Warner Bros. // 2006 // 917 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // October 24th, 2007
"Every world needs its heroes, Clark. They inspire us to be better than we are and they protect us from the darkness that's just around the corner."
Sometimes, you've just got to do something for the sake of love and relationships. So rather than flounder around on something that is fairly unfamiliar to me, I've decided to let my wife do the heavy lifting for most of Smallville. So please, be kind to her, but if she does a better job at this than I do, then please, be kind to me.
The sixth season for Smallville is quite an achievement; never mind that the seventh is currently airing, and it doesn't appear to be the last. It's apparent that the storytelling machines (a.k.a. the writers), haven't slowed down despite the occasional ho-hum episode (and poor guest star choices). This season gives us an abundance of relevant plot angles and story arcs that serve to develop our favorite and steadfast characters, as well as introducing some new ones to the fictional Kansas town.
Chances are you've seen at least a glimpse of how the show looks on television, either flipping through channels or if you're reading this, via religious viewing, but there's something you should know about this particular season (cue creepy Halloween music and/or triumphant trumpets). It's the first time Smallville gets to sit in the red box on the same day that its standard definition brother is released.
We return from Season Five's cliffhanger that left Lex Luthor's (Michael Rosenbaum, Bringing Down the House) body inhabited by the dreaded Kryptonian Zod as he wrought havoc on Metropolis with the goal of starting a new empire on earth. In between his destructive activities, he found time to trap Clark (Tom Welling, Cheaper by the Dozen) in the Phantom Zone. Chloe (Allison Mack, The Ant Bully) and Lionel (John Glover, Payback) were trying to survive in the riots that broke out on city streets created by the chaos. Martha (Annette O'Toole, Superman III) and Lois' (Erica Durance, House of the Dead) plane was going down and losing cabin pressure. Lana (Kristin Kreuk, EuroTrip) stood by her man Lex, only because she believed there was still some Lex within Zod and because he wanted something from her.
The sixth season introduces the longtime hero Green Arrow (Justin Hartley, Race You to the Bottom) and Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore, The Safety of Objects), among others, as well as new character traits we've only seen glimpses of before, including the fact that Chloe now possesses a meteor power. Lana's character gets the most surprising developments in not just storylines, but in attitude. She learns how to deceive and manipulate, characteristics which help her get closer to Clark's secret.
The 22 episodes are divided over five discs (the standard edition has six). Spoiler alert -- if you absolutely don't want to know any sort of spoilers, skip over the episode descriptions which for the most part are vague and harmless:
* "Zod" To kill Lex or not to kill Lex? That's an easy question here as the gang, sans Clark, tries to battle Lex/Zod. Meanwhile, Clark gets help from an old family friend while trying to free himself from the Phantom Zone and Jimmy Olsen returns to The Daily Planet.
* "Sneeze" Clark battles a new nemesis, a cold. Surprisingly, the ailment brings him some new powers in the superhero department that subsequently saves the day, as usual.*
* "Wither" As per the often episodic nature of the show, Clark's attention is on a zoner masquerading as a Park Ranger with a murderous green thumb. Clark realizes that other phantoms hitched a ride when he escaped from the Zone and he vows to return every last one.*
* "Arrow" A string of robberies in Metropolis precedes the arrival of another DC Comics creation, Oliver Queen, whom Lois finds rather intriguing, despite their comical introduction.*
* "Reunion" Lex's bad behavior from his prep school days comes back to haunt him and others after a ten-year reunion begins a series of mysterious classmate deaths. We're also given an idea of just how deep the tension runs between Oliver Queen and Lex.
* "Fall Out" Sad news, Bow-wow is inhabited by a phantom. House of El family friend, Raya, appears and gives Clark something that will help in his responsible cleanup of the phantoms.*
* "Rage" Being far from the Man of Steel, Oliver dips into anger-inducing drugs to help ward off death, an annoying side effect of being a superhero. Lana is surprised to find out that a third wheel of sorts has rolled into her relationship with Lex, and it's not Clark.
* "Static" A disgruntled (gasp!) Luthorcorp test subject with the ability to manipulate frequencies enlightens the group on Lex's experiments on other meteor-infected individuals in his 33.1 labs. Lana is given a proposal and the giver gets a glass of "I just need some time."
* "Subterranean" Think whack-a-mole, but with people, as a Smallville farmer uses his abilities to make sure his immigrant workers never leave the farm; except of course, for a teenage boy who escapes to find his mother.
