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Smallville (S4)
DVD disk
10.12.2005 By: Matt Hosack
Smallville (S4) order
Director:
Various

Actors:
Tom Welling
Kristin Kreuk
Michael Rosenbaum

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In the small town of Smallville, a young man is finishing high school. Everyone around him is in a world of trouble, but he has problems of his own. You know him as simply Clark Kent. There are powers to be gained, alliances to be made, and a destiny to be fulfilled all so the WB can have a good TV lineup.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Arguably the greatest superhero of all time would probably be pissed if his mother showed you his high school yearbook, along with baby photos. I’m sure that’s what Superman might feel if he watched SMALLVILLE. To me, the show just doesn’t feel right as a whole, especially in this fourth season. A show of this magnitude has SO much potential and when it capitalizes on that potential, the show rules. Unfortunately, these great moments are few and far between.

I found the fourth season of SMALLVILLE to be one gigantic tease. The season opens with a stellar episode “Crusade” seeing Clark Kent’s (Tom Welling) alter ego, Kal-El fly! This in and of itself is a show spectacular, as the creators broke their own rule of “no tights, no flights.” The episode also introduces Louis Lane (Erica Durance) to the series with her high enthusiast spunk and all. After this great premiere, the show goes on autopilot with every other episode seeming rather drab. Every time I felt like turning the show off because of bad script writing and story, the show would throw in a superpower, a hottie, or some other diversion to keep me watching. After this brief excitement, the show would just return back to its sluggish cycle. There were just too many stinker episodes that begged the question: what’s the point? It seemed to me that the show’s writers, Al Gough & Miles Millar need to re-examine the source material. Come on guys! This is THE MAN OF STEEL we’re talking about here, not DAWSON’S CREEK!

SMALLVILLE’s 4th isn’t all bad though. We get to see a great cameo episode that introduces The Flash and mention is made about their future Justice League aspirations. Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) really comes into his own and his friendship with Clark, well you know the rest. Other highlights include Terrence Stamp providing gusto for Jor-El and a cameo by Superman thesp, Margot Kidder. The show’s acting is pretty solid overall and the production value is impressive. The final shot is very compelling and offers a lot of promise. Now, if only the next season provides more SOLID filler episodes, Superman might not be as ticked.
THE EXTRAS
Those who expect a super sized DVD set, may be disappointed. What few features are present are pretty good, but with the wealth of material WB has at their disposal, you would come to expect more. The DVDs come in flipbook style package, complete with an informative booklet outlining each episode. This booklet also contains a personal introduction by Al Gough & Miles Millar sharing their excitement for the fourth season.

Disc 1:

Commentary for “Crusade”: Erica Durance, Ken Horton, Gough & Millar, and Anette O’Toole (ma Kent) shell out a boring commentary for such a great episode. This is why commentaries shouldn’t be mandatory. Nobody wants to hear a bunch of butt kissing.

Disc 2:

Commentary for “Transference”: John Glover answers the call with a more interesting track for the show’s “FACE/OFF” episode.

Commentary for “Spell”: We finally hear from the show’s hotties: Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, and Erica Durance. It’s all about fun and giggles, while director Jeannot Swarc (Ally McBeal) tries to throw in some info.

Disc 5:

Being Lois Lane: This ten minute featurette is a wonderful look at all of the incarnations of our famous smartass newslady with a nack for getting into trouble. The examination covers everything from the 50’s comic to Terri Hatcher and Margot Kidder. All of the Lois’ are here and they’re all good. Ah, memories.

Deleted Scenes: A small group of scenes that don’t add anything to the episodes. Not very life changing.

Disc 6:

Behind Closed Doors – Inside the Writer’s Room: A nifty look at the writing process of the show. Each writer provides their own take. The best part is hearing comic man Jeph Loeb talking about how the writing process for the show isn’t really a writing process. They even gleaned that their dialogue sucks sometimes which I appreciated.

Bonus Disc:

Commemorative DVD Vol. 9 - The Flash: The Flash is back Jack! I used to watch this show religiously so this brought back a lot of memories. This 90’s show followed the release of Burton’s BATMAN masertpiece. Is it cheesy? Check. Is it fun? Check. A nice surprise feature indeed.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Brimming with potential the fourth season of SMALLVILLE offers some spectacular bookend episodes with mediocre fare in between. The DVD presentation is very solid with some well produced special features but as consumers we demand more, so hopefully old Supes can come through for the next set.
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