Smallville

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"I stand for truth, justice, and... other stuff."

A series, airing on The WB and later The CW, that chronicles Clark Kent's adolescence as he comes into his powers and eventually takes on the mantle of Superman.

The show started out as more of a Teen Drama, focusing largely on Clark's interactions with his friends, family and Love Interests, and how this leads to his development as a Superhero. It initially took a Monster of the Week approach to most episodes, introducing "meteor freaks" who gain various powers thanks to exposure to Kryptonite deposited in Smallville during the meteor shower which heralded Clark's arrival.

It could be said that the first half of the show, from Seasons 1 through 5, dealt more with Clark figuring out who he was (and adding in some Teen Drama elements), while the second half of the show, from Season 6 onwards, was more about Clark finding his place in the larger DC Universe, with recurring guest roles by Green Arrow, the rest of the Justice League, the Justice Society, and Darkseid and the New Gods taking place during these seasons. It could also be said that these later more DC mythos-focused seasons were Darker and Edgier.

In the pilot, Clark rescues a young Lex Luthor from a car crash; this sparks a friendship which is juxtaposed with their future enmity. Likewise, when Clark first runs into future lady-love Lois Lane whilst wandering around naked in a cornfield, the two get off to a somewhat antagonistic start.

One of the most interesting and original spins on the Superman franchise. As the "freak-of-the-week" formula fell away and Myth Arcs were introduced, the show sometimes struggled to find a clear storyline without becoming a full-on, tights-wearing, cape-fluttering Superman show but, taking the whole series into account, generally the transition from Clark's early years to his later heroic life has been reasonably handled.

The show is especially notable for introducing the characters Chloe Sullivan and Lionel Luthor and for bringing the Silver Age idea of young Clark and Lex knowing each other back into prominence.

The show has managed to survive a decade, despite having a very Unpleasable Fanbase that seems to whine and complain about every tiny detail of the plot and characters and how it supposedly violates perceived Canon even if it has DC Comics' blessing. Lois Lane being introduced to Clark while Clark was still in high school and not when he was an adult working at the Daily Planet for instance[1]. Also, Clark being an unsure and Angst-ridden teen and not the paragon of virtue and self-assured hero Superman is another bone of contention. Clark isn't coming off, it is contended, as someone who will one day be Superman. Some of the fanbase profess to hate such deviations from perceived canon and claim to despise the show, waiting for it to end... although they kept returning every week. Some of the more... aggressive... elements of the anti-fans were active Fan Haters who antagonized Smallville fans on message boards at any opportunity. They sneer at the fact that Clark hadn't flown yet despite the showrunners (both the originals and present ones) sticking to their "No Tights, No Flights" rule during the run of the show as laid out before the show debuted. It doesn't help that this rule only applies to Clark, with his cousin, his Evil Twin, and other Kryptonians being able to fly from day one which, combined with the aforementioned angst, makes him come off as weak to some viewers. However, the fact that Clark's flight was delayed until the very end meant the moment where it finally happened was that much more awesome.

The show concluded its tenth and final season in May 2011, and given that Smallville (the town) had barely appeared since Season 8, the show could have quite reasonably been renamed Metropolis for the final stretch.

It has recently[when?] been announced that there will be a "Season 11" made in comic book form, featuring the adventures of Clark, now as Tom Welling's likeness in a new Superman costume. It's still called "Smallville" though, to signify that it's a continuation of the series. And the Fandom Rejoiced.


