The Complete Sixth Season

Starring: Tom Welling, Kristin Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, Erica Durance, Allison Mack, John Glover and Annette O'Toole
Warner Home Video
RRP: 49.99
Certificate: 15
Available 22 October 2007

They tried to be friends. But their chosen paths set them on a collision course. The Clark Kent - Lex Luthor rivalry explodes into the fierce good-versus-evil battle fans have long expected in
Season Six of the Smallville series. Adding to the rivalry Lana Lang prepares to become Mrs. Luthor; Green Arrow forms a superhero league; Phantom Zone escapees menace Earth; and Luthorcorp expands its dark experiments...

Season Six of Smallville starts to shape the characters of Clark, Lex and Lois into the adult figures that fans know from the comic books. Lex is becoming more and more ruthless, Clark is starting to realise that his powers could be used to help other, rather than just the people he cares about, and Lois embarks on a journalistic career - even if she's not a particularly good at sniffing out a hot story.

It's difficult to give a fair review of this collection without offering up any real spoilers. But, without giving too much away, in Season Six there are less "monster of the week" episodes, as the series gathers momentum and offers ongoing story arcs. These include Oliver Queen working out where he fits in the overall superhero scene; Lana and Lex's ongoing relationship; Clark having to hunt down the creatures that escaped from the Phantom Zone; Lionel Luthor's real reason for protecting Clark's secret identity; Martha Kent's political career; Chloe's mysterious secret; and Lex slowly becoming more and more dark.

The introduction of Green Arrow, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg in this season brings a lot to the table. It's interesting to see how younger versions of these characters are handled (impressively, to be honest). The ongoing Lana/Lex relationship is also well handled. The twists and turns really tug at the old heart strings, especially when Clark is added to the mix.

As I mentioned before, the "monster of the week" episodes are kept to a minimum. When they are used, there's a much better explanation than there used to be in earlier seasons of the show. In Season Six the one-week-only monsters are either beings that escaped from the Phantom Zone, or have something to do with Luthorcorp and the ongoing project that Lex has taken a keen interest in.

Of course, a lot the jeopardy that revolves around the main characters is a little false as we already know that nothing can happen to Clark, Lana, Lex or Lois - we know that they all go on to be part of Superman's life in the future. So as this season concludes, we know that at least one of the cliff-hanging fates of the main characters will resolve itself. Of course, how that will be achieved is another matter.

Because we poor reviewers don't have the luxury of watching these episodes at our leisure, I was placed in solitary for three days (watching all 22 episodes back to back) and to be perfectly honest, because of the story arcs, this is probably the best to watch this season. The hours fly by and before you know it you've watched all 22 episodes - and are definitely left wanting more.

Lynda Carter (who played Wonder Woman in the '70s TV series) cameos as Chloe's mother in the episode Progeny. While far from the best episode in this collection, it's great that we get a little more information on Chloe's background. Personally I thought Carter was under used in the episode, but the conclusion hit just the right level.

Noir is another episode worthy of note. Basically it's an episode where all the main actors get to have fun with their characters as the majority of the episode is told as a black and white dream after Jimmy Olsen is knocked out cold. So we get a slice of film noir Smallville style.

Freak is about the only "creature of the week" episode that harks back to the show's early years. Here a young man, blinded by the recent meteor shower, is able to see other people who are also meteor infected. Of course, Luthorcorp is using him to find other freaks, so they can experiment on them. The most important thing about this episode is that it opens up a new can of worms for one of the regular characters.

Extras include Green Arrow: The History of the Emerald Archer (25 minute featurette that looks at the history of Green Arrow in comics up until his appearance in Smallville. This documentary is narrated by Star Wars's Mark Hamill and includes interviews with comics writers and illustrators, as well as director Kevin Smith); Smallville: Big Fans (30 minute look some of the die-hard fans of the series. We get to look into the lives of some of the fans, as well as listen to some of the the stars' reactions and the woman whose job it is to deal with all the fan mail that comes into the show); Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles (24 minutes look at the origins of the Green Arrow through six animated parts. These animated mobisodes were originally designed to be viewed on mobile phones. Sadly they look incredibly poor on a normal sized TV, but it's still interesting to see this take on the character's origins); The Making of Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles (9 minute behind the scenes look, split into three parts, at how and why the mobisodes were originally created); Smallville Legends: Justice & Doom (10 minute collection of animated comic book stories. Sadly the text appears on screen for slightly less time than most people will be able to read it comfortably (especially when you'll want to look at the illustrations too to work out what is going on); and finally we get loads of Deleted Scenes (which are included on the disc with that episode on it. These are well worth watching as in a lot of cases they actually give a lot more depth to an episode.

With a retail price of under £50, this is one of the best value for money DVD collections on the market at present. Smallville fans won't be disappointed.

Pete Boomer

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