A Decade of Smallville

I have a pretty clear memory of first finding out about the new incarnation of Superman in the summer of 2001 the WB was going to attempt when I was just past 20. I remember because I spent the next few months campaigning to my husband that we must watch it. He never had much use for Superman, but I had watched every movie of my generation. Even admittedly the fourth installment which is the only I don’t own on DVD.

When I was young I obsessively watched the old black and white series that was recorded decades before I was born but played each weekday before I was to head off to the bus. And in my late teens I fell in love with the more modern Lois & Clark interpretation, so I was already invested. In this upcoming show rather my husband liked it or not. There was no way I was going to miss this fun look at Clark Kent as a teen.

From that very first episode and the obsessive pensive look that poor awkward Clark gave to the popular and self confident Lana to the future Superman’s supportive and unconditional patient parents that handled the issues of raising an alien child with superpowers with ease and grace on a weekly basis I was hooked. I marked my calendar and waited with baited breath for the next new episode and even looked forward to some that reran. My children, then a 5 year old daughter and a 1 year old son have grown up on a lot of those first few seasons and my boy, now 12, still comes to me and makes requests. His favorite is one he still calls “the race car episode” which features Pete’s slow decent into a gang of race car drivers with less than admirable plans.

My personal media collection does include the first 8 seasons of the boy-of-steel as we hopefully await the final episode of this collection of pre-man-of-steel moments. And even though over the years I have taken some small personal joy in comparing how each different Superman based show and movie introduced things like superpowers and super-weaknesses to villains and comrades in arms I can’t help but still be most impressed with the makers’ use of past players in the anthology of one of my favorite heroes.

The most memorable for me would have to be hands down the introduction of the character of Dr. Swan played by a man who ,for many, embodied the persona in more ways than theatrically, Christopher Reeves. I admit, I was tearing happily through each of his appearances of which there are thankfully several including a rather humorous public announcement..

But I was still happy to see actors and actress from previous Superman versions, Such as Lois & Clark stars Dean Cain’s and Teri Hatcher’s appearances, although in completely different types of roles. And though I felt some special appearances like Margot Kidder’s, were not nearly as often or plot twisting as I had hoped, I dearly loved when the actress I had always known as Supergirl, Helen Slater, showed up on the scene as Clark’s biological mother.

All in all, I have to say that as a cult television obsessive fan I have yet to be truly disappointed by this series. And I am a self proclaimed Science fiction and fantasy geek with strangely picky taste. So although I may forgive some oddities like Lex’s departure time from the series and some interesting characters that really didn’t fit into the history, I can respect that an actor may chose to leave or that a character that was supposed to simply be a friend but turned into a favorite spunky part of a series just can’t be quietly forgotten, I’m afraid I won’t be able to truly call myself pleased with the overall show until I see Clark don the red, yellow wand blue while flying through the sky posed in that famous Superman pose, fist thrust forward and cape flapping hurriedly in the wind..

Call me a purist, but I don’t think it would be an accurate description. I’m just a fan . I’ve been waiting for the shy kid to become Superman. I’ve enjoyed the hints and I’ve had fun watching the different characters all grow up and move on. I’ve loved the introduction of those unforgettable and intricate parts of the Superman world and I have missed the inclusion of lost friends and family of our man Clark. I’ve watched it all and been a part of it each week as my children grew and as we all looked forward to the challenges that awaited our hero.

So when that last show airs I’ll be on pins and needles. When that opening plays and Remy Zero Introduces the cast once more I’ll smile. When the cast plays their part one last time I’m sure Ill cry. I’m sure I’ll cry as the show lets each character say his or her goodbye in their own way. But be sure of one thing over all else. If I don’t see a cape flying over Metropolis before those final credits role then myself and my children, now numbering three, will be throwing popcorn at the screen for weeks.

But Clark Kent, the awkward kid, and Superman, the savior of the helpless, will still be my hero. He was when I was 5 and figured everyone could fly if they tried, He was when I was 20 and imagined all boyfriends could be sweet like Clark, and he is now at 36 divorced and still trying to be someone my kids can look to as a hero. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future of my next Superman.