As of tomorrow, all ten glorious seasons (or nine glorious seasons, and Season 7) of Smallville are available to stream for free on Hulu. We're two weeks out from the fifteenth anniversary of Smallville's wonderful pilot (which aired on the late WB network on October 16, 2001), and what better way to celebrate that anniversary than by wading your way into the DCTV show that spawned a DCTV network? It's been said before (and by Smallville star Tom Welling in my interview with him), but without Smallville, there would be no Arrow, no Flash, no Supergirl. And in a time when our big-screen Superman is a terse, resentful martyr, the best thing about watching Smallville is you'll find a nascent Superman with honor and integrity, one who does the right thing because it's the right thing to do, and is generally pretty cheerful to do it.
Still, 217 episodes might be daunting for a neophyte, so I've narrowed down the series somewhat to the most crucial episodes. You can navigate the entire series, miss the duds, catch all of the highlights and still follow the story with this primer. Of course, as someone who has seen all 217 episodes many, many times, I instead believe you should watch all of them, and I'd actually like to advocate for buying the complete series (link below), because the special features are top-notch. They include some of the best episode commentaries and deleted scenes I've ever seen for a series, as well as many terrific featurettes and a charming gag reel for the first three seasons. But you're busy, I get it. Check out the primer first and see how you feel.
Disclaimer, and I'm only giving the one: this show isn't for everyone. Lots of people hate it! And that's totally okay. But if you hate it, that just means this primer isn't for you. Go on about your business and let the rest of us have our fun. I've written at length here about why I love Smallville so deeply, and I think that, with the advent of the Berlantiverse, it's primed for a new audience.
So allow me to use my vast knowledge of this silly show to guide that new audience.
Where it all began! The idyllic farmtown of Smallville is hit by a meteor shower, delivering Earth's Greatest Hero in toddler form and also infecting its residents with Kryptonite, resulting in an extraterrestrial mutation that turns much of the town into super-powered villains. Twelve years later, Clark Kent is a teenager with the best parents in the world, two steadfast friends in Pete Ross and Lois Lane prototype (and cousin, though we learn that later) Chloe Sullivan, and a desperate crush on beautiful girl next door Lana Lang. After discovering his alien heritage, learning of Smallville's "meteor freak" problem and saving the life and earning the friendship of billionaire bad boy Lex Luthor, he's several steps closer to (but still ten years away from) becoming Superman.
Written by show creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and directed by David Nutter (who also directed the pilots of The Flash, Arrow and, for what it's worth, Supernatural), Smallville's pilot sets up its universe cleverly and with no small amount of warmth.
A perfect example of the early freak-of-the-week format, Lizzy Caplan drops by to play Tina Greer, a meteor freak who can transform herself into anyone and has a dangerous obsession with Lana Lang (in only four episodes, already the second Lana stalker, and there will be dozens more). Luckily, Clark, who slowly develops his Superman abilities throughout puberty and beyond, has discovered he has X-ray vision, allowing him to identify Tina when no one else can. Meanwhile, Lex is being blackmailed by a dirty journalist named Roger Nixon, who knows more than we do about Lex's mysterious past.
Directed by one-timer James Frawley, "X-Ray" is written by producer Mark Verheiden, who wrote some of my favorite episodes of Smallville ("Heat," "Perry").
An early highlight for the series, offering more than the freak-of-the-week plot (although it has one of those, too) and giving us a glimpse of what Smallville will grow to be, "Hourglass" introduces us to Cassandra Carver, an elderly clairvoyant whom Clark befriends. She sees Clark's great future, the hero he will become, but she also sees a vision of him standing alone, surrounded by the graves of everyone he loves. It's bleak, but not nearly as bleak as her vision of Lex's future.
"Hourglass" is directed by Lois and Clark vet Chris Long, who stuck around for a couple more episodes of Smallville before going on to become a major producer for the network's Gilmore Girls. It's written by Doris Egan, Smallville's first of many female writers.
Hey, it's Tony Todd! "Jitters" is the first true twist on the freak-of-the-week setup, with Todd playing, with heartbreaking humanity, former Kent Farm employee Earl Jenkins. Earl is no villain, but rather a victim of LuthorCorp's dangerous experiments in Smallville. His desperation to be cured results in a tense hostage scenario that tests the mettle - and the integrity - of both Clark and Lex.
