Smallville: Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum discuss the show, its legacy and Blu-ray release

Smallville: The Complete Series. © 2021 Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Smallville: The Complete Series. © 2021 Warner Bros. Home Entertainment /

Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum talk all things Smallville with us in honor of the show’s 20th anniversary and the release of the complete series on Blu-Ray.

The longest-running superhero TV series has officially turned 20, and to mark the occasion Smallville: The Complete Series is coming to Blu-ray for the first time ever on October 19th.

Premiering on The WB back in 2001, Smallville took a different approach to the Superman mythology, telling us the story of Clark Kent’s teenage years as he discovered his powers, protected his hometown from harm and slowly grew into the iconic hero comic book fans knew. It also gave us a new look at the relationship between the Man of Steel and his archenemy as he and Lex Luthor grew up as friends.

The series enjoyed an incredible stint on the air, running for 10 seasons before it concluded in 2011. Now fans get the chance to revisit all 217 episodes in stunning high definition as the complete series box set comes to Blu-Ray.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with series stars Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum about the Blu-Ray release, as well as the lasting impact that Smallville had.

Interview with Smallville’s Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum

Smallville: The Complete Series is getting released on Blu-Ray in honor of the show’s 20th anniversary. So I have to start with the obvious question: Does it feel like it’s been 20 years?

Michael Rosenbaum: I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. The more I think about it, I’m like ‘wow, we were just kids!’. 20 years have gone by and a lot has happened and it was a moment in time!”

On the flip side, does it feel like it’s been 10 years since the show ended?

Tom Welling: No!

Rosenbaum: Not really. But I will say what’s great about this is that we’ve stood the test of time and we have new audiences all over the world watching. We go to conventions and sign autographs. We do a thing called Smallville Nights where we read scenes from the show; I wear a bald cap and we have a lot of fun with fans. And it just looks like there is a resurgence of fans and it feels like Smallville is still going.

Welling: And with the Blu-Ray coming out – which I can’t wait to see – everything is going to look more spectacular.

Smallville was one of the very few superhero shows of its time, and it went on to become the longest-running in the genre – a record it still holds to this day. Did any of you guys imagine it would enjoy that kind of success when it was starting out?

Welling: No, they don’t tell you when it’s starting out that it’s going to last 10 years! But you’re right, there was something enduring about Smallville that we managed to last as long as we did. And part of me thinks it’s because we kept the heart. We didn’t put the suit on and the cape on too soon, which forced us to deal with the human element of the show. I think that helped us in the long run.

Superman has had quite the history on TV. He’s still around today. But before Smallville, we had the likes of the classic ‘50s series and the Lois & Clark series. Tom, did you feel under pressure playing a character like Clark Kent or was it easier that Smallville took a completely different type of approach?

Welling: I was playing Clark. You know what I mean? Clark didn’t know [he was going to become Superman]. He was just a kid trying to grow and figure out who he was in the world. At no point did I ever dot out on a board, like, “this is who he’s going to be when he becomes Superman”. It was just season by season, episode by episode, so I didn’t feel pressure because the show didn’t put pressure on me in that sense. It was a show about growth and it was the same with Lex.

Rosenbaum: Yeah, I think it was the first time that Clark Kent and Lex were that grounded. The show was grounded and the characters were grounded. And even though all these crazy absurd things were happening around us, the characters were well-grounded. They could have easily been like caricatures. It could have been really weird and it wouldn’t have lasted as long, but I think all the things came together.

Welling: If any of us had wanted to be anywhere else in that first season it wouldn’t have worked. We all wanted to be there and we all wanted to make it great. I can tell you that there was a family core and trust that really carried Smallville through.

Is there a particular season, storyline or episode that stands out as one you would be excited for fans to revisit on Blu-Ray?

Both: The pilot.

Welling: But very quickly, I’m going to go to “Transference” where Lionel Luthor and Clark switch bodies. That was just a fun acting thing for me so I’d like to see how that translates to Blu-Ray.

Rosenbaum: I’d like to see where Lex starts to lose his mind and his father’s doing things to him and drugging him. Watching that whole thing unfold and what pushes him to the dark side, people will say “Oh that contributed to Lex going to the dark side” and understand why he did. And those little glimpses into the past of how he had to grow up with this overbearing father and a mother that was either killed or died at a very young age. He lost a brother. There’s a lot that happened to him and I think, hopefully, people will understand why he became evil.

Welling: As a fan of Lex Luthor, I always loved the president stuff. I remember I was doing a scene in another stage and sneaking over just to see what you were doing in the suit! I was interested myself.

Smallville was one of a kind in its day but there are a lot of superhero shows today. From The CW’s Arrowverse to Marvel’s venture onto Disney+, do you think Smallville played a role in bringing about this age of superhero TV?

Welling: Probably. It’s gotten to the point where there are so many superhero TV shows now that you get a show like The Boys which perverts the whole scenario. It’s like a 10-15 year cycle and it kind of grows and then it has to twist a little bit. And that’s natural in television. I’m familiar with a lot of those shows even though I don’t watch them.

Rosenbaum: I think Smallville was the reason. It was the beginning of all these shows and spin-offs. I think Smallville deserves a lot of credit because it made Superman cool and grounded and different… at least on television. If Smallville wasn’t a success, do you think they’d do The Flash or Arrow or all these other shows? It never would have happened.

Would you ever be interested in returning to these characters someday?

Both: If it’s the right thing.

Rosenbaum: If it’s the right thing and we both gravitate towards it… Sure, I’m open to any genre, any characters, as long as I want to do it.

Are you guys working on any exciting projects at the moment?

Rosenbaum: Yeah, we’re working on an animated series and we can’t really talk about it, but we’re working on it with the creators and hopefully pitching it to Warner Bros. We’re excited about it.

Do you think the Blu-Ray release could introduce a whole new generation to the world of Smallville?

Rosenbaum: 100%.

Welling: I hope so.

Rosenbaum: I think the quality of the Blu-Ray enhances the show. You get to watch it the way it was meant to be seen so I think that that’s going to contribute to its resurgence with fans all over the world.

Welling: It makes me want to watch it!

Smallville, Smallville: The Complete Series
Smallville: The Complete Series. Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. /

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Smallville: The Complete Series is coming to Blu-ray for the first time ever on October 19th.