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While "Smallville" has been a success story since its debut on the WB network (which has since become the CW network), I was initially skeptical of how long the series could go on. To my pleasant surprise, the series has not only now run for many seasons, but has grown and improved in the years since it first aired.

For those unfamiliar with the series, it follows the early years of Superman/Clark Kent (Tom Welling) as he grows up, looked after by Martha and Jonathan Kent (John Schneider and Annette O'Toole). The earlier seasons of the show had Clark learning more about his powers and finding both romance and, not surprisingly, a series of villains - although none more powerful than Lex Luthor (the wonderful Michael Rosenbaum, who has unfortunately left the series at this point.)

As the seasons passed by, Clark gradually left high school and went on to adulthood, although with adulthood come greater challenges and responsibilities, as well as greater enemies - such as the powerful Zod. However, alongside Clark are both old friends - such as Chloe (Allison Mack, terrific) - and new ones, such as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Justin Hartley, who became a series regular in this season.)

The 8th season sees the show still backed by its core strengths - an excellent creative team and strong performances in front of the camera - although the departure of Rosenbaum is a bit of a disappointment. Still, that doesn't mean that Clark isn't faced with arch enemies, as Clark finds himself up against Davis Bloome. While Davis initially seems like an ordinary person, his blackouts hide his change into a dangerous new foe for Clark. Clark also starts working at the Daily Planet - along with Lois. Life isn't easy for Chloe, either, although she does take her relationship with Jimmy to another level.

The show continues to impress and season 9 is a perfect example of why “Smallville” remains so engrossing. The beginning of the season sees Clark at the Fortress of Solitutde, ready to learn from Jor-El and leave his past behind him, which turns out to be harder than he thought when he sees Lois. Her journey is another interesting aspect of the show, as she returns from disappearing into the future, except she doesn’t return alone.

Meanwhile, Clark’s relationship with Chloe starts to sour when he refuses to help her save Jimmy’s life. Of course, what would any season of “Smallville” be without a villain for Clark to face. In season 9, Zod (Callum Blue) and his group of Kryptonians arrive with the intent to become powerful rulers.

The relationship between Zod and Jor-El offers an interesting storyline that builds to Zod’s game- changing realization in “Kandor.” Near the middle of the season, Clark heads to what was once the Justice Society of America and meets with Stargirl (Britt Irvin), Hawkman (Michael Shanks), and Dr. Fate (Brent Stait). Amanda Waller (Pam Grier) tries to uncover the identity of the Justice Society as the series progresses, including the Green Arrow/Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley).

The show's cast (new and old) impress as does the writing, production and direction. Welling manages to convey the character's inner turmoil well and continues to be a surprisingly solid choice for the role. Mack also shines as Clark's pal and so does the rest of the ensemble, including Erica Durance as Lois, Justin Hartley as Oliver and Cassidy Freeman as Tess.

As always, a lot happens in “Smallville” which leads up to a highly enjoyable season finale. The season 9 finale will definitely leave you on the edge of your seat, waiting for season 10 - which is the final season for the series. There’s no shortage of great moments including, but not limited to: Lois’ realization, Tess (Cassidy Freeman) and Zod’s battle, the gathering of the Justice Society, a flash to the future with visions of Lex Luthor, and yes, the Superman symbol makes a poignant appearance. If you’re new to the series then definitely start with season one, as “Smallville” is the kind of show you’ll want to see the whole way through.

Season 9

175 25-Sep-09 Savior
176 02-Oct-09 Metallo
177 09-Oct-09 Rabid
178 16-Oct-09 Echo
179 23-Oct-09 Roulette
180 30-Oct-09 Crossfire
181 06-Nov-09 Kandor
182 13-Nov-09 Idol
183 20-Nov-09 Pandora
184 29-Jan-10 Disciple
185 05-Feb-10 Absolute Justice
186 12-Feb-10 Warrior
187 19-Feb-10 Persuasion
188 26-Feb-10 Conspiracy
189 02-Apr-10 Escape
190 09-Apr-10 Checkmate
191 16-Apr-10 Upgrade
192 23-Apr-10 Charade
193 30-Apr-10 Sacrifice
194 07-May-10 Hostage
195 14-May-10 Salvation


The DVD

VIDEO: "Smallville" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and the results are mostly pretty good. Sharpness and detail see a very nice improvement over the DVD edition of the same season. Dark/dimly-lit sequences in the DVD edition looked good, but look even tighter and more precise (as does much of the presentation here) on the Blu-Ray release. While some minor artifacting was seen on a few occasions, the presentation generally looked smooth and clean. Colors looked bright and bold, with pleasing saturation and no smearing or other faults. While not a reference quality presentation, this is certainly a nice bump up over the DVD's presentation.

SOUND: "Smallville" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 by Warner Brothers. The show's audio remains quite engaging and enveloping, with crisp, clear dialogue and well-recorded sound effects.

EXTRAS: Unaired scenes are featured throughout the set on episodes: “Rabid,” “Roulette,” “Disciple,” “Conspiracy,” “Upgrade,” “Charade,” and “Salvation.”

Commentaries are featured on: “Kandor” and “Idol”. The commentary for “Kandor” includes: Callum Blue and Writers Turi Meyer and Al Septien. The commentary moves at a decent pace with a nice look at the episode and its content, as well certain aspects that went into bringing the show to life. Worth a listen. The Commentary for “Idol” include: Erica Durance and Executive Producers Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders. The group does a nice job providing information about filming scenes, set work, casting, collaboration, and more. Worth a listen.

“Kneel Before Zod!” is a fifteen minute look at the character Zod and his transformation throughout the show. The feature also takes a look at Zod from the film version, “Superman II”. With fantastic interviews and footage, this is worth a look for fans.

“Absolute Justice: From Script to Screen” is an in-depth look at bringing the Justice Society of America to Smallville. With a lot of footage and interviews covering casting, creating the script, costumes, sets and more, fans of the series or the comics may enjoy this near thirty-minute feature.

Final Thoughts:Season 9 of “Smallville” continues to impress with several highlights throughout. The performances, direction and production are all excellent and the writing continues to create new and compelling plots for fans to enjoy. Recommended.



DVD Information





Smallville: Season 9
Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
1.78:1
Dolby Digital 5.1
928 minutes
Subtitles: English
Rated NR
Dual Layer:Yes
Anamorphic:Yes
Region:1
Available At Amazon.com: Smallville: Season 9 DVD