'Smallville - The Complete Sixth Season'
(Tom Welling, Kristin Kreuk, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / (2006) 2007 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: The rivalry between Clark Kent and Lex Luthor explodes into a fierce good-versus-evil battle as Warner Home Video has just released 'Smallville: The Complete Sixth Season' on DVD. 'Smallville' features a supreme cast including Tom Welling, Kristin Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, Allison Mack, Annette O'Toole, John Glover and Erica Durance. Fans will enjoy this collectible six-disc set with all 22 episodes of the sixth season plus two hours of amazing extras that include never-before-seen featurettes and deleted scenes.
DVD Verdict: *Note: Anyone who has not seen the sixth season, I highly recommend NOT reading the back of the box. If you want to be surprised, the synopsis on the back might ruin something for you!
Most television series tend to be on their down-slope by the time the sixth season rolls around. Writers usually have trouble coming up with new and inventive stories to keep the audience intrigued. In fact, I can only think of a handful of shows that are either as good as when they started, or they are actually even better. It doesn't happen often. Trust me, after watching television series for over 30 years, I know. Smallville's writers have succeeded in placing the series in the with the few and far between; the shows that have been able to continue going strong.
The sixth season marks the time and point when Clark finally accepts his destiny. He finally realizes that he must use his powers to help the people of not only Smallville and the friends he loves, but the world. Granted he receives a little nudge in that direction from a new ally, but he finally realizes that his destiny far outreaches the boundaries of Smallville. The challenges that Clark must now face are new, but no less painful and deadly as the challenges he has faced in previous seasons.
Exactly how does one deal with the fact that the love of your life is now with your arch-nemesis? At least the first half of the season focuses on how Clark deals with Lana being with Lex. The Clark-Lex rivalry hits full throttle in this season. We finally see that Lex isn't only manipulative, but he has now added unbridled cruelty to his list of unpleasant characteristics. Lionel can still play the game, but he wasn't nearly as cruel or vindictive as Lex has become. Just watch what happens when anyone threatens to take away something that Lex believes is his. We really start to see a much clearer picture of the Lex Luthor who will ultimately be Superman's greatest enemy.
Clark's new mission this season is to round up the "ex-cons" from the Phantom Zone. He feels that he is responsible as well as feeling that he is the only one capable of stopping them from ravaging Earth. Clark has a great sense of responsibility. The writers must be careful not to add too much "guilt" ingredient to that, otherwise you're wandering into Spider-Man territory. Superman's motivation has always been responsibility and a keen sense of justice.
There are many questions that will be asked and answered during the course of this season: What is Jor-El's true intentions for Clark? What kind of a person was Jor-El? What is Lionel Luthor's interest in Clark, and will he prove to be Clark's asset, or downfall? And how does Clark deal with what potentially proves to be the loss of another loved one?
For those of you who are familiar with DC Comics, a couple more heroes will be revealed, and several others will make another appearance. Keep an eye out for the Green Arrow and one more famous hero who I will not mention here. Flash (Impulse), Aquaman, and Cyborg return. The episode that has them all working together is both fun and exciting. It also opens the door for possibilities outside of the Smallville storyline.
Tom Welling continues to shine as Clark Kent. He has rounded out the character so well that he's the best actor to play the role of Clark Kent in television history. He knows how to deliver a line or even a simple look. I still feel that many people overlook him. He also pulls off the naiveness of Clark perfectly. This is very hard to do, but Tom makes it work. It is a talent that many of the show's directors have stated that Tom has mastered, and that few actors can pull off.
Michael Rosenbaum, who is the best Lex Luthor, is able to successfully transform Lex to such a degree, that he is able to keep the audience guessing. For those who have grown with the series and remember Lex when he was a decent guy and a good friend of Clark's, we almost can't believe the things that he is now doing. The writers ingeniously use this to keep the audience guessing. Is Lex behind this? Is it someone else? Can he possibly be that deplorable?
We've also seen Kristin blossom as an actress. For now she must show us that by being with Lex, she has adopted certain Lex-like tendencies, whether she's aware of them or not. Can Lana be just as manipulative as Lex? How far will she go to the "dark side?" In many ways, the character of Lana Lang is a tragic one. Don't believe me? Think back to how she was in the first season, and then track where she is now. Her character is as tragic as that of Lex Luthor. She's a woman who really only desires one thing: to be loved, and to be loved by the one person that she loves. Lana has lost almost everyone in her life that mattered to her. It is not a great leap to consider that a person might become a bit desperate, and thus, run to the arms of the person who appears to shower you with love and affection. And for Lana, that person is Lex. But some interesting events will take place to really make Lana think about the decisions that she has made.
One bright addition to the cast is that of Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olson. We finally get introduced to the young, excitable character that Jimmy has always been depicted as in the films and comics. He's also Chloe's love interest, but something is amiss for young Jimmy. He's unable to figure out the relationship dynamic between Chloe and Clark. Jimmy is not as endearing toward Clark at first.
Justin Hartley is fantastic as Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. He is young, athletic, and has an almost Batman-like detective prowess. He's also a love interest for Lois. But can it last? And where does Green Arrow's history cross paths with Lex?
As with all 'Smallville' seasons, there is yet another cliff-hanger. It will see the introduction of yet another classic Superman villain. It will also leave the well-being of several Smallville characters in doubt. The main climax, however, finally comes down; a revelation between two characters that fans have been dying for ever since the very first episode aired.
The writers of this show must be given their credit. I think Jeph Loeb, especially is responsible for the tremendous success of the show. As an executive producer and consultant from DC Comics, he knows what will work on the show, and what won't. He also understands that many things that work in the comic book world don't necessarily translate over to television. He is able to find the bridge between the two worlds. Few people are able to do this. I truly believe that he a big reason why Smallville has remained so successful and a top-quality show.
It isn't hard to imagine why one of America's greatest heroes is fictional and yet has such a tremendous following spanning several generations. Heck, there is even a town called Metropolis in Illinois dedicated to America's favorite hero. For a while, Superman has badly needed a face-lift to make him appealing to new generations while keeping the core of the character intact. Clark is now someone that people can relate to. He endures many of the same problems that many people and young people face today. Smallville has continued to make Superman timeless, for the power of good, justice, and decency are badly needed now more than ever before. In short, the world needs a Superman, and I don't mean the fictional world. I mean OUR world.
As you finish watching season 6, think of Clark throughout the course of those six seasons. Remember all of the pains, trials, and tribulations that he has gone through, and yet the core of the character remains intact. He still tries to see the best in people and his unwavering faith in his friends (often when it is not returned) makes him stand apart from virtually any other person that we know, fictional or not. Clark always has hope...hope for the world, hope for his friends, and even hope for his enemies.
"Your greatest strength might also be your greatest weakness. Hope."--Martha Kent to her son.
I must mention that this DVD has one flaw: no actor commentaries on any of the episodes. It's a shame. The commentaries are really good, and I was looking forward to listening to more of them during this season. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Green Arrow: The Legend of the Emerald Archer
Smallville: Big Fans - profiling Smallville devotees
Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles - short computer animated mobisodes
The making of Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles
Smallville Legends: Justice & Doom animated storyline - related episode bookend segments produced by DC Comics