|Genre||Action, Adventure, Science fiction, Drama|
|Developed by||Alfred Gough
|Opening theme||"Save Me" by Remy Zero|
|Composer(s)||Mark Snow; Louis Febre|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||188 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Alfred Gough
|Location(s)||British Columbia, Canada|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Original channel||The WB (2001–2006)
The CW (2006–present)
|Original run||October 16, 2001 – present|
Smallville is an American television series developed by writers/producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, based on the DC Comics character Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The television series was initially broadcast by The WB, premiering on October 16, 2001. After its fifth season, The WB and UPN merged to form The CW, which is the current broadcaster for the show in the United States. Smallville began its ninth season on September 25, 2009, and was recently renewed for its tenth season on March 4, 2010. The series follows the adventures of Clark Kent (Tom Welling), who resides in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas, during the years before he becomes Superman. The first four seasons focused on Clark and his friends' high school years. Since season five, the show has ventured into more adult settings, eventually focusing on his career at the Daily Planet, as well as introducing other DC comic book superheroes and villains.
The concept for Smallville was derived after a potential series chronicling a young Bruce Wayne's journey toward becoming Batman failed to get off the ground. After meeting with the president of Warner Bros. Television, Gough and Millar pitched their "no tights, no flights" rule, which would break Superman down to the bare essentials and look at the events that led Clark Kent to become Superman. After seven seasons with the show, series developers Gough and Millar departed without providing a specific reason. Smallville is predominantly filmed in and around Vancouver, with some of the local businesses and buildings substituting for Smallville locations. The music is primarily composed by Mark Snow, who incorporates elements of John Williams's musical score from the original Superman film series. The song played under the opening titles is "Save Me" by Remy Zero; several episodes also contain songs written and performed by other bands.
The series received generally positive reception when it began broadcasting. Former Superman star Christopher Reeve voiced his approval of the series, and the pilot episode broke the record for highest rated debut for The WB, with 8.4 million viewers. With eight seasons completed, Smallville has averaged approximately 4.76 million viewers per episode, with season two averaging the highest ratings at 6.3 million. Since its first season, the series has earned distinctions ranging from Emmy Awards to Teen Choice Awards. Smallville has inspired an Aquaman pilot, which was ultimately not picked up by The CW network, as well as promotional tie-ins with Verizon, Sprint, Toyota, and Stride. In other media, the show has spawned a series of young-adult novels, a DC Comics bi-monthly comic book and soundtrack releases, as well as Smallville-related merchandise. Currently, eight seasons of Smallville are available on DVD in regions 1, 2, and 4.
Season one sees the introduction of the regular cast, and storylines which regularly included a villain deriving a power from kryptonite exposure; the one-episode villains were a plot device developed by Gough and Millar. The first season primarily dealt with Clark trying to come to terms with his alien origins, and the revelation that his arrival on Earth was connected to the deaths of Lana's parents. After the first season, the series used fewer villain-of-the-week episodes, focusing more on story arcs which affected each character and explore Clark's origins. Main story arcs include: Clark's discovery of his Kryptonian heritage; the disembodied voice of Clark's biological father Jor-El is introduced, communicating to Clark via his space ship, setting the stage for plots involving the fulfillment of Clark's earthly destiny; Clark seeking out three Kryptonian stones, at the instruction of Jor-El, which contain the knowledge of the universe and form his Fortress of Solitude; Clark battling Brainiac in his attempts to release the Kryptonian criminal General Zod; other escaped Phantom Zone criminals Clark must either capture or destroy; the arrival of Clark's biological cousin Kara; and Lex finally discovering Clark's secret. The eighth season features storylines involving the introduction of Davis Bloome, who is Smallville's interpretation of Doomsday, and a woman named Tess Mercer to replace the exit of Lex Luthor from the series. Justin Hartley reprises his role as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, being upgraded to a series regular. With the ninth season, "Major" Zod (Callum Blue), along with other members of Zod's military group, are revived by Tess Mercer, though without their Kryptonian powers. Their efforts to obtain those powers becomes the central conflict for the season's story arc.
Tom Welling portrays Clark Kent, a young man with superhuman abilities, who tries to find his place in life after discovering he is an alien. He uses his abilities to help others in danger. Clark's problem in season one includes not being able to share his secret with anyone and his desire for a normal life. After months of scouting, Tom Welling was cast as Clark Kent. David Nutter had to convince Welling's manager that the role would not hurt Welling's film career in order to get Welling to read the pilot script. After reading the script, Welling was convinced to audition.
Kristin Kreuk portrays Lana Lang, the girl next door. She has a "hole in her heart," because of the loss of her parents, and feels empathy for everyone. She feels connected to Clark. Gough and Millar were initially trying to find someone for the role of Clark Kent, but Kristin Kreuk was the first to be cast after David Nutter saw an audition tape the actress had sent. Kristin Kreuk left the series after the seventh season, but returned for five episodes in season eight as a guest star.
Michael Rosenbaum portrays Lex Luthor, a billionaire's son sent to Smallville to run the local fertilizer plant. After Clark saves his life, the two quickly become friends. As the series progresses, his friendship with Clark crumbles until the pair consider themselves enemies. The role was hard to cast, as no one could agree on who they liked for the role. Michael Rosenbaum auditioned for Lex Luthor twice. Feeling he did not take his first audition seriously, Rosenbaum outlined a two-and-a-half-page scene, indicating all the places to be funny, charismatic, or menacing. His audition went so well that everyone agreed he was "the guy". After seven seasons, Rosenbaum left the show.