Trope-based episodes:
  • Accidental Athlete: "Hothead"
  • Accidental Hero: "Hero"
  • Acting for Two: "X-Ray", "Visage", "Crusade", "Onyx", "Phantom", "Bizarro", "Persona", "Luthor".
  • Alternate Universe: "Noir", "Apocalypse", "Luthor".
  • Amnesia Danger: "Blank"
  • Amnesiac Liar: When Chloe tells Clark he's a meteor freak in "Blank", though she didn't know that she was lying since she really did think he was meteor-infected.
  • Artifact Title: At this point, though an argument could be made that "Smallville" is now more a reference to Clark himself, via Lois' nickname for him.
    • Semi-justified, in that Clark doesn't think of himself as Superman at this point; Seasons 8-10 are about him letting go of his Smallville life to become the man he needs to be. "Smallville" was how he hid in the shadows; "Superman" is when he steps into the light.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Clark finally putting on the iconic Superman suit in "Finale".
  • Bad Future: "Apocalypse", "Pandora".
  • Battle in the Rain: Clark vs. Zod in "Salvation".
  • Brainwashed: "Magnetic", "Odyssey", "Persuasion".
  • But Now I Must Go: "Justice" (in an awesome closing scene), "Requiem".
    • Episodes that introduce a Superhero from the DC Universe end with this--"Run", "Aqua", and "Cyborg".
    • And in Season 10, Chloe in "Fortune."
  • Cataclysm Climax:
    • "Tempest": a tornado hits Smallville.
    • "Commencement": Another meteor shower hits the town.
    • "Vessel": Brainiac unleashes a computer virus that causes all technology on Earth to shut down, causing mass hysteria.
  • Color Motif: Early episodes also liked to use primary colours for anything related to Clark Kent, hinting at his future as Superman.
    • It was also done for environments. The town of Smallville--and the Kent Farm in particular--were given very warm tones, while Metropolis was portrayed for many seasons through a bluish filter to give the sense that pre-Superman Metropolis was a much more cold and uncaring place.
  • Crapsack World: "Luthor" has an establishing shot of Earth-2, home of Clark... Luthor (Ultraman). What would be the results of the Luthors adopting Clark? Well, you can crap your pants accordingly with this shot.
  • Cuckoo Nest: "Labyrinth"
  • Disney Death: "Hidden", "Void".
  • Downer Ending: There are a LOT of them...
    • "Ryan": The specialist Clark used his powers to get fails to save Ryan, and he still dies. The final scene shows Clark leaving Ryan's hospital room, looking back on the now empty bed, and he stands in the corridor, the hospital staff walking around Clark, oblivious to his grief.
    • "Exodus": Clark destroys his ship and the shockwave from the explosion kills Marha's unborn baby. Jonathan rails at Clark for this and Clark leaves his parents in their grief. Chloe, jealous of Clark and Lana's growing romance, agrees to spy on Clark for Lionel. Lex wakes up midair in his private jet to find his bride gone, the pilot gone, the control consoles smashed and his jet crashing into the ocean. Overcome with grief and guilt, Clark deliberately puts on the Red Kryptonite ring, reverting to his Jerkass Kal persona to avoid feeling any more pain. As Kal, he leaves Smallville, Lana and his adoptive parents, seemingly for good.
    • "Shattered": Lex is committed to a mental asylum despite Clark's best efforts to help him, Lana's in the hospital.
    • "Truth": Chloe, after being inflicted with a truth gas made from meteor rocks, goes to retrieve her voicemail which has Lionel's confession over how he killed his parents. However, it is not Lionel's confession, but a recording of Lionel saying that he has erased the voicemail, leaving Chloe heartbroken.
    • "Memoria": Lex recalling the truth of what happened to Julian and confronting Lionel with it after an episode of flashbacks showing how their relationship began to break down from bad to terrible and increasingly destructive.
    • "Covenant": Kara, the Kryptonian girl Clark had been falling in love with, is really Lindsay Harrison, a pawn of Jor-El. Jor-El takes Clark away, Jonathan goes into a coma, Lex is poisoned, Chloe's house blows up.
    • "Pariah": Alicia Baker, who had done a Heel Face Turn and had married Clark, is murdered.
    • "Onyx": Lex's good and evil selves are merged, but not before Evil!Lex goads his father Lionel into giving up his conversion to good. The smirk on Lex's face at the end as Lionel announces the end of the charity he founded suggests that Lex's halves merged with his evil side dominant which suggests Lex's Face Heel Turn began here.
    • "Ageless": The rapidly aging boy Clark and Lana grew to love ages to the point of being an old man and dies. Lex's final line, just a few episodes after "Onyx", indicates he's now well and truly become evil.
    • "Reckoning": Jonathan dies.
    • "Vessel": Lex is possessed by General Zod, Clark is trapped in the Phantom Zone, Lionel and Chloe are being attacked by a mob, Martha and Lois' plane crashes.
    • "Persona": Lana is forced to admit she's been far happier in the past month with Bizarro than she's ever been with Clark... just before she kills Bizarro. Even as he knows he's dying, Bizarro tells Lana he loves her. Brainiac drains the mind of (and most likely murders) his kindly creator, Dax-Ur, giving Brainiac the information he needs to become more powerful. Lex has Grant Gabriel, the clone of his dead brother Julian, murdered before Lionel's eyes just as Lionel and Grant were starting to bond.
    • "Arctic": Lex finally discovers Clark's secret and uses the Kryptonian Orb to bring down the Fortress of Solitude.
    • "Bride": Doomsday literally crashes Jimmy and Chloe's wedding, killing at least one person, brutally beating Jimmy into a coma and abducts Chloe. Chloe's cousin Lois is left grief-stricken and confused, wondering why these horrible things keep happening to all of them. Chloe is possessed by Brainac. And the whole thing's being monitored by Lex Luthor.
    • "Requiem": Lana leaves Smallville forever due to being irradiated with kryptonite and being near Clark could kill him... wait, Lana leaving forever? YES!
    • "Doomsday": Jimmy dies, Davis dies, Clark declares himself dead and Zod returns as a younger previously cloned version of the original.
    • "Salvation": Clark is able to send Zod and all the Kandorians away, saving Earth. However, Clark has a dagger made of blue kryptonite stabbed into him and is falling to his death off the building. He gets better, though.
  • Enemy Mine: "Nemesis"
  • Evil Twin: "Onyx", "Bizarro", "Persona", "Luthor", "Kent".
  • Fantastic Racism: "Extinction" Being the first of many to incorporate it. When Lana (justifiably) makes remarks on how Meteor infected people are all psycho killers, with only her experiences with Tina Greer (Shapshifing Psycho) and Greg Arkin (Bug person) as her sources. Clark, being an alien expresses his disgust at her attitude even though he saved her life from them.
  • Finale Season
  • The Final Temptation: "Labyrinth"
  • Flatline Plotline: "Void"
  • Forced Prize Fight: "Combat"
  • For Want of a Nail: "Reckoning", "Infamous", "Pandora", "Luthor".
  • Freaky Friday Flip: Clark and Lionel swap bodies in "Transference".
    • Also, Chloe wishes to be Lois for a day in Season 8's "Hex".
      • The Chloe example might not count, though. She didn't switch bodies with Lois; she just became a physical duplicate, with her own personality still inside. The episode was really meant as a Take That against the Chlois theory.
  • Grand Theft Me: "Transference", "Spell", "Sacred", "Spirit", "Commencement", "Isis".
  • Groundhog Day Loop: "Reckoning". Subverted in that the loop only repeats once and the only thing Clark's able to change is which person he loves dies that day. Originally it was Lana. In the loop, it's Jonathan.
  • In Another Man's Shoes: "Relic"
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: "Labyrinth", "Fracture", "Pandora".
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: "Requiem", "Doomsday".
  • Legion of Doom: "Injustice"
  • Lesbian Vampire: "Thirst"
  • New Super Power: "X-Ray" (x-ray vision), "Heat" (heat vision), "Whisper" (super-hearing), "Sneeze" (super-breath), "Finale" (flight).
  • Noir Episode: "Noir"
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: "Phantom", "Arctic", "Identity", "Requiem", "Savior".
  • Parents for a Day: "Ageless"
  • Pensieve Flashback: "Memoria", "Fracture", "Abyss".
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: "Aqua"
  • Reset Button: "Infamous"
  • Start of Darkness: "Commencement" (for Lex), "Descent" (for Lex, again), "Kandor" (for Zod).
  • Telepathy: "Stray", "Ryan"; Season 9's "Echo" centers around Clark gaining this as a temporary ability.
  • Time Travel: "Reckoning", "Apocalypse", "Legion", "Infamous", "Pandora".
  • Trial Balloon Question: "Visitors"
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: "Pandora"
  • Very Special Episode: Any episode with Dr. Swann ended with a PSA about donating to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.
  • Wham! Episode: "Reckoning", "Descent", "Icarus".
    • Season 10's "Fortune" was--based on the fact that Allison Mack was only going to be in five episodes in the Finale Season--Chloe's probably-final appearance, so her leaving in this episode was not a surprise. The fact that Oliver goes with her for an undetermined length of time is the surprise. Oh, and Tess and Emil might just be hooking up now...
  • Wonderful Life: "Apocalypse"
  • Wrongly Accused: "Suspect", "Infamous".
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: "Lexmas", actually subverted when Lex is forced to pursue money and power in order to save the life of his potential future wife, who would have died if he had become a Nice Guy, setting up his future status as the antithesis of Superman.
    • Really more of an It's a Wonderful Plot. Despite not happening at Christmas, "Homecoming" fits the mold better, with Brainiac 5 showing Clark his past, present and future to get him back on track.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: "Reckoning", "Gemini".
  • Your Worst Nightmare: "Scare"
  • Zombie Apocalypse: "Rabid"
Tropes used in Smallville include:
  • Actor Allusion: In one episode, Jonathan (played by John Schneider) is driving his pickup truck while The Dukes of Hazzard theme song plays on the radio.
    • When Margot Kidder, the Lois Lane actress from Chris Reeve's Film/Superman movies, shows up as the assistant to Reeve's character Dr. Swann, she implies that she and Dr. Swann were/are attracted to each other. When questioned as to whether they had ever been in a relationship together, Kidder's character wistfully replies "In another lifetime."
      • In another Dukes of Hazzard allusion, when a State Senator played by Tom Wopat shows up, we learn that he and Jonathan are best friends. John Schneider said, according to the DVD commentary on Season 1, that he was in an airport around the time the show premiered, and it was the first time in 20 years he was recognized for a role other than being a Duke boy.
    • When Dean Cain, Lois and Clark's Clark Kent actor, shows up, we briefly see a handkerchief with his character's initials: "C.K."
    • When we see the Video Will of Lois Lane's mother, she is played by Teri Hatcher, who played Lois in Lois and Clark.
    • James Marsters, famous for playing the vampire Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, plays a professor who denies the existence of vampires. The main villain of the episode is a girl named Buffy who has been turned into a vampire-like being.
      • Though the Buffy name is an in-universe reference, as Chloe says she's changed the names.
    • Michael Shanks playing Carter Hall, an Adventurer Archaeologist using technology left behind by Ancient Astronauts.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: Lana Lang was a redhead in the comics, and Lois Lane had jet-black hair. In this version, Lana is a brunette and Lois starts out with light-brown hair.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Brainiac (it's implied that General Zod corrupted his programming).
  • Already Met Everyone
  • Apologises a Lot: Clark and Lana are the king and queen of the trope.
  • The Archer: Green Arrow, of course.
  • Axes At School: The Trope Namer, from the Season 3 episode "Delete".
    • In Season 4's "Spirit", the trope comes up again.
  • Back for the Finale: Michael Rosenbaum as... take a wild guess.
    • Lionel (John Glover) also came back (sort of) for the final season, and it's been confirmed Zod will be back for one of the final five episodes as well.
      • Aaron Ashmore reappeared as Jimmy Olsen... the real Jimmy Olsen. Also, Jonathan Kent reappears multiple times in the finale, most notably appearing out of nowhere to hand Clark his iconic suit in the Fortress of Solitude.
  • Badass Army: Zod and the Kandorians in Season 9.
  • Badass Family: The Kents/The Els. You've got Clark himself, Johnathan, Kara, Jor-El (who Minored in Asskicking), and his evil brother and Mad Scientist Zor-El. As of Season 9, Martha has become The Chessmaster, making the family complete.
    • The Luthors are a villainous example. Between Lionel, Lex, and Tess, they definitely count.
  • Badass Waistcoat: Clark from Earth-2 (Ultraman) sports one.
  • Badass Longcoat: Clark's costume in Season 9; Lionel and Lex all the time.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Jor-El's favorite trope, apparently. We already know the ending; this show's about the journey.
  • Behind the Black: Apparently Kryptonite only affects Clark when he can see it.
  • Beneficial Disease: In one episode, there's a little boy with a brain tumor that gives him telepathy. It's revealed to be fatal in a later episode, however, and they are unable to reach an expert who could possible save him before it's too late.
  • Betrayal Insurance: Chloe has (or had) caches of Kryptonite stashed around the world, in case Clark goes bad again.
  • Big Bad: Lionel; later Brainiac, Lex, Davis/Doomsday, a younger clone of Zod with an army of Kryptonian clones at his command, and Darkseid.
    • The parallel-universe Lionel Luthor will seem to be even more evil and dangerous than his counterpart in the "original" universe was before he was changed by Jor-El.
    • And the producers and Tom Welling himself have hinted that Lex could be back if Michael Rosenbaum returns.
    • Big Bad Ensemble: After Lionel started turning around, most seasons would feature at least two antagonists who would frequently get in one another's way. Season 4 had Genevieve Teague and Isobel, 7 had Lex and Brainiac, 8 Tess and Doomsday (with Faora as his Man Behind the Man) and 9 had Zod and Checkmate.
    • Season 10 is shaping up to be really complicated with Darkseid, Rick Flag, Alexander, Earth-2 Lionel, and possibly the real Lex all competing for the title.
    • Bigger Bad: General Zod to Brainiac in Season 5.
  • Big Damn Villains
  • Black Best Friend: Pete Ross, seasons one to three.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first person to die of chronic kryptonite exposure was a black guy. So was the second, for that matter.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Chloe, Lois and Tess respectively.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Chloe in "Bride" and "Legion".
  • Body Surf: The Phantoms, Zod, numerous meteor freaks, the witches in "Spell", Darkseid.
  • Book Ends: An almost perfect example -- in the pilot episode, Lex rescues Clark from a prank of being strung up on a scarecrow post in the middle of a field. In the first episode of the last season, the Old Lex clone ties Lois up on the same post as bait for his and Clark's Last Dance. The clone actually comments on this to both of them.
    • Also both the season one premiere and finale feature a school dance and a natural disaster (though how natural the meteor shower was depends on how you look at it).
  • Bound and Gagged: Lana, most of the time. Though Clark had a few notable examples.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Inverted. Brainac 5 is quite sane and nice after he is reprogrammed.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Season 10's "Luthor" gives us this:

