19 February 2016 | mjpetty7
The One that Started It All
Smallville is one of those shows that many comic book fans, after a few seasons anyway, loved to hate. They complained about this or that not fitting in just right with how Superman mythology worked, and in the end they were never satisfied. But they didn't get the point of the show. Smallville isn't about Superman. It's not about superpowers. It's not about relationships or about superheroes. Smallville is, and always was, about growing up. Starting off with Clark Kent in high school and sending him off getting married to Lois Lane, Smallville is ten years of finding your way.
I didn't always used to think this, to be honest I watched it starting in Season Six because of the episode "Justice" where I got to see the Justice League in live action for the first time. Superman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, The Flash (I know he's actually Impulse), and Cyborg on the screen together for the first time, not to mention recurring Martian Manhunter throughout that season. As a huge DC Comics fan, and especially a fan of the Justice League, that episode got me excited and in anticipation for more superheroes, I began watching Smallville. I read all the articles on the show's wiki page, I followed KryptonSite for spoilers, listened to Starkville's House of El for reviews on each episode, and even ended up co-hosting a live show on the series finale on the Across the Airwaves Podcast. Even after it ended I couldn't let the show go and I convinced my friend Woo to host a "Smallville Retro Reviews" Podcast with me to go through our favorite episodes. Then the Season 11 comic came out and I held onto Smallville a few more years... But this isn't the point...
Smallville really ushered in the era of superheroes, and the show's creators Al Gough and Miles Miller really made superhero TV and films what they are. Between creating Smallville, making the Aquaman pilot, and writing Spider-Man 2, they did it all. Without Smallville, there would be no Arrow, which means there would be no Supergirl, Gotham, The Flash, and to be totally honest, without Smallville's set up of the Justice League over the course of three seasons, I'm not even sure Marvel would have been able to set up The Avengers with Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, or Captain America. But for me, Smallville really helped me understand who Superman, Clark Kent, Kal-El, was as a character, and in turn I became a huge fan of the Man of Steel.
But that's not all what Smallville is about. When I started watching Smallville during Season Six, I was about eleven years old and in 5th grade. The next year I went to a new middle school and I had no friends. Smallville was huge for me. Watching Seasons 1- 5, I saw Clark go through a lot, be it friendships, relationships, the parent-child dynamic, whatever, I got to see him deal with these real, life problems, and I tried to respond in a similar manner. It wasn't before long when I was a freshman in high school and Clark had made it to adulthood and finally was becoming Superman. I felt lost, I was just starting my high school journey, where Clark started, and he was finishing up ten years of becoming Superman. I didn't know what I was going to do. But I figured it out.
You see, Clark fought metahumans and meteor-freaks every week. He teamed up with superheroes and faced off supervillains. But the real struggle for him was never these physical confrontations and his true happiness was never in his superheroing. It was in helping people. It was in his love for his friends, Lana, Lois. It was in family. And that's what Smallville taught me. It taught me that family is important, and that, like Jonathan Kent himself, it doesn't last forever. That people, friends, like Pete or Lex, move on and become different people. That relationships don't always last and that the one's you don't expect to happen are the ones that do, like Lana and Lois. That your father could suddenly have a heart attack during your first year away from home, like Jonathan, and that your mother will always be there for you, like Martha. These are all real life lessons that I have had to live through, but I got to watch Clark do it first. Growing up, I always wanted an older sibling. Sometimes I wanted a sister who would just hug me, other times I wanted a brother to teach me the ropes.
With Smallville I got both.
Chloe was determined, driven, smart, and loving. She was always an inspiration to me, and although I knew she was not from the comics at all, I loved her anyway because of how she was always there.
And then there was Clark. Everything Clark ever went through on Smallville, emotionally I mean, with a few exceptions (I never had to hold a dead girlfriend like Alicia in my arms...), I ended up going through. And although I didn't always think "What did Clark do?", I do believe that my subconscious mind helped me through a lot of it because of what Clark went through. Clark was the older brother I never had, who made a lot of the mistakes so I didn't have to, who I always felt could protect me, who inspired me.
To be honest, I haven't watched an episode of Smallville in a long while, I mean, not really watched. My younger sister and I are planning on re-watching all 218 episodes this summer. I'm excited. There has never been a show like Smallville since it left. The closest thing to it is The Flash, and I really do love that show too. But Smallville will always have that special place in my heart. Smallville helped me grow up.