Comics On TV: 'Smallville'


by Ryan Rigley

Season one of the CW's "Arrow" may have just ended, but that hasn't stopped us, or the rest of the country for that matter, from speculating about season two. In fact, "Arrow" executive producer Marc Guggenheim has already starting dropping a few hints as to what to expect from next year's episodes. "In Season 2, we'll actually have two big bads," Guggenhim reveals in a recent interview with TV Guide. "They'll both be very recognizable names to fans of the comic book. We're really excited about both of them."

However, there's still the matter of actually waiting for season two of "Arrow" to roll around. In the meantime, we thought it best to take a look back at some of television's previously aired series based on comic books. Take the CW's "Smallville" for example. Before there was Henry Cavill's "Man of Steel," there was Tom Welling, dispensing justice and breaking hearts in the cornfields of Smallville, Kansas.

Series Statistics

Network: The WB/The CW

Broadcast Date: 2001 - 2011

Seasons: 10

Episodes: 218

The CW's most popular TV series based on a comic book to date, "Smallville" starred Tom Welling, Kristin Kreuk, and Michael Rosenbaum as Clark Kent, Lana Lang, and Lex Luthor respectively. The series' premise was always to show the evolution of Clark Kent from small-town farm boy to big-city superhero, and in that regard it was largely successful. Although the series' later seasons were very hit-or-miss with die-hard fans, the show still boasts an extraordinary number of DC character cameos.

Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, The Flash, technically even Wonder Woman (thanks to a stray line of dialogue), all made appearances on the show several times over. In fact, the Green Arrow's first live-action television debut was in an episode of "Smallville," appropriately titled "Arrow." As far as villains go, all of Superman's biggest and baddest foes shared an encounter with the young Kal-El: General Zod, Bizarro, Braniac, Darkseid, Metallo, Doomsday, etc. You can just imagine how "Smallville" managed to stay on the air for ten solid years. And if you can't, here's the show's super-catchy theme song:

Notable Episodes


Guest starring the original Man of Steel, Christopher Reeve, "Rosetta" marks the first time on the series that we hear of Kal-El's "Last Son of Krypton" origin story. It also marks the first time that we see the Kryptonian language in a more professional setting; i.e. in the offices of Dr. Swann, one of Clark's mentors.


Literally taking a look inside the mind of one of the most evil men in comic book history, Lex Luthor undergoes an experiment that he hopes will unlock some hidden memories about his father. What ensues is the untold story of Lex Luthor, giving us an idea of just how this evil man came to be the way he is today.


After six long seasons of Clark Kent beating around the bush, "Phantom" marks Clark's big reveal to Lana Lang as he finally clues her in on what and who he is. Of course, by this point, it's too little too late for the two of them. However, the episode does end with the surprising debut of Bizarro!

Absolute Justice

Written by DC comics' very own writer of steel, Geoff Johns, this two hour long special episode features appearances from both the Justice League and the Justice Society of America. It isn't every day that we get a live-action Doctor Fate, Stargirl, or Hawkman on television, in full costume no less!


The 200th episode of the series, "Homecoming" takes a look back on the entire "Smallville" series up until that point, and then some, as Braniac 5 gives Clark an in-depth look at his past, present, and future. We even get a quick red and blue tease of the superhero that Clark will eventually become.

If, for some reason, you don't feel like watching all 218 episodes of "Smallville" but still would like to witness Clark Kent's graceful transformation into the Man of Steel, then do yourself a favor and just watch the last three minutes of the series.

This is Comics On TV, the column that celebrates the classic comic book TV series that blazed the trail for modern day hits like "Arrow," "The Walking Dead" and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." If you have any favorite episodes of this week's series, let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!