Smallville TV Poster Image


Superman's origin story gets sexier, more violent over time.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Strong emphasis on family and friendship.

Positive role models

Clark would do almost anything to help his friends and family, but "Evil Clark" (blame the red kryptonite and other technology) isn't as nice. Clark and his parents must continually lie to protect him and the people around him. Early seasons feature several African-American characters. Female main characters are strong and intelligent.


Frequent action violence with fists, guns, bows, and kryptonite all serving as weapons. Characters face life-threatening situations. Some shooting deaths with blood.


Contains some sexual content including scenes where nudity is implied (in one episode a murder victim -- a teenage girl -- waits for her date in the shower). Main teen characters decide to have sex.


Contains mild expletives ("hell," "damn," "piss," "bastard," etc.).


Ford convertibles and Chevrolet trucks are visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Early episodes feature high school parties that have included alcohol, and Lex Luthor drinks scotch. Occasionally characters reveal addiction problems. Clark's use of red kryptonite, which controls him and alters his behavior, is also akin to a drug addiction.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this superhero origin story series is frequently bloody and violent. While the program deals with a wide range of topics and good eventually overcomes evil, gory fight scenes and evil villains are commonplace. The show also contains some iffy vocab ("hell," "bastard"). As the characters have aged, sex and drama have been introduced to spice up story lines.

What's the story?

It's been 18 years since a meteor shower rained down on Smallville, Kansas, dropping off little Clark Kent (Tom Welling) in a spaceship and altering the small town forever. SMALLVILLE tracks Clark Kent and friends -- including pretty Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) -- through high school and into college. During these young-adult years, Clark discovers details about his own history, as well as the fate of his home planet and his biological parents. Better yet, he furthers his journey toward fully realizing his super powers. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), once Clark's best friend, gives into the dark side. Kent’s later move to the big city of Metropolis leads to a budding relationship with Lois Lane (Erica Durance), interactions with the Green Arrow (Justin Hartley), and the introduction of new foes, including Lex Luthor’s half-sister, Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman).

Is it any good?


The series revives the superhero genre in an intelligent, if often mature, action series. One of the best aspects of the series, and the most fun for young viewers, is watching the young Clark slowly come into his powers; he's super fast, can see through walls, and has acquired super hearing. Older fans will also appreciate the evolving storylines about the relationships that develop throughout the years.

Early episodes of Smallville emphasize the values of family and friendship, but later ones introduce more mature plots that some may find a little strong for early primetime. And unlike the Superman movies and previous television series, its tone is serious rather than playful. But fans who enjoy well-developed actions series will definitely find it entertaining.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about teen sex on TV using as an example Lana and Clark's decision to have sex. What do kids think of their actions? How did the show handle the topic -- responsibly, realistically? Does the drama of relationships gets in the way of the superhero themes?

  • Families can talk about how television shows evolve over time. Do TV shows have to add racier material to keep it interesting for viewers? How else can shows remain interesting over time?

TV details

Premiere date:October 16, 2001
Cast:Kristin Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, Tom Welling
Networks:Freeform, CW
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Adult Written byfritzsky April 9, 2008
Adult Written byChris LP April 9, 2008

Good show for the whole family

SMALLVILLE is Superman for teenagers. I've been watching this show with my son on DVD since 2006. We bought Seasons 1-4 on DVD and watched them all. Then Season 5 was released on DVD and watched that as well just in time for Season 6 to start up on The CW. Now in it's seventh season, we're still there ever Thursday night at 7pm to catch what Clark Kent is up to that night. It's a really cool show. Me nor my son are Superman fans, but this show really makes you like him. It's Superman without the cape and tights, which makes him more human than a show-off crime-fighting non-relatable character from the pages of a DC comic book. This show gets to the emotional roots of Clark making him relatable. It's more realistic and believable. Violence in this show can be quiet extreme as well as sex in the show. The perfect example is from the Season 5 episode "Thirst" where a man recieves oral sex from a woman in a hot tub, except the next second he scream horrifically as the woman bites off his penis. That is the worst violence the show has ever contained. Nothing has ever come even close to that moment in the series run. Throughout the series run there has only been a few sexual scenes, but not many. Out of their 100-and something episode count only about 10% of the episodes have contained a sexual encounter, all of which are pushing the limits of PG-13, but like I said this is Superman for teens. That's about it. Violence = PG-13 level Sex = R level (rarely an issue) Language = PG-13 level Drugs = PG level Message = The message of the show is one that is suitable for all ages, that being always do what is right no matter what the consiquences. Clark Kent's message to all of us.
Adult Written byB. A. April 25, 2010

not good for kids at all. Older kids are influenced too.

not for kids anymore. Sorry, but Clark and Lois going off to have sex before they even got into "the L word" , and Chloe and the green arrow doing it only because it is their "favorite indoor past time." was the last straw for me. This is not for kids!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages