?Smallville is one of the most hotly debated shows among the comic-reading community. The tale of Superman in his childhood, Smallville follows young farm boy Clark Kent from the moment he discovers he’s an alien, to his first public appearance as Superman, the iconic comic book hero. It’s great to see a show based on such a popular character, especially one that lasts for ten years.
But Smallville had serious flaws. Built around a strict policy of “no tights, no flights,” Smallville consistently showed us a Superman who was as un-super as possible. When the show finally ended in May of this year, fans had seen Superman for a combined total of 10 minutes. So what were Smallville‘s producers giving Superman fans all those years, instead of their beloved hero? A lot of dumb shit, frankly. Oh, there were some great moments and good episodes, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that Smallville showcased more than its share of super-stupidity. Please note this is by no means a comprehensive list of all the dumb things Smallville did during its 10-year run; even the internet wouldn’t have enough room for that. Feel free to discuss your favorite — or at least the ones you love to hate — in the comments.
10) Amy Adams Eating a Deer
Smallville‘s first season followed a tried and truly annoying format that lovers and haters alike dubbed the Freak of the Week. Some of these monsters were better than others, but most of them were never seen or heard from again, doing nothing to build the world of Superman or even advance the plot. Exhibit A: Amy Adams in “Craving.”
That is Amy Adams. Before she was cast as Lois Lane in Zac Snyder’s upcoming Man of Steel, Adams was Jodi Melville, a chunky-and-likeable student who had a thing for Clark’s friend Pete Ross. Poisoned by kryptonite-infused vegetables, Melville begins rapidly losing weight, feeding off animals and eventually people in order to meet the needs of her metabolism. In one particularly ridiculous moment, Adams eats a roadkill deer. So, there’s that.
9) The Fast and the Mildly Irritated
Poor Pete Ross: a character so inconsequential, he never even achieved ‘sidekick’ status. Eventually Ross left the show, and most of us forgot he was ever a part of it. Before that could happen, however, he had to have a spotlight episode in a last-ditch effort to squeeze some substance out of his character. And what says small-town nice guy better than… illegal street racing?
None of this makes any sense. Smallville has approximately one street, two signs (“Welcome” and “Thanks for visiting”) and maybe a flea market. Even if we’re meant to believe he’s ‘fallen in with the wrong crowd’ that somehow doesn’t get caught, the stupidity is compounded when we learn that the cars are fueled by kryptonite. Episodes like Season Three’s “Velocity” were meant to cash in on the popularity of recent movie releases such as Fast and the Furious. It’s not the last we see of this ratings ploy, but more on that in a bit.
8) Bitches’ Brew
While Clark’s female counterparts have always been more interesting than Clark himself, the producers decided it was best to throw all that respectable lady power out the window with a season four plot involving spells, witches, possession, and a mysterious tattoo that etched itself onto the skin of Clark’s star-crossed love, Lana.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Lois and Chloe were dragged into this mess in “Spell,” an episode that saw Clark fighting the bitchy spirits of three ancient spell-casters controlling his friends. Isn’t this a show about Superm — oh wait, no? My mistake.
7) Clark Kent, Vampire Slayer
We’ve already done witches, why not vampires? And not just any vampires, vampires that can be made human again with — you guessed it! — kryptonite. Clark’s sole weakness has been used for everything, from super-powered cars to monsters with eating disorders. Surely it can restore a changed vampire too?
While season five’s “Thirst” features a decent subplot revealing the malevolent Brainiac, its primary story revolves around Lana’s induction into a college sorority of bloodsuckers who turn her into one of them, then send her after the Not-Yet-Man of Steel himself. One has to imagine the producers saying, “With ideas like these, who needs an iconic costumed superhero, amirite? Guys…?”
In one of the most blatant knock-offs of a popular movie franchise ever, Smallville featured an entire episode with a sadistic killer in a creepy mask, elaborate death traps, and a ticking clock on which time is running out. When Lex Luthor’s father and Ma Kent (?!) are kidnapped by a deranged psychopath, Clark must come to the rescue before the audience falls asleep.
