Tuesday Talks: Smallville and the CW shift

Here’s to hoping you all had a great Tuesday! Due to some technical difficulties, I’m posting this a day late. Over the weekend, I had a conversation about the casting of Tyler Hoechlin as Superman in Supergirl’s second season and many fans and media’s disappointment and commentary about Smallville and Tom Welling. So, I thought I’d give my take on it all.

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Tyler Hoechlin (left) and Tom Welling (right). Photos from @TylerL_Hoechlin and spinoff.comicbookresources.com

While the CW Network has broadened its audience to include more males with shows like Arrow and The Flash, once upon a time the network formerly known as UPN and WB, was ruled by shows like Seventh Heaven and One Tree Hill. These were shows without superheroes, special effects, and tie-ins to DC comics. These were shows with primarily female audiences that had very soap-opera moments. I was one of the fans crying my eyes out during some of One Tree Hill’s most heart wrenching moments and I looked at Chad Michael Murray with heart eyes.

When “Smallville” premiered in 2001, I was eight years old and more into cartoons and the animated X-Men series than live action shows.  By the time I started watching Smallville in middle school, I was behind on the story but I immediately liked it. It had action but it also had the heart and emotion that drew me to One Tree Hill.

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Photo from Smallville.wikia.com

Smallville was instrumental in bringing the male demographic to the CW. Even with the year gap between its series finale and the premiere of Arrow, the demographic had found a spot to watch a live action DC hero. Without Smallville setting the stage for men to feel comfortable watching the CW, I don’t think Arrow would have even happened. Without it there wouldn’t be The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow (LOT), at least not on the CW Network.

The series introduced us to a lot of the actors who would lead other shows that include Beauty and The Beast, Supernatural, and The Vampire Diaries. We met Kristin Kreuk who played Lana Lang, Jensen Ackles who played Jason Teague, and Ian Somerhalder who played Adam Knight.

My only hope for the CW is that they continue to balance their roster. With the adoption of Supergirl from CBS, the roster will have its fill of DC universe-influenced series. And while I love watching Barry Allen and Oliver Queen save the day, LOT hasn’t grabbed my attention. I love those shows, but I also love or at least still like The Vampire Diaries despite its decline in story quality. I still regularly watch Reign and The Originals.

While some male fans complain that Smallville was too much like a soap opera, I think it fit in with the early CW shows. It paved the way for the shows that those same fans like. And while it would have been cool to see Tom Welling return as Clark Kent, I’m not sure it would have been the same Clark we saw in Smallville, personality wise at least.

I’m not even sure if Tom wanted to come back as the Kryptonian. When interviewed by Buzzfeed about the opportunity some months ago, he said he hadn’t been asked and “It would be kind of odd. I don’t know who he is at that point.”

As for the new casting, I have confidence in Tyler Hoechlin’s acting skills after first being introduced to him when he played Derek Hale in MTV’s Teen Wolf. While those unfamiliar with him have been less than kind; Design & Trend said he looks like he came out of “Twilight 8”, I’m fairly certain he’ll hold his own. My familiarity with him is the reason why I’m going to go and watch season one of Supergirl so I can watch season two.

Some have and may continue to complain about the CW’s only goal being to bring in fans from Teen Wolf,  but don’t you want the shows you love to have good ratings, no matter the reason people are watching?

What’s your take on how the CW has grown since its days as UPN and WB? What do you think of the new Superman casting? I for one, am excited!

Kira Elise

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