"I'm from out of town. Unexpected visit. But I guess I'm back in the nick of time. Wouldn't want to miss how it all turns out."

  • Brought Down to Normal: Used often; never sticks.
    • To be fair, at least once with Clark, it stuck for three or four episodes (longer than it's ever stuck in a Superman series outside of the comics). And with Martian Manhunter, it stuck till he died, but he got better.
  • Buffy-Speak
  • Bullet Time
  • The Bus Came Back: Pete Ross gets an episode of this. As did Kara in Season 8's "Bloodline".
    • And it's now been confirmed that Kara will show up again in Season 10.
  • California Doubling: Vancouver variant.
  • Call Forward: As mention in article itself, this happens constantly and in spades. Though it comes up rather naturally. Properly the most notably one is Clark becoming Superman, Lois and Clark hooking up, and Lex Luthor becoming the villain. However, there were twists that did come out of nowhere, such as Connor Kent in Season 10 and Jonathan Kent dying in Season 5 but do occur if you have seen the right clue.
  • Canon Immigrant: Averted. There were plans to adapt the Chloe Sullivan character into the official DC Superman comics, but they couldn't come up with the right story or role for her.
  • Cassandra Truth: Several people who know Clark's secret have been committed to a mental hospital, and so their claims aren't believed.
  • Character Development: Clark and Lex start as friends, but fall apart as Clark grows into a superhero and Lex into a supervillain.
    • Likewise, Clark and Lois, who initially found each other's company difficult, grow closer as they both discover their journalistic callings and shared passion for justice.
    • Lana changes from Damsel in Distress to Action Girl in the very later seasons. Of course, it's not always consistent.
    • Chloe is an outstanding example of Character Development. In the early seasons, she was rash, impulsive, and always eager to expose the truth about everything. When she got extremely jealous of Clark and Lana's relationship, she made an ill-advised deal with Lionel to spy on him as Revenge, though she quickly regretted it. A year-long Break the Cutie Story Arc and a ton of character growth in Season 3 made Chloe become more mature as time went on. Season 4 opened with Chloe and her father living in hiding as part of the fallout of her actions a year earlier. Eventually, they were able to come out of hiding. By the time Chloe learned Clark's secret in mid-Season 4, she had matured to the point where she told no one, not even telling Clark himself that she knew, choosing to allow him to tell her when he was ready. In Season 5, once Clark knew she had discovered his secret, she became a valuable Sidekick Sidekick and helped him save the day on several occasions.
    • Lionel too. At the beginning of the series, he was the Trope Codifier for Magnificent Bastard and Season 3 featured him as the show's true villain, while Lex during these seasons was a somewhat dark but generally good man. By the time both Luthors exited the show in Season 7, Lex had transitioned all the way to The Dark Side, while Lionel had been redeemed by Clark.
    • Cat Grant (the one introduced in Season 10, not Season 9) may be going through this as well, but whether or not it sticks is up to debate since she hasn't appeared since "Icarus", in which she agreed to be more objective when it comes to vigilan--superheroes.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Plenty throughout the series run, but the most recent is in "Icarus", where Lois escapes from Slade's soldiers in the Daily Planet building by using the escape tube in Tess' office, which was established as existing a season earlier.
  • Chess Motifs: Checkmate, an agency introduced in Season 9 that attempts to weaponize superpowered beings, uses chess terms and puns. Their leaders are codenamed White Queen and Black King, Mooks are called pawns, etc. Their base even has black and white squares all over the place.
  • Clark Kenting: Not so much Clark himself, but Oliver Queen. He dresses up like Robin Hood for a party in "Wither", then in the next episode, the Green Arrow (Oliver in disguise) steals a necklace at a party. Lois, of course, doesn't see a connection.
  • Cloning Blues: The Lara and Zor-El clones in Season 7's "Blue". Zod and the Kandorian soldiers in Season 9, Jor-El in "Kandor".
    • The Lana clone created just to be killed, so she could fake her death.
    • Grant Gabriel and Adrian Cross, aka Julian Luthor.
      • Come to think of it, Season 7 in general could have reasonably been given the tagline "Attack of the Clones", given that this season features all the clones mentioned above (except for the Zod clone from Season 9 and his army, of course), plus Bizarro for three episodes.
    • Season 10's "Lazarus" features more clones intended for organ transplants for Lex. One was in a tank, another was a child, and a third, more aged clone, oddly similar to Voldemort. The child clone has survived for now and turned very, very evil.
      • ...except now he's gone through a potential Heel Face Turn as of "Beacon", and according to... certain spoilers for the episode "Scion", looks like it's going to stick.
  • Colony Drop: Apokolips comes within a few miles of impacting Earth before Clark pushes it away.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Clark's (and Kara's) primary colors, against Lex's more muted or darker colors.
    • Clark (Red Jacket/Blue Top) and Bizarro (Blue Jacket/Red Top).
    • Kryptonite affects Clark differently depending on what color it is.
    • In Season 8, Clark only wore red and blue when operating as a hero. In Season 9, after declaring himself "dead" after the death of Henry "Jimmy" Olsen and disappearance of Lois, he wears black -- the color he wore as Kal-El in the Season 4 opener.
    • Lana wore baby pink and baby blue for the first three seasons of the show. Then she switched to black the season she gets possessed by an evil witch. Then she started wearing either all black or all white as her character got more morally ambiguous in the later seasons.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Clark, especially when he fights without powers.
  • Comes Great Insanity: All over the place, especially in the earlier seasons. Kryptonite infection usually results in violent obsession in those who gain powers, and the early seasons are littered full of "freak of the week" encounters with previously normal (if often a bit self-centered or jerkish) people who gain powers and soon embark on insane rampages.
  • Contagious Powers: Everyone -- EVERYONE -- on the show has at one point or another gotten (and lost!) powers from: Kryptonite, genetic engineering, holding onto Clark and Kryptonite simultaneously during a lightning strike, Jor-El, Kryptonian technology, possession by someone with powers or mystically. In fact, it happens to Chloe FOUR times and three times to Lana.
  • Continuity Nod: The show generally has made nods to virtually every major era/incarnation of Superman. Ideas from the Byrne reboot, the Silver Age, the Donnerverse, Superman: The Animated Series, the current comics era, and several new ideas have been blended together and all manage to co-exist on Smallville.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Except some of them turn out not to be the coincidences they first appeared.
  • Cool Car: Lex Luthor, naturally. He is always driving a car that is fast, pricey and most of all cool.
  • Cool Loser: Clark, Chloe and Pete are shown this way at first. They grow out of it. Chloe even becomes Prom Queen in Season 4, and Clark becomes the star quarterback.
    • In Season 1, when Clark is running for Class President, Pete even points out that Clark is actually well-liked and has looks and charm.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Luthors and Tess Mercer. Oliver Queen is very much a subversion, though.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: in "Pilot", "Hourglass", "Accelerate", and "Hereafter".
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Clark gets this trope on occasion. It starts in the pilot when he's strung up as the Scarecrow in a very literal crucifixion, he gets another in "Hidden" after being shot by Gabriel, and in "Salvation" after being stabbed by Zod with blue kryptonite. As Superman can be seen as a Jesus allegory, this makes sense.
  • Darker and Edgier:The show started out as fairly light-hearted but gradually grew Darker and Edgier over its ten-year run
    • Season 3 is this to the first two seasons but only in certain spots though. There are still a lot of episode in Season Three that focus on one episode story lines that drove the first two seasons with the same mix of humour and actual peril. However, it is also the first season to focus more on big-picture elements, and it deals with the main characters going though a lot more turmoil. Clark starts off the season dealing with his dark side and living a very rough and rebellious lifestyle in Metropolis, Lex has a psychotic break (well, partly) and ends up institutionalized at Belle Reve, Chloe life's is turned into a living nightmare at times, and Pete starts to occasionally feel the bad effects of keeping Clark's secret under wraps.