Allison Mack portrays Chloe Sullivan, one of Clark's best friends. She is in love with Clark, although the feeling is not reciprocated. Editor of the school newspaper, her journalistic curiosity—always wanting to "expose falsehoods" and "know the truth"—causes tension with her friends, especially when she is digging in Clark's past. After learning about Smallville from the show's casting director, Dee Dee Bradley, Allison Mack thought about auditioning for the role of Lana Lang. Mack instead auditioned twice for the role of Chloe Sullivan. The character was created just for the series, and was intended to have an ethnic background before Mack was hired.
Sam Jones III portrays Pete Ross, another of Clark's best friends. He is the first person Clark voluntarily informs of his secret. He is in love with Chloe, which he keeps to himself because of the Clark-Lana-Chloe love triangle already taking place. Pete Ross was written out of the series at the end of season three but made a guest appearance in season seven. Jones was the last of the series regulars to be cast. Gough and Millar saw Jones four days before they began filming for the pilot. In the comics, Pete Ross is Caucasian, but the producers chose to cast Jones, who is African-American, against the mythology.
Annette O'Toole portrays Martha Kent, Clark's adoptive mother. She, along with her husband Jonathan, give Clark sage advice about how to cope with his growing abilities. In season five, she takes a state senate seat. This leads to a job as U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. in season six, and the character's exit from the show. Cynthia Ettinger was originally cast as Martha Kent, but during filming everyone realized she was not right for the role, including Ettinger. Annette O'Toole was committed to the television series The Huntress when Ettinger was filming the original pilot. Around the time the creators were looking to recast the role of Martha Kent, The Huntress was canceled, allowing O'Toole to join the cast of Smallville. O'Toole had previously portrayed Lana Lang in Superman III.
John Schneider portrays Jonathan Kent, Clark's adoptive father. He goes to great lengths to protect his son's secret. According to Schneider, Jonathan is "perfectly willing to go to jail, or worse, to protect his son." John Schneider was written out of the show on the series' 100th episode, with Jonathan dying of a heart attack the night of his election victory. Millar and Gough wanted a recognizable face for Smallville. Gough and Millar loved the idea of casting John Schneider as Jonathan Kent, because Schneider was already known as Bo Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard, which Gough saw as adding belief he could have grown up running a farm.
Eric Johnson portrays Whitney Fordman, Lana's boyfriend, who becomes jealous of Clark and Lana's budding friendship, going so far as to haze Clark. He eventually reconciles with Clark, before joining the Marines. Whitney was written out of the show in the first season's finale, but he made cameo appearances in the season two episode "Visage", where it is revealed he died in combat overseas, and the season four episode "Façade", during a flashback to Clark's freshman year. Eric Johnson has expressed his pleasure in the way the writers handled Whitney's departure, by giving the character the exit of a hero. Johnson auditioned for the roles of Lex and Clark, before finally being cast as Whitney Fordman.
John Glover portrays Lionel Luthor, Lex's father. Lionel is responsible for the Kents being able to adopt Clark without any legal ramifications or questions of his origins. Glover tried to make Lionel appear as though he was trying to "toughen [Lex] up". Glover saw the character as someone who was a rich and powerful business man, disappointed in his son. Glover's goal, for season one, was to show Lionel's attempts to make Lex tougher. Lionel was created specifically for the show, to provide a parallel to the Kents, as an "experiment in extreme parenting." In season two, John Glover, who had been a recurring guest on the show in season one, became a part of the regular cast. He remained a series regular through season seven, until he was murdered by Lex in the season seven episode "Descent".
Erica Durance portrays Lois Lane, Chloe's cousin. She comes to Smallville investigating the supposed death of Chloe. She stays with the Kents while in town. Durance was a recurring guest for season four, but has been a series regular since season five. The producers were always looking to bring Lois Lane to the series, and the supposed death of Chloe in the season three finale seemed like the right time to bring her to the show. Durance was cast just three days before filming began, and initially only able to appear in four episodes based on a stipulation from the film division of Warner Bros. After discussion, the character was cleared for more episodes.
Jensen Ackles portrays Jason Teague, a love interest for Lana in season four. He follows Lana to Smallville, from Paris, France, and takes a position as the school's assistant football coach. He was fired from the school when his relationship with Lana came to light. By the end of the season, it is revealed he has been working with his mother to track the three Kryptonian stones of knowledge. Ackles received top billing for season four and was contracted to remain through season five, but was written out of the show in season four's finale due to his commitments to Supernatural.
Aaron Ashmore portrays Jimmy Olsen: Chloe's photographer boyfriend; he also works at the Daily Planet. Ashmore was a recurring guest for season six but became a regular cast member in season seven. Ashmore indicates his casting was both a surprise and what he wanted. The actor states, "I auditioned for [the role] and I put myself on tape. I hadn't heard anything, and a couple of weeks later, all of the sudden, I got the call saying, 'You're going to Vancouver to start shooting Smallville.' It's a dream come true, really." After three seasons on the show, two as a series regular, Ashmore's character was killed off. Although "Jimmy Olsen" was murdered, Ashmore stated his Jimmy was not the real Jimmy Olsen, but the character's younger brother, who appears briefly in the season eight finale, is intended to be the real "Jimmy Olsen" who works alongside Clark and Lois.
Laura Vandervoort portrays Kara, Clark's Kryptonian cousin. She was sent to look after Kal-El (Clark), but was stuck in suspended animation for eighteen years. When the dam confining her ship broke in the season six finale, "Phantom", she was set free. She has all of Clark's abilities, including the ability to fly. At the end of the seventh season, Kara is shown to be trapped in the Phantom Zone. Vandervoort was not brought back as a series regular for the eighth season, but she did do a guest appearance to wrap up her storyline in season eight's "Bloodline".
Justin Hartley portrays Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, the CEO of Queen Industries and leader of a small group of superheroes. Hartley was a recurring guest in the sixth and seventh seasons but becomes a series regular in season eight. Hartley was the producers first choice to play Oliver Queen; designed to shake up the lives of both Clark and Lois in season six, as well as provide Clark with an alternate view of how to fight crime.
