DVD Review: SMALLVILLE Season 8

Warner Home Video
MSRP: $59.98
Release date: August 25, 2009
Stars: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Aaron Ashmore, Cassidy Freeman, Sam Witwer, Justin Hartley

Going into Smallville‘s eighth season, original developers/exec producers Al Gough and Miles Millar were replaced by Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, Darren Swimmer, and Todd Slavkin. Onscreen, two major villains, Lionel and Lex Luthor (John Glover and Michael Rosenbaum) had been written off the show. To compensate two new adversaries for Clark Kent were introduced: Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman), new head of LuthorCorp, and Davis Bloome (Sam Witwer), dedicated paramedic destined to become the comic book villain Doomsday.

The past few seasons of Smallville have struck me as very uneven. Well past its original five-year plan, the show has muddled its way through Clark’s college years, and by the end of its Season 8 premiere, he’s been hired by the Daily Planet, partnered with Lois Lane.

Lois and Clark’s partnership/romance is to me the most engaging aspect of the Superman mythos and I never tire of seeing it played out. The only drawback to its portrayal on Smallville is that Erica Durance’s contract limits her to thirteen out of twenty-two episodes a season, so viewers get stops and starts.

Also, I didn’t think I would, but I enjoyed the re-imagining of Doomsday as a conflicted character who struggles with his violent tendencies. Davis Bloome was a good obstacle to Chloe’s romance with Jimmy Olsen, and my favorite Smallville writer, Caroline Dries, did a credible job of linking him to classic nemesis Zod (in the episode “Bloodline”).

Other Season 8 highlights include the elevation of Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley) to series regular, the multi-episode return of Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk), and a Legion of Superheroes episode written by Geoff Johns.

Overall, while a change at the top gave the show some life, Season 8 was a mixed bag. If you’ve remained a fan all this time, there’s still enough to enjoy here and make Season 8 worth owning.

The six-disc set includes two audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and featurettes: on Allison Mack’s directorial debut (in the episode “Power”), and on the re-imagining of Doomsday.

–Gerald So