet of flowers. They get in their truck and drive away.
In another part of town multi-millionaire and corporate titan Lionel Luther, is trying to make his young son Lex conquer his fear of heights by forcing him to open his eyes while in the air in a helicopter. After landing, Lionel is trying to close a deal while, Lex is playing in a nearby cornfield. Lex is frightened, drops his inhaler and has an asthma attack (more on this later).
Suddenly, the meteors come crashing to earth wreaking havoc on the picturesque city of Smallville, Kansas. As John and Martha are driving back home, the space ship crash lands in front of them destroying everything in its path including the road they are on. Their truck is turned upside down, and out of the corner of her eye, Martha Kent sees a boy coming out of the space ship.
Meanwhile, as young Lex Luther plays in the corn field a meteor hits the area and a cloud of dust engulfs everything in sight. We see Lex after the blast, his hair is gone and his father looks disgusted by it.
Back at the lonely road, the young couple decides that they can't just abandon the boy they discovered. So they act fast and decide to claim the child as their own adopted son and hide the space ship in their cellar.
The meteor shower not only causes destruction, but also shatters many lives. This is the case of Lana Lang, her parents are killed in the meteor shower.
As a teen Lana Lang becomes the object of adopted Clark Kent's affection. We are also introduced to Pete and Chloe, Clark's friends and aspiring journalists.
This is a lot of material to tackle for just one episode, but the direction is kept tight and there's plenty of action to keep you entertained. The special effects are well done with the exception of the first shot which could have used some work, but overall a really solid entry into this new series. I'd also like to add that it's thrilling to see Clark discover a new super power, it's as if he's one step closer to becoming SUPERMAN.
I would have given this episode five stars, except for a sub-plot involving a man who is comatose for years and suddenly wakes up, not having aged a day, wanting revenge on those who caused his coma. Clark Kent a.k.a. Superboy must save his friends at the school dance and gets even with the school jock, and a good time is had by all.
All in all, Smallville Rocks!"