    • After the Lighter and Softer fourth season, Season 5 alo had some dark moments, most notably the death of Clark's dad but also the end of his and Lex's friendship, Lana going to Lex and Lex turning to the dark side.
    • The second half of Season Eight, compared to the first half mainly due to the heavy focus on Clark and Davis Bloome/Doomsday fighting to the death.
    • In general, from Season 6 onwards, the show was much darker in tone and more violent than the earlier seasons, with season 9 being the darkest season.
  • Dawson Casting: In the first season, Tom Welling was 24 depicting a high school freshman. Yeah.
    • The entire cast depicting the students were much older than their character's ages of 14 and 15.
  • Deadly Disc: "Savior", during the fight between the Kandorian woman and Clark.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lois, Chloe, Oliver, Lex, Lionel, Tess, and on a good day, Clark.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Lionel, Lex, Morgan Edge, Earth-2 Lionel, and Alexander all show aspects of this.
  • Differently-Powered Individual: Called "meteor freaks", because most of them get their powers from the meteor rocks that came with Clark from Krypton. Chloe coined this phrase; ironically, she later discovers that she herself is a "meteor freak" and rails against use of the term, much to Jimmy's bewilderment (he wasn't in on this secret yet).
  • Disney Villain Death: Given rather unceremoniously to Lionel in the Cold Open of "Descent".
  • Damsel in Distress: Lana, Chloe, and now Lois. Clark himself gets into easily as much distress as any other character. He has a more dedicated nemesis than anybody else on the show, a crippling weakness, and any number of people who want to capture him to exploit his powers/study the alien.
  • Doing Research
  • Doomed by Canon: If you weren't in the comics and your name isn't Chloe Sullivan, you're probably going to die before all's said and done.
  • Doom Magnet
  • Driven to Villainy: Several of the "meteor freaks".
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Margot Kidder had a falling out with the producers over the writers' idea to have her character announce the death of Christopher Reeve's character. Her character was killed off.
  • Easy Amnesia: Occurs more often on this show than most people have hot dinners.
    • The real test is when Clark does become Superman and how that will square with a substancial number of people knowing he is Clark Kent. Nearly no one knows what "The Blur" looks like, but everyone will know Superman's face.
    • Used to a ridiculous grade in "Finale", when Tess simply smudges a neurotoxin in Lex's face making him forget everything, not just Clark-related stuff; every single thing that ever happened in his life is completely and instantly erased. So much for a Freudian Excuse now.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The details are still unclear, but as of the Season 10 premiere, it appears that this is Darkseid's natural form.
  • Electrified Bathtub: At the beginning of "Red", a rogue federal agent murders new girl Jessie's ex-boyfriend this way.
  • Empathic Healer: Chloe She lost the ability later, due to a bizarre encounter with Brainiac.
    • And Freak of the Week Cyrus Krupp in Season Two.
  • Engineered Public Confession: In the Season 9 finale. Zod, did you forget that your followers have super hearing?
  • Mr. Fanservice: Tom Welling, Aaron Ashmore, Sam Witwer, Justin Hartley, and Alan Ritchson, to name a few.
  • Everybody Lives: A semi-regular trope of the show, actually, thanks in part to Clark's Thou Shalt Not Kill policy. While a majority of episodes feature deaths, there's a substantial minority of episodes (on average, about 7 per season) where no one dies and Everybody Lives.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Yes. Dear god, yes. Lionel, Lex, Brainiac, Desaad, and Zor-El all run with this trope. It's Callum Blue's performance however, as the scenery chewing Major Zod that really proves it.
  • Evil Twin: Bizarro and Ultraman to Clark, Earth-2 Lionel to the real one.
  • Expy: Early on, Green Arrow was pretty much an Expy for DC's other, more prominent non-powered super hero.
  • Exposition of Immortality: "Dr. Curtis Knox" is never implicitly referred to as Vandal Savage, but that's pretty much who he is. A Civil-War era photo of a bearded Knox which Lex shows Clark confirms he's immortal, or at least older than he looks. He also tells Chloe that he was once Jack the Ripper himself.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: For Lex; for Clark/Lana's relationship; for Clark's desire for a normal life; for a great many things.
  • Fan Nickname: Early in the show's run, a few TV critics affectionately called it Dawson's Krypton.
  • Fan Service: Vala being held hostage in her underwear in the episode "Conspiracy".
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father
  • Femme Fatale: Lana in "Noir".
  • Fetal Position Rebirth: The final shot of Season Three.
    • Davis in "Plastique", after his transformation back into a human.
  • First Girl Wins: Averted, Despite Lana deing hyped as the designated love intrest, she and Clark ultimately separate. Likewise the show teased the Chloe and Clark would get together but after a brief relationship they remain as friends.
  • First Gray Hair: Spoofed in "Spell". The Wicked Witch, Isobel, has taken over Lana's body and needs the hair of a virgin for a potion she's brewing. When Lois Lane has her back turned, Isobel plucks one of Lois' hairs out, but frowns upon realizing that Lois isn't a virgin. Lois, who is unaware that Lana is being possessed by Isobel, angrily asks Isobel why she would pluck one of her hairs out. Isobel lies and says "It was gray", to which Lois insists "I don't have any gray hair". Isobel shrugs and looks innocent. Lois gets a nervous expression on her face and says "I'll... be in the bathroom using your mirror," and hurries off.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Smallville has always been very bad about this. In the earliest episodes, the "Freak of the Week" would often be a a longtime friend the main cast would've known for years prior to Kryptonite radiation turning them evil. More often than not, they'd die. The main cast would spend absolutely no time mourning their loss or what they had become even in the episode where they died.
    • In later years, this would extend to recurring characters and several cases of series regulars Whitney Fordman, Jason Teague, Davis Bloome, and Jimmy Olsen, who'd be Killed Off for Real, might be mourned in the episode they died, and then either never mentioned again or mentioned in only the briefest most casual way for plot purposes. Some particularly Egregious examples:
      • Ryan James
      • Alicia Baker.
      • Grant Gabriel. Lionel does mourn him. For one episode. Which is one more episode than Lois ever mourned for him, even though she knew him longer.
      • Gina. Granted the only one who'd care would be Lex, and it's Lex were talking about here. Still, you'd think he'd spend at least a moment wondering who in the hell murdered his most loyal and devoted assistant?
      • Season two, Clark had a passionately romantic attachment to this Native American shapeshifter with a meaningful bracelet and prophecy saying she was his soul mate, and in the end, she tragically dies. Next episode, it was like it never happened, except she had been the device for the 'caves' setting to be introduced, and those stuck around. What was her name, anyway? her name was Kyla Willowbrook.
    • Partially averted with Lionel Luthor, who's mentioned quite a bit after his death. However most of his mentions are of the evil bastard he was at the start of the series and not as the ally he became in the show's second half.
    • Averted in the best way when it comes to Jonathan Kent.
  • Freudian Excuse: Lex's hyper-manipulative, borderline-sociopathic, power-obsessed dad really did a number on him.
    • Then again, in the finale absolutely all his memory is erased, up to and including all his childhood memories, rendering this pretty much pointless.
      • Well, presumably, his personality is still in-tact, so he is still the bitter, angry, cynical bastard we've all come to know, even if he doesn't remember why.
  • Friday Night Death Slot: Was moved to this in its second-to-last season, but remained one of The CW's top shows. Its second season in this slot was its last, but that was less due to time slot and more due to factors such as various contracts expiring and a general feeling that it was time to finally end it.
  • Friendless Background: Lex Luthor as a child.
  • Foregone Conclusion
  • Foreshadowing: Ironic references to the Superman mythos. So God damned many.
    • On a separate note, in the prologue of the pilot episode, we see a newspaper headline mentioning that the head of Queen Industries is missing presumed dead. This foreshadows Oliver's eventually appearance on the show.