"Jitters" is directed by TV veteran Michael W. Watkins, who has gone on to direct episode runs of Justified, The Black List and much more. It's the only episode written by The Young and the Restless writing duo Jeff Gottesfeld and Cherie Bennett.
After a lightning strike and some Kryptonite robs Clark of his powers and gives them to Eric Summer (the first and lesser Ashmore twin to feature on Smallville), we see what would happen if someone with Clark's unlimited power were raised by cruel and distant parents instead of the wonderful Kents. Eric quickly begins misusing his new abilities, and Clark must find a way to stop him without any of his own special endowments.
"Leech" is the second episode directed by my favorite Smallville director Greg Beeman, who would go on to direct the majority of the show's premieres and finales and become one of Smallville's most important guiding forces. He also gives one hell of a commentary. It was written by one-timer Tim Schlattmann.
Exposure to an experimental flower has many of Smallville's residents acting rather dangerously (and way more fun). "Nicodemus" is a light-hearted blast.
James Marshall directed "Nicodemus," the first of 26 episodes directed by the man who would also become one of Smallville's executive producers. It was written by producer Michael Green, who wrote several Season 1 episodes and who left Smallville to work on the lovely Greg Berlanti family drama Everwood.
The best of the freak-of-the-week eps in Season One, "Crush" features an adorably sinister Adam Brody, who wins my heart by becoming obsessed with Chloe instead of Lana. Everyone should be obsessed with Chloe! (She's the best character on this show.)
It was directed by James Marshall again, and written by creators Gough and Millar along with Philip Levens, so no wonder it's a great, if standard, episode of the show.
The Season One finale, "Tempest" brings a terrifying series of tornadoes to Smallville, just in time to wreck the school formal. It also brings the most intense confrontation yet between Lex and his father Lionel (the inimitable John Glover), and between that dirty journalist from "X-Ray" and Clark's family, as Nixon has gotten uncomfortably close to the secret that is Clark Kent. Some really cool FX in this one, and the stakes are sky-high.
"Tempest" was directed by my boy Beeman and written by Gough and Millar.
"Tempest" ends on a killer cliffhanger, and "Vortex" wraps up the story satisfactorily, including a thrilling trapped plotline between Jonathan Kent and Roger Nixon. It also sows the seeds of mistrust between Clark and Lex.
It was directed by Beeman and written by Levens.
"Heat" is a pretty silly episode, but also a completely delightful one. The onset of Clark's heat vision appears to be related to his sexual development, to poor Clark's mortification, and as his parents try to help him navigate this new sign of maturation, we're treated to an AMAZING father-son training montage set to Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation."
"Heat" was directed by James Marshall and written by "X-Ray"'s Mark Verheiden.
Pete learns Clark's secret! He's the first of Clark's friends to do so, and Smallville gets a lot more fun when Clark has a sidekick.
It was directed by The Wonder Years' Steve Miner, his only Smallville ep, and it's the first episode written by writing partners Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, who went on to write 26 of Smallville's best episodes and became executive producers and even eventual showrunners.
Yep, the first disc of Smallville Season 2 is made up of winners, and "Red" is a big episode because it introduces us to the effects of Red Kryptonite. Red K erases Clark's inhibitions and makes him SO much more fun. A lot hotter, too.
It's the first of four episodes written by now Marvel man Jeph Loeb, who was a producer on Smallville for four seasons before moving onto that other comics universe, and it's the only episode directed by Jeff Woolnough.
A woman appears in Smallville, believing she is the biological mother of Clark Kent, and we flash back to the day of the meteor shower and learn exactly how the Kents conspired to keep Clark, as well as the foundation of Jonathan's hatred for Lionel Luthor.
"Lineage" was directed by Beeman and written by Gough and Millar along with Kenneth Biller, so you know it's a biggie.
We've got another hostage situation at LuthorCorp, our first introduction to DC character Maggie Sawyer and our first peek at The Daily Planet. Clark doesn't quite fly in this episode (or in the 180-odd episodes to follow), but he gets close.
This is another great James Marshall joint, and it was written by Jeph Loeb and Kenneth Biller.
Another fun "Smallville residents behaving badly" episode like "Nicodemus," "Rush" gives us some hilarious and naughty scenes between Clark, Pete and Chloe.
It's the first of seven eps directed by Halloween 2's Rick Rosenthal, and it's written by "Duplicity"'s Slavkin and Swimmer.
