Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Smallville - Season 3

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Enjoyable stories with great characters
Cons: Few story arcs; a few poor episodes
The Bottom Line:
More episodic
The characters carry through
It's enjoyable




"You Could be the World's Greatest Superhero or It's Most Mild Mannered Citizen."

Okay, so I'm a bit behind the times.  But I am glad I am giving this long running show a chance because I enjoyed the third season of Smallville.

Season three opens three months after the end of season two.  Clark Kent (Tom Welling) is living in Metropolis, letting a ring with red Kryptonite keep him from being tempted to return to his family and friends in Smallville.  He's trying to forget his past and the horrid stuff he blames himself for from season two.  His father Jonathan (John Schneider) manages to bring him back, and things begin to return to normal.

Well, as normal as they ever get in Smallville.  Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) has just returned from the dead and might be slightly crazy, especially if his father Lionel (John Glover) is to be believed.  Chloe's (Allison Mack) relationship with Clark is strained because of her secret investigation into him.  And Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) and Clark try just being friends even though they both still love each other.

While the power struggle between Lex and Lionel plays out over the course of the season, we get several Krypton enhanced villains as well as the first appearance of Perry White as played by Michael McKean.

Frankly, there still aren't too many on-going stories here.  Many of these episodes wrap up the main story in the 42 minutes they are allotted.  Character relationships seem slow to change as well.  The big exceptions to that are the Lex/Lionel storyline and a storyline with Adam (guest star Ian Somerhalder) who comes to town trying to hide some pretty big secrets.  While that was a pretty interesting story arc, the final episode of it was just plain stupid as it tried a storytelling technique that just made no sense at all.

As with any season, there are a few episodes like that one that fall flat, but most of them work well.  They manage to bring back several memorable characters for a second shot at Clark, especially in "Asylum."  We learn that Clark's biological father had been on Earth back in the 50's.

As the season gets closer to the end, things begin to take a darker turn.  Even then, this is still a fun series with characters we've come to care for.

And that is what makes this series work so well for me.  I really like these characters.  Clark Kent may be a super powered alien , but he still feels human.  As repetitive as his relationship with Lana can be at times, I still understand their hesitation at getting back together.  Chloe has toned down her longing for Clark, which was a nice touch as far as I was concerned.  Lionel is about the only one I don't like, but he's still playing the role of villain, and he makes a great one.

The cast has definitely become comfortable with their parts, and they bring their A game every week.  While I wouldn't say there is a bad performance in the bunch, leading the pack are Michael Rosenbaum and John Glover.  Any scene they are in sparkles, and when they share a scene, you can't take your eyes from the screen.

The one cast member who really suffers this season is Sam Jones III as Pete, Clark's best friend.  Outside of a few episodes, he's lucky to get a cameo in most episodes.  It's hardly surprising that this is his last season as a regular.

And speaking of last seasons, the season ending cliffhanger seems to spell doom for several of our characters.  You'll definitely want to move on to season four when you are done with this set.  I do have a complaint with the season finale because it seems to break one relationship rather quickly with very little leading up to that, but again it is minor.

Season three consisted of 22 episodes, and all of them are presented here in wide screen and stereo sound on six discs.  There are plenty of deleted scenes, a gag reel, and three episode commentaries.  There is one featurette that talks about what all the behind the scenes people do to bring the show to life each week.  While the 22 minute piece seems like a love fest at times, it is pretty interesting learning what all goes into the making of a show like this.  The one thing missing is any recap of previous episodes.  While most of the time that isn't a big deal, especially if you are watching two or three in a row, I would have loved it for the first episode of the season.  I hadn't watched this show it almost a year, and I was trying to remember exactly where the last season had ended.

Season three of Smallville is not focused yet on big story lines, but it still provides solid entertainment.

Season 3 Episodes:
1. Exile
2. Phoenix
3. Extinction
4. Slumber
5. Perry
6. Relic
7. Magnetic
8. Shattered
9. Asylum
10. Whisper
11. Delete
12. Hereafter
13. Velocity
14. Obsession
15. Resurrection
16. Crisis
17. Legacy
18. Truth
19. Memoria
20. Talisman
21. Forsaken
22. Covenant

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