Smallville: The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
This new interpretation of the enduring Superman mythology and its classic characters blends realism and adventure into an exciting action series. This season, everything changes as Clark Kent finally begins to accept his destiny and take giants leaps towards becoming the Man of Steel.
Consistently solid with some major developments, the fifth season of Smallville kicks the characters off to college, but not before finishing the cataclysmic disaster that ended the fourth season. With Chloe transported to the Arctic Circle and Kryptonian supervillains in town, Clark (Tom Welling) is in the Fortress of Solitude meeting Jor-El (voiced by Terence Stamp). He gives up his powers, but to get them back will cost him the life of someone he loves.
The even bigger development is that Clark and Lana (Kristin Kreuk) finally give up their dalliances with others and become an official couple. That means the other girls in Clark's life become fifth and sixth wheels, so Chloe (Allison Mack) reveals the secret she's been keeping from Clark and becomes a best pal. Super-gorgeous Lois's (Erica Durance, now part of the opening credits) banter with Clark loses its bite without any sexual tension so instead she meets Arthur "AC" Curry, a fantastic swimmer who has an eye for Lois and an accusing one toward Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) and LutherCorp. He's not the only one; Clark's Central Kansas A&M professor, Milton Fine (James Marsters) hires Clark to help him on his project, an expose of LutherCorp. Lex is the pivotal character of the season. His relationship with his best friend, Clark, now history, Lex has a Christmas Carol-type dream in which he sees himself in a law-abiding--and happy--life. (That episode, "Lexmas," also has some amusing interplay involving Clark and Chloe.) Undeterred, he decides on a life of power and dives into a state senate race against Jonathan Kent with gusto, though a fanatical Lex supporter turns the race into a literal one for life and death. Lionel Luthor (John Glover) also makes a strong comeback in this season, pulling unseen levers and making everyone wonder exactly what he knows.
There's some fun. "Thirst" is a tribute to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and another DC Comics character, Cyborg (Teen Titans), appears. Carrie Fisher plays Chloe's editor at The Daily Planet, and "Exposed" reunites Schneider with former Dukes of Hazzard costar Tom Wopat, and the two go peeling out in a vehicle. But things come to a head in the series 100th episode, when Jor-El's prediction comes to pass and splintered relationships end up leading in unexpected directions. Then in the season finale's cliffhanger, Clark has to face three of his enemies. DVD features include commentary on two episodes and a half-hour examination of the 100th episode, from writing through production. --David Horiuchi