We turn back the clock on Batman, the X-Men, 'Star Wars,' and more
'Smallville' (2001 - 2011)
Sure it's hokey, and yes, Tom Welling tends to be quite wooden as an actor, but in some odd way those elements actually work in "Smallville"'s favor. After all, it's just that sort of clean-scrubbed, corn-fed mawkishness that is part and parcel of the Superman myth; looked at that way, the durable series is as true to the spirit of the original comics as even the 1978 Christopher Reeve film.
Indeed, for all of the now-defunct show's stabs at evoking a contemporary feel, there's an overridingly traditional, "ultimate good-vs.-ultimate evil" sensibility to it that's somehow comforting in a post-"Sopranos" TV landscape currently brimming over with gritty, complex dramas that offer few easy answers. If that sounds like a criticism of "Smallville", it isn't, believe me. Over ten seasons the series managed to retain its rabidly loyal core audience by delivering a solid and relatively consistent slice of character-driven escapism week-in-and-week-out. If that doesn't qualify as a success, I'm not sure what would. - CE