Television Rewind: ‘Smallville’ Pilot Discussion

Published 4 years ago by

smallville season 9 Television Rewind: Smallville Pilot Discussion

Even though the Smallville series finale is right around the corner, The CW is throwing a bit of nostalgia to the fans with tonight’s re-aring of the 2001 Smallville series premiere.

Think about it: In 2001, The CW was set to premiere a new series from some folks named Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Yeah, the series was about Superman as a teenager, but they cast some weird fella named Tom Welling as Clark Kent. Look at him: Welling? What kind of name is that?

Accompanying Welling in the iconic role of Clark Kent was some bald kid named Michael Rosenbaum. Really CW? A teenage Lex Luthor? We had just survived Y2K and you expect us to accept some teenage Lex Luthor. Let me bust out my big ‘ole Nokia cell phone and call my friends to goof on this series.

And then there’s these characters Lana Lang and Chloe Sullivan. So.. is it Lang or Lane? Is Lana related to Lois? Ok, Lana isn’t related to Lois Lane, but Chloe is – even though Chloe’s last name is Sullivan. Wow, great move there. Chloe isn’t even a character in the comics. I bet she’ll stick around for one season – at least. That is, of course, if the series doesn’t get canceled before then.

I don’t know about you, but this is pretty close to what I originally thought about Smallville. And, no, don’t try to look back for a review from back then. In fact, Screen Rant hadn’t even by created yet. In 2001, Screen Rant was but a mere glint in the eye of Vic Holtreman.

best tv moments 2010 smallville future lois clark Television Rewind: Smallville Pilot Discussion

Flash foward to today and I can’t believe that Smallville has been on the air for 10 years. If anything, I can’t believe that I watched a series for 10 years. A series that has its fair share of terrible moments. Don’t me wrong: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching the series evolve into what it is today, but that doesn’t me there weren’t moments that I wanted to turn it off.

So tonight, thanks to a wonderful programming decision by The CW, Smallville fans are able to look back at the episode that started it all.

Looking back: how do you think the series premiere holds up? Would you have guessed that this was the beginning of a 10-year series that is now going to lead to Clark becoming Superman?

Smallville airs Fridays @8pm, on The CW.

TAGS: Smallville
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  1. I actually wanted to see this show when i first heard of it… but missed the Premier. I started watching on the second episode. lol

    And yes… it has had some bad moments/episodes and even some Terrible moments. But I have watched every episode religiously. :)

  2. my favorite part was the first meteor shower and lex taking down the fortress and finding out Clark’s secret that was the best.
    gonna miss the show so much tv wont be the same with out smallville

  3. I didn’t give the series a second thought when it first came out BUT I bought a 50 inch flat screen tv in december of last year so I called my cable company and told them I wanted the HD channels I was flicking around the next morning after staying up all night and came across HDNet and they had smallville on so I watched it and fell in love with it now 4mo’s later I own all of the seasons on dvd and I still watch it every morning on hdnet my kids think I’m crazy because the only other show I got hooked on was all of the star treks and they know how I get LOL so now I am looking for anything smallville and its sucks I get in to the show in its last season just like star trek TNG LOL I guess better late than never

  4. watched the show from the start best show ever will miss it :(

  5. This show has been hit or miss at times, and was never been my favorite show. However, it’s the only show that I’ve watched from the first episode to the last. I’ll miss it.

  6. I have to say, Smallville is one of my favorite shows ever. But that is not to say it’s perfect. There have been good episodes and there have been great episodes; there have been bad episodes and there have been terrible episodes. But I don’t regret watchng a single episode and will miss the show when it’s gone. Anyone can love perfection, but to love imperfection is thr truest love there is. I love everyone associated with the series for better or worse. God bless.

  7. Smallville is my favorite show! Yes it’s had it bad moments, but what show hasn’t? They’ve held strong for 10 years, and they’re going out on their own terms instead of being cancelled. I will miss Smallville like crazy.


  8. It’s amazing how much this show has evolved since season 1. Looking back now, it’s been a blast. And you can bet I’ll be there to see Clark put on that cape come finale night.

  9. I’ve loved Smallville since day one and every time I see the pilot episode it amazes me how young Tom Welling looked in 2001. I’m going to miss Smallville when it’s gone.

