SMALLVILLE: Ed Gross' Pre-"Finale" Thoughts on the Show

As I begin to write these words, it’s literally five hours before Clark Kent should be donning the Superman costume for the first and only time, and taking flight to the John Williams theme as Smallville fades to black forever, closing this particular decade-long chapter in the history of the Man of Steel.

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By EdGross - 5/13/2011
I feel the excitement of anticipation and a touch of sadness over the fact that after 10 years it’s all coming to an end. Simultaneously, I’m actually okay with it – a fact that should NOT be perceived as my looking negatively upon the show. Instead, it just feels like the natural order of things; a reality that I and generations of Superman fans have been confronted with, dealt with and moved beyond time after time over the years.

I remember 10 years ago, in the summer of 2001 and the months before everything changed for America, when I first heard about Smallville. At the time I’d known director David Nutter for a number of years and heard that he was directing the pilot for this new WB series. After interviewing him about it, I asked if he could put me in touch with the show’s creators and almost immediately I was communicating with Al Gough, which in turn led to one of the very first interviews he ever gave on the show.

There are a number of things about that conversation that still resonate with me. One was Al’s description of the show as “the trials of Clark Kent,” the second was the now clichéd beyond words “no tights, no flights” phrase, and my near-outrage over the notion that the show would be a Superman series WITHOUT Superman. Seriously, I tried to reason with Al (as though I had even a modicum of influence), just how much mileage did he really think he was going to get out of a show like that?

Ten years later, I guess I’ve gotten the answer to that particular question.



Right from the outset and the meteor shower that brought baby Kal-El to present-day Smallville, and the connections made between Clark and Lana Lang and, especially, the relationship between he and future enemy Lex Luthor, it was obvious that Smallville was going to be presenting its own take on the Superman mythos. And that was okay, because many of the changes that were made absolutely worked, managing to go a long way in deepening characters that had been around for, at that point, about 60 years. Teen angst was successfully mixed with powerful mythological moments and it was a formula that generally worked.

Which is not to say that the show was perfect. Far from it. Smallville had an incredibly annoying habit of introducing major character revelations or events… and oftentimes refusing to follow up on them. The Clark/Lana relationship probably got tired a season or two before it finally ended, the writers and production teams were WAY too happy to have characters thrown across rooms only to smash into and obliterate a hapless piece of furniture that happened to get in their way (it happened so often, you could turn it into a drinking game), and there was way too much filler in seasons that should have been laser-focused on a particular theme or plot element – this year being a perfect example of that.

At the same time, Smallville accomplished SO much to keep the Superman mythos alive and oftentimes reinvigorated. It made the character relevant and not only to American television viewers, but international ones as well. It served as the gatekeeper to the character and, in fact, next to the radio drama that had vocally cast Bud Collyer in the dual roles of Clark Kent and Superman, it is the longest incarnation of Superman in the character’s history. And the fact that there IS so much anticipation stands as proof of how significant the show was, and the place it holds in people’s hearts.

At the outset I noted that I was at peace with the show ending. Throughout my life, it’s been pretty common place for one chapter of the Man of Steel’s adventures to close while paving the way for a new one to begin. I grew up in the 1960s with reruns of the George Reeves ‘50s TV show The Adventures of Superman, which impacted me so much that every Halloween of my childhood I dressed up as Supes (usually in a costume that was emblazoned along the lower torso with the words, “This costume will not let you fly”). In the late ‘60s CBS began airing cartoons featuring the character, which eventually was combined with his aquatic buddy in The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure. While I pretty much skipped over 1973’s Superfriends (even my love for Superman couldn’t get me to stomach more than a couple of episodes), my world was rocked by Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the character in 1978’s Superman: The Movie. That chapter of the character’s history ended with 1987’s Superman IV, but began anew with the syndicated TV series The Adventures of Superboy, which ultimately led to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Superman: The Animated Series and eventually Superman Returns, with Smallville falling in between the latter two.

