Over the last few years, we’ve got used to having a glut of superhero TV shows on the airwaves, but back in the 2000s, practically the only one around was Smallville. First debuting in 2001, at a time when the comic book cinema craze was just about to kick off, the Superman prequel series lasted for 10 years on The CW. Nowadays, the network is obviously home to the ever-growing Arrowverse, which is also based off DC comics.
For SV’s Michael Rosenbaum, who played Lex Luthor, the Arrowverse’s success can be credited to Smallville as it was the first of its kind. During a panel at Fan Expo Canada, which he attended with co-stars Tom Welling and Laura Vandervoort, Rosenbaum spoke about the “cinematic” nature of their show, saying:
“A lot of fans loved Lois & Clark, but this was cinematic. This was the first time a TV show that was comic book related was cinematic. It was a movie every week, and the effects were something that people hadn’t seen before.”
The actor then went on to admit that some of the effects now look “dated,” but Welling disagreed with this, shaking his head, causing Rosenbaum to slightly adjust his statement, saying:
“Some of them are, compared to the stuff they have now. But it was extraordinary. And they put so much money into this, and the characters were really developed, and it was an interesting story, and I just felt like it was unique. Now Arrow, and Flash, and all these other shows, they’ve kind of come up, but Smallville was the original. It just was. I’m not saying that because we were on it. It was the first, it launched everything else.”
“It was the reason why the other shows were successful,” Rosenbaum concluded, adding with a shrug. “It’s just true.”
It’s certainly hard to deny that we wouldn’t have an Arrowverse if it weren’t for Smallville. When the show ended, The CW considered doing a Green Arrow spinoff starring Justin Hartley’s version of the hero from the aforementioned series. However, this developed into a reboot which Stephen Amell boarded. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Of course, the franchise has already tipped its hat to its forebear in last year’s crossover “Elseworlds,” but fans are hoping things will go one better for this year’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and that Smallville‘s Welling and Rosenbaum will show up as Clark and Lex respectively. There’s been no official confirmation that that’ll happen just yet, but fingers remain crossed.