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.