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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Science Fiction > Smallville – The Complete Fifth Season (HD-DVD)

Smallville – The Complete Fifth Season (HD-DVD)

 

Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: C+    Episodes: B

 

 

Superman has had a number of incarnations since his original debut in the 1938 issue of Action Comics #1.  Throughout the evolution of Superman we have seen him played by a variety of actors, some talented, some not.  We have seen him in black & white, in color, animated, live action, and everything in-between.  Such greats as George Reeves and Christopher Reeve have dawned the suit, and such Superman hopefuls as Dean Cain and the short lived, syndicated TV Superboy Gerard Christopher and John Newton (who Christopher replaced) have given it a go.  With each adaptation of the caped man in blue, a new twist, spice, or vision is given to the classic hero series.  Smallville – The Complete Fifth Season, which like all its’ predecessors has taken it upon itself to revamp the Superman series in a whole new light, is one of the very first shows TV shows to come to an HD format.

 

The series takes place in the hometown of future hero Superman (AKA Clark Kent), Smallville.  For the most part we as an audience have viewed Superman as Superman, and worried little about ‘the becoming.’  The Smallville series explores the deeply tangled and rooted past of an extraordinary ‘man’ as he experiences the people and events which make him the hero he is to become.  This interesting concept centering on the future ‘Man of Steel’ remains fresh, innovative, and engaging even after an amazing six seasons. 

 

Through the evolution of the series we have seen Clark Kent progressively discover his powers and his reason for existence.  By the end of Season Five it is clear that he is no longer Clark Kent but Superman, with a forthcoming future that only time can tell what it brings.  In this pivotal Season an array of new characters are introduced, while we say goodbye to old favorites.  Also where much of the tale of Superman has always focused on the ‘SMASH,’ ‘BANG,’ and capture the bad guys mentality, Smallville deeply invests itself and its storylines within characterization and the emotional struggles that each character faces.  The series has always done an excellent job of treading the thin line between sappiness and action/adventure, using a cast with good chemistry to tell the epic tale of a growing hero. 

 

The cast of this series includes Tom Welling as Superman/Clark Kent, Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, Kristin Kreuk as Clark's love interest Lana Lang, Allison Mack as the sleuth Chloe Sullivan, Annette O’Toole as Martha Kent, and John Schneider as Jonathan Kent.  The show is well cast and the actors do a unique job of bringing the DC inspired storyline to life.  In this Fifth Season, we see the Clark Kent, Lex Luthor relationship transform into even greater disarray of distrust, hatred, and paranoia explode.  A love triangle spirals out of control between Clark, Lana, and Lex, the audience never quite sure who is to win this emotional battle.  The beautiful Erica Durance reprise her role as the sassy Lois Lane, in turn finding herself being a vital role to a dark, twisted storyline involving herself in Jonathan Kent’s run for political office against the Luthor clan, as well as a few suspiciously tense sexual moments between her and Clark.  Not to spoil the twists and turns of the season, but certain characters we bid a fond farewell (some even several times… unusually), making this season even more epic as well as important.  In the end, the series has held its ground and ratings over the past six seasons and shows no signs of slowing down; with a great premise, classic superhero entangled designs, and a stunning cast this series can only fly higher.

 

Though the series is wildly entertaining, it does take quite a few Superman liberties to infuse an array of superhero elements and characters.  This season, the audience experiences some great appearances from such superhero legends as Aquaman (A.C. in the episode ‘Aqua’ which did not lead to the expected spin-off), Cyborg (Victor Stone in the episode ‘Cyborg’), and yes even Zod makes a dark, spiritual cameo in this season.  This introduction of crucial Superman characters is not a first for the series in the past seeing such greats as Professor Hamilton, Perry White, Krypto the Super Dog (Shelby in this series), The Flash, and many more.

