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As this review is being written, SMALLVILLE is about to embark upon its eighth and supposedly final year on television. During its lengthy tenure, SMALLVILLE has become the longest running genre series currently on television. Despite its longevity, SMALLVILLE continues to place an intriguing and decidedly spin on the Superman mythology. Season seven of SMALLVILLE, despite the writers’ strike, proved to be one of the series’ most introspective and character rich. Additionally, a "new" D.C. Universe character is introduced during the show’s seventh year, while other SMALLVILLE regulars are eliminated. As the chess pieces are moved cross the board, our protagonist is positioned even closer towards his ultimate destiny as the world’s greatest superhero.

Maturing past its teenage soap opera and monster of the week qualities, SMALLVILLE continues its reinterpretation of early years of The Man of Steel- that is before this farm boy donned his blue tights and red cape and took flight over the skies of Metropolis. Set in the Kansas town that bears the series name, SMALLVILLE remains overpopulated with a cast of young, and highly attractive actors. Mixing sex appeal with the best qualities of a comic book inspired genre show, SMALLVILLE pushes all the right buttons with its intended youthful demographic, while maintaining the integrity of the Superman mythology.

The season seven cast of SMALLVILLE features Tom Welling as Clark Kent/ Kal-El, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, John Glover as Lionel Luthor, Erica Durance as Lois Lane, Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olsen and Laura Vandervoort as Kal-El’s Kryptonian cousin Kara. SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON ($80) comes to DVD in a three-disc set that features the following twenty episodes that were aired during season seven: Bizarro, Kara, Fierce, Cure, Action, Lara, Wrath, Blue, Gemini, Persona, Siren, Fracture, Hero, Traveler, Veritas, Descent, Sleeper, Apocalypse, Quest and Arctic. Highlights of season seven include Clark facing off against a "Bizarre" version of himself; Kryptonian technology resurrects Clark’s biological mother; Brainiac reappears; Pete Ross makes a surprise visit to Smallville; Black Canary butts heads with a recently resurfaced Green Arrow; Jor-El shows Clark the world as it would have been had he not come to Earth; and Lex finally murders what little humanity he had left remaining. Season seven guest stars include Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen, Dean Cain as Dr. Curtis Knox, James Marsters as Brainiac, Helen Slater as Lara, Marc McClure as Dax-Ur and Sam Jones III as Pete Ross.

Warner Home Video has made all twenty episodes from SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentations of the episodes are pretty sweet; greatly exceeding the look of the previous season that I viewed in standard definition. Image sharpness and definition are very strong, with plenty of fine detail being plainly visible. Colors are quite rich and vibrant, which adds the perfect comic book flavor to the episodes. Blacks are deep, whites are stable, plus the levels of contrast and shadow detail are perfectly fine for a television production. There are no notable defects in the source materials. Grain is present, but never appears excessive. Additionally, the picture never takes on a digitally over-processed look, even with seven episodes encoded onto the discs.

All of the episodes that constitute SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtracks. Again, we are offered good quality soundtracks; however, no one will confuse the sound design of these tracks with that of theatrical productions. As expected, the forward soundstage is dominant, while the rear channels do provide some active effects, as well as the usual complement of ambient sounds and musical fill. Dialogue is crisp, clean and always easy to understand. No other language tracks are provided for the episodes, but English, French, Spanish and Chinese subtitles are included.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well as the supplemental materials. Running Audio Commentaries are provided for Persona and Siren. Unaired Scenes are included with the following episodes: Kara, Fierce, Cure, Action, Wrath, Gemini, Persona, Siren, Fracture, Hero, Traveler, Veritas, Descent, Sleeper and Arctic. Other supplements include: Supergirl: The Last Daughter Of Krypton (a look a the character introduced in season seven), Jimmy On Jimmy (a roundtable of the various actors who have played Jimmy Olson), Smallville Legends: Kara And The Chronicles Of Krypton (short animated episodes) and Smallville Legends (animated digital comic).

I have been a SMALLVILLE fan since day one. Despite the writers’ strike, season seven offered a number of darker, character rich stories, as well as the usual complement of superhero action and fun. The Blu-ray presentations are very strong- easily besting what I’ve seen in the previous DVD collections. SMALLVILLE fans who have gone hi-def will want the show on Blu-ray.



Smallville - The Complete Seventh Season [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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