  10. I love Smallville so much! I always thought that Welling was the best Superman. He looks like him physically and understands the character’s humanity. I will miss this show. Before I started reading comics I hated Superman and thought he was lame but I still enjoyed watching Smallville.

    Aside from the cartoons Smallville has been the only show/movie about Superman that has been good over the last decade. I will always look back with found memories on this show.

  11. I have watched Smallville from the pilot and will miss it, but how cool is it they get to out on their own terms and give the fans an epic finale. Love the new promos they aired tonight during the pilot. I would write more about how much I’m a fan but I’ll wait till May 13th 2011.

  12. No other show has the power to make me so angry at the writing — but almost no other show have I loved as much. It’s a conundrum. It’s like being on a roller coaster. The show will take you to the highest of highs, then plunge you to the lowest of lows, then spin you around and do both all over again.

    The casting has been stellar, even of small roles like Flash. The Kent parents were perfect and I’ll always think of them as THE Johnathan and Martha Kent. Casting Welling was genius, after all, nobody could predict how this lad would turn out 10 years later, but he really grew up into an ideal Superman. The casting director has done a great job all around. The actors are talented, charismatic, and make the best of some really questionable scripts.

    Smallville, you brought me great joy and great angst. You will be missed.

  13. Forgot to add:

    Prior to the last 2 years, Smallville was also a fantastic looking show. Production values were top notch. Brilliant directing, cinematography, and musical score. Gorgeously detailed sets and great location shooting. Some truly breathtaking and amazing special effects (movie-worthy). You can really feel the drastic budget cuts that happened after season 8. They did the best with the money they had, and it is still a good looking show. But to go from “Amazing” to “good” is a noticeable difference

  14. Love the show and this season has been great but…….. Whoever wrote this article needs to read it before publishing, words missing or spelt wrong. Not once but at least 3 times. Thought SR would have professional journalists.

  15. @Anthony
    “to accept some teenage Lex Luthor”

    Lex was never a teenager in Smallville. Just thought I should point that out. He was six years older than Clark, and that makes him 21 in the pilot.

  16. I have recently rewatched seasons 1-9. It’s been an amazing ten years, some of the lows have been dreadful (Ageless, Thirst, Season Four) but the highs have equally brilliant. I really felt I have grown up alongside these characters as I was 17 when it started.
    Lots of my favourite shows have finished in the past few years, 24 was the other big one for me and at the end I was both sad and glad it had ended.
    With Smallville, I’ve stuck with it for a decade, always thinking it would get cancelled, so it ending is a sad one for me. I can only hope it goes out on a real bang (as Dominion and Prophecy don’t sound like great episodes, Lois getting Clark’s powers in the Fortress? Really? All Star Superman much!) and that the show has the ending it deserves.
    It’s often said by actors or tv execs that fans keep a show going, and that has never been more true than Smallville, without a Legion of fans across the globe, it would never have lasted 10 years.
    The amazing guest stars they’ve had over the years, Christopher Reeve was probably the coolest. They did comic book stories that we’d never had a chance to see in live action before, Smallville was often brave beyond it’s budget but that never really mattered because the show had so much heart.
    Tom Welling may not get to play Superman on the big screen, but to me he is Superman, Erica Durance is Lois Lane, Michael Rosenbaum is Lex Luthor.

    There’s nothing else I would rather have spent ten years watching.

    • You said it perfectly.

  17. In looking back at the pilot, it was a setup of what’s to come throughout the series. The seeds planted were Clark’s journey towards his grand destiny, his family relationship with Jonathan and Martha, his love relationship with Lana, his rivalry with Lex Luthor, and his friendships with Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan. Everything was perfect and AlMiles crafted a well-thought out story and David Nutter certainly earns the moniker as the Steven Spielberg of Television. Greg Beeman and James Marshall have to be credited for helping to bring Smallville to life. I have watched Smallville since the pilot and never missed an episode. After spending 10 years watching the series, all the dedication will pay off in the series finale. In anticipation for the final batch of episodes, it’s Booster and the Finale that are the most hyped.

  18. First I commend Screen Rant for this topic and hope for more tributes and homages as the show reahces it’s end. Maybe further discussions or polls can be setup for overall best episode, best season, best premiere & finale, memorable scene etc,

    I wholeheartedly admit to not being keen on the show’s premise. Like many I grew up feeling there was ever one true screen interpretation of the character – Christopher Reeve. Although I watched the Dean Cain tv series, I never felt that matched the serious epic tone of certainly Superman & Superman II.