  • Gambit Roulette Quite early in the series, in Season 1, there was a Roulette involving Lex Luthor, his father, and an old lover named Victoria. Victoria came to the Luthor mansion and led Lex to believe that she was playing on Lex's dislike for his father so that her own father could buy out LuthorCorp. Lex convinced her that they should play their fathers against each other and bring them both down. Lex cultivated a romantic relationship with Victoria and when they went into buisness talks with Victoria's father, he said that he was poised to buy out LuthorCorp thanks to Victoria's intelligence she gathered from Lex's computer. However, Lex had already made sure that Victoria's father's endeavors would be useless and unfruitful. Lex and his father bought out Victoria's father's corporation, but in a surprising twist, It was revealed that Victoria was a lover of Lex's father and working for him the whole time.
  • Gaslighting: Happens to Lex after he went he was lost on an island and during Shattered.
  • A Glass of Chianti: The Luthors, constantly.
    • Major Zod too.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Davis Bloome
    • And Martian Manhunter. Although he's one of the good guys, so it's not really "of doom".
    • Clark also gets these on occasion when he's on red kryptonite.
  • G-Rated Drug: Red Kryptonite.
  • Grand Finale: "Finale".
  • Government Conspiracy: Checkmate is one; the Suicide Squad is the remnants of one.
    • The government has recently gone above board with the Vigilante Registration Act and General Slade Wilson spearheading it, although the public is still in the dark about the government constructing concentration camps for the superheroes.
  • Green Rocks: Trope Namer. The kryptonite fragments left all over Smallville have had literally dozens of different effects, not including individual powers bestowed, depending on what else is present in the immediate area when an individual is exposed.
    • Which is how the human "freak of the week" in the first two seasons got their powers, usually them having to be at the point of death when exposed.
  • Happily Adopted: Clark has boatloads of angst over his Kryptonian heritage, but he loves his parents and considers them his real family. He even explicitly says in "Rosetta" that no matter what he finds out about his people, the Kents will still be his mom and dad.
  • Happily Married: The Kents.
    • In the Season 9 finale's brief glimpse of the year 2013, when Superman saves the Daily Planet from a plane crash, Lois smiles out the window at him while wearing what appears to be a wedding ring, implying that she and Clark/Superman may be either married or engaged by this point in the future.
      • In "Homecoming", we know they are at least dating and Clark has told her that he loves her.
      • In "Luthor", he has proposed to her and she said yes.
      • Word of God: According to the show's producers, in the flash-forward sequence set in 2017, Clark and Lois are happily married, although they chose not to display any rings at the Planet office due to their desire to keep their professional lives separate from their personal lives.
  • Hard Head: Smallville is the king of this trope. Lex and Lana have each been knocked out almost 50 times.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Despite numerous allusions to his famous alter ego, we never see Clark in full Superman regalia.
    • Except right at the end of "Finale". Quite appropriately really.
  • Healing Factor: The Kryptonians, Curtis Knox and Lex possess it. Certain drugs can temporarily give anyone this power, with side effects.
    • For awhile, Chloe had not only the power to heal herself but to heal others, even resurrect them. She saved Lois' life once. She has since lost that power.
  • Heel Face Turn: Lionel, who eventually becomes a father figure for Clark. It was mostly a case of Clark redeeming him. While Lionel still had ulterior motives, for the most part by Season 7, he was genuinely concerned with making sure the world didn't end as a result of Lex's various insane quests, and Clark was naturally the best means to accomplish this.
    • In "Homecoming", both Brainiac (5) and Greg Arkin (the villain of the second episode of the series who returned to his high school reunion to thank Clark for helping him overcome his madness).
    • Most recently, "Alexander Luthor"/LX-15, one of the Lex clones, in "Beacon".
  • Heroic BSOD: Clark, at the end of "Doomsday".
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Thanks to Jor-El, Clark is able to do this several times. It's practically one of his powers in the series.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Chloe, Jimmy.
  • Horror Hunger: Season One's "Craving" most definitely.
  • Hot Scoop: Lois
    • Chloe was this at first, but she arguably fits Nerds Are Sexy better now that she's all but ditched her journalism career.
  • Human Aliens: Clark. In fact, all of the aliens shown either look human, are shapeshifters posing as human, or disembodied beings possessing human bodies.
  • Hurricane of Puns
  • Identical Grandson: In "Relic", Clark's father and Lana's great-aunt are portrayed by Clark and Lana's respective actors. Lana's distant ancestor Countess Isobel also looks just like her.
  • Identity Impersonator: Clark, on behalf of Oliver. Oliver later repays the favor.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: They always use one-word titles.
    • Surprisingly averted with "Absolute Justice", the two-hour special. But then again, it was a double length episode.
      • Played straight when you consider that the two individual episodes "Absolute Justice" is comprised of are named "Society" and "Legends", and thus stick to using one-word titles.
    • It also forced them coming up with more and more elaborate synonyms for "Red".
  • If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him: Or so Lana tells Clark (regarding Lex) in Season Eight's "Requiem".
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Lex is guilty of this: he wants deep bonds with friends like Clark, but he ends up losing them due to overprotection.
    • Or just being a megalomanic.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Yeah, good luck with that.
    • Clark has gotten a lot better about this. In fact, by Season Eight it's fully gone, though in "Hex", when Zatanna granted his deepest wish he lost his powers and his memory of them, but Chloe was able to snap him out of it. In Season Nine, it's even less likely he wants to be normal, as he has accepted his destiny to help humanity with his powers. This could be considered as part of the character growth as a virtual human raised by humans who is on the cusp of fully accepting who and what he is and thus becoming Superman.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Pete, Lana.
  • Important Haircut: Lana in Season Eight's "Power". Lionel, in prison, as classical music plays in the background.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Green Arrow, Clark (watch whenever he throws an object), and Dark Archer.
    • Justified with Clark as that is one of Superman's powers.
      • A basic comic book thrope even with superheroes without superpowers, just extrordinarily skilled athletes. Batman does it many times.
      • Well, yeah. He is the Goddamn Batman, folks.
  • Instant Expert: Lana's martial arts skills.
    • She was trained by Lex in the early seasons and worked out much like Tess does now, including wearing boxing gloves and hitting the heavy bag.
    • The episode we see Lana being trained by Lex has her facing a guy who'd been threatening her, and kicking him so hard he's knocked into a table and ends up unconscious. She couldn't have had more than a few days practice with Lex until that point.
  • Instant Sedation: Has happened multiple times to almost every female regular, but the hands-down winners are Chloe, Lana, and Lois. Basically, if you're a female character who's attracted to Clark, chances are it'll happen to you. Combines naturally with Damsel in Distress for maximum effect.
  • Interspecies Romance: Clark and any of his girlfriends, as well as Bizarro/Lana. Other Kryptonian-human relationships also apply.
  • Intrepid Reporter: The show is saturated with these.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Davis is actually Doomsday in disguise, and gradually loses control over his alter ego.
  • It Always Rains At Funerals
    • It snowed at Jonathan Kent's funeral. It was a bright sunny day at Henry James "Jimmy" Olsen's funeral. It was also sunny at Carter Hall's funeral in Egypt in "Luthor", albeit was held indoors.
  • I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine
  • Karma Houdini: Lana, most of the time. Lionel, too.
    • With Lionel it was somewhat justified, as he was initially the main villain and his character had to get away with stuff for the sake of drama. His sins later caught up with him. Lana on the other hand, was just a Mary Sue.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Lana's motto, which she repeated to Clark over and over from Seasons 2 though 6... not that it stopped her from keeping her own big secrets during that time period.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lots, but Dr. Swann (Christopher Reeve) stands out.
  • Klingon Promotion: By Season 7, Lex really, really wants to be evil. But he just can't pull it off convincingly. The solution? Kill the biggest baddie around, Lionel Luthor. Also a case of Dying to Be Replaced which is only of humourous interest to people who have read the Renamed Tropes page.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Naturally. In the case of the season six premiere, Clark responds with an instance of I Surrender, Suckers.

