Worst to First: Ranking the DC Superhero TV Shows
Ran from: October 16, 2001 – May 13, 2011
Channels: The WB which later became the CW
Heroes: “The Red-Blue Blur”, Green Arrow, Supergirl, Aquaman, the Flash, Cyborg and Hawkman
Villains: Lex Luthor, Lionel Luthor, “freaks of the week” Brainiac, Zod, Metallo and Doomsday
Notable Guest Stars: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Teri Hatcher, Dean Cain, Helen Slater, Lynda Carter, James Marsters, Carrie Fisher, Pam Grier, Tom Wopat in a Dukes of Hazard reunion, Amy Adams, Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling
What’s Good: I give Smallville a lot of crap. Most of it is deserved. Over the course of ten years, the show did a lot of things very badly. But credit where it’s due, the show also got some things right. Unlike the Zach Snyder movies which somehow found a way to screw up Pa Kent, John Schneider was right at home playing an all-American farmer and father figure. Annette O’Toole (who played Lana Lang in Superman III) was equally good as Martha Kent. (Hey, Batman’s mom is named Martha too! I wonder if anyone ever noticed that?)
Michael Rosenbaum stole many scenes during his time on the show playing Clark’s frenemy, Lex Luthor. He was only outdone by John Glover who played his Machiavellian father, Lionel. Allison Mack shone in a supporting role and Erica Durance made a terrific Lois Lane relatively late in the show’s run. Gradually, Smallville evolved from a Buffy the Vampire Slayer clone into a prototype for today’s superhero shows with episodes featuring a variety of characters from DC Comics.
What’s Bad: When singling out members of the cast for praise, I left out leads Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk. While easy on the eyes, neither Welling nor Kreuk brought much to the material beyond their good looks.
In the early days, Smallville followed a “freak of the week” formula that quickly grew tiresome. As the show dragged on, storylines became insanely complicated. Writers worked overtime to find ways to keep Clark and Lana apart before finally giving up and replacing her with Lois. Once Rosenbaum left the show, writers struggled to keep Lex working behind the scenes in case he ever decided to return. As cool as it was to have Booster Gold on a live action TV show, it was a little weird that practically every C-List character in the Justice League became a superhero before Clark donned his cape. In fact, the actual Justice League was formed during the show’s sixth season while Clark was still running around in a hoodie.
Verdict: Smallville is cheesy as hell, but it’s not boring. Better shows have come along, but for a time it was the only way to get a superhero fix on television. And yes, it hurts me a little that I am ranking it above the other two Superman TV shows.
Posted on November 10, 2017, in Super Heroes, TV, Worst to First and tagged Adventures of Superman, Batman, gotham, shazam, smallville, supergirl, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.