Samuel Witwer portrays Davis Bloome in season eight. He is a "charismatic" paramedic struggling with a darkness inside of him. Davis Bloome is Smallville's interpretation of Doomsday, the only character to have succeeded at killing Superman. Witwer explained over the course of the season, his character would come to resemble the comic book counterpart he is based on. Brian Peterson explained that the new executive producers were looking for a villainous character that was "as great as Lex", with Michael Rosenbaum's departure, and Doomsday fit what they were looking for.
Cassidy Freeman portrays Tess Mercer, Lex's handpicked successor to being CEO of LuthorCorp in season eight. The name "Tess Mercer" is a homage to two characters from Superman lore, Eve Teschmacher and Mercy Graves. As Freeman describes her character, Tess Mercer is Lex's handpicked successor; she is "fierce", "fun", and intelligent. Tess Mercer's primary goal for this season will be finding Lex, which will draw her inquisitively to Clark, whom she believes will be able to help her find Lex.
Callum Blue portrays Zod, an early version of the criminal from Krypton who was expelled to the Phantom Zone prison. His character is first mentioned in season five, when Brainiac uses Lex's body as a physical vessel for Zod's spirit to inhabit. Later, he appears from within a Kryptonian orb in the season eight finale. The executive producers classify this incarnation as "Major Zod", as opposed to his typical "General Zod" identifier, and reveal throughout season nine "the venomous side of Zod rises because he experiences a few key betrayals with our beloved characters". Blue is signed on for two years for a long-term story arc.
Originally, Tollin/Robbins Productions wanted to do a series about a young Bruce Wayne. The feature film division of Warner Bros. had decided to develop an origin movie for Batman, and because they did not want to compete with a television series, the series idea was nixed. In 2000, Tollin/Robbins approached Peter Roth, the President of Warner Bros. Television, about developing a series based on a young Superman. That same year, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar developed a pilot based on the film Eraser. After watching the pilot, Roth approached the two men about developing a second pilot, based on the young Superman concept brought to him. After meeting with Roth, Gough and Millar decided they did not want to do a series where there was lots of flying, and a cape. It was here Gough and Millar developed its "no tights, no flights" rule, vowing Clark would not, at any point, fly nor don the Superman suit during the run of the show.
Gough and Millar wanted to strip Superman down to his "bare essence", and explore the reasons behind Clark Kent becoming Superman. They felt the fact they were not comic book fans played into their favor; not being familiar with the universe would allow them an unbiased approach to the series. However, this did not keep them from learning about the characters, as they both did research on the comics and picked and rearranged what they liked. They returned and pitched their idea to both The WB and FOX on the same day. A bidding war ensued between FOX and The WB; the latter won out with a commitment of thirteen episodes to start.
Roth, Gough, and Millar knew the show was going to be action-oriented, but they wanted to be able to reach "middle America iconography" 7th Heaven had reached. To help create this atmosphere, the team decided the meteor shower bringing Clark to Earth would be the foundation for the franchise of the show. Not only does it act as the primary source behind the creation of the super-powered beings Clark must fight, but it acts as a sense of irony in Clark's life. The meteor shower would give him a life on Earth, but it would also take away the parents of the girl he loves, and start Lex Luthor down a dark path, thanks to the loss of his hair during the shower. Roth loved the conflict that was created for Clark, in forcing him to deal with the fact his arrival is what caused all the pain.
Another problem the creators had to grapple with was the question of why Lex Luthor would be socializing with teenagers. To address this, they decided to create a sense of loneliness in the character of Lex Luthor, which they felt would require him to reach out to the teens. The loneliness was echoed in Clark and Lana as well. Gough and Millar wanted to provide a parallel to the Kents, so they created Lionel Luthor, Lex's father, which they saw as the "experiment in extreme parenting." They wanted a younger Kent couple, because they felt they needed to be able to be involved in Clark's life, and help him through his journey. Chloe Sullivan, another character created just for the show, was meant to be the "outsider" the show needed. Gough and Millar felt the character was necessary so someone would notice the strange happenings in Smallville. She was not meant to act as a "precursor to Lois Lane".
The concept of Smallville has been described by Warner Brothers as being a reinterpretation of the Superman mythology from its roots. Since the November 2004 reacquisition of Superboy by the Siegel family, there has arisen contention regarding a possible copyright infringement. The dispute is over ownership of the fictional town of Smallville, title setting of the show, and a claimed similarity between Superboy's title character and Smallville's Clark Kent. The heirs of Jerry Siegel claim "Smallville is part of the Superboy copyright," of which the Siegels own the rights.
On April 3, 2008, after seven seasons with the show, Gough and Millar announced they would be leaving Smallville. The developers, after thanking the cast and crew for all their hard work, acknowledged they never stopped fighting for what they saw as "their vision" of the show. A specific reason for their departure was not given. On February 6, 2009, after only one season as executive producers, the L.A. Times confirmed executive producers Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin would not be returning for a ninth season of Smallville; instead, the pair would take over The CW's spin on Melrose Place. The Times also reported Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson would continue on as executive producers when Smallville is continued into its ninth season. On July 24, 2009, it was announced Tom Welling had become a co-executive producer of the series.
The show is produced at BB Studios in Burnaby, British Columbia. Initially, production was going to be in Australia, but Vancouver had more of a "Middle America landscape". The city provided a site for the Kent farm, as well as doubling for Metropolis. It also provided a cheaper shooting location, and was in the same time zone as Los Angeles. "Main street" Smallville is at a combination of two locations. Portions were shot in the town of Merritt, and the rest was shot in Cloverdale. Cloverdale is particularly proud of being a filming site for the show; at its entrance is a sign which reads "Home of Smallville."