Zod: Unlike you, I would rule from a throne, not the shadows. Every human on this planet, including the woman you love, will kneel before Zod!

  • Kryptonite Factor
  • Kryptonite Is Everywhere
  • Kung Fu Sonic Boom
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Legion of Super-Heroes episode did this a lot. For example, surprised at Clark not being Superman, Lightning Lad expresses dislike at the "No tights, no flights!", and they mention that they've never heard of Chloe.
    • Possibly also a Mythology Gag in reference to the Legion visiting Post-Crisis Superman for the first time and being surprised at how he was not the Superman they were expecting. That story was a pivotal attempt at explaining how the Legion could remain non-retconned after the retconning of Superman removed his Superboy adventures. It didn't work.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: All the time: a convenient cop out whenever anyone discovers Clark's powers.
    • To the point where whenever somebody doesn't forget Clark's secret, it's a surprising subversion.
  • Last Girl Wins
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Clark and Kara in the S&M club in "Supergirl".
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: In "Leech", "Asylum" and "Wrath", Green Rocks and lightning team up for Powers as Programs.
  • Limited Wardrobe: A side-effect of Color Coded for Your Convenience -- Clark's blue shirt and red jacket combo. Every time he wears something else, he's probably at work, it's a special occasion, or he is evil/'dead'. It got to the point where, in one episode, Jimmy, seeing a red/blue blur caught on camera, came to the conclusion that it was Clark going around saving people, just based on the colors.
    • That episode also included a scene where Clark gets all his clothes out to sort the red and blue ones from the rest and dispose of them, only to discover that they are all red and blue.
    • By Season 9, Clark doesn't wear any red and blue on his uniform, though sometimes in his everyday clothes.
      • Perhaps made fun of in the Season Nine episode "Warrior", where Clark goes to the Smallville universe's version of Comic Con (Metro-Con or something). We see somebody wearing what looks like Clark's red and blue. This would mark the first time Clark has worn red and blue since "Doomsday" (the Season Eight finale, which was over eleven episodes ago)... if it weren't for the fact we see Clark bump into the guy wearing what looks like his old outfit, and is wearing his Daily Planet suit.
      • Clark was in a major funk after the episode "Doomsday", feeling responsible for the death of Henry Olsen and regretting his humanity, so he took on an all black motif untill early in season 10 where he is wearing at least maroon and blue.
  • Literal Change of Heart: Darkseid takes Lionel's heart out and plants it in the Lex clone's body.
  • Long Runner: After running for ten years, Smallville beat Stargate SG-1 as the longest running American Sci-Fi show[2] . The difference in length is only three episodes.
  • Love Is in the Air: "Heat"
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Many of Lana's Unwanted Harem of stalkers.
  • Love Makes You Dumb
  • Love Makes You Evil
  • Magical Computer: Much to the heroes' delight, Chloe is a hacking pro.
  • Magical Defibrillator: in "Fever", doctors defibrillate a flatlined patient.
  • Magic From Technology: Kryptonian technology was mistaken for magic on medieval Earth, and can boost Countess Isobel's real magic somehow.
  • Magic Meteor: Superman himself may not count, but the Monster of the Week was often a "meteor freak", i.e. got their power from exposure to Kryptonite.
  • Malfunction Malady: How Clark discovers his super breath. And superhearing too, if you think about it.
  • Marked Change: Clark branded by Jor-El, Lana getting her ancestor's witch-mark.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: Kryptonite -- it's not just for killing superheroes anymore!
  • Mind Control: Several Meteor Freaks have this power, or something similar.
  • Milky White Eyes
  • Monster of the Week
  • Mordor: The Phantom Zone is a desolate wasteland populated by Krypton's worst criminals, many of whom are Phantoms, seeking new bodies. Nothing grows, the wind always blows at gale force, and the terrain is treacherous. It actually gets worse in Season 10, when General Zod seizes control of it in the name of Darkseid and carves out a hollow empire from it ruins, forces many of the residents into his army, and institutes a brutal series of gladiatorial games that prune out those who nature and their fellow criminals have missed.
  • Mundane Utility: Clark has been known to use his heat vision to make toast, heat up coffee, and light candles. He also uses his super strength to drive nails with his bare hands, plant fence posts, and lift cars and tractors instead of using a jack.
    • In "Lexmas", Chloe recruits Clark for an emergency... using his super speed to deliver Christmas presents to thousands of children in Metropolis.
      • All to be expected. Why would he use a jack with his overwhelming strength?
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Countless references to the comic book continuity, such as Clark considering naming his dog Krypto.
    • Annette O'Toole cast as Martha Kent after playing Lana Lang in the movie series; Christopher Reeve, Helen Slater, and Margot Kidder guest spots. Terence Stamp voicing Jor-El.
    • Dean Cain of Lois and Clark has made a guest appearance, and Teri Hatcher has been confirmed to play Lois' mom in Season 10.
    • Wonder Woman's Lynda Carter showing up as Chloe's mom.
    • Several references are made to Gotham City.
      • Carter Bickson from the Deletion Force mentioned that there was a Level Three facility in Gotham City. (Chronicle)
      • Oliver Queen's friend Geoffrey says he has to return to Gotham right before he gets in his limo. It then explodes. (Reunion)
      • Linda Lake taunts Chloe by saying she can see Gotham from her new office. (Hydro)
    • Bart Allen, the Smallville-verse Flash, has fake IDs in the names of all the other DC Universe Flashes (Wally West, Barry Allen and Jay Garrick) in his first appearance.
      • Now flash forward to The JSA in Season 9 and Jay Garrick...
      • Hehehe, flash forward...
    • Chloe mentioned a "wonderous woman".
    • A Brainiac-infected Chloe is a lot like the Brainiac-13-infected Lena Luthor and Brainiac's Daughter.
  • Nanomachines: Brainiac
  • Never Gets Drunk: In "Turbulence", we learn that Clark is either physically incapable, or needs astronomically huge quantities to get there.
    • Or when the alcohol is magically charmed, as in "Fortune". Also an allusion to Superman's weakness to magic.
  • New Neighbours as the Plot Demands: Season Three's "Slumber", among others.
  • Nice Guy: Clark Kent.
    • Also Pete Ross.
    • Jimmy starts off this way, until Davis Bloome enters the picture.
  • Nineties Anti-Hero: Conversational Troping in Warrior:

Alec: Lethal enforcers are way more interesting. They were big in the nineties.

  • No More for Me: Perry White does this when the Kent family tractor plummets out of the clear blue sky to smash to pieces in front of him in "Perry".
  • Not Himself: Clark gets reprogrammed into Kal-El, complete with full access to all his powers including flight; Lex, when he gets possessed by Zod; Lois when she is possessed by Faora in "Bloodline"; Lana when the Definitely Not Good Witch takes her over; countless other examples.
  • Not Quite Flight: Clark still can't fly. He can, however, leap tall buildings in a single bound.
  • Not Wearing Tights
  • Nothing Personal

Lana: And then he had the nerve to say "It's nothing personal, only business."

