US tv series (2001-2011). Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar for the WB Network (2001-2006) and the CW Network (2006-current). Producers include Gough, Millar, Joe Davola, Brian Robbins, and Michael Tollin. Directors include James Marshall, Greg Beeman, Mike Rohl, Jeannot Szwarc, Terrence O'Hara, and Glen Winter. Writers include Gough, Millar, Tim McCanlies, Brian Wayne Peterson, Kelly Souders, and Todd Slavkin. Starring Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent, John Schneider as Jonathan Kent, John Glover as Lionel Luthor, and Erica Durance as Lois Lane. 205 one-hour episodes aired so far.
Fourth and latest television iteration of the Superman mythos, Smallville started as a teenage-oriented show and appropriately concentrated on its superhero protagonist's teenage years in the titular town. The series' opening episodes find Clark still confused about the nature and source of his Superpowers, and struggling with his desire to reveal them, particularly to Lana Lang, the girl he's been in love with for years. The series, whose creators summed up their vision for the revamped character as "no tights, no flights", offers its own twist on the Superman story by introducing the character of Chloe Sullivan, Clark's best friend and an aspiring reporter, who discovers that the meteor storm that afflicted Smallville fifteen years ago (the one which, unbeknownst to her, accompanied the infant Superman's arrival on Earth) caused many of the town's children to mutate and develop superpowers. Another twist is the introduction of a twentyish Lex Luthor, a ne'er-do-well sent by his industrialist father to run a local factory, whose life Clark saves, sparking a close friendship between the two future enemies. Early episodes revolve around Clark and Chloe investigating various instances of what they term "meteor freaks" while Clark struggles to conceal his powers from those around him, especially an increasingly suspicious Lex.
Later seasons delve deeper into familiar Superman mythology, introducing such characters and elements as Superman's father Jor El, the Fortress of Solitude, and the Villain Zod. Other DC superheroes such as Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter, the Green Arrow, and Supergirl are introduced, and the fledgling Justice League is formed. By its tenth season, Smallville was firmly entrenched as a turgid, poorly plotted soap opera whose better-cast members (mainly Mack and Rosenbaum) had escaped, while the handsome yet stilted Welling held on to his only chance of fame. The series takes Clark a long way into the Superman mythos – he becomes a journalist, gets a job at the Daily Planet, meets and falls in love with Lois Lane, and uses his Superpowers to fight crime and protect the Earth – without actually breathing the word Superman. It is only in the series finale that the Man of Steel is introduced, and even then only in the episode's final moments. [AN]
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