All credit to Smallville for making it to a very impressive ninth season. You don’t survive that long in the cruel world of US TV without doing something right and, whether or not you’ve been a fan up to this point, you’ve got to respect any show that demonstrates that kind of longevity. But respect aside, Smallville has undoubtedly seen better days.
The ninth season opens as Clark Kent (Tom Welling) struggles with the difficult decision to leave behind his old life in order to focus on his calling as a superhero, charting the final stages of his eventual transition into the fully fledged man of steel. The themes of confusion run a little more deeply than expected though, as Kent dresses himself head to toe in black and takes to standing moodily on skyscrapers, behaviour far more akin to Batman than Superman.
There’s little sense of spark or distinct identity to the show anymore, with several of the storylines feeling like uninspired regurgitations of other comic book films and TV shows, from Spider-Man 2 to Iron Man, with scant attempt to bring anything fresh to the formula.
It’s still plenty of fun to watch though, as one ridiculously attractive character after another gets themselves in and out of danger on a regular basis. But you get the sense that the characters themselves don’t really believe in their own transient jeopardy anymore and, as such, it’s very difficult for the viewer to either.
If you‘ve been with Smallville from the beginning, you’ll be hoping that the drama regains some of its earlier intrigue before bowing out for good next year, whereas newcomers at this stage will probably wonder how it has ever lasted this long.
Released on Blu-ray and DVD on 25th October 2010 by Warner Home Video UK.