  • The Nth Doctor: Morgan Edge played by Rutger Hauer and then Patrick Bergin, due to Hauer being unavailable; explained through plastic surgery. Actually justified, given the fact that the character was on the run from Lionel.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Lionel Luthor. In the beginning of Season 2, a life-saving surgery left him temporarily blind. He eventually regained his sight, but neglected to mention it and faked being blind for a few more weeks because people let their guard down around someone they thought couldn't see. Street-wise Lucas Luthor, however, sees through the ruse immediately upon first meeting him; Lionel pours himself some water and doesn't put his finger inside the glass to know when it's full. Lucas tests his theory later by signing "BITE ME" on an important contract instead of his name, and when Lionel can't hide his reaction, Lucas forcibly throws a billiards ball at his head. Lionel reflexively dodges and is fully exposed.
  • Oh Crap: Earth2-Lionel's face says it all at the end of Scion when standing next to Lex's grave, he is surrounded by black smoke that transforms into Darkseid and towers over him. Oh crap, indeed.
  • Once a Season: Starting off with Super Strength, Super Speed and Nigh Invulnerable, Clark develops and eventually masters a new superpower once a season, although some seasons skip it, since they are running out of powers to showcase. The show's promise was that Flight would not come in until the end.
  • One True Pairing: Once Lois appeared on the show it was only a matter of time until they got together.
    • Played with, as initially they have a very antagonistic relationship. It's not until season eight that she realizes her feelings, and it wasn't until season nine that they became a couple.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Where Granny Goodness is involved, there's always one involved and St Louise's Orphanage fits the bill.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Kryptonite + bats + mutated rabies = fanged PsychoLesbians who like blood and black leather and have Super Strength.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: "Rabid", Type PF. (Smallville's everything is different, really).
  • Personality Powers: Most of the Meteor Freaks get these.
  • Phantom Zone
  • Phantom Zone Picture
  • Phlebotinum Battery: Clark is fighting against his Bizarro clone, who has all of his powers inverted. Kryptonite strengthens him and the sunlight weakens him; this is when Clark learns that the yellow sun fuels his powers. In an earlier episode, solar flares/sun spots cause his powers to go haywire and he doesn't have the same precision control.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The "Aquaman" episode, although apparently not originally intended as such since it was going to be in a different continuity from the show.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Clark is suddenly powerful enough to shove a planet back into space in the finale, this was a planet capable of traveling under its own power too. This is more than a little out of synch with the power level he's shown to have during the rest of the series.
    • Possibly {{Justified}] in that Jor-El has apparently been holding some of Clark's powers in check, until he was mature enough to pass his final test and take on the mantle of Superman.
      • Also I never saw him actually TOUCH Apokolips but what I did see was the Omega's breaking, I got the impressing it was him making the effort to push the planet back that inspired the world, broke the omegas and reversed the gravitation pull.
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: As often as Clark loses his powers, this happens quite a bit, most notable being taking a bullet for Lois while weakened by kryptonite.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The heroes have balked at villains spying more than once (even legitimate government operations) and promptly headed back to their own watchtower full of spy equipment.
  • Psycho Ex-Boyfriend: Lex's girlfriend in season 2 has a psycho ex.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Tina Greer
  • Puberty Superpower
  • Race Lift: Pete is white in the comics (no relation to Pete White). Lana is usually depicted as a redhead. The Martian Manhunter's "John Jones" identity is African-American on the show, but Caucasian in the comics.
    • In an interview, Phil Morris (the actor who portrays Martian Manhunter) said that he once asked the producers if it was intentional that J'onn would take on the appearance of a racial minority as a reaction to the sensation of being an outcast he feels since he's the only surviving member of his race. The producer's response was basically "Not originally, but it is now."
  • Reality Ensues: Done cleverly with a Hope Spot. After finding a photo that shown that Lionel's death was not suicide, Lois and Jimmy are trapped by a shooter under Lex's orders. The shooter shoots Lois in the shoulder after she locked them inside and went to attack.
  • Really Gets Around: Implied to be Lois. In one early episode, Lana, possessed by her evil ancestor, needs a virgin's hair for a spell component. She looks at one of Lois' hairs and sneers, "Oh no. No, that's no good."
    • Lex and Lionel were apparently both this trope. Oliver too. And Tess.
  • Redemption Equals Death
  • Redemption in the Rain: Of a kind, in the episode "Rabid" when the people who have been turned into zombies, Lois included, are cured.
  • Reset Button: Used multiple times, but referenced by name in Season Eight's "Infamous".
  • Retool: The series' creators left before Season Eight began, and the show has shifted focus with far greater ties to pre-existing DC characters. Only two original cast members are left (Clark and Chloe), and Oliver has been added to the main cast.
    • Chloe, that is Allison Mack, only came back for a few episodes in Season 10; Lionel Luthor, that is John Glover, is back apparently for a few episodes if not the rest of the series, albeit he is not the "original" Lionel Luthor but from a parallel universe.
  • Revival Loophole: Tess is being pursued by Checkmate, who implanted her with a tracking device powered by her body. Chloe stops her heart with a defibrillator to deactivate the device and (eventually) injects her with something to start it again.
  • Reunion Revenge: Linda Lake in "Infamous".
  • Rousseau Was Right: Both Martha Kent and Lex Luthor's clone espouse the idea that people are taught to hate and that Clark is so noble because nobody ever taught him that.
  • Running Gag: Lois' very Eighties-Hair-Band taste in music. Also her poor spelling, which started way back in the movie (admittedly, it was incorporated as canon in the comic, even before the series started). Whitney's inability to drive a truck without totaling it.
  • Sadistic Choice: Checkmate tries to force Clark to serve them by showing a TV screen with a guy pointing a gun at Chloe's head. Fortunately, when the gunman talks, Clark hears him, allowing him to locate them and save her.
    • Done again in "Lazarus" which is a Mythology Gag to the first Superman moivie, as Lex says "you can't save them both."
  • School Newspaper Newshound: Chloe
  • Secret Keeper: There's no character on the show who's not one. Lois is the only one who doesn't know Clark's secret. Even LEX LUTHOR knows that Clark Kent is Kryptonian at this point.
    • In "Salvation" (Season 9 finale), Lois finds out Clark's secret (or at least is implied to). Of course, it's anyones guess if she'll get to remember it.
      • By ten episodes into Season Ten, she seems to be keeping the knowledge. There is no reason to expect she will spill the beans. Most of the people who have learned Clark's secret are dead, their memories wiped, or incommunicado (in the Phantom Zone, inside some super science device, in a coma etc). Some good "Meteor Freaks" have learned and kept the secret.
  • Self-Disposing Villain
  • Self-Duplication:
  • Sex Dressed
  • Sex Is Evil: See "Bound".
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Although the specific phrase is never used, Clark has said something to this effect about Lois once or twice.
  • Shipper on Deck: Lex for Clark/Lana early in the show. He continually tells Lana that she's with the wrong guy and sets Clark up with her on several occasions.
    • Ironically, Lex would later marry Lana and it would be a large factor in the break up of Lex and Clark's friendship in addition to Lex's evil deeds. In addition, a few years after Lana and Lex divorce, Lex finds a way to prevent Clark and Lana from ever being together again.
  • Ship Sinking: The writers have gone to great lengths to tell fans that Clark and Chloe will never be anything more than friends. Not that that stops anyone.
    • Lana's storyline during her return in Season 8, though not until her last episode ("Requiem"). Clark can never go near Lana again because the suit that is grafted to her skin is irreversibly contaminated with massive ammounts of Kryptonite.
  • Shot to the Heart: Clark does this to Lana in one episode.
  • Shout-Out: Jonathan Kent plays The Dukes of Hazzard theme song in his car, and his childhood friend Jack Jennings is played by Tom Wopat. Lots of comics Shout Outs too.
  • Sign of the Apocalypse: Clark Kent and Karaoke.
  • Soul Jar: Jor-El's recorded mind in the Fortress computer (sort of); the Phantoms.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Too many to count.
    • Including, going by the Season 1 DVD commentary, the show's creators. It's kind of creepy the way they gush over then-teenage Lana/Kristin, calling her "the true magic of the show."
    • Lana isn't the only one who gets them. Clark had Alicia stalking him, and Maxima even traveled to Earth from Almerac just to hunt him down to be her mate.
  • Start My Own: Lex's response to Lionel hindering his progress at LuthorCorp was starting Lexcorp.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: Clark's favorite way to enter or exit any scene. Usually the special effects crew are kind enough to at least give us his distinctive superspeed whoosh sound, but occasionally not, such as in "Splinter" where Clark has been infected with silver kryptonite (which gives him paranoia and hallucinations) and breaks into Lex's castle. Lex walks down a darkened hallway, looking everywhere for Clark, and when he turns around, Clark is standing where he'd just looked with no apparent way of entering the room.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but in an episode where Clark is depowered ( actually inside a virtual world), he leaves the room without Lois or anyone else present noticing his disappearance for a few minutes, showing that he can actually do this without using super speed.
