This year marks the 20th anniversary of Smallville and it is deserving of all the nostalgic reminiscing and praise. It is also deserving of a definitive home video collection, and that’s pretty much what Warner Bros. Home Entertainment have delivered with the new Smallville: The Complete Series Blu-ray and Digital copy set.
For younger generations who didn’t grow up with numerous superhero shows to choose from, Smallville ran from 2001 through 2010 over the course of 10 seasons. Half of the series ran on the The WB, while the second half ran on The WB and UPN merger into The CW.
Smallville chronicles the high school and post-high school years of Clark Kent (Tom Welling) up until he dons the Superman outfit for the first time in literally the series’ final shot. Without actually being a Superman series it often delves into Superman lore with a variety of familiar names showing up including Oliver Queen, General Zod, Bizarro, Darkseid and more.
A more grounded and omnipresent villain for Clark is none other than Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), raised in a privileged yet incredibly stressful and demanding environment under his father Lionel’s (John Glover) roof. Welling and Rosenbaum are the heart and soul of Smallville, and they’re working on a project that would continue their characters’ story in an animated series.
After Season 4, Smallville moves from high school to what comes after, and guest star Erica Durance takes a more central role as Clark’s soulmate, Lois Lane. Their relationship blossoms over the next six seasons.
You cannot talk about Smallville without mentioning Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, Clark’s neighbor who always felt a connection with him even if it was never fully reciprocated. Like Rosenbaum, Kreuk left the series after Season 7 with a few guest appearances after that.
Without Smallville, The CW might not have rolled the dice on Arrow which would eventually spawn the Arrowverse and a small screen Superman. Even more similar superhero origin shows like Fox’s Gotham owe their success to the path blazed and audience informed by Smallville.
Weighing in at a hefty three-and-three-quarters pounds, the Smallville Complete Series Blu-ray box set has the type of heft fans expect and demand. In that box are 40 total Blu-ray Discs with all 218 episodes in 1080p high definition video and lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, a nice improvement over the lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks on the old DVDs.
The two bonus discs are loaded with previously released archival material. Note that those two bonus discs are 480p DVDs and not in high definition, which isn’t an issue considering the dated material on them.
This set is a massive improvement over the previous DVD releases and more than worthy of an upgrade for fans. Little yet important touches like complete menus and episode selections are now present and more in-line with modern Arrowverse shows on Blu-ray. Each season is housed in its own individual case with a uniform look rather than an annoying sleeve or flip book, which is going the extra mile.
Two versions of the pilot episode are available with the original broadcast version as a bonus feature in standard definition with 2.0 audio. It would have been nice to see the extra scenes available as a branching option off the syndicated pilot, but at least it is included.
Improved encoding has been employed for seasons 6-9 to match Season 10. The result is picture quality that nominally yet noticeably bests earlier seasons. That’s not to say seasons 1-5 do not look better than their DVD-only predecessors. They absolutely do and it’s great to finally have the first half of Smallville in high definition after such a long wait.
Smallville fans, and DC superhero fans in general, the 20th anniversary has definitely brought the goods with Smallville: The Complete Series on Blu-ray and Digital. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment did not phone this set in; it’s a beauty and frankly the only Smallville home video collection you should ever need.
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