GUYS, IT'S CHRISTOPHER REEVE. He plays genius philanthropist Dr. Virgil Swann, who just so happens to be the man to reveal Clark's Kryptonian heritage to him in a beautiful torch-passing moment, while a few seconds of the iconic Superman score play in the background. It's MAJOR.
It's directed by two Smallville all-timers: James Marshall and Greg Beeman, and it's written by - who else? - Gough and Millar.
One of the great Smallville season finales, "Calling" introduces us to the voice of Jor-El (intoned by a little nobody named TERENCE STAMP). As Lex prepares for a wedding that will end in disaster, Clark's desperate attempt to escape his Kryptonian burden has devastating repercussions for everyone he loves.
"Calling" was directed by Beeman, and it was written by Gough and Millar.
Season Three opens with Clark living large in Metropolis under the influence of Red K, getting into all sorts of trouble while his friends and family search for him at home. Meanwhile, Lex's in his own sort of exile, surviving on a deserted island after his honeymoon plane went down in the Season Two finale. The episode ends with everyone back in their rightful place, but it's a fun diversion from the norm for a while.
It's directed by Beeman and written by Gough and Millar.
"Phoenix" just spends an hour restoring Smallville to its status quo, but it does so with some gripping drama and great performances by all involved.
Marshall directed it, and it's the first truly great episode written by my absolute faves, duo Kelly Souders and Brian Wayne Peterson, who wrote 35 episodes of the series, became executive producers and were the series-ending showrunners.
"Slumber" is a really cool episode of Smallville. In premise, it's a bit of a rip-off of Buffy's "Nightmares," but the execution is clever and exciting, and it features a terrific one-off performance by my girl Katharine Isabelle.
It's directed by "Calling"'s Terrence O'Hara, and written by Drew Z. Greenberg, who was a writer on Buffy so maybe he's allowed to rip it off? He also went on to produce a couple seasons of Arrow.
One of my all-time favorite episodes of Smallville, "Perry" brings on the great Michael McKean (who happens to be married to Smallville's Martha Kent, Annette O'Toole) to play future Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White. Here he's a drunk, cynical has-been, but Clark's heroism inspires him to become the man we know from the comics and films.
"Perry" is the first ep directed by Supergirl's (and Jaws 2's) Jeannot Szwarc, who became one of the best directors in Smallville's run, and it was written by Verheiden.
Lex is still reeling from his time on the island, developing a dangerous psychosis as a result of the trauma - or is there something more malevolent at work here? Clark races against the clock to keep Lex out of Belle Reve Sanitarium, and Michael Rosenbaum continues to give a brilliant performance as Lex's sanity slips away from him.
Biller's back to write and direct this one, a rarity on Smallville.
Lex is now in Belle Reve and it's up to Clark and Chloe to get him out. It's a riveting second half to this great two-parter.
My pal Beeman directed, and Slavkin and Swimmer did the writing.
Alicia Baker has the power to teleport, and after a near-death experience throws her and Clark together, they grow very close. But she's crazy! "Obsession" is both hot and fun, and guest star Sarah Carter is all-time crush-worthy.
James Marshall directed, and it's the second of nine episodes written by Holly Harold.
Clark's volunteering at a crisis hotline when he gets a terrified call from Lana - from the future! Anecdotally, "Crisis" is the episode that got me hooked on Smallville. I'd seen some of the previous seasons and enjoyed it, but after "Crisis," I was a lifer.
It was directed by Biller and written by my faves Souders and Peterson.
While investigating at LuthorCorp, Chloe's hit with a dose of a mysterious substance that causes everyone to speak the truth to her. As a journalist and a bit of a nosey parker, this is her dream come true, and it's a great opportunity to see the dark side of Smallville's sweetheart.
"Truth" was directed by Marshall and written by Greenberg.
A mysterious young woman appears at the Kent farm, claiming to be Kara Zor-El of Krypton - but something doesn't add up with her story. Guest appearance by the would-be Wonder Woman Adrianne Palicki!
Beeman directed and Gough, Millar, Slavkin and Swimmer all wrote together.
Smallville's best premiere! We meet Chloe's cousin Lois Lane, a brash army brat here to drive Clark up the wall and make the rest of us fall in love with her. We also see Clark - excuse me, Kal-El, under the influence of Jor-El and with no memory of his human life - soar across the skies and punch his freaking fist through an airplane. Yes, the airplane pilot does ask if it's a bird or a plane. Yes, you will both roll your eyes and cheer at the same time. Yes, Lana gets possessed by a witch. Don't worry about that part.