And now, with the chapter of Superman known as Smallville ending, and actor Henry Cavill getting ready to suit up for Zack Snyder’s Superman: Man of Steel, a new chapter is about to begin. For a character whose critics have claimed is boring, an unidentifiable true-blue boy scout and irrelevant, he’s hardly ever been more than a short flight away in all of these decades, and someone that generation after generation has continued to embrace.
I wish I could express how much this character, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster over two decades before I was born, has meant to me throughout my life. And the satisfaction I’ve felt over the past 10 years knowing that for 22 hours a season I would be brought back into that character’s world; enveloped by the security of his red cape, whether it was visible or not.

Smallville, I thank you for helping to keep the dream -- and the child within me -- alive.

Ed Gross
May 13, 2011
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LP4 - 5/13/2011, 3:28 PM
Nice picture. Dean Cain looks too tiny but overall cool picture.

Overall I'd say Smallville accomplished things where "Superman Returns" badly failed. At least Smallville kept Superman alive and MODERN. It used bits of the Donnerverse but also with its own unique take.

I will miss this show.

Superman is an outstanding character, my favorite superhero (obviously) but he's great. It's just his movies are extremely outdated and WB for some reason just wants to keep Superman locked and chained down in the 80's Reeve era. but Superman needs to evolve finally. Henry Cavill may just end up being the Superman we all needed and have waited for. Yes people miss the Reeve stuff but it's the past now. The Reeve chapter ended in the 80's. the Cain chapter ended in the 90's. Now the Welling chapter is about to end for the 2000's. Henry Cavill will be Superman for the 2012 End of the World era.

With all the other heroes getting films now, Superman-fans needn't worry...there is a Superman for each and every generation. The character has evolved soooo much. The new film is his final shot at truly inspiring people. Hopefully he does it this time.

With the rights to the character in question by 2013...I'm thinking this may be the LAST Superman film we'll get for a while (Snyder implied this is a one-shot film) so they really need to get this film RIGHT. They can't afford to screw it up again.

If Cap, Thor and GL can all fight in their movies. Superman CAN FIGHT HARDER!!!
LEEE777 - 5/13/2011, 3:36 PM
LP4 @ LMAO SUPERMAN RETURNS was a masterpiece compared to the last 3 seasons of Smallville!

An ROUTH's a better Superman than Welling ever was or will be!

Saying that the finals gonna be good but they [frick]ed it up with Lois knowing and the Wedding!

Cool stuff @ ED!


SMALLVILLE season 1 to 7 = Gold! :)
LP4 - 5/13/2011, 3:39 PM
@LEEE- Dude let's not start THIS again. This is ed's article man, I haven't bashed Routh. I just stated that Smallville AT LEAST kept the Superman myth alive in people while 'Returns' kinda failed as a one-off.

Yeah it made lots of money...only because the name SUPERMAN is attached to it. That's how WB used to market the films just with that name alone. Heck even that 'S' shield is a marketing ploy by WB. Shoes, shirts etc- all have the 'S' shield. Everything of Superman is marketable and that is partly the reason why "Superman Returns" had made so much money. It's been a loooong time- 20 years since Superman last hit the big screen. EVERYONE was pumped to see "Superman Returns" because of that reason alone. The money 'Returns' made only came because people LOVE Superman and were hyped for the new movie only to leave the theater bored or disappointed...or confused. They'll probably pay to watch a poop-stain on screen for 2 hours, just so long as it has the Superman cape on.

In any case, NICE article Ed.

Deadshot - 5/13/2011, 3:39 PM
Wow amazing article Ed. Well worded, thank you for taking the time to write it.
LEEE777 - 5/13/2011, 3:41 PM
LP4 @ You start it every time u bitch about SUPERMAN RETURNS... let it go dude! ; P

Spock - 5/13/2011, 3:41 PM
With all of the sci-fi cancelled shows i hope they don't leave a cliff hanger! *cough* Hero's, Stargate Universe, Battlestar Galacitica, V!! * cough!
LEEE777 - 5/13/2011, 3:42 PM
Xenix @ CW rammed sh1T up our asses lol...