* "Hydro" Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills, 90210) guest stars as Linda Lake, a gossip columnist with a liquid advantage for being impossibly accurate. She sets her sights on Clark and discovers his secret, letting Chloe protect him for a change. Lana finally makes a decision about Lex's proposal.*
* "Justice" Speedy meteor freak Bart breezes back into town, working with a few other "gifted" individuals to take down more of Lex's secret experimental labs. Oliver decides to leave Metropolis, leaving a stunned Lois in his wake.
* "Labyrinth" Clark wakes up in a mental hospital, discovers he's powerless and is told his Kryptonian past is all in his noggin. Maybe his brain is playing tricks, but there's something else in there that doesn't belong. Clark gets a little help from a fellow patient who says he's from Mars.*
* "Crimson" Ahh, Valentine's Day, it's such a great time to remind everyone about the love in their lives...or the lack thereof. Seriously, Clark's girl is with a psycho, and he's been set up with Lois who is given some new lipstick laced with red kryptonite. Unsurprisingly, this has an effect on Clark.*
* "Trespass" Being the new Lex girl has some unanticipated side effects for Lana, including a stalker who seems to know exactly what she's doing at any given moment. She heads to the Kent farm for safety and uses the time to learn more about Clark.
* "Freak" The last meteor shower blinded Tobias, a former Smallville High graduate, but gave him the ability to "see" other meteor freaks. Lex is using his ability to kidnap and perform tests on those Tobias identifies, which include our favorite reporter.*
* "Promise" It's Lex and Lana's wedding day and the bride to be is getting cold feet. She orchestrates a little exercise that allows her to test her hunches about Clark. This episode gives the full 360 degrees, as the day is shown from Lana, Lex, and Clark's points of view. It's also made clear that Lex is aware that something is not quite right with Lana's pregnancy.*
* "Combat" Clark faces one of the strongest phantoms yet, Titan, who is undefeated in an underground fighting ring run by a patient coordinator. Lana experiences a miscarriage, prompting feelings of responsibility for the loss.
* "Progeny" Linda Carter (Wonder Woman) guest stars as Chloe's psych ward mother with the ability to control other meteor freaks, which she uses to get Chloe to keep Lex from exploiting her. Lana finds out what was wrong with her pregnancy, a discovery which cements her new feelings for Lex and their marriage.**
* "Nemesis" The wife of Special Forces Officer Wes Keenan kidnaps Lex and holds him hostage in an underground tunnel until he delivers Wes. The tunnels are rigged with bombs, eliminating the possibility of a rescue so Lionel urges Clark to step in. One of Lana's new traits surfaces as she threatens Lionel into explaining why he forced her to marry Lex.*
* "Noir" Lana's been shot and Jimmy is knocked unconscious leaving his brain to have a little 1940s black and white fun while figuring out who shot Lana. Exactly who shot her is up in the air, especially since Lana has started to spy on Lex and has found something of interest called Ares. Lana's not the only one who's investigating, as Lois has been on the heels of Senator Burke, a participant in Ares.
* "Prototype" Wes Keenan appears, this time we see him as the first member of Lex's meteor-infected army with many powers as well as Titan's strength. Lois knows Wes and prevents him from being further controlled. In other news, Martha goes to Washington as Senator Burke's replacement.
* "Phantom" Clark tells Lana the truth about himself, Lana tells him about Lionel, and Martian Man tells Clark that Lionel is not what he expected. Lana gives Lex his packing papers and Lois investigates the lab Lex is using to test his army, discovering she isn't as tough as she thought. Chloe comes to her rescue and uses her meteor power for the first time, which could prove fatal. The final phantom duplicates Clark's DNA and becomes Clark but a "little more bizarre."*
*Additional scene available
**Additional scenes available
Having viewed the entire series of Smallville within the last four to five months (thanks to a certain unnamed online rental outlet), I've never found my interest waning in the show, and this season only serves to reinforce my attraction. Sure, there are the occasional episodes where you want to say, "'Hey, can we get back on track here?" But in those cases, the writers seem to learn their lesson and listen to the fans. One example of this is "Crimson." We all know Lois and Clark will eventually fall in love, so showing it here with a drugged out Clark is a bit premature. And using a stereotypical, gypsy-like woman to give Lois the Kryptonite-laced lipstick is a little unimaginative and it seems as if this love potion idea has been done before. In fact, it has in this very series when Lana went through her witch phase.
