The stories of a young Clark Kent as he begins to realise and understand his superpowers.
Set in his home town of Smallville in Kansas, Clark has to deal with all the trials and tribulations of a high school youth on top of his second life as Superman. The venerable Superman mythos gets a 21st-century updating in this imaginative and engaging television series.
The premise of Smallville – Superman as a teenager, takes up just a few pages in Superman’s very first comic book appearance, but series producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar flesh out that period by portraying young Clark Kent (Tom Welling) not as the noble Superman-in-waiting, but as an average teen with some not-so-ordinary supernatural powers, including incredible strength and heat vision (Clark hasn’t lifted up, up, and away as of yet).
Clark’s desire to fit in with his peers and make sense of his extraordinary abilities ground him in very realistic and identifiable terms for the series’ primarily under-25 audience, as does his appealing and tentative romance with Kristen Kreuk as Clark’s dream girl Lana Lang.
But Smallville also strikes gold when it takes a turn towards more comic book territory, as evidenced by the parade of shape-shifting killers and other outlandish antagonists (many generated, in one of the series’ most ingenious notions, by the same devastating meteor shower that brought the infant Clark to Earth) that Clark must harness his powers to face and defeat.
Gough and Millar, along with their capable cast (which includes Michael Rosenbaum as a young and already bald-pated Lex Luthor, and Annette O’Toole and John Schneider as the Kents) manage to pull off the precarious high-wire act of combining science fiction with coming-of-age drama to create this highly watchable program.