When it comes to superhero movies and TV shows, it seems safe to say that Smallville was way ahead of the pack. Originally the series seemed to be a kind of fluffy teen drama that was a light introduction into the mythology and world of Superman. It was interesting to see young Clark Kent help his small, weird hometown while trying to navigate growing up as an alien on earth, and growing up in general.
But over time the series drastically evolved, and although it never lost sight of Superman, it became a really complex and interesting character study into Clark Kent, the man and the hero. And although it’s been years since the show has ended, it’s safe to say that it’s been missed. So here are 10 TV shows that anyone who loved Smallville is nearly guaranteed to enjoy.
10 Buffy the Vampire Slayer
On paper it might not seem like Smallville and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have a lot in common, but the spirit of both series is very much the same.
Clark Kent is a boy who is born with exceptional abilities, and he feels a personal responsibility to use those abilities in order to help people while still keeping his identity a secret. And Buffy Summers is a girl who was chosen to fight evil in the world and given abilities that no one else on this planet has in order to do that, and of course she also needs to keep her identity a secret.
9 The Flash
Ever since the success of The Dark Knight, it seems like superhero TV shows and movies have taken on a much grittier and darker vibe, which makes finding good superhero shows to watch for fans of something like Smallville exceedingly difficult.
Smallville certainly wasn’t all lightness and fluff, but it never lost sight of the hero that it was focused on and the kind of series that he would fit into. But luckily, there is The Flash. The Flash is another DC comics series about a hero that is heroic, but who isn’t quite as grim as someone like Batman.
Although Arrow did go out of it’s way to differentiate itself from Smallville, there is no denying that the shows are both deeply connected. When Arrow was originally announced, many thought it was actually going to be a spin off of Smallville, and that the character of Oliver Queen as he had appeared in Smallville was going to be the star of the series.
That wound up not being the case, and Arrow was one of those shows that did try to make itself a darker, grittier superhero show. But it was also a series that was clearly designed to scoop up the audience of Smallville as that series ended.
7 The Punisher
If Smallville is on the more “classic comic” end of the comic TV series spectrum, then The Punisher is probably the series that would be on the exact opposite extreme. However, anyone who considers themselves a comic book fan will likely adore this intense, surprisingly emotional interpretation of Frank Castle, better known as the Punisher.
Frank’s life philosophy when it comes to being a hero is pretty diametrically opposed to Clark Kent’s, but this Netflix series really didn’t hold anything back. It’s an interesting character study on the inherent lunacy of being a vigilante hero, and it’s definitely worth a watch.
6 Legends of Tomorrow
In a way, the entire existence of Arrow on the CW was predicated on the success of Smallville as a series. And once Arrow became a hit, the network pretty much threw all of it’s eggs into the superhero basket.
Another one of their DC properties is Legends of Tomorrow, which instead of focusing on one single hero like Clark Kent or the Flash, focuses on a group of heroes who are doing their best to protect the world from evil. It’s actually really great seeing an ensemble cast of heroes, and that differentiates it nicely from the rest of the CW DC-verse.
Smallville‘s Clark Kent is obviously the idealized version of what a teenager with superpowers could be. And honestly, “idealized” might be underselling it a bit. Clark is a nearly perfect boy in a world where teenage boys are typically morons, and it’s hard to believe that someone so powerful would be so reasonable about his powers.
But then, there is Misfits. Misfits is a series about a group of teenagers who gain superpowers, and who then act pretty much exactly like anyone would expect a bunch of teenagers with superpowers to act. It’s a hysterical send up of the classic superhero genre.
When Smallville was actually airing, there weren’t a lot of different superhero TV shows to choose from. But since comic book adaptations became all the rage, comic book fans have become completely spoiled for choice.
And if anyone is a hardcore fan of Smallville, then the closest that they’re going to get to their fave is the CW’s Supergirl. The series obviously focuses on Superman’s cousin Kara, but Superman himself plays a huge role in the series. The series itself is very faithful to the whole “Super” brand, and it’s definitely managed to distinguish itself from the current pack of darker, less fun superheroes.
For the second ensemble hero cast on this list, we have the super squad that heads up Titans. As any comic fan may be able to surmise on their own, this series is a live action adaptation based on the DC comics hero team Teen Titans.
The Titans themselves include a lot of recognizable but more minor DC heroes, and the similarities with Smallville are obvious. Most of the Titans are young people with superpowers who are trying to actually figure out how to handle them, how to maintain a normal life, and how to become a real hero all at the same time.
Supernatural is yet again a series that seems to not have a ton in common with Smallville on paper, but the heart of each show has a lot of striking similarities.
Watching this brother duo do their work to save the world is impressive, and it’s even more entertaining because they don’t have the kinds of powers that Clark does which makes the job so much easier. Not to mention, Supernatural is pretty much ancient in TV terms, so ancient in fact that it aired alongside Smallville on the WB, the network that would eventually evolve into the CW.
Daredevil is a dark take on the superhero genre, but Matt Murdock actually seems to operate on a relatively similar moral code to Clark Kent. Matt is willing to do a lot in order to keep his city safe, but he is very devoted to never letting himself and his own ethics get lost in his need to protect those that need protecting and stop those who need stopping.
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