 

It seems that so many Superman references are made throughout the series that if a person were to blink the exciting mention would be easily missed.  Some purists may view this infusion of ‘The Superman World’ so early within Superman’s life as an abomination of the true storyline, but this reviewer finds it to be much deeper and interesting.  Surely some elements, such as having Lois Lane show up so early, are confusing to the whole scheme of things but most elements work and are well executed.  Superman is not a normal being, he is an alien, he is super human, and he was sent to earth to save mankind.  Introducing other superheroes early on as well as such characters as Lex Luthor, provides a deeply rooted plot that Superman did not merely pop-up in Metropolis one day and fight crime, but his immanent future was always there waiting to pounce.

 

The concept of Superboy was established originally back in the 1940’s and continued through to the early 1980’s, though Superman creator Jerry Siegel disapproved greatly of the concepts being portrayed.  In the 1940s - 80s period, Superboy wore the Superman outfit and fought smaller crimes, was with often with The Legion Of Superheroes and later had a love interest in Lana Lang.  In 1985, however, DC Comics decided to overhaul Superman’s outdated past and make it clearer.  DC Comics established that though the young Superman did fight crime on some scale, he never dawned the classic Red and Blue suit until he arrived in Metropolis.  Also at this time DC made clear that Lex and Superman had some involvement prior to Superman (AKA Clark Kent) arriving in Metropolis.  When Superman died, a new younger Superman as a Superboy also arrived with some success.  With this said, Smallville with its “at times” slight deviations only strengthens and broadens the Superman Universe.

 

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image is a real surprise, with better color range and scale than most feature films we have seen in either format.  There is also solid depth and detail that more feature films should have in both formats.  The color schemes are actually lost somewhat (maybe too much) in regular analog TV broadcasts and even in the HD broadcasts, so fans will we very happy with this set.

 

The Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix is pretty good for a TV show, even though many are doing more than simple stereo these days.  However, in most cases, their audio turns out to be pumped up emptiness while this show shows real ambition in its sound mixes.  It never overdoes it and offers some of the best character of a live-action DC Comics series since the first season of Wonder Woman with Linda Carter during the WWII years.

 

Extras include Smallville's 100th Episode: The Making Of A Milestone, creating the Episode Reckoning, audio commentary on 2 Episodes, unaired scenes, Vengeance Chronicles Promo Webisodes and an HD-exclusive visual effects interactive feature talking about this season’s opening show.

 

Smallville is an excellent series that has always showed promise and continues to grow.  Each episode of Season Five leaves an audience begging for more with each twist and turn.  This Season even puts to rest the classic Mallrats dilemma of can Superman have sex with someone other than Wonder Woman?  More Superman, more Superheroes, more evil, more action, more Smallville.  The series continues to Steel our hearts and minds.

 

For more Superman-related titles on DVD and HD-DVD, you can go to0 the links below:

 

SUPERMAN 1978 MOVIE HD-DVD

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4633/Superman+–+The+Movie+(1978/HD-DVD)

Standard DVD 4-Disc Set

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4633/Superman+%E2%80%93+The+Movie+(1978/HD-DVD

 

SUPERMAN II – RICHARD DONNER CUT HD-DVD + DVD

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4620/Superman+II+–+The+Richard+Donner+Cut+(HD-DVD+++DVD+Versions)

 

SUPERMAN RETURNS (HD-DVD/DVD Combo Format Edition)

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4759/Superman+Returns+(HD-DVD/DVD+Combo+Format)

 

SUPERMAN RETURNS SOUNDTRACK

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/3932/Superman+Returns+–+Music+By+John+Ottman+From+The+Motion+Picture/Sound+Of+Superman+(CDs

 

SUPERMAN RETURNS THEATRICAL REVIEW

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/3931/Superman+Returns+(Theatrical+Film+Review)

 

SUPERGIRL

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4690/Supergirl+–+International+European+Version+(1984/Warner+Bros.)

 

SUPERMAN II (Theatrical Cut DVD)

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4846/Superman+II+(Theatrical+Cut/2-Disc+Special+Edition+DVD-Video)

 

 

-   Michael P Dougherty II and Nicholas Sheffo


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