It’s easy to lob complaints at Smallville. As the unholy bastard offspring of the DC Universe and Dawson’s Creek there’s alot to pick on. Still it was wildly successful and in all fairness it wasn’t all bad. For many people it became the definitive Superman tale. Hind sight’s 20/20 so how could it be better?
10. Fewer love triangles
When Smallville started at its heart was the angsty teenage drama of Clark pinning for Lana who loved someone else. Fine fair enough. It takes place in high school and teenage viewers eat that shit up. That wasn’t the only love triangle. Pete loves Chloe but Chloe loves Clark. Chloe loves Clark but Clark loves Lana. Clark loves Lana but Lana loves Whitney. Ugh at some point you’d think these characters would realize they could love the one they with, if they can’t be with the one they love.
9.Kryptonite doesn’t make a freak of the week
One of Smallville’s lamest recurring elements was that kryptonite would turn one of Clark’s classmates into a random super powered freak. Generally the character only existed for Clark to smack around for the last few minutes of each episode. What is this power rangers? Create something a bit more interesting. Plus green kryptonite never did that in the comics.
8. Introduce Jor El with consistent character development
Superman’s father Jor El has always been a portrayed as a godly and benevolent being. Yet Smallville had him leaving messages like they’re a flawed people rule them with power, to you can’t interfere at all. He’s mind wiped Clark, and taken away his powers a few times. Why not just let Clark consult with the AI of his dead dad to help the planet? Clark needed someone to have a teenage rebellion against but they couldn’t make him entirely an angry kid, so they made his dad a dick. It didn’t make things more interesting, just more confusing.
7. Show or elude to the trinity
I know this is a long shot and our two chances of seeing Wonder Woman and Batman were slim and none. They tried with Adam Knight, and Green Arrow was a good Batman replacement but it wasn’t enough. Chloe talking about them was too little too late. They hint at everything else about Superman. They could have at least had something showing how he would meet his best superhero friends. Maybe their symbols could have appear next his in the caves, Or Clark make a reference to Gotham’s crime, and Themiscara’s diplomacy with the rest of the world.
6. No vigilante registration act. In fact avoid all politics.
I hated this story line. HATED IT. Vigilantes are by definition outlaws. Stop trying to use it as liberal propaganda Smallville. It doesn’t even make logical sense as liberal propoganda. What do superheroes have to do with the tea party anyway? Its fine if you have your beliefs and incorporate them stubbly into your work, but to ham fistedly shove them into the script makes no sense. Kat Grant’s comment “I’ll never understand liberals!” Is so vacuous irritating and serves no purpose other than to take a jab at “idiot” conservatives. It turned people off.
5. Follow Superman Birthright or Batman Begins model. I want to save the world but how do I do it?
The best part of Batman Begins is that Batman goes about figuring out what his mode of operation is. Other movies just plop you on the middle of the story with the cape and cowl already established . Superman has a very distinct way of saving the day. From his Clark Kent persona to his glorious cape clad heroics, Smallville only developed these towards the very end. This should’ve been an development from the beginning. Hell he should have started wearing glasses in the second or third season. Why does Superman wear a cape but no mask. What is the decision process behind his public persona. It was a missed opportunity.
4. Merge Lana and Chloe character roles together.
Okay this is a big one I know but just follow me here. Lana was always portrayed as Clarks best friend and high school sweetheart n the comics. They pulled a Betty vs. Veronica with Lana and Lois but Later in life Lana became a confidant. She knew Clark was Superman and tried to help him out and cover for him. Essentially Chloe becomes Clark’s confidant in place of Lana. I maintain that Lana was useless to the series and at points the writers didn’t seem to know what to do with her. She became romantic Mary Sue. She was pretty and special but didn’t have a place in the story other than to give Clark angst. The writers stuck her in a relationship with Lex and then made her swear bloody vengeance on him. Her characterization vacillated between a sweat hearted innocent to psychotic manipulative bitch. Eventually they wrote her out of the series by giving her kryptonite powers. Chloe on the other hand evolved into a super hero in her own right as an information broker. Deciding they didn’t work as a couple, her unrequited teenage love for Clark evolved into a close friendship. It was a pretty mature step to take. If they made Chloe Lana from the beginning it would have been a much better adaptation of the comic, and would have avoided an awkward Mary sue altogether.
3. Introduce the Legion of Superheroes earlier and make them recurring.
There was an episode of Superman the animated series where Brainiac travels back in time to murder Clark and the legion of superheroes travel back to protect him. From the moment that Smallville aired I was hoping they would adapt this. Eventually we got that in “Legion”. It was a great episode, but it could have been so much more. They could have based an entire season around agents of the future trying to hurt Clark and Legionnaires trying to stop it without altering history.
2. Make Clark Kent more individual and no dependant on others for his motivation.
Throughout the series struggled with an identity crisis. There was too much confusion over his place in the world. Is he motivated to save the world because its his destiny? Does he just want to be normal? final push to become a hero happens when his dad and Jor El tell him to. This is after ten years of dr fate, brainiac, ancient prophecies, and hopefully humans telling him he’s gonna be the greatest hero the world has ever known. They stuck to the young hero archetype with Clarks development. He was too dependant upon guides to tell him what to do. When he finally did make a decision it was always second guessed. It would have been nice to see Clark be more assertive and choose his destiny instead of relying on others.
1. Don’t drag the series on forever. Let it have an end when its natural.
Ten years is a long time. As one of the CWs most successful shows, Smallville was milked for all its worth. It had an okay first season establishing him as a high schooler and took steps like Clark graduates, Clark goes to college, then there was stuff in the middle about re incarnated witches, and alot of “whah whah” I Want to be normal with Lana! Smallville picked up steam at the end when it started showing actual Sci fi, and heroics. Instead of dragging it on forever it could have had an over arching plot line and showed steady development. The good stuff could have been found earlier. When the stories were done we could’ve finished with him as Superman or gotten Metropolis the series. BSG decided 4 years was all they needed to tell their story and ended it. They had a plan and it worked out. Supernatural had a plotline leading up to the apocalypse. When the network renewed it after its finale they had some very good stories. Smallville could have followed suit but instead gave us the same stories over and over.