    So initially I just didn’t buy Smallvile, I wasn’t interested in watching the character before he gets his powers – how would that be exciting? As Anthony says the notion of Lex and Clark being friends, just felt weird. Wouldn’t Lex then know who Superman is’ I kept asking myself.

    The pilot episode itself starts with a bang with the meteor shower sequence that would still put many higher budgeted movies to shame.

    But as you do you watch one or two episode of a series and then you’re hooked. The show had elements of Dawson’s Creek – which I also watched, and strangely enough it was the episode ‘Cool’ where the guy absorbs body heat when started to like the show.

    The rest as they say is history, and for the best part of ten years we’ve had a show that’s proven to be just as strong in character development and progression as in providing cinematic scale action sequences and special effects. Ok there have been a few missteps in quality along the way season four’s ‘Krypto’ has got to be one of the worst episodes. But all the great shows – NYPD Blue, Sopranos, ER etc have all enudred low points at some stage. Unlike many other great shows, each season has a distinctiveness and moves in a different direction to the previous year.

    Even after ten years it’s still setting the benchmark for what both a season premiere and finale should be. I’m so glad it didn’t befall the same fate as Quantum Leap (one of the best shows of the nineties) by being cut short way before it’s time. Rightfully the show can end completely.

    I just wish in the great hierachy of television, Smallville would get more recognition. Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under etc, are constantly lauded upon with some justification, but Smallville has still been the best show of the noughties that is without question.

    • “Krypto” IS the worst episode. (IMO)

      Haha. But it gave us Shelby (Shelbie?)

      • There are worse episodes than “Krypto”. “Thirst” and “Ageless” spring to mind straight away.

  19. I really enjoyed looking back at the first episode. So well done. The stage was set for a wonderful ten years. Yes, like all series it had its up and downs. They all do. But this year has been fantastic and it is so saaaaad, to see it end. Finally Clark becomes Superman…and he is gone. Wish they would do a Justice League series with the same actors.

  20. The CW wasn’t even around then, Smallville premierd on cable on the WB channel.

    And I have to say, I’ve seen very few early episodes of Smallville and zero episodes from season one , so when I saw this I was surprised at how different it was to what I ussually get from Smallville.

    • *premiered

    • @Jose – The WB was a broadcast network, not a cable channel, in all of the major US markets. It was also a UHF channel in smaller markets. Many have forgotten that. They, like UPN and Fox, challenged the market of the “Big 3″ and won a significant amount of viewership enough to give the thriving cable market a shove to produce new fictional (versus “reality”) programming that’s engaging. USA, AMC, SyFy, TV Guide Channel, LifeTime, and on and on would be nowhere without these challengers to NBC, ABC, and CBS. HBO included.

      Okay so I know some of the crew that lost their jobs when WB closed… So sue me for cheering them on. :)

      • Was not aware of that, all I know is that the CW wasn’t around then. Plus I was 9 then so I can’t remember where the WB was.

  21. Such an amazing journey from/ the pilot to the shows finale….seeing Tom Welling go from your average farmboy bubbling nerd trying to ask Lana out….to a man trying to prove his the greatest super hero by facing his last challenge Darkseid. Tv execs and movie execs (Snyder and Goyer) you want to make a good tv show or movie of a hero you have a ten year formula to observe.

  22. Not familiar with Lana??
    I enjoyed the early episodes about discovering various powers but I really lost interest when series got mired down in relationship drama…but that’s just a personal preference. I certainly never expected it to last so long. My favorite episode was the ONE was where he lost his powers (just kidding…)
    I look forward to an exciting conclusion to this show. I just hope we get the pay-off we’re all hoping for and get to see Welling as real Superman, not just the Blur…

  23. Although I started out as a regular viewer – and liked what I saw – I eventually tuned out when the plots became repetitious “meteor freak-of- the-week” stories. To me. the most compelling storyline was the duality of the young Lex Luthor, struggling to be a real friend to Clark while being drawn ever closer to his evil side.
    When I read that this would be the final season, I started watching again–and am now sorry it won’t continue.
    But I have never understood why — with all the movie “reboots” — producers never cast Tom Welling in the big screen role. His acting, just like his character, has matured to the point where he would be the IDEAL Superman along with the perfect Lex!
    And the show would serve as a ready-made springboard for a new movie, bringing with it the legion of fans of the TV show as a built-in audience.
    I’m not a producer, but to me it seems it would have been a natural transition and something to really look forward to. The viewers have grown up with Welling and Lex – as well as Lex’s father. Why not capitalize on that rather than giving us an entirely new cast to try to get used t I just don’t get it…