It was a much better show when we had the original writers and it was on WB TV instead of CW!

Still, it'll be missed!
HelaGood - 5/13/2011, 3:42 PM
@LP4 Dean Cain IS tiny! LMAO

@Ed AWESOME article!!!!
LP4 - 5/13/2011, 3:43 PM
@LEEE- I've stopped. In any case, you picking random debates with me like this is annoying. You've left comments bashing smallville and other shit but I never respond to your comments like the way you do.

I posted an article about "Superman Returns" yeah but I never respond to your comments in smallville articles heck I complain about Smallville too. I'm just saying, I never really respond to your comments unless you respond to mine. So really, you're starting with me personally through comments.
ClarkFarley2012 - 5/13/2011, 3:47 PM
LP4..good point. Ppl complain about Smallville, but the show keep Supes alive, because his comic has been weak, and Superman Returns was trash. Welling did a fantastic job of portraying Clark Kent and exploring his beginnings.

Thanks Smallville for the 10 great years you have provided. UP UP AND AWAY!!
LEEE777 - 5/13/2011, 3:48 PM
LP4 @ Lmao man, u bitched about SUPERMAN RETURNS in my last article STRAW DOGS TRAILER!

I'm just saying its a masterpiece to seasons 8 to 10 of Smallville!

But I still love Smallville seasons 1 to 7!

And hoping the finale is awesome!


Fact is CW butt [frick]ed are beloved hero up the a$$ and showed no respect...

Thats why it lost a lot of the original fan base, just bringing out facts here man lol.

An I am a true Smallville fan, thats why I can see it went downhill.

Anyway I still love Smallville, just not the last 3 years! :)
marvel72 - 5/13/2011, 3:49 PM
@ teabag

XD hahahahahaha like when there a fight in metropolis it always takes place in the same street & location.

its meant to be a massive city all of one street.
LP4 - 5/13/2011, 3:52 PM
@ClarkFarley2012- Thanks dude, yeah I had sooo many issues with Smallville. but it cannot be denied that that show has kept the character alive and well within the modern-mindset of many.

I grew up with "Superman: The Animated Series" and so for me personally...THAT is how Clark Kent should be portrayed on film. The Reeve stuff was fine and all for old movies and an older time era. But we're facing darker times here people...we're living in a post 9/11 time era. This is the time when we need Superman THE MOST. And so a modern Superman is required.

The Reeve version existed for a time that was worried about another cold war with Russia. We need a film now that is more focused on tensions in the mid-east and stuff of that nature.
nuck82 - 5/13/2011, 3:53 PM
bazinga!! and im not going to lie i watch this show when it 1st started, it was kinda good then, i didnt watch any of the middle seasons, but i have watch a few of the past 2 seasons. man it does suck sometimes, but i dont know why, i still record them on my dvr
LP4 - 5/13/2011, 3:54 PM
@LEEE- I wouldn't say Smallville buttfu*ked Superman as badly as Superman Returns did. I mean in SR we got Superman as a stalker. Hmmm...not throwing a single punch, he was boring.

At least in Smallville he has moments where he ACTS like the hero. Superman Returns i really saw no hero.

And no matter how badly Smallville messed up on Superman's classic comicbook rogues gallery villains, hey- at least Smallville STILL tried to bring them to live-action. Smallville has a very tiny budget compared to the $250 million that Singer had for SR. Yet somehow Smallville was still able to use his rogues. I mean they introduced villains of his that never got to be in live-form before and i salute Smallville for that too. Singer only rehashed the Hackman Lex all over again. Smallville made Lex appealing for a modern crowd.