"Crusade" is another Beeman baby, written by Gough and Millar.
A newly restored Clark and Lois team up to find Chloe, who's gone missing, and it's so fun to see this duo snipe at one another and work together to find the gal they both adore. We also meet the great Michael Ironside as General Sam Lane.
James Marshall directed, and Souders and Peterson wrote.
Okay, on the surface, "Facade" is a pretty dumb episode of Smallville, about a Kryptonite-laced plastic surgery procedure that's all the rage among Smallville High's girls. But it's the episode that gets Lois into investigative journalism, working under Chloe at the school paper The Torch, and it's the beginning of a season-long arc that has Clark playing football for his senior year. Season 4 is just so wholesome and light-hearted, I can't help but love it.
Pat Williams (who also directed the Season 3 episode "Delete," which JUST missed the cut here) is the episode director, and Holly Harold returned to write.
Okay, "Devoted" is ALSO a pretty dumb episode of Smallville, telling the story of cheerleaders dosing Gatorade with Kryptonite to compel the football players to become their slaves (I KNOW, it's SO dumb), but it results in a mind-controlled Chloe becoming an amateur cheerleader, and it's an equally fun entry in a really fun run of episodes. Plus it ends with a terrific Chloe-Clark scene.
Three-timer David Carson directed, and it's the first episode written by Luke Schelhaas, who wrote four S4 episodes and produced the whole season.
Meet Bart Allen, a wise-cracking scamp who runs even faster than Clark. Before I fell in love with The Flash's Grant Gustin, Kyle Gallner was my Flash (well, Impulse) through and through.
This is one of two episodes directed by TV vet David Barrett, and it's the first episode written by Buffy and Angel's Steven S. DeKnight, who became a seasons-long writer and producer on Smallville.
A Kryptonian plot results in Clark body-swapping with an imprisoned Lionel Luthor, who's now free and using his diabolical wit paired with Clark's superhuman bod to cause all sorts of havoc. John Glover and Tom Welling are clearly having a blast with their Freaky Friday roles.
Marshall directed, and Slavkin and Swimmer wrote. And yes, the first SIX episodes of Season 4 all made the cut, because this season starts strong.
Alica Baker's back! She doses Clark with Red K and they whoosh off to Vegas for one of the sexiest and most fun scenes in Smallville history. The followup episode isn't great, but here's what you need to know from it (SPOILER): Alicia dies, but not before revealing Clark's secret to Chloe.
This is a Beeman ep, written by DeKnight and Loeb.
An explosion at a LuthorCorp lab splits Lex into two: his good side, and his bad side. Michael Rosenbaum is always brilliant but never better than in this episode, resulting in one of the all-time line deliveries on Smallville. ("I am the villain of the story.")
Terrence O'Hara directed the ep, written by DeKnight.
Season Four is filled with episodes that sound dumb on paper but are ridiculously fun in practice, and "Spirit" is the best example of that. A prom queen ghost possesses the women of Smallville, and that plot totally doesn't matter. What DOES matter is an episode where Martha Kent shakes it to Ashlee Simpson and Chloe Sullivan is finally given her due.
It's the first of ten episodes directed by Whitney Ransick, and it was written by Schelhaas.
My absolute favorite episode of Smallville, bar none. Clark is struck with amnesia when Martha and Jonathan are out of town, so it's up to Chloe to take care of him. It's a beautiful, moving episode that truly allows the great Allison Mack to shine, and it's an episode that shows Clark and Chloe's friendship to its best advantage.
"Blank" was directed by Szwarc and written by Souders and Peterson.
It's graduation time for our Smallville High seniors, but another meteor shower is due to hit the town - it's almost like, as Chloe says, "there's just something in Smallville that is screaming for celestial attention." Plus Clark finally fulfills Jor-El's design, and the Fortress of Solitude is born.
Beeman, Slavkin, Swimmer - you know the drill.
Another meteor shower, another spaceship delivered to Smallville, while Clark's in the North Pole dealing with his new Fortress and the revelation that Chloe knows his secret. After breaking a promise to Jor-El, he ends the episode without any of his super abilities - but on the plus side, he's now got the world's greatest sidekick in Chloe Sullivan.
James Marshall directed, and Slavkin and Swimmer wrote it.