Vancouver Technical School doubled as the exterior for Smallville High, as the film makers believed Van Tech had the "mid-American largess" they wanted. This kept in-line with Millar's idea Smallville should be the epitome of "Smalltown, USA". The interiors of Templeton Secondary School were used for Smallville High's interior. Over the course of season one, the production team repainted most of Templeton in Smallville High’s red and yellow colors, and stuck large Smallville High Crows logos everywhere. The team painted over so much of the school that the school eventually adopted them as their official school colors. The students became so accustomed to the filming crew, which had to shoot during the school semester, that when class was released the filmmakers would stand aside and the students would casually move the filming equipment aside to get to their lockers, and then venture to their next class without paying the crew much attention.
The Kent farm is a real farm located in Aldergrove. Owned by The Anderlinis, the production crew had to paint their home yellow for the show. Exterior shots of Luthor Mansion were filmed at Hatley Castle in Victoria. The interior shots were done at Shannon Mews, in Vancouver, which was also the set for the Dark Angel pilot and Along Came a Spider. Movie house Clova Cinema, in Cloverdale, is used for exterior shots of The Talon, the show's coffee house.
The show is told from Clark's point of view, so the color scheme and camera selection of the show is an illustration of Clark's interpretation of his environment. When he is safe at home the colors used to illustrate the environment are "warm and gentle", with an earth tone; the camera movement is also "very gentle". When Clark is keeping his secret, but there is no danger around, the lighting is more neutral and the camera moves around more. When there is danger the lighting becomes colder, and the camera shifts to a handheld to allow for more "extreme angles". With Metropolis, the crew attempts to instill the image of a "clean, hard-lined architecture", with blues, purples, and reflective metallics used as the dominating color of the scenery. The same concept is used for the characters. Lex is usually given a "glass, steel background", while Lionel receives a white or "clinical blue" background. Lex typically wears a lot of black, grey, and "cool tones" like purples and blues. Clark is represented by red, yellow and blue, like the traditional Superman costume. He is also represented by the colors of the "All American", red, white, and blue.
Composer Mark Snow works in tandem with producer Ken Horton to create the underscore for the show. Snow creates his music on the spot, as he watches the picture, and then tweaks his performance upon reviewing the recordings from his initial play. He then sends the music to the producers, who decide if they like it or not; if not, then they send it back and he recomposes. Episodes also feature their own soundtrack, comprising one or more songs by musical bands. Jennifer Pyken and Madonna Wade-Reed of Daisy Music work on finding these songs for the show's soundtrack. Pyken and Wade-Reed's choices are then discussed by the producers, who decide which songs they want and organize the process of securing the licensing rights to the songs. Although Snow admits it initially seemed odd to combine the two musical sounds on a "typical action-adventure" television show, he admits "the producers seem to like the contrast of the modern songs and the traditional, orchestral approach to the score".
|"I get a locked picture on a videotape which syncs up with all my gear in the studio. I write the music, finish it up, mix it up, send it through the airwaves on the internet, and the music editor puts it in. They call up usually and say, 'Thank you, well done.' Sometimes they call and say, 'Thank you, not so well done - can you change this or that?' I say 'Sure,' make the changes and send it back."|
|— Mark Snow on creating music for each episode|
The main theme to Smallville is not a score composed by Snow, who is used to composing the opening themes as well, like he did for The X-Files, but the single "Save Me" by Remy Zero. Although Snow did not compose the theme song for the opening credits, he did compose one for the closing credits. The closing credits are composed based on how they represent the theme of show. In the first two seasons, the music playing during the closing credits was one of the potential theme songs for the series, before Remy Zero’s "Save Me" was selected. The melody was more "heroic" and "in-your-face". Mark Snow was told during season two the closing credits needed new music, as they no longer represented where the show had evolved to. Snow created a new score, which was toned down, and featured a more "melodic" tune. Snow has also recomposed music from the previous Superman films. John Williams' musical score for the Krypton sequence in the opening credits of Superman was used in both season two's "Rosetta", which featured a guest appearance by Christopher Reeve, as well as various times in the season two finale. In order to save money, Mark Snow recorded his own version of John Williams' score, as using the original version would have required the team to pay Williams' orchestra as well.
In a May 23, 2008 interview with Randall Larson, Mark Snow revealed he would not be returning to perform the music duties, citing the work load of Smallville and The Ghost Whisperer as being too much for him. Snow did state he would be returning for The Ghost Whisperer. While reminiscing on his work with the show, Snow indicated much of the music had not really changed throughout the series, agreeing with Larson's description it was "more [about] maintaining the heroic concept and the mythology than progressing through specific changes". Louis Febre, who worked closely with Snow from the beginning, became the sole composer for Smallville beginning with season seven. Febre commented that since he began composing for Smallville there has been more of a shift to "thematic development" of the score, which would parallel the growth of the characters. Febre stated, "As Clark grew emotionally and intellectually more complex, I found a need to comment musically on his growth, and as he drew closer to his Superman persona, it became obvious that a 'Superman' theme would be required."
At various times the creative team have had the chance to try different musical tones to enhance the story of an episode. In season three's "Slumber", producer Ken Horton wondered if they could get a single band to provide all the music for the entire episode. During a breakfast meeting with the music department at Warner Brothers, the topic of band R.E.M. rose up, and Jennifer Pyken and Madonna Wade-Reed immediately saw an opportunity to connect the episode’s featured band with the episode’s story, which happened to revolve around REM sleep. That same season, Al Gough wanted to use Johnny Cash’s "Hurt" for the final scene of "Asylum"—where Lionel Luthor stares at Lex through a one-way mirror at Belle Reve sanitarium—from the moment he first read the script for the episode. As Madonna Wade-Reed was trying to get the song cleared for use Cash died; believing the use of the song for the show would honor his memory, Cash’s heirs cleared the rights for Smallville.
