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Entering its tenth season, SMALLVILLE has been predicted to end its television run for the last several years, but it seems that there is almost no stopping the saga of pre-cape and tights wearing Man of Steel. In completing nine seasons, SMALLVILLE is definitely one of the longest running genre series on television, and has set the record as the longest-running series in television history to be based upon a comic book character. The reason for the series success is fairly obvious… SMALLVILLE has places its own unique and decidedly fresh spin on the whole Superman mythology. What I like the most about SMALLVILLE is that the series isn’t afraid to take the familiar character and situations from the comic book mythos and do something different and unexpected with them. While the series creative team is never disrespectful to the material, I am glad that they never treat the Superman mythology like some sort of holy relic that is carved in stone and un-changeable. Perhaps that is why SMALLVILLE has remained fresh and fun for nine seasons.

The season nine cast of SMALLVILLE features Tom Welling as Clark Kent/Kal-El, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Erica Durance as Lois Lane, Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer, Callum Blue as Zod and Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON ($80) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a four-disc set that features the following twenty-one episodes that were aired during season nine: Savior, Metallo, Rabid, Echo, Roulette, Crossfire, Kandor, Idol, Pandora, Disciple, Absolute Justice, Warrior, Persuasion, Conspiracy, Escape, Checkmate, Upgrade, Charade, Sacrifice, Hostage and Salvation. Season nine of SMALLVILLE finds the series’ protagonist on his continued his evolution towards becoming the world’s greatest superhero, but facing new challenges. Highlights of season nine include the arrival of a contingent of Kryptonians from Kandor, along with their leader Major Zod, all of who lack the powers that they should have under a yellow sun; Kal-El embracing the Kryptonian training of Jor-El; Oliver Queen facing his own personal demons; and Clark facing the possibility that he may be responsible for the destruction of the Earth.

Warner Home Video has made all twenty-one episodes from SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE NINTH 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. Like the previous Blu-ray collections, the episodes that comprise SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON boasts terrific looking 1080p presentations. In general, image sharpness and clarity, as well as fine detail and depth are all impressive, especially in close-ups where every nuance in the actors’ faces is clearly visible. There is some mild softness that does hit an occasional shot, but it doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the presentations. Even the CGI elements that usually signify the Metropolis skyline look great. Once again, colors remain bright, vibrant and fully saturated. Primary colors really pop, which continues to add a comic book flare to visual property of the episodes. Blacks appear true, as do the whites. Black and whites are on the money. Additionally, contrast and shadow detail are very strong. There are no notable defects in the source materials. Mild grain is present, plus the image appears organic.

All of the episodes that constitute SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtracks. Really wish these were lossless soundtracks, but even lossy- they sound pretty darn good. Once again, no one will confuse the sound design of these episodes with those of theatrical productions, but they remain strong for a weekly television series. Somewhat constrained by the necessities of over the air broadcasting, the forward soundstage dominates the sound design across the episodes. However, the rear channels do provide some nice active effects, as well as ambient sounds, and some musical fill. The bass channel isn’t at the theatrical level, be keeps the sound from becoming thin. Dialogue is clean and easy to understand. No other language tracks are provided for the episodes, but English, French and Spanish 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 Idol and Kandor. Unaired Scenes are included with the following episodes: Rabid, Echo, Roulette, Disciple, Persuasion, Conspiracy, Upgrade, Charade, and Salvation. Other supplements include: Kneel Before Zod (bringing the evil character to the small screen) and Justice For All (bringing the Justice Society of America into the SMALLVILLE universe).

SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON offers another highly entertaining year of superhero entertainment. The Blu-ray presentations are pretty terrific, but would have been all that much better with lossless sound. Even without lossless sound, SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON is still recommended.


Smallville: The Complete Ninth Season [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 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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