A chance to see Clark living as a normal guy, and the beginning of a several episode run in which Clark and Lana are actually in a relationship, instead of just dancing around a relationship. Plus Chloe continues to be the literal best. Oh and meet Buffy's James Marsters as Dr. Milton Fine/Brainiac.
"Mortal" is directed by O'Hara and written by DeKnight.
A meteor freak-hating former classmate of Chloe's uses his military connections to direct a nuclear missile at Smallville, and Clark's still without his powers, so they have to rely on Chloe's considerable brains to save the day. The episode ends with one of the coolest Clark saves/FX sequences in all of Smallville, and with the restoration of Clark's powers.
Ransick returns to direct, and Souders and Peterson wrote.
Meet Aquaman! He's a total goofball! He's also caught the eye of one Lois Lane, and raised the suspicions of Clark. But the superfriends soon work it out and realize they're on the same side.
One-timer Bradford May directed the ep, written by Slavkin and Swimmer.
Oh hey, it's John Schneider's Duke brother Tom Wopat! He's a state senator embroiled in a fancy strip club scandal, so naturally Chloe, Lois and Clark all go undercover to get to the bottom of it. Thus begins the state senator rivalry between Lex and Jonathan, and a closing scene firmly establishes the future romance of Lois and Clark.
The episode's directed by Szwarc and written by Souders and Peterson.
It's the hundredth episode of Smallville, an episode in which Clark reveals his secret to Lana, loses her, goes back in time and then loses his father instead. It's powerful and devastating, a story that, in many ways, defines the man Clark will become.
Beeman directed and Souders and Peterson wrote.
"Vengeance" introduces us to DC's Acrata, Andrea Rojas, who, through her furious need for revenge, helps Clark process his own rage and heartbreak at the loss of his father.
It's directed by Szwarc and it's the first episode written by Al Septien and Turi Meyer, a duo responsible for much of Smallville's later seasons as both writers and producers.
The fifth season finale has Lex being transformed into the vessel that will hold Zod, as Clark and Brainiac finally battle it out in the Fortress of Solitude.
James Marshall directed, and Souders and Peterson wrote.
Zod's entrance to earth, via Lex's meat suit, causes worldwide destruction and mayhem. While Clark battles his way out of the Phantom Zone, Chloe, Lionel, Martha and eventually even Lana all work together to get rid of Zod - even if it means killing Lex. Oh and meet Chloe's new fella, one Mr. Jimmy Olsen! (Aaron Ashmore kills it in the role, my favorite Jimmy Olsen ever.) "Zod" is a riveting start to Smallville's strongest season.
Marshall directed and DeKnight wrote.
Clark's debilitating time in the Phantom Zone leaves him with a raging head cold that results in the discovery of a new ability: freeze breath!
"Sneeze" is the last of six episodes directed by Paul Shapiro, all of which are pretty good but none of which made the primer until this one. It's written by Slavkin and Swimmer.
Clark discovers that some intergalactic criminals escaped from the Phantom Zone along with him, and it's up to him to set things right. "Wither" offers the first of these so-called Zoners, DC's Gloria. The ep also features a costume ball (I love a fictional costume ball) and our first good look at Metropolis' newest billionaire playboy and Lois Lane's latest conquest, Oliver Queen! (The absolutely delightful Justin Hartley, who bests Arrow's Stephen Amell any day of the week and twice on Sunday.)
It was directed by Ransick and written by newbie Tracy Bellomo.
We get to know Oliver Queen much better as Lois Lane has a run-in with his alter ego, The Green Arrow. The budding reporter is on the case.
"Arrow" is directed by Mike Rohl, who would direct 15 episodes of Smallville and 10 of Supernatural. It's written by Souders and Peterson.
Tori Spelling shows up to give a hilarious performance as Linda Lake, The Daily Planet's gossip columnist with a watery secret. This ep tidies up some of the romantic mess among Clark, Lana and Lex, and it has Clark and Oliver helping each other out to keep their respective super-secrets from a nosy Lois.
It's one of a whole bunch of episodes directed by Tom Welling! And it's another written by Souders and Peterson.
Oliver Queen has been leading a new team of superheroes, all of whom we've met in previous episodes: Impulse, Aquaman and Cyborg. Once Lex kidnaps Bart Allen, Clark joins the team and the Justice League is established! Best part: Chloe is dubbed "Watchtower," tech support and the overall brains behind the scenes.
