“Smallville” Series Finale – 10 Years On

Smallville Finale

On May 13, 2011 the series finale of “Smallville” aired. 10 years ago to the day!

A lot has happened in the world of Superman since that day. We’ve had three films starring the Man of Steel, a large number of animated movies, his cousin has had six seasons of her own TV series, and a new TV series starring an older, paternal version of Clark Kent is currently on our TV screens.

Nevertheless, “Smallville” has had a lasting impact on the mythos and the fans who grew up watching the show for 10 seasons. Tom Welling and Erica Durance made their own brief comeback to the roles in The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover in 2019.

The “Smallville” finale however was not without its controversies. As with everything to do with Superman it seems, the final episode of the show remains a talking point amongst fans… even 10 years down the track.

Marc Pritchard, one of two reviewers who wrote about the finale for the Superman Homepage at the time wrote, “I’m a quality over quantity kind of guy, I’d have easily accepted far less of that animated fan service for one genuine Clark-as-Superman shot, preferably over Metropolis, victorious and in full view of the live-news-watching world. My guess is that Welling just couldn’t fill out the suit and deference was made to his insecurity, which if so way to put the art first. (Barf.) Otherwise, if the decision was owed to concerns Welling might have about being type-cast forever more, I have no sympathy: for ten years, Welling has managed to exploit to his presumably fabulous benefit (at least in terms of celebrity and wealth), the most beloved super-hero of all time. It is only fitting to return the favor, as it were. No one expected him to look like Jim Lee had drawn him.”

Our second reviewer of the finale, Douglas Trumble wrote at the time, “One thing I know will bother people, and I completely understand why, is that we never once see Tom Welling dressed in a full Superman suit. It’s a legitimate complaint that was expressed to me by a couple of friends, so I feel obliged to mention it but I will admit that personally it didn’t bother me. It goes back to expectations as I said above. Personally I never expected to see the “suit” on this show. I figured the best we’d ever get was a shirt rip like we did get. The fact we did get to see this version of Clark in full costume for several minutes doing Superman stuff was an AMAZING bonus in my mind.”

Whatever your personal thoughts on the series finale, even 10 years later, there’s no argument that “Smallville,” as a whole, was a high point in the television history of the character.

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May 13, 2021 7:30 pm

Ten years. Wow! Time really flew like Superman 😉
If I’m not mistaken, this fall will be 20 years since the series premiered.

May 14, 2021 12:16 am

1. Stop making me feel old!! 2. I recall *mostly* enjoying the finale while watching it, and I think some parts of it really hold up, but I’m definitely on the “we should have actually seen Clark as Superman” side of the fence. Maybe if the show had ended sooner (and we’d been spared The Green Arrow Show, featuring Clark Kent) maybe just a shirt rip could have sufficed. But after ten years and 218 episodes, I don’t think it’s asking too much for Tom Welling to suck it up and wear a real cape for one episode. Although I… Read more »

May 14, 2021 2:06 am
Reply to  afriend

That is interesting that Tom said that. I don’t know if it would happen though since the new Batman movie has been in production for a while now. Although there’s always a chance for a surprise appearance. 🙂

May 14, 2021 10:38 am
Reply to  afriend
May 16, 2021 12:57 pm
Reply to  afriend

This is dated May 1st, and it looks like the rumored Smallville Animated Series is still in the works.

May 17, 2021 12:02 pm
Reply to  afriend

I hope that they make it happen. I would really like to see an animated adaptation of Smallville season 11. Or at the very least an animated series or movie that covers the events after Clark puts on his Superman suit on for the first time. I’d like to see a final confrontation between Clark and Lex. A resolution between the two that I feel that we really didn’t see in the season 10 series finale in my opinion. Superman vs Lex Luthor. Not just Clark, but Clark as a fully realized Superman, in the super suit, and being called… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Superman2878
May 14, 2021 3:04 am

I’m going to be frank; I spent a *long* time despising this series, sharing my very negative feelings about it in this very website (when we had the message board, rest in pepperoni old friend). I did do a rewatch about a year ago and I have to admit, it holds up much better than I expected. I mean, the first seven seasons are still a hair-pulling disaster; but the last three seasons? Decent Superman stuff. Not without its problems, its weird choices, its “no flights- no tights” limitations and sloppy dialogue, but pretty decent and fun Superman material. I’ll… Read more »

May 14, 2021 8:55 am

Even with versions or takes on Superman that I don’t enjoy there will usually be at least a few or one idea, element, episode or moment that I can appreciate and Smallville is not void of those even though I found the whole thing really frustrating overall. The Season 11 comics also in a way helped improve my opinion of the show but still I feel like it was 10 years and all we got was that lousy t-shirt. ( and CG mini-Tom.) But we also got Erica Durance and in Seasons 8-10 I think was not only a good… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by MattComics
May 17, 2021 2:01 pm
Reply to  MattComics

Durance was one of the elements I really appreciated the last time I watched the show. Both she and her Lois had the biggest progress out of everyone in the series. You look back at them in their season 4 introduction and Durance can’t act her way out of a paper bag and her Lois is a less colorful version of Chloe. Fast forward to Season 8 and both the actor and the character carry their scenes effortlessly. I think Lois is a little more flexible as a character than Superman, but hers just felt right from some point on.

May 14, 2021 1:18 pm

Although there were many ups and downs over the course of the 10 years, the last 3 or 4 had integrated everything from past Superman adventures and make them relevant in Clark Kent’s world. By the time they were through there was almost nothing left! Knowing that Clark Kent was a precursor to Superman, kept all of us watching. But the ending of that last episode after all that time, just left me sitting in a chair staring at the TV.

Last edited 1 year ago by redcape
May 15, 2021 3:06 pm

I’m definitely biased when it comes to Smallville since it’s my all-time favorite show and has been for a long time. It’s crazy to think about where I was ten years ago when watching this “Finale” with a buddy of mine who has since passed away. I have such fond memories of watching the show, talking about it with him, and podcasting on it every week (as well as listening to another podcast on the series). When the series ended, and they continued with the “Season 11” comics, I got to podcast on those too, and I had the honor… Read more »