  24. I never watch Smallville reruns but I just had to watch the Pilot. It’s been so long! It was crazy to see how young everyone was. Tom Welling aged drastically these past couple of years, and not in a good way. He would still make a good, older Superman.

    The graphics were really good. It really emphasizes on how much they must’ve lowered the budget since then.

    For his first time on screen Tom Welling really didn’t do such a bad job. The only thing I found a bit forced were the scenes where he has to act upset. He’s gotten much better though.

    Lots of growth over the past ten years with everything on the show, both good and bad. I will miss this show, but it’s time has come.

    Can’t wait to see the finale.

  25. baaaaahhhh, the show became rubbish after season 3,

    • Bah. Obviously you missed the past couple seasons 😉

      • not really, watched season 4-6, and couldnt bear it any longer, some of my friends persuaded me to watch like 2 episodes of season 7 & a few from season eight and that’s when i stamped my foot and said i couldnt go on, all clark losing and gettin back his powers, lana doesnt know who she loves, she has powers today and doesnt tomorrow, cloning, and lots of other stuff that made it childish made tired of it real quick….season 1-3 were the best they made.

        • @ julius

          I agree. Seasons 1-3 of Smallville were the best imo aswell.

          • @wallywest, yh, really couldnt wait to see the nxt episode in those earlier seasons but later on it felt like ey ran out of stories and it just became monotonous,

        • By the last couple I meant 8-10. Season 9 was awesome for the most part.

          • ok, i’ll try and check em out, hope its really matured in this time, not like that show ‘Heroes’…..

  26. Point of Clarification. Smallville premiered on the WB network, not CW. It’s not even a “hair” difference as the new network is only partially headed up by the original WB crew and is currently shared with CBS. Not to mention it’s also broadcasted out of CBS and not the Warner facility. Therefore, it is very clearly not “In 2001, The CW was set to premiere…” but “In 2001, The WB was set to premiere…” Warner took a chance on the property, not the CW.


    • em….does it really matter???

    • I was about to say the same thing

  27. Welling grew up to look like the perfect Superman. Exceedingly handsome and muscular, without looking like a gym freak. It’s a fine line to walk. What is frustrating about his perfect look now, is that years ago, I heard he had signed a multi-picture deal with Warner Bros., to be executed only once the show ended. Why they then couldn’t just end the show and use that contract to do Superman movies, I’ll never understand. I guess the show was just making WB too much money to end. They spent $800 million on making it over 10 years, apparently. Which means it must have grossed around a billion dollars. Amazing to think about.

  28. Personally, I really enjoyed the retro episode last evening. The first attempt at Clark’s spaceship was really funny – an overgrown turtle shell. I also had not noticed the interesting camera angle in the graveyard – Clark in front of an angel statue gave him the appearence of wings.

    Yes Mr. Welling has aged over the last ten years, but it has been gracefully. I hope he enjoys some time off from his four jobs… But not too much. I am looking forward to seeing him on both the small and large screen in the near future.

    I’m not a fan of the new Superman, but hope the Justice League movie comes to fruition with a different actor. The Smallville final season would have been a great lead in to the next movie, but is now just a missed opportunity.

  29. Personally, I really enjoyed the retro episode last evening. The first attempt at Clark’s spaceship was really funny – an overgrown turtle shell. I also had not noticed the interesting camera angle in the graveyard – Clark in front of an angel statue gave him the appearence of wings.

    Yes Mr. Welling has aged over the last ten years, but it has been gracefully. I hope he enjoys some time off from his four jobs… But not too much. I am looking forward to seeing him on both the small and large screen in the near future.

    I’m not a fan of the new Superman, but hope the Justice League movie comes to fruition with a different actor. The Smallville final season would have been a great lead in to the next movie, but is now just a missed opportunity.

    Thanks for the memories CW, I will be looking forward to all the final episodes of Smallville.