I love superheroes. What’s not to love? Saving damsels in distress, pulling people out of burning buildings and stopping crises on a global scale. The show that turned me onto this genre was the legendary Smallville. When Smallville went off-air, I was crushed. I’d waited so long to tune in and when I finally got caught up, boom: show’s over. Then I learned about Arrow. Yay!
Some of you may remember Smallville’s version of Green Arrow: the blond, yummy Justin Hartley. His costume was a little…cartoony, but this character was badass and had a ‘no kill’ policy, which I thought was cool. He was also the person to go to if you wanted something stolen and could sneak up on you like a ninja. When I learned the Emerald Archer was getting his own show starring an actor who WASN’T Justin Hartley…I was pissed. I didn’t want to watch it. I’d already invested time and grown to love my version of Green Arrow, so I wasn’t up to changing all of that. Then I read an interview with Stephen Amell, who took the time to address fans like me with this very concern. He stated the shows were separate and not to judge one based on the other. He hoped Smallville fans would give his version of Green Arrow a chance. So I tuned in for the pilot, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Then Arrow of course gave birth to The Flash and now I’m in superhero heaven.
So what’s with all of this bloggage I’m seeing about Arrow paving the way for superhero TV shows? Granted, we wouldn’t have the Flash if it weren’t for the episodes he did on Arrow, and they’ve arguably helped sell the Supergirl series, but you can hardly credit Arrow for the rise in superhero stories. Smallville was barely even cold before Arrow began. If you judge Smallville by its first couple of seasons, then I can see why you would misjudge it and think it has nothing in common with Arrow. But in its later seasons, Smallville was much like Arrow is now. It was dark, the stakes were high and Metropolis and the rest of the world often hung in the balance. Very comic-esque. Watch these last few pulse-pounding seasons and you can see why fans were thirsty for more once the show ended.
After 10 long years, Clark had fulfilled his destiny and became the Man of Steel (don’t get me started on THAT movie!!) and yet, these days, Smallville and Tom Welling get no credit in the comic book world. It’s as though they never even existed. This makes hardcore fans like me angry, but for diehard fans like my sister, it’s downright insulting. On more than one occasion I’ve had to listen to her rant almost endlessly because some blogger has credited Arrow as the catalyst for this booming market. I can say with absolute certainty that there would be no Arrow if there hadn’t been a Smallville. Smallville took a b-rated comic book character like Green Arrow, who had never before been played in a live-action show or movie, and turned him into something more. He became something else. (haha). That is why people (or at least Smallville fans) flocked to watch the new show. It gave Arrow the chance, and Arrow captivated viewers everywhere and created a place on the market for more shows like it.
I’m not going to get into which Arrow is better. I don’t even know—I love them both. I love the Flash, too, but Smallville has a special place in my heart. Smallville was the first to give my generation a full-blown superhero TV show and Tom Welling won my heart as the lovable farm boy/protector of mankind. Season after season we watched as Clark realized what he believed in and took a stand for it. It’s a big part of the reason why girls like me started viewing superheroes as sexy instead of ‘for boys’. Doesn’t any one else see that? It was on the air for ten years! You don’t get that by being mediocre. Why do we have to pit these shows against each other when we should be lumping them together? Please, give credit where credit is due. Smallville gave birth to a wonderful new genre and revamped a dead horse, so let’s act like it!
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