For season three's "Resurrection" and "Memoria", songs were chosen particularly to provide symbolism for the characters in the scene. In "Resurrection", The Rapture's "Infatuation" was used during a scene involving Lex and Lana; the point of the song was to symbolize the idea of, "Are we ever going to figure out what these two people think of each other?" For "Memoria", Gough came up with the idea of using Evanescence's "My Immortal" for the final scene of the episode. Gough informed Wade-Reed as soon as he began working on the script what song he wanted to use for the closing scene, as he saw the song as being symbolically about mothers, and in that scene Clark is telling Martha his first memory as a child was of his biological mother, Lara.
Season three's "Velocity" provided the music editors with the opportunity to use a style of music they would normally not use on the show. As the episode was similar to The Fast and the Furious, as well as being primarily focused on the only black character on the show, Pete, Madonna Wade-Reed was able to use a more hip-hop sound, which worked well with the story. Reed had heard of a British hip-hop artist named Dizzee Rascal, and became the first person in the United States to secure the licensing rights to use Rascal’s album. Beeman is known for directing episodes, and sometimes specific scenes, with particular songs in mind. For "Vortex" in season two, it was the Coldplay song for the final scene; Beeman directed the scene where Lana shows up at the Kent barn, just before Lex's wedding, to the Matthew Good’s "Weapon". In the song, the lyrics speak of an angel and the Devil by my side, and Beeman had directed Welling and Kreuk in a way timing specific shots with specific moments in the lyrics. When the talents of Pyken and Wade-Reed are not put to use, Mark Snow supplies all of the music for the episode, like he did beginning with season two's "Suspect".
Smallville first premiered at 9:00 PM on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 on The WB. For the next five seasons the series was featured on The WB, transitioning from Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm to Wednesday nights at 8:00 pm, and eventually settling on Thursday nights at 8:00 pm. In 2006, before the start of Smallville's sixth season, it was announced The WB and UPN would be merging into a single entity, The CW. Shortly after that, The CW announced Smallville would continue to be part of the television lineup. On May 21, 2009, it was announced Smallville would be returning to the 2009–2010 fall line-up for its ninth season, airing on Friday nights at 8:00 pm. On March 4, 2010, the CW announced Smallville had been renewed for a tenth season.
Smallville's first accomplishment was breaking the record for highest rated debut for The WB, with 8.4 million viewers tuning in for its pilot. The premiere also broke the record for adults age 18 - 34, and finished first with viewers age 12 - 34, leading Warner Bros. President of Entertainment Jordan Levin to credit the series with invigorating the network's Tuesday night lineup. The series was featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly as one of five new shows to watch. After its first season, Smallville placed sixth on the Parents Television Council's list of the "best shows for families". The WB's CEO Jordan Levin recognized the early concerns the show had become a villain of the week series, and announced season two would begin to see more "smaller mini-arcs over three to four episodes", in order for them to move away from a "serialized show". Gough realized with each succeeding season relying more on seasonal story arcs, there are occasions where they have to have villain of the week stories. It was clear the villain of the week stories were generally more criticized by the fans of the Superman mythology, but Gough wanted to be able to please both the fans of Superman and the general audience of the studio; in the case of The WB, the general audience consists of teenagers who prefer the villain of the week stories over the episodes focusing more heavily on the Superman mythology.
"I was a little bit skeptical when I heard about [Smallville] at first, but I must say the writing, the acting, and the special effects are quite remarkable. In 1977, a big stunt scene would have taken us a week to film—it's pretty impressive what they are able to do with computers and effects technology today on a weekly TV show. It gives it a lot more production value and inventiveness than I thought I was going to see when I first heard about the series. I think the show is doing a really good job following the mythology, and Tom is doing a good job following the tradition."
MTV's Karl Heitmueller believes that Smallville's Clark Kent is a better representation of the original material, staying "true to the heart of the story" by showing Clark's selflessness, and his struggle between his desires and obligations. At the same time, Heitmueller feels the show will have a difficult time addressing why no one in Smallville will recognize Clark when he puts on the suit, especially Lex Luthor.
The following is a table for the seasonal rankings, based on average total estimated viewers per episode, of Smallville on The WB and The CW. "Rank" refers to how Smallville rated compared to the other television series which aired during primetime hours.
|Season||Timeslot||Network||Season Premiere||Season Finale||Rank #||Viewers (in millions)|
|1st||Tuesday 9/8C||The WB||October 16, 2001||May 21, 2002||115||5.90|
|2nd||Tuesday 9/8C||September 24, 2002||May 20, 2003||113||6.30|
|3rd||Wednesday 8/7C||October 1, 2003||May 19, 2004||141||4.96|
|4th||Wednesday 8/7C||September 22, 2004||May 18, 2005||124||4.40|
|5th||Thursday 8/7C||September 29, 2005||May 11, 2006||117||4.70|
|6th||Thursday 8/7C||The CW||September 28, 2006||May 17, 2007||125||4.10|
|7th||Thursday 8/7C||September 27, 2007||May 15, 2008||175||3.77|
|8th||Thursday 8/7C||September 18, 2008||May 14, 2009||152||3.74|
|9th||Friday 8/7C||September 25, 2009||TBA||TBA||TBA|
Throughout its first seven seasons, Smallville has won numerous awards ranging from Emmys to Teen Choice Awards. In 2002, the show was recognized with an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series. Four years later, the series was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Editing for a Series for its fifth season episode "Arrival". In 2008, Smallville again won the Outstanding Sound Editing Emmy for season seven's "Bizarro".
