Who would have thought on October 16, 2001, a little show on a little network called The WB would be wrapping up it’s run on a slightly different version of that network ten years later? And who would have thought that a show based on the early years of a world famous comic book character – a show that started out as a “freak of the week” show – would have become the longest running fantasy show in television history?
I don’t think anyone thought Smallville would last more than a couple of years, much less ten, and it’s with a great batch of mixed feelings that I write my very last post on the show. I loved the show when it started, but then it got a bit silly and I pushed it aside around season three or four – I still don’t know why Pete Ross left Smallville – but then I started hearing good things about it again and I’ve been a steady viewer since season six (I think I had to see how they were going to bring Lois into this mix since she really didn’t fit into the comic mythology at this point in Clark Kent’s life). It’s been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows but for a show of its age, I think it really hit its stride again around season eight.
So, did the finale live up to what had to be some pretty grand expectations, or is it going to divide the faithful as much as the Lost finale did? For the most part, I enjoyed the finale but my biggest complaint is that knowing the end was coming at the start of the season, the producers really should have gotten to work on the mythology and left behind all of the stand-alone episodes that had nothing to do with this season’s big bad, Darkseid. There was so much crammed into the last three hours – including new villains in the form of the Legion of Doom last week – that the vanquishment of Darkseid was pretty anti-climactic. I would have liked more of Granny Goodness, Glorious Godfrey and Desaad as well, to see them going about their business preparing for Darkseid’s Apokolips. There was just a lot of time squandered on episodes like the Booster Gold episode and the Hangover rip-off – and as entertaining as they were, they were unnecessary at this point in time. As it was, Darkseid almost became an afterthought.
That aside, what did I love about the finale? I’m so happy Chloe came back, and I really liked the seven years in the future framing device. I’m glad Clark was able to rescue Oliver from Darkseid. It was nice to see Martha come back, as well as Jonathan’s spirit, to tell Clark he didn’t have to let the past go – and that Jor-El also told him that his life in Smallville made him the hero he is today. I loved Lex and Clark’s little chat at the ruins of the Luthor mansion (and that Lex is president in 2018!). I was glad to see Lionel back for one last evil plan, and was totally surprised when HE became the embodiment of Darkseid instead of Lex (who merely got Lionel’s heart in the exchange). I liked Lex telling Tess he always knew she was his sister and that’s why he recruited her to run Luthorcorp – but I didn’t like that she was the only major character to die!
And even though getting rid of Darkseid’s Apokolips seemed pretty easy-breezy once Clark finally embraced his entire life and fulfilled his destiny, my favorite part of the show was the last few minutes in 2018 at the Daily Planet. It was a wonderful homage to the original Christopher Reeve movie, with the added bonus that Lois and Clark already have a relationship but still haven’t managed to get married. It would have been nice to see Tom Welling actually in the full suit instead of a tiny CGI version of him, but that final moment on the roof of the Daily Planet, with the original Superman fanfare in the background, was a perfect ending because we don’t have to imagine what happens to the characters after the credits roll. We know … from comics to various TV shows to the movies, we know that these characters do live on. For me, that makes up for any small disappointments I might have with the finale.
I want to say thank you to everyone behind the scenes who made Smallville such a great show, and I especially want to thank the cast: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Allison Mack, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman, Michael Rosenbaum, John Glover, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, past cast members and special guests … I will miss seeing you all on a weekly basis but I thank you for giving us ten pretty solid years of great entertainment.
UPDATE: There is a story circulating now that Warner Brothers put some restraints on just how much we were allowed to see of Tom Welling in the suit (i.e. no full body shots except the tiny CGI character). Not sure of the reason why, but probably because they didn’t want to diminish the impact of seeing Henry Cavill in the suit making his debut in the new movie. I think they did a disservice to the fans of the show if that’s true.
You were hoping for more death? I was devastated by Tess!
Loved Jimmy v2 showing up in the future though!