This significant episode is written and directed by DeKnight.
Lois and Clark are both accidentally infected with Red K, and stuff goes majorly awry in time for Lana and Lex's engagement party. This is as good a time as any (and actually terribly belated) to say that Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent is one of the shining lights of this show, making a powerful impact on The Man of Tomorrow.
This is one of the first episodes directed by Glen Winter, who previously worked as a crewmember on the show and who has become an influential throughline from the DCTV of Smallville and the DCTV of today, now working heavily on The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. "Crimson" is written by Souders and Peterson.
Another one of my favorite episodes, "Freak" proves - on the eve of Lana's wedding - that all of Chloe's exposure to Kryptonite has not gone without consequence. Allison Mack is always incredible but nears a series high in this episode.
It's the only episode directed by Michael Rosenbaum (Lex!), and he did a great job with it. It's written by Slavkin and Swimmer.
We see Lana and Lex's wedding day play out from three different perspectives: Lana's, Lex's and Clark's. It's a hugely revealing approach in a turning point episode. Kristin Kreuk is so good throughout all of Season 6, and is just phenomenal in "Promise."
"Promise" is directed by Rosenthal and written by Souders and Peterson.
A Kryptonite-laced disaster has Clark and Lex trapped underground, forcing the two men to hash out their enmity and former friendship. Above ground, Lana kicks some ass to save the man she loves (no, not her husband).
It's the first of many episodes directed by the great Mairzee Almas, previously a first AD, and who has gone onto direct episodes of iZombie and The 100. It's one of a bunch of episodes written by Caroline Dries, who is now EP on The Vampire Diaries.
We learn more about Lex's super soldier experiments on a former flame of Lois', Wes Keenan (Battlestar Galactica's Tahmoh Penikett). Lois is on Lex's trail big-time.
It's the only episode on this show or any other directed by Mat Beck, Smallville's brilliant special effects guru! It's written by DeKnight.
The unhappy marriage between Lana and Lex ends in catastrophe, while the last and worst Zoner steals Clark's DNA and becomes...Bizarro!
It's directed by James Marshall and written by Slavkin and Swimmer.
Bizarro and Clark have an epic, earth-shaking battle that results in the recovery of a previously hidden spaceship holding the real Kara Zor-El (Laura Vandervoort). It's a strong premiere for what is, thanks to the writers' strike, undoubtedly Smallville's worst season.
"Bizarro" is directed by Rohl and written by Souders and Peterson.
A movie production of the fictional Superman-like comic "Warrior Angel" has come to Smallville, and a crazed groupie will do anything to reveal Clark as the real Warrior Angel. It's a rare fun episode in a drag of a season, featuring not one but two all-timer Clark saves.
Like "Nemesis," "Action" is directed by Almas and written by Dries.
A bomb at The Daily Planet resolves some issues between Chloe and Jimmy and has Lois on the case. Meanwhile, Clark's acting strangely, not that Lana seems to mind.
"Gemini" is directed by Ransick and written by Dries.
Lex takes the final, dreadful step toward becoming a supervillain, and it's farewell to Lionel Luthor.
It's the only episode directed by long-time Smallville producer Ken Horton, and it's written by frequent later-season writing and producing duo Don Whitehead and Holly Henderson.
Jor-El shows Clark a vision of a world without Superman, and it's not great.
Tom Welling directed the episode, written by Septien and Meyer.
Lex finds his way to the Fortress of Solitude and finally discovers Clark's secret. Kara and Lana both take off and Chloe gets arrested by a government agency for all of her not-so-legal hacking proclivities.
It's one of two directing outings by writer Todd Slavkin, and Whitehead and Henderson wrote.
The Season 8 premiere is such an amazing re-set after a disappointing seventh season. The writers just feel rejuvenated this season, with tons of new ideas and new energy. Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) arrives to take over Lex's mantle, and she is THE BEST. The Clark and Lois tension is immediately ratcheted up, the Justice League is working together to find their missing member and Martian Manhunter saves Clark's life in a breathtaking sequence.
It's the second of twelve episodes directed by Kevin G. Fair, and it's written by new showrunners Slavkin, Swimmer, Souders and Peterson.
Clark's officially working at The Daily Planet, across from a seemingly annoyed but actually thrilled Lois, and he gets to know his new Editor-in-Chief, Tess Mercer, very well after a mysterious explosion hits a city bus.
