A big issue with Superman comics is the apparent overabundance of Kryptonite on Earth. Smallville properly fixed this problem in seasons 1 and 4.
A big issue with Superman comics was the apparent overabundance of Kryptonite, but it was handled much better in Smallville, which found a working solution to the problem. Smallville kept many of the classic elements of the Man of Steel’s origin story, but also made a number of notable changes to streamline the weirdest parts of Superman lore for TV audiences.
The Superman prequel series dove into the early life of Clark Kent (Tom Welling), and his struggles with coming in terms with both his powers and his Kryptonian heritage. Due to the focus on his pre-Superman days, the show was able to go places that the comics and movies had yet to go with his past. During his high school years, Smallville expanded on Clark’s relationship with his first love, Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk), and his friendship with Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), the latter of which being a new addition to Clark’s backstory. During the show’s 10-season run, Clark also met numerous Justice League heroes and battled a long list of iconic villains from Superman’s rogues’ gallery, including Bizarro, Brainiac, General Zod, Doomsday, Metallo, and more. These were all characters that Clark originally wasn’t supposed to fight until after suiting up as the Big Blue Boy Scout.
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One of the many changes that Smallville made was a good one, because it helped solve a long-standing issue that fans have had with Superman in DC Comics. In the comics, it always seemed like Kryptonite was all over Earth. The overwhelming presence of a mineral from a distant galaxy seemed hard to fathom and the best explanation the comics could offer is that they occasionally arrived in meteors that fell from the sky as a result of Krypton’s destruction. Smallville, on the other hand, had Clark land in Smallville via a large-scale meteor shower.
As early as the pilot, Smallville had a ready-made explanation every time Clark or someone else on the show stumbled upon a piece of Kryptonite. In any Superman material, it always seemed a bit too convenient for the story that these green rocks would pop up at the most inopportune time for Clark, but this was less of an issue for the show. The meteor shower littered the town with Kryptonite, so it was rather easy to believe whenever Kryptonite would come into play in the show. Of course, this didn’t let the series avoid all complaints related to this, but it certainly helped. Furthermore, Smallville made this solution even better in the season 4 finale when another meteor shower arrived, thus restocking the town with Clark’s biggest weakness.
Fixing the Kryptonite problem is just part of how the meteor shower shaped Smallville. Not only did it drive the backstories of Lana and Lex, but it also provided Clark with a slew of obstacles for him to face, week in and week out. Because of it, Clark and his friends were constantly dealing with Kryptonite-infected villains, and people like Lex looking to use it to further their experiments in science. Kryptonite was easily Smallville’s most important plot device, and it never would have worked if it wasn’t for the meteor shower of 1989.
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