Monday, August 7, 2017

TV on DVD Review: Smallville - Season 10

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great acting and characters, good arcs
Cons: A few bits of the ending, some standalones slow down season
The Bottom Line:
Clark Kent’s journey ends
As he becomes Superman
Show ends 10 year run

“We Need a Good Old American Hero in Red, White, and Blue.”

I’ve finally made it.  Thanks to TV on DVD, I’ve been able to watch Smallville, a show I missed during its original run.  (The problem of too much good TV to watch really is nothing new.)  While it was not a perfect send off, I found much to enjoy in this final season.

As often happens, we pick up moments after the finale of the previous season.  That means that Clark Kent (Tom Wellington) has just crashed onto the streets of Metropolis.  Fortunately, Lois Lane (Erica Durance) saw him fall and knows that he really is the Blur.  Saving his life and knowing his secret doesn’t keep her in town, however, and she soon follows through on her plans to head to Africa, at least briefly.  Meanwhile, Chloe (Allison Mack) makes a shocking deal to rescue a captured Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley).

The problem is there is an ancient evil that has been released into the world, and Clark needs to figure out a way to stop it.  Unfortunately, people are leading the call against the heroes of the world, making it hard for Clark, Oliver, and their friends to fight the evil.  Meanwhile, Tess (Cassidy Freedman) has made a couple of surprising discoveries while gaining enough trust to take over Watchtower from a missing Chloe.

As all this is going on, Clark and Lois continue to build their relationship and Clark takes the final steps toward becoming the Superman we all know.  How will it all end?

As I said, I was hooked for much of the season.  The various plot threads that were woven into the season were compelling, and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.  Even the stand alone episodes, and we get several of those, were just as good.  The character growth we saw was fantastic, especially with Tess.  I’ve enjoyed wondering just which side of things she was on, but I really enjoyed seeing her here having made her choice.  It was a very refreshing change.

Since they knew this was the final season going into it, they were able to bring back many former characters over the course of the season.  We get to see Jonathan Kent, Lionel Luther, Lex Luther, Brainiac, Supergirl, and Zod to name a few.  Heck, we even made it back to Smallville High thanks to a homecoming episode that was the show’s 200th.  Each time they brought someone back, it was believable and helped advance the story.

But the final season definitely has its flaws.  There were times they left us with a twist or cliffhanger at the end of an episode and then had a standalone episode up next that didn’t deal with that issue.  In fact, it felt like there might have been a couple too many standalone episodes since the last couple of episode felt rushed as they tried to resolve everything plus take Clark the last few steps to his destiny.

Many people have complained that we really only get glimpses of Superman in the final moments of the finale.  Maybe because I knew that would be the case, I wasn’t that upset about that.  Personally, I always felt that we weren’t going to see that in this series since everyone was always so adamant that this wasn’t what the show was ultimately about.  So the lack of Superman didn’t bother me.

However, I felt the producers felt they had to undo several things in order to make the show fit the continuity of the comics.  The results felt a bit forced and undid things I absolutely loved that they’d done over the course of the show.  Don’t get me wrong, the ending wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t nearly as good as I’d hoped it would be.

As always, the actors are fantastic.  Allison was only in a handful of episodes this season, and I missed her the rest of the time.  The other four main characters more than made up for it, however.  And I really do have to give a special shout out to Tom and Erica.  Their Clark and Lois were always fantastic, and I truly believed their relationship.  Speaking of Lois, they get another piece of wonderful casting as Terri Hatcher makes an appearance via video as Lois’s mother.

There are 22 episodes in this final season (or 20 regular episodes and a double length finale if you want to get technical).  They are all preserved here in wide screen and full surround.  We get commentaries with cast and crew on two episodes (but not the finale) and deleted scenes on some of the episodes.  There are two documentaries on the final disc, one on father/son relationships in the show and one on creating the 200th episode.  I really wish they’d done something related to the finale of the show and its 10 year run.

While I wasn’t completely thrilled with how season 10 of Smallville ended, I still enjoyed it and I’m glad I watched the show.  If you want a different, younger take on Superman, check out this show.  And fans of this show will find much to enjoy in the final season.

Season 10 Episodes:
1. Lazarus
2. Shield
3. Supergirl
4. Homecoming
5. Isis
6. Harvest
7. Ambush
8. Abandoned
9. Patriot
10. Luthor
11. Icarus
12. Collateral
13. Beacon
14. Masquerade
15. Fortune
16. Scion
17. Kent
18. Booster
19. Dominion
20. Prophecy
21. Finale Parts 1 & 2

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