The killer is a former employee of Luthor’s, although you probably don’t give a shit (neither did he). Knowing that Ma Kent wouldn’t dare be killed off in such a stupid filler episode, or that the network would never show any actual violence, season five’s “Mercy” had no tension and lost points for colliding the Man of Tomorrow with a horror franchise that’s pretty much a joke itself.
5) The Sneeze
For the first couple years, watching Clark develop his fledgling powers was charming. By season 6, however, it was just annoying. Leave it to Smallville to take one of the coolest possible superpowers — Superman’s breath — and parody it beyond the point of audience interest. Instead of watching Clark outgrow his awkward teenage years with anticipation and humor, Smallville milked that cow long past his high school years.
When Clark developed his super-breath in season 6 — specifically, by sneezing so hard he blows a hole in the barn — it wasn’t cute anymore. You know what also wasn’t cute? Making the whole damn episode about the sneeze, and calling it “Sneeze.” He’s a grown man, for god’s sake. Time for some big boy stories.
4) Season 7… All of It
To be fair, Smallville‘s seventh season coincided with the guild strike that left a lot of TV floundering in the wastelands of bad writing (damn you, Heroes). Everything falls short. Clark is such a douchebag toward Lex Luthor we actually feel sorry for the murdering prick. Pete Ross returns, chews kryptonite gum, turns into an asshole, then leaves. Supergirl appears, signs up for Smallville’s “Miss Sweet Corn” beauty pageant, disappears for a while, shows up again, then leaves once more.
Plots are raised, then dropped without warning, and it all culminates in Lana and Lex leaving Smallville for B-actor obscurity, a sad moment that should have carried more weight than it did. And we weren’t any closer to flights, tights, or any of the other things that make Superman — well, freaking Superman.
3) “Brains! Why Doesn’t Anyone on this Show Have Brains?!”
Despite shafting fans by turning Clark into Emo-Superman (or Neo from The Matrix), season nine has its fair share of solid episodes. Unfortunately, it also has “Rabid.” For some reason, Smallville‘s producers felt that, instead of the Man of Steel in all his glory, fans wanted zombies with superpowers. On the surface, it’s a silly idea that could have been a lot of fun: infecting the Smallville cast with a virus and watching them hunt for flesh.
The problem? Zombies are only scary when they could kill anyone at any moment, but in a serialized TV series like Smallville the central cast can’t possibly die (the exception being shows about zombies killing anyone at any moment, like The Walking Dead). So there’s no tension, just guys in make-up shuffling around and groaning. Plus, this episode kills the momentum built up thus far, delaying even further the showdown between Clark and Major Zod.
2) Lois Lane, Deity
Season 10 brought the series full circle, featuring some great cameos and a rose-tinted affection for seasons past. It also gave us “Isis,” wherein Lois becomes possessed by the Egyptian goddess and goes on a spree of… throwing things around, standing like a cardboard cutout, and overacting. Following up on the previous week’s “Homecoming” (the series fantastic 200th episode), “Isis” had its work cut out for it. Instead, we get… whatever the hell this is. To make things worse, “Isis” ends with Clark finally telling Lois about his powers (which she pretty much already knows). That means at least 10 solid minutes of this crap episode are actually somewhat indispensible.
1) Jor-El, Marriage Counselor
For a year, we waited for a solid glimpse of the final season’s Big Bad: Darkseid himself, the evil god of Apokolips, and one of Superman’s most dangerous foes. And do we get to see him here, so close to the end? Of course not. Keeping with the Smallville tradition of inducing nerd blue balls, we instead get a scenario where the ghost of Clark’s biological father (Jor-El) takes his son’s powers away and gives them to Lois instead. Apparently, this is to demonstrate the challenges Clark will face as a Kryptonian on earth. Although, why Jor-El thinks such great responsibility can be trusted to the very woman he’s trying to discourage Clark from marrying is beyond me. Sprinkle in some mind control and we have one of the single worst episodes of television in 2011.