I figure there are three reasons why people continue to watch Smallville:
- We want to see Clark become Superman (and Lex become… Lex)
- We want to see all the cool comic-book references and cameos
- We actually like all the drama and though we know otherwise, we harbor some sort of hope that maybe Clark and Lana will still get together anyhow
As a comic geek, I guess I’m more inclined toward the first two. And I suspect a large majority of Smallville fans are as well.
That being said, I also figure that there are four types of Smallville episodes:
- Episodes that push the whole Clark-becoming-Superman thing (such as the ones where the ship is opened for the first time, or the one where Clark establishes the Fortress of Solitude.
- Episodes that feature comic-book cameos and references (such as the ones featuring appearances by other DC heroes such as the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. I’m still waiting for Bruce Wayne to pop in somewhere)
- Episodes that push Smallville’s internal storylines (such as any episode centered on Chloe, Clark/Lana relationship stuff, Lionel’s conspiracies, etc.)
- X-Files episodes (most of the “meteor freak” episodes)
Now, obviously, the 3 elements of the first list match nicely with the first 3 elements of the second list. This leads me to believe that most Smallville followers merely tolerate the meteor freak episodes so that they can get to the part where Clark tries to name his dog “Krypto.” The first two seasons were chock-full of “meteor freak” episodes and I was tempted to give up on the series at that time, but the whole becoming-Superman thing started to get going a bit in the third season, and now in the fifth season it feels like at least 50-75% of the episodes are geared towards eventually reaching the “Superman” stage. So, I guess I’m sticking with Smallville for a while, if only to see how what silly excuse they come up with to resolve that whole “Hey doesn’t Superman look like Clark Kent did before he wore glasses?” thing.