Smallville has been awarded Leo Awards on multiple occasions. Make-up artist Natalie Cosco was awarded the Leo Award for Best Make-Up twice, one of which for her work in the fourth season episode "Scare", and one for her work in the sixth season episodes "Hydro" and "Wither". In the 2006 Leo Awards, Barry Donlevy took home Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Series for his work on the fourth season episode "Spirit", while David Wilson won Best Production Design in a Dramatic Series for "Sacred". Smallville's sixth season won a Leo Award for Best Dramatic Series; James Marshall won Best Direction for "Zod"; Caronline Cranstoun won Best Costume Design for her work on "Arrow", and James Philpott won Best Production Design for "Justice". In 2008, Smallville won the Leo Award for Best Dramatic Series, as well as Best Cinematography. The visual effects team was recognized for their work on the pilot with an award for Best Visual Effects in 2002. They were later recognized by the Visual Effects Society with a 2004 VES Award for Outstanding Compositing in a Televised Program, Music Video or Commercial, for the work they did on the second season episode "Accelerate". That same year, they won for Outstanding Matte Painting in a Televised Program, Music Video, or Commercial for season two’s "Insurgence".
In 2002, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers honored the band Remy Zero, who provide the opening theme song, "Save Me", for Smallville, and composer Mark Snow for their contributions to the show. The award is given to individuals who wrote the theme, or underscore for the highest rated television series during January 1 - December 31, 2001. The American Society of Cinematographers gave David Moxness an award for the work done on the sixth season episode "Arrow", and the following year they awarded Glen Winter the same award for his work on "Noir". Members of the regular cast have won awards for their portrayals on the show. In 2001, Michael Rosenbaum won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor. Tom Welling won a Teen Choice Award for Choice Breakout TV Star — Male in 2002, while Allison Mack was awarded Best Sidekick in 2006. Mack won Best Sidekick for the second year in a row when she took home the award in the 2007 Teen Choice Awards. At the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, Tom Welling received the award for Choice TV Actor Action Adventure.
There have been two series of novels published since the second season of the show began airing. One series was published by Aspect publishing. They published eight young adult novels in total, beginning in October 2002 and ending in March 2004. The second series was published by Little, Brown Young Readers, beginning in October 2002, alongside Aspect’s series of novels. Ten young adult novels were published until April 2004. In addition, a bi-monthly comic book series has been published, which often ties directly into the events of the television show.
Three novels were released on October 1, 2002, one from Aspect and two from Little, Brown Young Readers. Aspect’s novel, Smallville: Strange Visitors, was written by Roger Stern and featured Clark and his friends trying to uncover the truth about two religious con-men who have set up shop in Smallville, and are using kryptonite in their spiritual seminars to rob the townspeople. Little, Brown Young Readers first published Arrival, which chronicles the events of the show’s pilot as written by author Michael Teitelbaum. The second book, See No Evil, was written by Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld, who have also written various episodes of the show. See No Evil follows Dawn Mills, a young actress who wants to attend Juilliard. Dawn has the ability to turn herself invisible, and after witnessing everyone talk negatively behind her back she decides to get revenge. When Clark discovers what Dawn has been doing he puts a stop to it. See No Evil was one of the original storylines outlined for the season one episode "Shimmer".
On November 1, 2002, Aspect released Alan Grant’s Smallville: Dragon, a story about an ex-convict who takes on the abilities and appearance of a dragon after being exposed to kryptonite in a cave. The mutation also causes him to try and kill all those who testified against him. The novel also features Clark being hypnotized into believing he is a normal, human teenager, with no abilities. One month after Grant’s novel, Bennett and Gottesfeld returned for a second time to write Little, Brown Young Readers’ Flight, a story about a young girl, Tia, whom Clark discovers has full-sized wings. Clark and his friends believe Tia is being abused by her father, so they teach her to overcome her fear of flying so she can go find her mom. Flight, like See No Evil, was also a planned episode at one point, but because the crew were not sure they could get the flying effects right they decided against it. Nancy Holder took over writing duties for the third novel in the Aspect series. Released on January 1, 2003, Hauntings follows Clark and his friends as they investigate the ghostly presence in one of Smallville’s haunted houses. Little, Brown Young Readers released Animal Rage next, written by David and Bobby Weiss. The story focuses on an animal rights activist, Heather Fox, who can transform into any animal she touches. Heather uses this ability to harm those people who hurt animals, until Clark discovers the truth and stops her. Aspect brought in Dean Wesley Smith for their next novel. Whodunit involves Clark, Chloe, Lana and Pete investigating the murder of a boy and his sister, while Lex struggles with whether he will pay a ransom demand for his kidnapped father or simply try rescuing Lionel himself.
Little, Brown Young Readers published the next two books in April and June 2003. The first was written by Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld, titled Speed; the second was written by Suzan Colon, and titled Buried Secrets. Speed involves a boy using an hourglass his father gave him for his birthday to stop time and commit various hate crimes without getting caught. Clark stops him before he can cause any damage at a local multicultural festival. Buried Secrets follows Clark and Lex as they both fall in love with a mind-reading, substitute Spanish teacher. In the novel, Clark and Lex’s friendship is put in jeopardy as the two compete for the teacher’s love.
On September 9, 2004, Aspect published Shadows, written by Diana G. Gallagher. Shadows is about a girl and her father who move to Smallville, only her scientist father creates a monster which begins killing people. Jonathan Kent assumes the deaths are LuthorCorp related, which causes tension between him and his son. Clark ascertains the truth to prove Lex’s innocence, and stops the creatures before they can kill more. Suzan Colon returned to write Runaway, a story about Clark running away to the city and living with other homeless teenagers. Clark falls in love with one of the girls before eventually returning home. Smallville: Silence was written by Nancy Holder, and featured the characters investigating the appearance of zombies. Little, Brown Young Readers released their eighth book, written by Bennett and Gottesfeld, titled Greed. Here, Clark and his friends take jobs as summer counselors to disadvantaged youths. One of the boys falls into Crater Lake and is imbued with the ability to foretell the future; Lionel learns of this and tries to exploit it. Pete also tries to abuse Clark’s abilities by tricking him into playing in a basketball game, and then betting on the outcome.
