By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Superman's origin story gets sexier, more violent over time.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent action violence with fists, guns, bows, and kryptonite all serving as weapons. Characters face life-threatening situations. Some shooting deaths with blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Contains mild expletives ("hell," "damn," "piss," "bastard," etc.).
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 13 parent reviews
The best Superman story ever (besides the comics of course)!
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Best superman show
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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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- Premiere date: October 16, 2001
- Cast: Kristin Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, Tom Welling
- Networks: Freeform, CW
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: October 15, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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