"Plastique" is directed by Rosenthal and written by Whitehead and Henderson.
After Oliver Queen is poisoned, we flash back to his origin story on a deserted island - and learn of his tumultuous history with Tess "Mercy" Mercer.
Almas directed and Dries wrote.
We get to know Chloe's flirting buddy Davis Bloome (Battlestar's Sam Witwer) a little better, a handsome paramedic who just so happens to be completely unaware of the fact that he is Doomsday.
It's directed by Rohl and written by Souders and Peterson.
Jimmy takes a picture of Clark that has him looking an awful lot like Metropolis' new superhero, The Red-Blue Blur. Chloe and Clark have to hustle to get Jimmy off Clark's trail.
"Identity" is directed by Almas and written by Slavkin and Swimmer.
A run-in with Brainiac has Chloe's memories vanishing just before her wedding to Jimmy. "Abyss" is a clever spin on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, revealing more than ever before about Chloe and her friendship with Clark.
Kevin G. Fair is the director and Whitehead and Henderson are the writers.
Thanks to Doomsday, Chloe and Jimmy's wedding ends in heartbreak and ruin. And just as Clark and Lois are getting closer, Lana shows back up. (Argh.)
"Bride" is a Szwarc joint, written by Septien and Meyer.
The Legion of Super-Heroes is here from the future to help/blunder their way through the aftermath of Doomsday's attack, and help Clark understand a little something about his epic future.
Glen Winter's the director, and it's the first of three great episodes written by DC's own Geoff Johns.
Linda Lake's back, and Clark reveals his secret to the world before everything goes to hell in a handbasket and he has to use that Legion ring to fix things in a hurry.
"Infamous" is directed by Winter and written by Dries.
Zatanna Zatara is here to give all of Smallville's best characters a hefty dose of perspective - especially Chloe, who ends the episode officially owning the title of Watchtower. Tom Welling is HILARIOUS as an average joe after Zatanna grants his unconscious wish. Anecdotally, this is such a great Chloe episode that I bought a scrap of the dress she wears in it. Is that weird? That's weird, huh?
Almas directed, and it's one of the first episodes written by Bryan Q. Miller, who went on to pen the Smallville Season 11 comic.
Another flashback to the day of the first meteor shower, where we learn that Clark's spaceship is not the only one that landed in Smallville that afternoon, and we discover the foundation of Doomsday's eternal conflict with the soon-to-be Superman.
James Marshall directed, and Peterson and Souders wrote.
Davis Bloome finally lets loose the beast, Chloe finds herself burdened with the responsibility of protecting Clark from Doomsday and Aaron Ashmore gives a devastating performance as the man she leaves behind in the name of the greater good.
Rohl directed "Beast," and it's one of the first episodes written by later-season MVP Genevieve Sparling.
Clark and Davis finally have it out, with heartbreaking results for the entire city of Metropolis and all of our favorite characters. Silver lining: Chloe gets an actual Watchtower, the single best set on all of Smallville.
"Doomsday" is directed by James Marshall and written by Souders and Peterson.
Clark has finally, FINALLY, begun his training at the Fortress of Solitude, but in his absence, Zod (this time the real Zod, in an unfortunate performance by ill-cast Callum Blue) has arrived in Metropolis.
Kevin G. Fair directed and Souders and Peterson wrote.
John Corben is Lois' new deskmate, but a poorly executed experiment leaves him with a Kryptonite heart and a hate-on for The Blur.
"Metallo" is directed by Almas and written by Whitehead and Henderson.
9.11 "Absolute Justice"
Yeah, I just skipped eight episodes. Season 9 is a little rough, mostly thanks to the boring Zod plotline. But two-parter "Absolute Justice" more than makes up for it, with a brilliant and thrilling introduction between the Justice League and the Justice Society.
Winter directed the first half and Welling directed the second half, and the episode was written by Geoff Johns.
A Comic-Con episode with a Zatanna twist, "Warrior" makes for a great development for a previously stunted Chloe, and serves as the romantic kick-off for my OTP: Oliver Queen and Chloe Sullivan.
It's the first of two episodes directed by Allison Mack, and she directed it beautifully. And it was written by Bryan Q. Miller.
An accidental meet-up at a Scottish B&B serves for hilariously embarrassing shenanigans among Clark, Lois, Ollie and Chloe. Oh yeah, and the Silver Banshee is there.
Kevin G. Fair directed and Sparling wrote.