Alan Grant returned for a second outing to write Curse, about a grave digger who unleashes a one hundred-fifty year-old curse onto Smallville, and Clark’s attempt to put everything back to the way it was. On February 1, 2004, Little, Brown Young Readers released a new book by Suzan Colon. In Temptation, Clark uses red kryptonite to try to impress Lana and Chloe, after they become infatuated with a new, French foreign exchange student. Aspect released their final novel on March 1, 2004. Written by Devin K. Grayson, City follows Clark and Lex as they take a trip to Metropolis. While in the city, the pair get caught between the Japanese mafia and a secret agent who believes he has found an alien. In Little, Brown Young Readers’ final novel, written by Cherie Bennett, Sparks chronicles Chloe’s experience after being hit by kryptonite sparks from a fireworks display. The sparks make Chloe the desire of every man, but when they wear off, one of them decides he really does want Chloe and kidnaps her. Clark comes to her rescue in the end.
Before the start of season two, DC Comics published a one-shot comic based on the television series. Simply titled Smallville: The Comic, the issue featured two stories. The first, written by Mark Verheiden and Roy Martinez, was titled "Raptor" and featured an abused boy who is mutated into a Raptor, thanks to kryptonite, and decides to seek revenge on the Luthor family. Michael Green and John Paul Leon wrote the second story, "Exile and The Kingdom", which provides insight into why Lex chose to stay in Smallville, after his father offered him a position in Metropolis, at the end of season one. Eventually, DC Comics began publishing a bi-monthly comic featuring various stories involving the characters from Smallville. Writer and script coordinator Clint Carpenter describes the comic book line as a companion piece to the show, instead of a non-canon version of the characters. As Carpenter describes it, the comic book line expands on events occurring in the show, like showing what happens after season ending cliffhangers. Carpenter sees the comics as providing "additional depth" to those characters who receive limited screen time on the show, or whose storylines need additional explanation.
Carpenter was not the first person asked to oversee the comic. Mark Verheiden, who co-wrote the one-shot comic, was originally going to be in charge of the bi-monthly series. Verheiden's commitment to the television series kept him from taking on the comic books, so he asked Carpenter if he would take on the responsibility. Although the series is meant to expand on the events of the show, occasionally there are continuity errors created because of the differences in production schedules between the comic and the show. One such instance occurred when the comic book showed Clark robbing an ATM; then the season three premiere showed him robbing multiple ATMs. The series not only ties into the television show, but also the Chloe Chronicles webisodes, and the various Smallville-related webpages. In addition, the comics feature interviews with the cast and crew, as well as information on the production of the episodes.
Allison Mack's character Chloe Sullivan has starred in two promotional tie-in series: Smallville: Chloe Chronicles, and Vengeance Chronicles. There were two volumes of "Chloe Chronicles", totaling seven mini-episodes. The first volume featured Chloe investigating events which led to the death of Earl Jenkins, who held Chloe and her friends hostage at the LuthorCorp plant in the first season episode "Jitters"; it aired between April 29, 2003 and May 20, 2003, and was exclusive to AOL subscribers. After the first volume received positive responses from viewers, the second volume was created as a continuation, but with Sam Jones III appearing as Pete Ross. This volume used the Smallville comic books as a secondary tie-in to the series. Viewers could watch Smallville, followed by Chloe's Chronicles, and finish with the Smallville comic book which would provide an "enhanced backstory to the online segments". The later series, Vengeance Chronicles, is a spin-off of the fifth season episode "Vengeance". In this series, Chloe joins forces with a costumed vigilante, whom she dubs the "Angel of Vengeance", to expose Lex Luthor's Level 33.1 experiments on meteor-infected people.
The idea for an online show centered on Chloe came from Mark Warshaw, who ran the show's website and was in charge of the DVDs; the series was intended to wrap up "unfinished business" from the television show. Although Smallville: Chloe Chronicles first began airing on AOL, it eventually made its way to the United Kingdom's Channel 4 website. According to Lisa Gregorian, senior vice president, television, Warner Bros. Marketing Services, "Our goal is to create companion programming that offers new and exciting ways to engage the audience, just as music videos did for record promotion." Allison Mack describes the show as "very Nancy Drew and mysterious". She continues, "I think it’s a bit more like The X-Files or NYPD Blue. The Chronicles are like a detective story, with Chloe following clues and interviewing people, going from spot to spot, figuring things out." The scripts were written by Brice Tidwell, but Mack was given script approval for the series, allowing her to review and make changes to the script as she saw fit. Warshaw communicated regularly with Gough and Millar so he could find more unique ways to expand Smallville stories over to Chloe’s Chronicles.
For the season three premiere, the Smallville producers teamed up with Verizon to provide registered users a chance to view plot updates—in the presentation of a press release from The Daily Planet—as well as quizzes and games related to the show. As part of the deal, Verizon products and services were placed in various episodes of the show. In a promotional tie-in with Sprint, Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles was released dictating the early life of Oliver Queen in a six-episode CGI series. According to Lisa Gregorian, Executive Vice President of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros. Television Group, explained these promotional tie-ins are ways to get fans more connected to the show. On April 19, 2007, a tie-in with Toyota, promoting their new Yaris, featured an online comic strip as interstitial programs, during new episodes of Smallville, titled Smallville Legends: Justice & Doom. The interactive comic was based on the episode "Justice", which follows the adventures of Oliver Queen, Bart Allen, Victor Stone, and Arthur Curry as they seek to destroy all of LuthorCorp's secret experimental labs. The online series allowed viewers to investigate alongside the fictional team, in an effort to win prizes. Stephan Nilson wrote all five of the episodes, while working with a team of artists for the illustrations. The plot for each comic episode would be given to Nilson as the production crew for Smallville was filming their current television episode. Artist Steve Scott would draw comic book panels, which would be sent to a group called Motherland. That group would review the drawings and tell Scott which images to draw on a separate overlay. This allowed for multiple objects to be moved in an out of the same frame.
In 2008, The CW entered into a partnership with makers of the Stride brand of chewing-gum to give viewers the opportunity to create their own Smallville digital comic. The writers and producers developed the comic's beginning and end, but are using the viewers to provide the middle. The CW began their tie-in campaign with the March 13, 2008 episode "Hero", where Pete develops superhuman elasticity after chewing some kryptonite-infused Stride gum. Going to The CW's website, viewers vote on one of two options—each adds four pages to the comic—every Tuesday and Thursday until the campaign officially ended on April 7, 2008. For season seven, Smallville teamed-up with Sprint again to bring Sprint customers "mobisodes" featuring Clark's cousin Kara.
Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar developed an Aquaman pilot for The WB Television Network, with Justin Hartley as Arthur Curry. As work progressed on season five's "Aqua", the character was recognized to have potential for his own series, even though the episode was never meant to be a backdoor pilot for an Aquaman television spin-off. Alan Ritchson was not considered for the role in the new series, because Gough and Millar did not consider it a spin-off from Smallville. Gough said in November 2005, "[The series] is going to be a different version of the 'Aquaman' legend." Gough did express the idea of a crossover with Smallville at some point. The pilot was considered to have a good chance of being picked up, but when The WB and UPN merged into The CW, the resulting network passed on the show.
During the sixth season, there was initial talk about spinning the Green Arrow off into his own series. Hartley refused to talk about the possibility of a spin-off out of respect for his role on Smallville. The actor felt it was his duty to respect what the show had accomplished in five seasons, and not "steal the spotlight" by thinking he was better than he was just because there was "talk" of a spin-off after only two appearances on the show. According to Hartley, "talking" was as far as the spin-off idea ever got.
Seasons one through eight have been released on DVD in Regions 1, 2 and 4. Seasons five and six were also released in the now obsolete HD DVD format on November 28, 2006, and September 18, 2007, respectively. Seasons six, seven, and eight have also been released on Blu-ray formats. The DVD releases include commentary by cast and crew members on selected episodes, deleted scenes, and behind-the-scenes featurettes. The promotional tie-ins, Chloe Chronicles and Vengeance Chronicles, accompanied the season two, three, and five box sets respectively. Other special features include interactive functionality such as a tour of Smallville, a comic book, and DVD-ROM material.
|Complete Season||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1st||September 23, 2003||October 13, 2003||December 3, 2003|
|2nd||May 18, 2004||September 17, 2004||January 1, 2005|
|3rd||November 16, 2004||April 18, 2005||July 13, 2005|
|4th||September 13, 2005||October 10, 2005||November 11, 2006|
|5th||September 12, 2006||August 28, 2006||April 4, 2007|
|6th||September 18, 2007||October 22, 2007||March 5, 2008|
|7th||September 9, 2008||October 13, 2008||March 3, 2009|
|8th||August 25, 2009||October 12, 2009||March 31, 2010|
|Season||Episodes||Discs||Smallville Blu-ray releases|
|Region A||Region B|
|United States||Canada||United Kingdom||Australia|
|6th||22||4||September 18, 2007||October 9, 2007||October 13, 2008||March 3, 2009|
|7th||20||3||September 9, 2008||October 13, 2008||March 3, 2009|
|8th||22||4||August 25, 2009||October 12, 2009||TBA|
Since Smallville first began airing, an array of merchandise tying into the series has been released. Two soundtrack albums have been released compiling various songs that appeared on the show. On February 25, 2003, Smallville: The Talon Mix was released featuring a selected group of artists that licensed their music to the show. Following that release, on November 8, 2005, Smallville: The Metropolis Mix was released featuring another select group of artists. Apart from the soundtracks encompassing various songs from the series' episodes, there have been action figures, T-shirts, hats, and posters created and marketed. In December 2002, select, autographed Smallville merchandise was placed up for auction on eBay, with the proceeds going toward charity. In 2003, Titan publishing began releasing the Smallville magazine. It is a monthly magazine featuring interviews with the cast and crew, information on Smallville merchandise, and photos. Titan released the 34th issue of the Smallville magazine in November of 2009, and touted it as the final issue.
In addition to the magazine, Titan Books also began publishing companion books for each of the seasons. On September 1, 2004, Titan Books released their first official companion for the series. Written by Paul Simpson, the book contains interviews with the cast and crew as they discuss the production of each episode and working together; the book also contains a sixteen pages of color photos of the cast. On March 1, 2005, Titan Books released their official companion for season two. Paul Simpson steps back into the writer's spot, again collecting interviews with the cast and crew, and supplying sixteen pages of color photos; in addition, the season two companion goes into more detail about the special effects used on the show. On September 1, 2005, Titan Books released the third season official companion. Paul Simpson picks up the writing duties for a third and final time with the season three companion, which continues to provide interviews with the cast and crew about the production. Apart from the episode's general plots, Simpson discusses the lack of use with the character of Martha Kent, and why the Adam Knight storyline did not pan out. After two years, Titan Books released the fourth season companion on September 4, 2007. This time, Craig Byrne was given the responsibility of writing the companion book. The season four book contains interviews with the cast and crew, but this time the color spread contains images of the production itself. A few months later, on December 26, 2007, Titan Books released another companion, this time for season five. Craig Byrne returned to the write the book, which contains the standard interviews, episode descriptions, and color spread as the previous four. On March 25, 2008, Titan Books released their sixth official companion for Smallville. For the third time Craig Byrne takes on the duties of writing the book. The season six companion contains an introduction from Justin Hartley, as well as the cast and crew interviews and sixteen pages of photos.