I mean damn, for a big film budget of $250 MILLION I'd expect for Lex to AT LEAST be in his battlesuit. but nah, all we got from Singer was lame Hackman version of Lex complete with Kumar... -_-
GreenLanternsLight33 - 5/13/2011, 3:55 PM
I am sad that Smallville is ending. It has been one of my favorite shows on t.v. for the last ten years and will be greatly missed. Was it the greatest show ever, no but like others have said it made Superman relavent again.

I am stoked to see what Snyder is going to do in the movie with my second favorite comic book character and hope to God we don't get another fiasco like Superman returns.

Long live Superman!
UltimaRex - 5/13/2011, 3:56 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lgin11TH6g
drykillogic22 - 5/13/2011, 3:57 PM
Kill it already...
Plus Welling has no business in that pic..
Cain Barely..
LEEE777 - 5/13/2011, 3:58 PM
No SMALLVILLE made him SuperMatrix, SuperFlashGordonBoy, The Blue Blur basically he's worn the suit the [frick]ed up CW way! : P

I can ignore all that sh1t coz been waiting for this for 10 years =



Now thats SUPERMAN!

Gonna be sweet finally seeing him fly off in the last minute with the cape and suit!
Knight00769 - 5/13/2011, 3:59 PM
Excellent article Ed!! I am both excited and sad to see tonight's final episode. While this season has not been the best, it has kept me watching and for the most part entertained. I hope tonights episode is awesome and that we see Clark in the suit for more than just the last few seconds.

I think Tom did a fantastic job of playing Clark Kent, and I do not think a better set of actors could have been chosen for Clark or Lex. But in my opinion, two of my favorite characters on the show have always been Jonathon and Martha Kent. They are the ones that truly made Clark into the Man of Steel he will and has become.

I am truly sad to see the series be over.
LP4 - 5/13/2011, 4:01 PM
@Drykillogic- Dude, Welling has been Clark Kent for 10 years...the LONGEST of any of the other actors.

He more than deserves a spot in that picture. Routh was only Superman/Clark Kent in a one-off film where he barely even spoke a word, not very impressive.

Dean Cain was Superman/Clark Kent for at least 4 years and he did really well with what he was given. He was a very relatable and suave Clark Kent/Superman. I don't give a crap how cheesy it was, the show was good for a modern 90's audience.

His Clark Kent and Superman design partially inspired "Superman the Animated Series" even.

blueorangeny - 5/13/2011, 4:01 PM
Heree Heree, Ed


Excellent closing piece. I agree with you.

It's unfortunate, this article wasn't to start a war of words or opinions on Smallville, it is what it is. Either bad moments or good, it gave us that weekly live action comic book fix, drop it already. The people who dislike the show have no more articles to speak your piece starting tomorrow

Ed it's unfortunate you aren't getting many praises for the well written article and your love for Superman.
LEEE777 - 5/13/2011, 4:02 PM
LP4 @ ROUTH's a billion times better than Welling, there u go again lol! ; P

No seriously I just found this pretty cool =

EdGross - 5/13/2011, 4:02 PM
Thanks, all. Personally, I think Tom did a great job and I'll be sorry to see him go...but seriously, 10 years is long enough for an actor to play a character, I think.

And, teabag, I sincerely hope you're wrong. I think that everyone involved knows that the only way that Smallville can pay off after a decade is for him to truly fulfill his destiny and give the audience the moment they've been waiting for from the beginning.

blueorangeny, I REALLY appreciate the sentiment, and I'm glad my love for the character came through.
LP4 - 5/13/2011, 4:03 PM
But George Reeves was definitely one of the best. He and Kirk Alyn are the golden age. Gotta love the classics.
blueorangeny - 5/13/2011, 4:03 PM
I'm still saying he'll rock the red and blue for majority of the 2nd hour. I can't see them having him hang in his tux for the whole 2 hours. If he's battling someone, something or what ever he will do it in the red and blue.
LEEE777 - 5/13/2011, 4:06 PM
I love the character @ ED thats why I hate what they did to him from season 8 to now!

Amazing article tho BTW, Smallville will be missed!

I'm guessing everyone forgets everything about Clark in the FINALE or he can't actually be Superman?

Looking forward to it, most of the old cast is back, hell yeah!


BLUE @ Its in the Smallville BIBLE... he wont don the suit till the very last minute?

?

Thats how its playing out!

Hopefully its a minute instead of 15 seconds though lol, fingers crossed.
blueorangeny - 5/13/2011, 4:09 PM
@ Ed - Word up. It be the ending of the Sopranos all over again in the geek world
blueorangeny - 5/13/2011, 4:11 PM
Yea it's been weak but with the Space channel promo it seems they saved all their eggs for that basket.

Again the scenes just tell me he's rocking for more than 5 minutes. 940pm he be rocking it, Pa Kent is passing it to him, he flys' out and [frick]s up anyone who is causing trouble. It's just the sense that I am getting and the right thing to do for the fans who've watched the series for 10 years.
LEEE777 - 5/13/2011, 4:12 PM
P.S. TEABAG loved the early seasons too, ask yourself why the show lost so many...

TEA @ Lol, true but its CW : P
marvel72 - 5/13/2011, 4:12 PM
no suit until the end,he'll open his shirt revealing the trademark "s".

roll credits.

i hope its the 2hour finale you all want,but personally i can't see it.
vermillion - 5/13/2011, 4:14 PM
Less than an hour 'til the finale! Hard to believe that.

I'm really excited, but I'm definitely going to miss this show. I grew up watching it.

I always liked Tom Welling as Clark.
blueorangeny - 5/13/2011, 4:16 PM
@ Lee - that was dope but I still love this one because it has Mr Reeves

JULEZ13 - 5/13/2011, 4:19 PM
Nice article Ed! Very heartwarming. Now I have the bittersweet feeling of watching the finale. 45 minutes away, and I can not wait.

@LP4: Your right. Routh sucks, Welling is better and the only reason SR made so much money was because it was SUPPOSED to be about Superman.

Here's to 10 years of the Superman mythos success on national television. Sad to see it go, but like Ed said - in the words of Rafiki [Baboon from The Lion King], "It is time! =') "
LP4 - 5/13/2011, 4:22 PM
@JULEZ- THANK YOU!!! Nice to meet like-minded individuals on here. Heck even my gf hated the movie. And as Singer admitted it was a film aimed at women. It was meant to be a chick-flick. I admit she doesn't watch Smallville but she told me she's tuning in for the finale ;D
LP4 - 5/13/2011, 4:25 PM
@tea- LMAO i gotta join team-teabag at some point in the future. =P

My lady would probably disown me though if i did. ;D
marvel72 - 5/13/2011, 4:25 PM
bring on the marvel shows.
GUNSMITH - 5/13/2011, 4:26 PM
AFTER THIS FINALE FINALE OF SMALLVILLE, THE NEW MAN OF STEELE IN THEATERS WILL BE ALL NEW, CHANGING THE ICONIC THEME SONG TO WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE..THIS IS HONESTLY THE END OF WHAT WE KNEW AND WHEN SNYDER COMES OUT IN THEATERS WITH MAN OF STEELE, ALL THAT CAME BEFORE IT WILL WILL BECOME AS DISTANT AS BURTONS BATMAN..REMEMBERED...BUT HISTORY
LP4 - 5/13/2011, 4:28 PM
@GUNSMITH- Lol...that is actually what I'm kinda hoping will happen ;D

I mean, Superman is a bit overdue for a change.

@supersayianfan- Hahahaha yeah dude TEAM TEABAG!!!
JULEZ13 - 5/13/2011, 4:32 PM
@LP4: YOUR WELCOME!! lol But I'm a female and I for one have to say that a comic book movie should never be aimed primarily at women! Even a CBM that stars a female. That's just praying for failure!!

@teabag: lol!

@GUNSMITH: Very, very true.

This finale is so important to me that I am going to miss almost the entire Yankees vs. Red Sox game. This finale better be worth my while!
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