NO! I didn’t want anyone to die. I was upset that they killed off Tess. I was very relieved to see Chloe at the top of the show reading the story of Clark to her son. I guess since Tess isn’t part of the Superman mythology, they had to rub her out but it still sucked.
The whole future scene was terrific. When Clark and Lois bumped into each other on the stairs, it was so reminiscent of the original movie.
Did anyone else see how Lurhorcorp’s sign turned into Lexcorp? That was awesome!
Good catch! I just thought the X looked odd when the other letters fell off, but now that you point it out it all makes sense!
What age was Clark supposed to be when the show started and when it ended?
He was in high school when the show started, so 16 – 17, depending on what year he was in when the show started. Add 10 to when he defeated Darkseid and 7 more for the framing device. So that would put him at nearly 35 by the time Chloe was reading the comic to her son – which is about how old Tom Welling is now (he just turned 34 in April).
While I cannot say for sure if his legal issues were the reason for him leaving Smallville, I can’t help but suspect it had some driving force in it. It is worth noting that he continued to act after Smallville, most notably on Blue Mountain State, and ER.
“In October 2009, Jones was taken into custody by Drug Enforcement Administration agents on charges of drug trafficking. He was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. On December 16, 2010, Jones pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell more than 10,000 oxycodone pills. Jones was the “Hollywood connection” in a plot to illegally purchase and distribute the drug, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court. Jones faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for June, 2011.”
I knew about his legal issues, but I think that happened after he left Smallville (maybe?). But, if he was involved with drugs at the time he was on the show, that certainly may have contributed to his departure.
I am so going to miss my weekly date with Smallville. There are so few quality SF left. Hopefully they will come up with some sort of spinoff or a new series to keep on the tradition of good SF TV.
Thank you Smallville for an amazing ten years.
Wouldn’t it be great if The CW surprised us with their fall schedule and put a Metropolis series on Friday night?!?
Well after ten years and a DVR meltdown halfway through the episode forcing me to frantically search for a torrent online (seriously my DVR broke the exact second Lex came on screen) its over and I’m actually kind of glad. The show was always jumping back and forth between amazing and downright awful and the finale was both.
– The wedding stuff took WAY too much time up in the finale for them to never actually get hitched. I mean we heard their extremely long vows like 3 times each.
– I liked Chloe saving the say but the slow motion “Noooo!” was just hilarious.
– Lionel looked frighteningly insane even before he was Darkseid. Great job Glover for you short part. In fact…
– I kinda wish they spun-off Smallville into a show about Lex, Lionel, and Tess. In fact I kinda wish they made that show instead of Smallville.
– Tess’s death seemed like an afterthought. Like in the final hour they realized, “Shit this is the end of the show and we didn’t kill a major character. Ok lets just off Tess by umm.. have Lex do it that seems right.”
– Erasing Lex’s memories annoyed the hell out of me. Basically we watched a great transformation from friend to foe that lasted 7 years suddenly rendered moot by a black smudge. Really?! Clark and Lex’s relationship was the best thing about the show and they just threw it in the garbage.
– Clark’s defeat of Darkseid was quick, but I loved how he looked at all his trials to gain the power to fly and blasted Lionelseid into an oblivion. His speech from Jor-El while Johnathan handed him the suit was equally as well done.
– The flashforward was a perfect look into the world of Superman and made me a little sad the show was coming to a close. Though once it was over I remembered all wedding crap and was a bit less sad. I guess the John Williams theme has the power to do that.
The finale, like a lot of this show, had a lot of heart, but stumbled occasionally. I figured they’d do a wedding in the first hour and the crisis in the second hour, so the length of the wedding stuff didn’t surprise me much.
Obviously, I would’ve liked to have seen more action with Darkseid. But given a limited CW budget, I liked what they did with Supes coming out party. The Air Force One save was a lot better than I thought it would. My only issues with the whole Apokolips presence is that they could’ve woven a lot more of the mythology into the season. I think the Omega symbols would have had more meaning if we’d have seen more of their effect.
The 7 years later was really well done, and a perfect way to end a great journey