So I’m a Superman fanboy and will be until the day I leave this Earth and head to my Fortress Of Solitude. Wow that sounded incredibly dorky now didn’t it? I don’t care because every one of us needs to have some sort of hero in their lives that they know they’ll never be but they can always look up to. Superman just so happens to be mine. He’s a big time dork by day and a superhero when called upon that also ends up getting the girl with both of his identities. That is what it takes to be a true hero. And watching Clark Kent in his everyday life as a teenager and young adult makes me realize that even Superman is human. Ok, at least part human.
Clark Kent is well on his way to becoming Superman as we have seen in all the films and read in tons of comic books. But what never was quite clear was all the things that happened during his young adult years growing up and going to high school in Smallville. Did he wear the tights to school? Was Clark the fastest runner on the track team? Was the obsession with Lois Lane evident even back when he was younger? Did he get nervous before a big date?
Smallville is a fantastic look inside the world of Superman that is not known to most people and introduces new storylines that just wouldn’t seem imaginable otherwise. The first five seasons had their ups and downs with some being absolutely phenomenal while others were incredibly forgettable. It seems the strength of the series lies in the episodes that continue the storyline from one week to the next. Right before receiving season six to review, I had picked up every previous season and caught up on all that was going on. There are some great storylines and really awesome comic book happenings that take place without ever feeling too much like a child’s cartoon or like the blocks on a comic book page.
Smallville is not a series that I watched from the beginning, but ended up catching up on thanks to the DVD season sets and always enjoyed everything that came my way. Seeing some of the other big comic book names appear like Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, and one of my all-time favorites Bizarro made this a series that kept getting better as the seasons went on. Season seven unfortunately seemed like the series had finally reached its peak because things just didn’t seem to gel nearly as well as the first six years did and it was a great fear of mine that Smallville was on the decline. Luckily season eight came about and while it isn’t the best season in the series so far; it certainly did a bang-up job of pulling the kryptonite chain off the neck of our beloved Superman series and making it strong once again.
On a small note of catching up from the end of season seven: Lana has gone off on her own making her relationship with Clark a virtual thing of the past thank God. Clark now though must do whatever he can to get his powers back after losing them in the Fortress of Solitude and also realizes that he must try to adjust to adult life as normally as he did with high school life. That eventually leads to a job in the (TA-DA) Daily Planet working with one Lois Lane that could easily all be described easily as “the rest is history,” but we aren’t there just yet. Signs also point this season to more of the Superman persona that we all know Clark to be because it seems to be only a matter of time before he finally breaks out the iconic suit and flies around Metropolis and the world.
Season eight does a really good job of introducing some new villains as well that will seemingly stick around now that Lex Luthor is currently out of the picture. Stepping in as the head of Lexcorp is Tess Mercer who doesn’t seem a very strong adversary like Lex actually was, but she is an appropriate nard-nosed antagonist. Tess is a bit much to handle sometimes, but she doesn’t get nearly the amount of camera time that Lex did so it all equals out. My favorite addition though comes very close to rivaling Bizarro’s appearance in seasons six and seven (one of season seven’s saving graces) and that is Doomsday. Well he is originally shown as Davis Bloom who seems like a normal enough guy that is hiding a side of him unseen by most people unless he gets pushed too far. Doomsday is the creature that eventually brought Superman to his knees and then some in the comic books making this a very interesting choice for a Smallville character, but I’m curious to see where it keeps going.
Smallville needed help after season seven and it truly got it here by taking a few familiar faces away and adding in some new characters that add plenty to the storylines and show itself. There is a lot here for fans of the series to get excited about again just in case you happened to miss out or give up on the show completely. Episodes like “Eternal,” “Justice,” and especially “Legion” make this one of the better seasons in some years leading up to the intense and mind-challenging season finale with Clark fighting with himself over just how far he should go with his powers.
The episodes are shown in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and this is my first season checking out Smallville in Blu-ray and they are all excellent. The colors are bright and vibrant with special effects coming through looking fantastic.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and everything comes through sounding great as well. Any type of comic book sound you could imagine comes to life around the room while all dialogue can be heard perfectly fine even with the music booming through the speakers as necessary.
Audio Commentaries – Different writers, producers, and other members of the crew get together for commentary tracks on only two episodes in this entire season – “Identity” and “Legion.” The tracks aren’t overly exciting but give a good amount of information forth and I’m honestly surprised there weren’t more then this. While I am happy that “Legion” got a commentary track, it would have been nice to at least get another two or three episodes receive this treatment.
Unaired Scenes – Ten episodes have a small handful of cut scenes attached to them and aren’t earth-shattering or anything, but they are still interesting to watch. Luckily the scenes are right along with the episode they belong to unlike in other television series sets that have them randomly thrown around so you never know what episode they even come from.
In The Director’s Chair – Actor turned director Allison Mack gives plenty of information here on how it is to be in the big chair now instead of in front of the camera. There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff thrown about here and Mack gives some cool insight on how it is to work on the show from both aspects of director and actor. (19:00)
Smallville‘s Doomsday: The Making Of A Monster – All you could think of in order to bring the alien Doomsday to life is discussed here. Any changes and differences that need to be made. How he would be portrayed in human form. Even the CGI aspect of showing the monster in his alien state. Not a bad little featurette and wouldn’t have hurt anything to have been given a bit more time. (15:00)
I can’t help it that Smallville will be one of the very few television series that will always be watched by me along with NCIS and House. Even if a crappy season is thrown in there from time to time, it’s still one of the shows that actually keeps my attention and seems to touch right on something that piques my interest. The saddest part was thinking that season seven would see the demise of a series that focuses on my favorite comic book character before we see him adorn and red and the blue, but along came season eight and squashed any chance of that happening. Sure it may not be the best season, but at least it took a good step back in the right direction and things with Doomsday can only continue to get better. The special features aren’t too shabby either even though a few more commentaries would have been appreciated. Fans of the series are definitely going to want to pick this up right away so you might as well make like the red and blue blur and head out now to grab your copy before it flies away.
Warner Home Video presents Smallville: The Complete Eighth Season. Created by: Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster. Starring: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Aaron Ashmore, Cassidy Freeman, Sam Witwer, Justin Hartley. Running time: 1012 minutes on 4 discs. Rating: Not . Released on DVD: August 25, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Doomsday, Green Arrow, Lois Lane, Smallville, Superman, Warner