Before Arrow, The Flash, or Supergirl, there was Smallville, an ambitious retelling of Superman's origin with a teen drama angle. Over the course of ten seasons, Smallville followed Clark Kent from his awkward teenage phase all the way to him donning the tights as Superman.
To celebrate Smallville's fifteenth anniversary, Hulu will have all ten seasons of the WB/CW show on its streaming platform beginning October 1st.
Early seasons of Smallville focused mainly on Clark Kent and his small group of friends and family. Michael Rosenbaum played a younger, more friendly version of Lex Luthor, while Kristin Kreuk played Lana Lang, Clark's high school sweetheart. Younger versions of Lois Lane, Pete Ross, and Ma and Pa Kent also played major roles on the show.
As the show went on, Smallville evolved from a teen drama with superpowers to a more superhero-like show. Smallville marked the first time that many popular DC superheroes like Green Arrow, Cyborg, and Aquaman appeared in a live action television or movie. While the show was hesitant to add other superheroes at first, later seasons introduced characters like the Justice Society of America, the Legion of Superheroes, Zatanna, Black Canary, and Martian Manhunter as recurring guest stars. The show even had its own version of the Justice League, with Clark, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Aquaman, and the Flash joining forces to dismantle Luthor's experimental laboratories.
After the show ended after its 10th season, DC published a comic showing Clark's further adventures and introducing other superheroes like Batman and Wonder Woman to its continuity.
Having Smallville available to watch again lines up nicely with next week's premiere of Supergirl, which will re-introduce Superman to television after a five year absence. While Smallville aired on the same network as Supergirl, the two shows exist in separate continuities.
Smallville ended in 2011, just before superhero television shows became popular again on television. Although many Smallville fans wanted to see Welling reprise his role as Clark Kent on Supergirl, the show instead cast Tyler Hoechlin to play the Man of Steel in several episodes this season. For his part, Welling has stated that it might be "weird" to play Superman again on Supergirl, although he clarified he's a big fan of Supergirl.