TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Smallville TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Superman's origin story gets sexier, more violent over time.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 72 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Strong emphasis on family and friendship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byselebra January 5, 2021

Not For Kids

Good show - one of the best Superman series ever made, second only to Lois and Clark; however, it is can also be really violent and gory, especially in later se... Continue reading
Adult Written byRicvid.2 October 2, 2020


I know the show based on DC Heroes but inappropriate
Lex and Lana in Clark's nightmare and the one episode when
Clark get caught doing it with Lana,only t... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byAALIEN April 12, 2021
Kid, 11 years old April 4, 2021

Violent DC show has a fantastic story

Smallville is based on the origins of Clark Kent (Superman). In these 10-seasons, watch out for frequent comic-style action violence, but only gore in the MA15+... Continue reading

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love superheroes

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