The program is about teenaged Clark Kent coming into his powers while he’s in high school. Adolescence is already difficult. This poor guy has not only the usual male trauma, but also changes that he and his parents don’t understand happening to him. It’s a wonderfully fresh take on the Superman canon. It’s also well written and filled with “Easter eggs,” those little nuggets that show care was taken while writing the scripts.
I’m glad I waited until now to watch. Otherwise, I might not have found #TalkvillePodcast, a rewatch podcast with Tom Welling (Clark Kent) and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor) which is currently watching and analyzing one episode each week. They have guests on the podcast–the creators of Smallville, directors, other actors, and fans. I hope to catch up in my viewing to where they are reviewing the episodes. We’re both on Season Three, but I’m early in and they’re almost done. I am utterly captivated and frequently laugh out loud. The podcast has a Patreon where fans can support their efforts and top tier members have their names shouted out at the end of each episode. I may join the top level for a month just to hear Tom or Michael say “Miz Mollee.”
One of the topics that came up in the first season of the podcast was “Freak of the Week.” Every week a different guest star would have some mutation from the meteor shower that brought baby Kal-El’s spaceship to Earth. The mutations were usually deadly to the good citizens of Smallville, especially the high school students.
Here’s the thing. The comic book universes are filled with mutants and not all of them are villains. Spiderman? Mutant. Iron Man? Mutant. Captain America? Mutant. (Batman isn’t a mutant–he’s a sicko with gadgets.)
One of my pet peeves about secret identity heroes is how most of them want revenge. Peter Parker, disguised as Spiderman, wants revenge for what happened to his uncle. Bruce Wayne/Batman wants to avenge his parents’ murders. Kal El/Clark Kent’s motivation is purer. He honestly wants to help people. Smallville examines how Kal/Clark develops that goal.
I have an essay on the subject of secret identity heroes and their motivations that was on an early version of my website years ago. You can find it here.