The Complete 9th Season release date: 9/7/2010
9 of Smallville should be marked as the year that
the show runners finally admitted that the DC Universe was
bigger than all of them.
it had been sneaking in for a couple of years, with various
super-powered characters that had familiar names but updated
costumes that weren't costumes - "they're not tights!" whines
Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley). Then in Season
8 Darren Swimmer and Kelly Souders rethought Doomsday
in a way that only stingy show budgeting could defeat. They
already had me back and enthusiastic… then they gave us
long-time fans, they laid out a minefield for themselves,
bringing in "Major" Zod (Callum Blue). A younger, less-experienced
version of the villain made an icon by Terence Stamp (who,
confusingly, voices Jor-El on Smallville), the Major
is literally on a quest for power that may outweigh the
good he may truly have done as a loyal son of Krypton.
course, we know he's going to be a super villain,
but the magic of Smallville has always been able
to give you new ways to doubt it. With Zod teems an army
of Kandorians -- Smallville found a new meaning for
"bottled city" - and it's clear that though they follow
Zod, it's also possible that Kal-El could show them a new
of course showing him a new way, the way some of
us have been screaming at him to follow for about eight
seasons, is the Justice Society of America. Half-way through
the season DC Chief Creative Officer stepped in and wrote
Justice," the only episode of Smallville that
I've had no choice but to watch four times.
made changes necessitated by what has gone before, but giving
the DC Universe past a foothold in Smallville
is no mean feat. Setting up Checkmate, establishing an entire
generation of heroes before Clark (Tom Welling) and
bringing Dr. Fate to the masses? Please. Geoff Johns, all
is forgiven for the next decade.
maddeningly enough, follows an episode that begins at a
comic book convention that proves that half the staff could
care less about the show's source material. At least the
Star Wars references
are right. But that's Smallville for you, driving
fans crazy at the same time there's a lot to like. That
episode, "Warrior," could also serve as a good backdoor
pilot for a Zatanna series, and gives Welling several chances
to explain why he doesn't want to wear the tights.
the tights! Wear the tights!
and Souders also brought in Zan and Jayna from Super
Friends, cleverly nodding to their super monkey Gleek
(sob). From this season, you could have at least three possible
spin-off series, and yes, I'd hate myself but watch every
single one of them. Let's not look back on Birds
episodes come with commentary, and a few have deleted scenes
piggy-backing on them. But the gems among the extras are
the featurettes, far more focused and interesting than commentary
covers the evolution of Zod as a villain, including the
thoughts behind bringing him in this season. It would all
be standard extras stuff, if not for the participation of
Terence Stamp talking about how he came to play the character
in Superman II. He acknowledges it as giving him
a second run at an acting career, and has a sincere sense
of fun about it - before I die, I would like to have Stamp
tell me to kneel before him.
the episode that got the most attention this year was "Absolute
Justice," the second featurette goes in-depth on that one.
All the debate over production design gets included, and
in a rare instance where this really is a cool extra
over a TV show episode, the featurette includes Brent Stait's
audition tape for Dr. Fate. Yes, you can tell that that
one stayed with me.
extra also goes to show audiences who the most enthusiastic
fans in the cast are - all have been gracious and kind,
but no one, no one beats the genuine excitement bubbling
from Phil Morris and Cassidy Freeman. And that just pops
out of the screen.
I'm ready for Season 10, and only a little surprised that
Season 9 is one that I'm glad to have on my shelf. I may
be watching a lot of it again.