Smallville, although well shot and portrayed has never been a favorite series of mine. Growing up I was a Marvel comics fan, I hardly ever crossed into the DC market and if I did, it was for Batman, never Superman. Of course, for those of you that don’t know Smallville follows the life of a young Clark Kent in the years prior to him becoming Superman. Of course it started out in season 1 with Kent in high school, very unsure of his potential but six seasons later he’s very Superman esque. That’s the aspect I really like about this show, the character arcs and the development of Clark Kent into Superman. We get to learn why he is the way he is, and why the people around him are the way they are.
For those of you that read the Superman comics you know that Clark Kent grew up in the fictional town of Smallville, first introduced in a Superman comic nearly 60 years ago. During the first 5 seasons of Smallville we get a taste of just about everything Superman, from the origins of Lex Luthor to The Fortress of Solitude. Without a doubt this show is a spectacular Superman spin-off for fans, but if your like me and could really care less about The Man of Steel, Smallville Season 6 isn’t going to strike a chord with you unless you rewind a bit and start watching from season 1.
Now lets get into the season specific details, we left season 5 off with Lex’s body being possessed and trapping Clark in the Phantom Zone. A computer virus was released and chaos ensued in Metropolis and all over Earth, and no Superman to save the day. This is where season 6 takes off, and things aren’t looking good, but eventually Clark escapes the Phantom Zone taking several outcasts with him which causese ongoing problems. Fans of DC Comics will be pleased to hear The Green Arrow and other familiar faces make their way into the Smallville world. But what I liked most about the season was Lex Luther’s further progression into his sinister ways, making for some great character and story arcs.
Now I couldn’t in good faith compare season 6 to the past seasons because I’ve hardly watched, and for people who sparsely watch the show you really should start at the beginning. But Smallville Season 6 is sure to please fans of the show for the most part as it stays with the formula you already know and love.
Presented in 1080p 1.78:1 aspect ratio and encoded in VC1, Smallville Season 6 comes to HD DVD with some impressive looking results. Compared to the TV airings this version looks vastly superior, most notable the color. Red, blacks and flesh tones jump right off the screen, with no noticeable artifacts or bleeding.
Unfortunately you do get the occasion problems associated with TV releases on HD DVD such as softness, color dullness and grain. Please note that while these three things aren’t welcome in any transfer, they do not occur frequently enough to hinder an otherwise great looking picture. Although Smallville is not the best looking TV show I have seen on a high definition format, it still offers a vast improvement over the standard DVD.
Warner Brothers has included a 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus track which does a good job presenting the shows material. Dialogue sounds terrific, with no audio dropouts or balancing issues. The problem I have with the track is the quality of the sound when there is an action sequence which utilizes all the channels. The bass sounds weak and the rear channel effects lack the depth normally heard from Hollywood Blockbusters. The track does provide an enjoyable experience, it just didn’t wow me as much as I expected.
The HD DVD version comes with all the special features found on the DVD release. The quality of the features vary from good to pretty boring, although fans should enjoy them all.
- Smallville: Big Fans – A 30 minute look at the fans of Superman and Smallville. We are taken to Comic-Con where we are bombarded with Superman geeks. I felt this feature lacked a real purpose, with very little information given.
- Unaired Scenes – 12 unaired scenes, all of which are presented in high definition. This feature is a must watch for fans of the show.
- Green Arrow: The Legend of the Emerald Archer – A 25 minute look on Green Arrow including an in-depth history and sit downs with some of the industries biggest fans and artist. This is best feature on the disc as it provides a lot of fascinating information on the character.
- The Making of & Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles – A group of phony CGI clips used to give a brief history of Green Arrow. Unfortunately this feature is extremely rough looking and doesn’t provide anything useful. The making of feature focuses on these animated short and is unfortunately just as boring as the shorts themselves.
- Smallville Legends: Justice & Doom – A sort of an interactive comic book that tries to fill gaps between the show and the comic. Although the feature does a good job of clearing up some information, there isn’t anything too exciting here.
Smallville Season 6 looks great on HD DVD and is sure to please fans with a nice handful of special features. The season itself is rather entertaining and action packed with some rather exceptional storylines. Is the show spectacular? No, absolutely not but it’s sure to please fans of the DC Comic and the Superman universe.