Before he moved to Metropolis and became a full-time superhero, Clark Kent was a nice country boy trying to make it to graduation. The high school days of this mild-mannered reporter are chronicled in the angst-filled WB drama “Smallville,” whose entertaining third season is now available in a feature-packed six-disc DVD set.
At first, Clark (Tom Welling) isn’t sure why he can stop a locomotive, leap over tall buildings in a single bound and run faster than a speeding bullet, but he gets one step closer to figuring things out with every episode. In addition to adjusting to his new superpowers, Clark must also cope with the blue-blooded Luthor family, led by father Lionel (John Glover) and his bald son Lex (Michael Rosenbaum). Lex is the more interesting of the duo, as he has some intense daddy issues and, at this point in the series, has an on again/off again friendship with the future Superman. The show takes itself overly-serious, but due to the supernatural circumstances, the melodrama is tolerable, and, at times, even welcomed.
The Luthors are the most enjoyable parts of the show. Glover and Rosenbaum play off each other delightfully, like lions looking for the right time to bite each others’ heads off. Welling isn’t too charismatic as Clark, but his performance is reminiscent of Christopher Reeves’s 1970s Superman. He’s boring, but dependable and certainly capable of saving the day. The late Reeves actually guest-starred in season three, playing a billionaire scientist. The other season’s notable guest star is Michael McKean as a washed-up Perry White, the future editor of the Daily Planet.
The features on the set are plentiful. There are lots of deleted scenes, a making-of documentary, a featurette called “The Chloe Chronicles,” a gag reel and commentary on selected episodes. The commentaries are hilarious, with the actors, directors and producers openly mocking their overly-serious show. Rosenbaum is the star of these commentaries, observing that his head looked greasy in the credits and saying that he missed his old love interest who had “lips like briefcase handles.”
“Smallville” is a good show that adds a whole new dimension to the Superman legend. With a quality show and oodles of extras, “Smallville: The Complete Third Season” is a DVD set well worth the price.
Show: 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars
Picture/Sound: 4 out of 5 stars
Features: 4 out of 5 stars