Wednesday, July 17, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Smallville - Season 6

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Riveting stories and arcs with continued great acting
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
Brings new characters
That keeps the mix engaging
Still well worth watching




"For the Record, I Prefer Intergalactic Traveler Over Alien from Another Planet."

They say timing is everything, and for me the timing of watching season 6 of Smallville for the first time was perfect.  Why is that?  Because this was the season that introduced their take on Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, and I got hooked on the new show about him this last season on TV.

Of course, before we can get to new characters, we have a few cliffhangers to resolve.  While all kinds of chaos is reigning down on the citizens of Earth thanks to the evil force that has taken over Lex Luther’s body (Michael Rosenbaum), Clark Kent (Tom Welling) can’t do much about it since he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone.  While he does escape and manage to save the day, he unwittingly releases the evil prisoners from the Phantom Zone and must spend some time tracking them down this season.

As things return to normal, characters explore new options.  Lois Lane (Erica Durance) and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) become roommates and Lois starts a new career as a reporter for a tabloid.  They also both get new boyfriends in the two new characters that are introduced.  Lois starts dating the previously mentioned Olive Queen (Justin Hartley) while Chloe falls for Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore), a young photographer at The Daily Planet.  Lana Lang (Kistin Kreuk), meanwhile, has moved in with Lex and their relationship becomes more serious when she finds out she is pregnant.  Chloe learns a very surprising secret and is reunited with her mom as played by TV’s Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter.

Other storylines of the season involve Clark and Oliver’s clashes over how to use their powers for good.  Lex is collecting and hiding people with abilities.  Those storylines clash when we see the first glimpse of the Justice League Smallville style.

This season is really about the young adults.  No one is in college any more (did they all drop out after one season or did they all graduate at lightning speed?)  While Lionel Luther (John Glover) is still around being unclear in his intensions, Martha Kent (Annette O'Toole) is given very little to do.

And before the season is over, one character makes an exit from the show.

I keep hearing from people how the first few seasons were the best and the second half of the show went downhill.  Honestly, I don’t see it, at least not yet.  Maybe it’s because I binge watch a season in a couple of weeks every summer, but I really enjoyed this season.  There were a couple twists I didn’t expect, and many of the storylines really drew me in.  Yes, there were a couple clunkers along the way, but I really had fun.  I was watching 3 or 4 episodes at a time on the weekends and still wanting to watch more.

The acting continues to be top notch, which certainly helps.  The cast and writers really know the characters, and so many of the scenes are riveting as a result.  Michael Rosenbaum continues to shine as Lex, but everyone has stepped up their game.  Special praise has to go to Kristin Kreuk who is asked to cover so many different notes, often in the same scene.

I notched the occasional glitch with the special effects, but for the most part they were perfect.  Considering how many effects there are in most episodes and this is a TV budget and time schedule, that’s pretty impressive.

And Green Arrow?  He was only in seven or so episodes during the first half of the season, but I really enjoyed getting to see another take on the character and the similarities and differences between the two versions.

The season consisted of twenty-two episodes, and they are collected here on six discs.  The widescreen picture and full surround look and sound great, which is pretty much what you’d expect for a current TV show.  The extras consist of deleted scenes and some mobisodes as well as two documentaries.  The one on the superfans of the show is just okay.  But I loved the one about the history of Green Arrow over the years.  Big surprise there, I’m sure.

So if you’ve been holding off on watching more Smallville because you’ve heard it goes downhill, don’t wait any longer.  I found the sixth season to be as good as anything that’s come before.

Season 6 Episodes:
1. Zoo
2. Sneeze
3. Wither
4. Arrow
5. Reunion
6. Fallout
7. Rage
8. Static
9. Subterranean
10. Hydro
11. Justice
12. Labyrinth
13. Crimson
14. Trespass
15. Freak
16. Promise
17. Combat
18. Progeny
19. Nemesis
20. Noir
21. Prototype
22. Phantom

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