Smallville season nine continues the saga of the man who is poised to be Superman, Clark Kent (Tom Welling). When follow Kryptonian Zod arrives on Earth, Clark has a clear message for him, create trouble and he will be handled. But Clark hasn’t seen the last of Zod (Callum Blue) whose two faced personality does not show his true intentions. As his relationship with Lois Lane (Erica Durance) grows on a more romantic level, the more danger creeps in around him. New faces and new figures from the DC Universe like Dr. Fate and Hawkman make an appearance in this latest season to keep the fans lingering on the idea of a JLA appearance.
Last I remember being moderately interested in Smallville was back in season 3. The first three seasons brought something fresh and a new view on one of the greatest superheroes in America. However, after that third season my interest level took a dive, I did watch just to continue to see what was going on with the series. Along the past few years I’ve come to terms with the idea that any time the season’s finale could be the end of the show, but yet it kept coming back. Season nine brought back some of what the show was missing, but I can’t help to wonder why it took this long to get back on track. The last few seasons were plagued by inconsistencies with the story and to top it off characters were being brought back without really being needed to only make the plot more convoluted. It was obvious that once the original creators left the production those left in charge all saw this differently that didn’t end up helping the quality of the show.
The ninth season just sort of brought questions and left me wondering some things about the entire show. While it wasn’t the best season it certainly paves the way for the tenth and final season. The show didn’t exactly work on every level; new characters like Zod and Metallo were the reason why this season got a bit better. Writers of the show were able to implement Zod into some of the episodes that avoided complete failures. With the inclusion of this character Clark had a more direct nemesis. Something that Tess never truly accomplished. However, as the season progressed an increasingly improvement was noticeable in order to set the way for the last season. Clark and Lois continue on their own soon to be love story, while Zod and his followers make an interesting entrance into the mix, and Metallo ends up being a great foe for Clark. The continued JLA mentions and brief insinuations continue to plague some of the episodes leaving me wondering when we will see something more concrete. There are some cheesy moments, but overall the improvement of the show in this season is rather impressive and it will leave fans looking forward the last season.
Smallville: The Complete Ninth Season arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 encode framed at 1.78:1. There are a few issues with this transfer, but overall it looks great. I think this transfer surpasses the previous season by a tiny bit. This release complete surprised me to say the least, fine details are well reproduced throughout, but they do tend to look soft during certain scenes. Colors are vibrant throughout and black level are exceptional. Contrast appears to be spot on for the majority of the time. Skin tones appear natural and lifelike. There are a few issues like artifacting among other things, but this could very well be due to the style used to film the show. Overall, there are minor improvements over last season’s release that greatly help visual design of the show. Smallville season nine looks fantastic.
Smallville: The Complete Ninth Season arrives on Blu-ray with a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio track. This is one of those releases that would greatly benefit from a lossless track. While the lossy track does a decent job, there are a few instances where it really needs a more robust track. Dialogue is clean and clear although sometimes they sound muffled. The rears are used to reproduce atmospheric sounds to help engross the viewers. The LFE output is very well balanced and helps deliver the pounding action, but it can be a hit or miss. Smallville has a very front heavy audio and it does a decent job with the material.
Audio Commentary – The first track is with Writers Turi Meyer & Al Septien and actor Callum Blue as they talk about the character Zod, its back story, the show, and more. It’s a mildly entertaining audio track and it offers enough information about the show.
Audio Commentary – This is the second track with Executive Producers Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders and actress Erica Durance as they talk about Lois Lane, Lois and Clark’s relationship, the show, and more.
Absolute Justice: From Script to Screen – Introducing Venerable Justice Society of America Heroes into Smallville’s Universe – This is very self explanatory, it’s just a look into the superheroes that have made their way into the show.
Kneel Before Zod: The Evolution of a Classic Evil Character – Director Richard Donner, Terence Stamp, and Callum Blue give their own take on the classic villain.
Smallville: The Complete Ninth Season makes way for the tenth and final season of the show in a magnificent form. Take it for what it is, the show went from good to mediocre to decent and now it seems to have caught up to a higher quality. Clark faces some formidable foes in a season that is set to leave him with some choices to make. The Blu-ray offers a good video and audio transfer with a decent amount of extras to keep you entertained. Fans of the show should find this an easy pick.