Smallville: The Complete Seventh Season (2007)
|Genre(s): Action / Drama / Science Fiction|
|Warner Brothers || NR - 827 minutes - $59.98 || September 9, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-09-13|
Writer(s): Joe Shuster & Jerry Siegel (created by); Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (developed by)
Cast: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Aaron Ashmore, Laura Vandervoort, John Glover
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Note: Other than the video and audio portions, the rest of this is taken from my Blu-ray review.
“Smallville” is one of CW’s strongest and longest running series dating back to the now defunct The WB channel. It’s also a show that has received plenty of criticism from loyal fans as the storylines have meandered along and characters change from good to bad and back again. The one thing I do give this season credit for are more winks and nods to ‘Superman’ comic book and movie fans throughout.
“Smallville: The Complete Seventh Season” opens where season six left off: the potential destruction of Smallville and the surrounding area! We also have the “demise” of Lana Lang (Kreuk) supposedly at the hands of her ex-husband, Lex Luthor (Rosenbaum). Lex’s own life is in danger as, after being arrested, is stuck in the back of a cop car which subsequently falls into a river (after a dam gives flooding the area). He is soon saved by a gorgeous woman who becomes his obsession. Also in danger are Chloe (Mack) and Lois (Durance) who are stuck inside the dam, with no way out and Chloe in a coma.
Meanwhile, Clark Kent (Welling) must deal with a Phantom Zone escapee who took some of Kent’s DNA to replicate him. Kent discovers this “Bizarro Clark Kent” has all his traits and powers, but psychologically is the opposite in terms of emotion (as well as what can hurt him).
After the premiere, the rest of this season has Lex and his father, Lionel Luthor (Glover) still at odds with Lex finding a new obsession with a secret organization known as The Da Vinci... err... Veritas which was made up of Lionel Luthor, Robert and Laura Queen, Edward and Genevieve Teague, and Virgil (introduced in season 2) and Patricia Swann. Of course, being a strong Luthor, Lionel wanted the power the organization was protecting (namely, the identity of the man known as “The Traveler” aka Clark). Wanting to prevent any one person having the power to control “The Traveler”, the artifacts were kept separate, though with each day, Lex came closer to finding it.
The season also introduces Kara aka Supergirl played by the lovely Laura Vandervoort, who kind of reminded me of Katie Holmes. Anyway, Kara was sent to Earth not too long after Kal-El but her spaceship crashed into a reservoir and she was stuck in suspended animation since the time Clark arrived in 1989. With the dam breaking, Kara was also released and she sets off to find Kal-El, who she thinks is still a baby. After finding Clark, the Kara story mainly has her adjusting to life on Earth as well as involved in what I could only call a soap opera plotline where she loses her memory. Luckily, this only really lasts 2 or 3 episodes, but it certainly was not the bright spot on an already average season. That being said, I did like a couple story ideas: expanding and developing Clark Kent’s origins on Krypton as we get to see his mother and actually return to Krypton before its destruction.
Despite the numerous flaws including hodgepodge season-long storylines, average writing and sometimes stilted performances, I’ve enjoyed “Smallville” over the years. No, it’s not fine entertainment even for the genre, but as a comic fan and someone who grew up reading ‘Superman’ comics, it was a joy to watch every episode even if certain scenes were just plain silly. One such instance has Lex shooting out a window and after a 2-3 minute conversation, pushes someone out to their death. Oddly enough, the police suspect it was suicide and right outside want Lex to identify the body right in front of spectators. I realize this is just being nitpicky, but come on, they’re not even trying.
In any case, while this seventh season wasn’t perfect and borderline average, I did like certain parts and it’s pretty cool to see Tom Welling growing into the young Clark Kent into the man who we know he’ll one day become (there’s a geeky hilarious scene where we get to see Clark in his classic reporter attire, i.e. suit and glasses). This season also features several cool cameos like Dean Cain (Superman on “Lois and Clark”), Helen Slater (Supergirl movie; playing Kal-El’s birth mother), Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen in the Superman movies) and the Black Canary character.
Interestingly, this will be the final year for several people involved with the series since the beginning, both in front of and behind the camera. Main cast members Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk and even newcomer Laura Vandervoort will not be a part of the title sequence in season eight and apparently will only make a few appearances now and again. Also making their departure are developers/creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar who decided to that it was the right time to go. How this will affect the show’s quality is yet to be seen, but without Clark’s most recognizable foe in Lex, I wonder if a new villain (or villainess) will be able to compete.
2 Key Episode Commentaries – The set has two commentaries, one on ‘Persona’ with Executive Producer Ken Horton, episode Director Todd Slavkin and Actor John Glover (Lionel Luthor); and ‘Siren’ featuring Executive Producers Al Gough and Miles Millar, episode Writers Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson, and Actor Justin Hartley (Oliver Queen).
Unaired Scenes (33:50) – 15 out of the 20 episodes feature deleted footage, most of which was, even with time constraints, rightly removed. It’s also a little odd watching some of them unfinished, with no dramatic music or sound effects.
Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton (17:48) gives a look at the background on the Girl of Steel, her origins and how she changed over the years. You get scenes from the Supergirl movie and also feature interviews with Laura Vandervoort, Helen Slater and those involved within “Smallville” and DC Comics.
Jimmy on Jimmy (23:15) is probably one of the best featurettes I have ever seen. This has all four actors who have portrayed Jimmy Olsen on TV (Jack Larson, Aaron Ashmore) and in the movies (Marc McClure, Sam Huntington). It is an all around cool featurette where each of them asks one another questions about their time as Jimmy and share stories of how they got the part.
Also included is Smallville Legends: Kara and the Chronicles of Krypton (21:23), a six-part (crudely) animated series that I guess aired online and the digital comic book, Smallville: Visions.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The show is presented in anamorphic widescreen and actually looks fairly decent for a TV series. Compared to the Blu-ray version (which you and read here), it’s pretty much on par as I didn’t notice a huge difference (the BD one is a tad crisper). Please note, the rating on the Blu-ray version is compared to other Blu-rays.
The “Smallville” DVD set comes with a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track that performs just fine for what it is. Dialog comes through the center channel while other ambient noise and even the occasional action sound effects make use of the other speakers. This isn’t a high quality mix, but should satisfy most fans. Also available are a slew of subtitles and a Portuguese Stereo track.
“Smallville” is a show that I think is probably 2 years past due. Yeah, I like the fact the writers placed some cool little winks and nods for the fans, but at some point it’s going to have to come to an end, and I think that’s fairly soon, especially with so many main characters leaving (what’s Superman without Lex Luthor?). This season seven was actually alright, even when the stories were eye-rolling with what they have the characters do.
In the end, “Smallville” is an OK show with the potential for greatness if and when they get a decent writing core in there. I don’t mind the re-writing of the Superman mythology like having Lois Lane not only know Clark Kent before their days at the Daily Planet, but actually having her hang out for any amount of time in Smallville. I think the vision Miles Millar and Al Gough have presented, while not completely loyal to the comic book, it’s still pretty cool and for that I have much respect for them. The only question now is, where does this series go from here?