"Checkmate" is home to Smallville's single coolest FX sequence, and besides that, it's just a great episode for all of our characters, especially Chloe, Tess and Pam Grier as Amanda Waller.
It's the first ep directed by longtime Smallville producer Tim Scanlan, and it's the first of three episodes written by John Chisholm.
Guess who's dating now! Illustrious Journalist Perry White and United States Senator Martha Kent! (Played by, remember, IRL married couple Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole.) Plus we learn a lot more about how astonishingly badass Martha Kent really is, and we see a stirring introduction between future professional besties Perry and Lois.
Winter directed, and it's written by later seasons reg Jordan Hawley alongside Anne Cofell Saunders.
Zod's army has opened fire on the entire world, and Clark realizes he has to sacrifice himself to save the planet. Zod might be a bummer, but his final fight with Clark is legendary. Plus Lois finally figures out that The Blur and her bumbling deskmate are one and the same.
My bud Beeman is back to direct, and it's written by Septien and Meyer.
A combination of Jor-El, the late Jonathan Kent and good ol' Lois Lane bring Clark back from the dead. Tess discovers a lab of clones Lex made of himself before dying, the worst of which challenges Clark and the cutest of which Tess takes home and adopts. Chloe trades her freedom for Oliver's.
Kevin G. Fair directed, and Whitehead and Henderson wrote.
Lois is on assignment in Egypt and talks over her Clark revelation with Carter Hall. Meanwhile, she's being replaced by a perky, hero-hating Cat Grant in the Daily Planet bullpen.
"Shield" is directed by Winter and written by Hawley.
The 200th episode of Smallville is perhaps its best. While Lois and Clark are attending Smallville High's five-year reunion, Brainiac 5 shows up to give a wavering Clark the Christmas Carol treatment, revealing major insights about his past, present and absolutely thrilling future. Clark ends the episode a better man and hero.
Szwarc directed "Homecoming," and the episode was written by Souders and Peterson.
Lois is possessed by the Egyptian goddess Isis, and hijinks ensue. Most importantly, Clark finally reveals his secret to Lois, whose only response is "What took you so long?"
"Isis" is directed by Marshall and written by Sparling.
General Sam Lane and daughter Lucy surprise Lois and Clark at the farm house, and Clark is now burdened with the unenviable task of impressing the father of the woman he loves - who also happens to be on the wrong side of the Vigilante Registration Act.
"Ambush" is one of three episodes directed by Smallville producer Christopher Petry, and it's written by Henderson and Whitehead.
Martha is grazed by a bullet while speaking at an anti-VRA rally, and Lois and Chloe go gonzo propaganda to show Clark what he means to the world. It's a super inspiring moment featuring footage from real Smallville fans. Unfortunately, no one asked me to participate.
Rohl directed, and Henderson and Whitehead wrote.
Zatanna spices up Lois and Clark's bachelor/ette parties, resulting in a straight-up hysterical episode that is nonetheless inspired by The Hangover. Please don't let that sway you against it.
"Fortune" is directed by Petry and written by producer Anne Cofell Saunders.
Clark meets the Jonathan Kent of another dimension, a world where Clark Luthor is the evil Ultraman and Lois Lane is grieving the loss of her love, Oliver Queen.
Szwarc directed "Kent" and Souders, Peterson and Sparling all wrote.
A very self-satisfied new superhero has come to Metropolis, and Booster Gold wants to win the attention of the great reporter Lois Lane with the help of his electronic pal Skeets. Meanwhile a sweet kid named Jaime is transforming into the Blue Beetle in a really fun and exciting final one-off.
Welling directed, and the episode was written by Geoff Johns.
Darkseid finally has his way with Planet Earth, Clark and Lois head down the aisle, and then Clark takes to the skies. It's a beautiful tribute to the ten seasons before it, a perfect ending to this long and magical journey.
The first half of the two-hour finale was directed by Beeman, and the second half was directed by Fair. Septien and Meyer wrote the first half and Peterson and Souders wrote the second half.
So there you go! I've narrowed the 217 episodes down to 94. Oh, that's still way too many? FINE. Just watch all of the premieres and the finales, plus: "Hourglass," "Red," "Rosetta," "Perry," "Blank," "Reckoning," "Justice," "Absolute Justice," "Checkmate" and "Homecoming." That's 30 episodes. Are you happy now?
Smallville fans! Let me know what I missed below.