The writers tried something new this season when they wrote "Noir." And by new, I mean new to them, certainly not new to the world of television. It was a foregone conclusion that eventually they'd do an episode like this and in my opinion it rarely works, but I have to give them credit. Some of the getups they have the characters wearing are almost hilarious and they made a smart decision to only do a portion of the episode in the 1940s. When you watch something like this, it's really important to be in the mood, and the writers did a great job of setting the scene to make it more palatable.
This season introduced Oliver Queen, a great love interest for Lois and an interesting comparison with Clark. Oliver is someone who looks at the bigger picture when it comes to fighting crime, but has no real emotional connections or commitments. His arrival helps Clark see Lex as a seriously dangerous person to the world, and not just to him personally.
The storyline for Lana was intriguing, and although a little suspension of reality is needed when one thinks that it took her six years to get to Clark's secret, it was worth it. The season leaves some of her story unanswered though, and it seemed as if when she confronted Lex about her pregnancy, that Lex really didn't know what she was talking about; maybe he's just that good of an actor.
I think the fans of the show have been clamoring to give Chloe some decent storylines (myself included), and this season does not disappoint. She is no longer really pining for Clark, though as Jimmy asks her in one episode, "Can you tell me that if you had the choice you wouldn't want to be with Clark?" Her delayed response certainly causes some discomfort for Jimmy (I hate seeing guys cry). But in more interesting news, she finds out she's meteor-infected and nervously waits for her power to surface.
The extras on the HD DVD set are very minimal but include 13 deleted scenes over the course of the five discs, a couple of featurettes on the Green Arrow, and a featurette profiling few diehard fans of the show called "Smallville: Big Fans." The "Big Fans" extra is an interesting look and the lengths people go to with their Smallville spirit. As someone who is fascinated with people who have such interest in a TV series, I was curious to see exactly how their fandom affects their lives. A couple of fans have made their own "Wall of Weird" based on Smallville content. Now in my opinion, why not create one with actual weird things that happen in the world? But, that's just me. Another fan has an obsession with the big "S," flannel and other clothing in the red and blue. All in all, it's a creative way for fans to express their admiration of the show and is therefore worth watching.
The few Green Arrow featurettes include "Green Arrow: The Legend of the Emerald Archer" which covers the evolution of the Green Arrow from his start in the 1940s to his current place in DC Comics. It discusses the look of the character as well as his origins. For example, the Green Arrow was initially seen by the public as nothing more than substandard Batman, until the writers gave him his own personality and goals for fighting crime. Turns out Kevin Smith wrote some of the Green Arrow comics, which made this somewhat more interesting.
"Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles" is 22 minutes of oddly animated "mobisodes." For those of you that have no idea what those are, I'll explain, because I had to look it up myself. A mobisode is a TV episode meant to be viewed on your mobile phone. Hence, mobile + episode = mobisode. The mobisodes go through Oliver Queen's background, starting with his parents' death aboard their jet to him as a crime fighter with a talent for archery. I didn't watch these on my cell phone, but I wouldn't want to. I can't imagine it would look much better on a two inch screen. Following that is a look at how they created the mobisodes called "The Making of Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles," nine minutes on the production of the animated episodes and including the animation process.
"Smallville Legends: Justice and Doom" covers comic-like animated "interstitials" that were designed to continue the storyline and play in between episodes of season six. For the most part, these can be skipped. The remaining extra is a trailer for Superman: Doomsday, an animated movie released earlier in 2007.
Of course, a commentary or two would have been nice. Who knows how long this show is going to last on the air, and hey, you've got to give the fans what they want. Besides, what else is the cast up to, can't they find time to get together? I'm always confused by the lack of commentaries on cult TV shows like this. It appears they have a good time together, why not show that in a more intimate setting? I also have to say that I hope as the series nears its eventual conclusion, they focus more on relationships and not so much on weekly, standalone episodes.
Season six looks great on HD DVD and the for the most part the episodes are well written with great talent bringing the scripts to life. Highly recommend viewing if not purchasing.
Not guilty. Who doesn't like a show about heroes? Especially high definition heroes.
Review content copyright © 2007 Ryan Keefer; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (Widescreen)
* Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 917 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* "Green Arrow: The Legend of the Emerald Archer" Featurette
* "Smallville: Big Fans" Featurette
* "Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles" Animated Mobisodes
* "The Making of Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles"
* "Smallville Legends: Justice and Doom"
* Season One Review
* Season Two Review
* Season Three Review
* Season Four Review
* Season Five Review
* Season Six Review
* Official CW Site
* Official Site
* Fan Site
* DC Comics
* Smallville Dedication