  • Story Arc
  • Straw Conservative: Cat Grant, a major departure from the freewheeling comic book version. When Lois is performing rituals under possession of Isis, Cat actually says "I will never understand liberals." Gordon Godfrey is a caricature of conservative talk show hosts, though that at least is true to his comic book roots.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Kryptonian crystalline technology borders on the magical.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Lois Lane, especially in the begining.
    • Tess Mercer, even more so.
  • Superhero
  • Supernatural Soap Opera
  • Super Senses: Take your pick.
  • Super Weight:
    • Type 0: Lois, Chloe, The Kents, Lex, Lionel, Tess, Lana before she gains Lex's super suit
    • Type 1: Green Arrow, Rick Flag, Deadshot, Slade Wilson, or is he?
    • Type 2: Most meteor freaks/metahumans, Impulse, Aquaman, Cyborg, Black Canary, Hawkman, Stargirl
    • Type 3: Most aliens, kryptonians under the yellow sun, Clark, Kara, Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, Lana after gaining Lex's super suit, Zod, Braniac, Doomsday, Darkseid
    • Type 4: Doctor Fate
  • Take That: The episode "Hex" in Season 8 was meant as a spoof of the infamous Chlois Theory. For those unfamiliar with it, the Chlois Theory was basically an idea created by some Chloe/Clark shippers and hardcore Chloe fans who wanted Chloe Sullivan to "become" Lois Lane, stating that at some point, she would assume this identity. Oddly enough, the theory didn't die when the actual Lois Lane was brought into the show in Season 4. Many Chlois theorists were rather aggressive in their hatred for the Lois Lane character when she was introduced, and there were massive Flame Wars between fans of Erica Durance's Lois and the Chlois theorists who still clung to the idea that Chloe would one day "replace" Erica Durance's character as the one true "iconic Lois Lane" (a phrase thrown around a lot during these debates). This occurred despite the fact that the show's creators, producers, and actors all repeatedly stated that the Chlois theory would not come true. One can only imagine that the showrunners finally got fed up and decided to write this episode to spoof it.
    • To make the point more obvious, after spending a day as a duplicate of Lois Lane, Chloe (after being restored to her usual self) says aloud that she will never be Lois Lane, and finally chooses a new career path: working for the Justice League full-time, declaring "Watchtower (her codename) is officially online."
    • The Vigilante Registration Act, headed by one General Slade Wilson, is a subtle one aimed at Marvel's Civil War and Dark Reign storylines.
      • The VRA is less of a take that and more of a Homage.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Lex Luthor used to be the Trope Namer.
  • Tap on the Head: Clark has been known to employ this rather literally, on occasion. The first such example is in "Nicodemus" when he lightly tapped Pete on the forehead and knocks him cold. Other characters also sometimes employ this trope in the traditional manner of smashing objects over someone's head.
  • Temporary Love Interest:
    • 1: Kyla Willowbrook (died in one episode)
    • 2: Alicia Baker (went Fatal Attraction and imprisoned and then brought back reformed 1 season later; died in two episodes)
    • 3: Raya (died in two episodes)
  • The Bus Came Back: Pete Ross returned for one episode in Season 7, and Lana returned part way through Season 8 for a small story arc.
    • Season 10 had practically every major character who had departed the show return in some capacity during the season. Notably, Pete Ross & Lana Lang were the only lving characters not to return during the season, whilst any other characters who didn't come back had been Killed Off for Real. Not that being dead managed to stop Jonathan, Lionel & Lex returning in some capacity.
  • Themed Aliases: The Flash is a punk kid possibly named Bart Allen who has a bunch of different IDs which have different names of the Comic Book versions of the Flash: Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West (however, this may just be a Mythology Gag as it's not clear if these names would have any special significance in the Smallville universe).
    • As of "Absolute Justice", it seems like at least one of these does, since Jay Garrick is comfirmed as existing as the original Flash.
  • Theme Music Withholding: John Williams' Superman Theme plays in the final scene of the final episode.
  • Three Amigos: Clark, Pete, and Chloe in the early seasons.
  • Token Minority: No, not the Kryptonian, smart-ass.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Forget gaining superpowers under the yellow sun... the racial trait observed in every Kryptonian to appear in Smallville is to jump to insane conclusions at the slightest misunderstanding, never attempt to find any corroborating evidence to back it up, which ultimately leads to disaster. This has been observed with Zod (as Lex), his Disciples, Faora (as Lois), Doomsday, Zor-El, Major Zod, the Kandorians, Kara, Jor-El... even Clark is not immune to lapsing into this behavior.
  • Trash the Set: Halfway through the final season, Luthor mansion (which had been a feature of the show since episode 1) is burned to the ground by Alexander Luthor.
    • And earlier in the season, the Talon coffee shop/upstairs apartment is blown up by a missile launched by the Suicide Squad.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Lionel, in the Season 3 finale.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Chloe, Chloe, oh dear god Chloe. She may cross to an Iron Woobie but good god, the stuff that happens to her, it's amazing she didn't snap.
  • Tuck and Cover: Clark's default mode of rescue, mostly when it comes to explosions. First example was in the second episode, "Metamorphosis".
  • Ultimate Universe: Well, Word of God said that it's a re-interpretation of the Superman mythos. Not to mention that there are some DC Comics characters making guest appearances, sometimes slightly heavily modified.
  • Un Confession: Used several times throughout the series. The eighth season alone features Lois 'admitting' to being in love with Clark under lie detector and then claiming to have fooled the machine, and (in a separate episode) Clark revealing his identity to the world. In a past episode, Clark also told Lana the truth about him before resetting time after she died, and, in a strange inversion, he once erased the knowledge of his alien heritage from Chloe's mind -- which also didn't stick (i.e. she remembered).
  • Uncle Pennybags: Clark and his friends benefited vastly from a series of sugar daddies. First, from Seasons 1-4, Lex Luthor often bailed Clark & friends out of their money troubles, as he was still essentially trying to buy Clark's friendship. After Lex gets caught using armed and superpowered thugs to hold Clark's parents hostage (and thus force him to reveal his secret if it had gone as he'd planned) in Season 5, Clark distances himself from Lex. However, for most of Season 5, Lionel steps in and starts eagerly playing the role of Uncle Pennybags in a desperate attempt to impress Martha with his generosity. Lex occasionally still chips in money, but only in odd circumstances when he and Clark are thrown into a position where their interests coincide. Then from Season 6 onwards till the end, Oliver Queen steps in as Team Clark's big financier, as he is the major backer of the Justice League, eventually being joined in this role by former Dark Action Girl Tess Mercer in the later seasons.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Chloe, especially since we all know that Clark marries her cousin.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: This almost happens with Clark and Lana at the end of Season 1.
    • Chloe has been in love with Clark for many years; he really only shows interest in her when she's dating someone else.
  • Unwanted Harem: Several. Lana used to get a Stalker with a Crush on an almost-weekly basis in the earliest seasons.
    • However, Clark himself has had a few. Alicia started out as a welcome suitor, who quickly became unwanted when she turned into a Stalker with a Crush. Maxima from Season 8 would definitely count as one too. Chloe in the first few seasons also had a huge crush on Clark, but this apparently faded.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Jor-El's warning about Darkseid's coming is so pointlessly vague that Clark actually thinks he's talking about something else and ends up doing nothing to stop him.
  • Vehicle Vanish: In a Season 9 episode, Major Zod realizes that Tess has played him. He looks across the street, and sees Tess raising her coffee cup in a sarcastic salute to him. A truck passes and in that split second, Tess is somehow gone. Unless she managed to make a highly-improbable jump onto the side of the truck and ride away with it, one wonders exactly how Tess did this, considering the fact that she has no superpowers.
  • Viewers are Morons: In Britain, Channel 4 and its sister channel E4 insisted on billing it as Smallville: Superman - The Early Years. They eventually stopped doing that, thankfully.
  • Visions of Another Self: Done a few times in order to explore otherwise forbidden character pairings.
  • Weirdness Magnet: How else would one describe the town of Smallville, Kansas?
    • And Clark himself.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Lex Luthor. Dear God Lex Luthor.
    • To the point that, for the first couple of seasons, he was even trying to get a "Well done, son" from Clark's father. He ain't picky.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Spoken verbatim by Chloe in "Masquerade." Naturally, quite a bit does.
  • What Happended To The Mouse: Lucas, Lex's brother, vanishes after his first episode. Initially justified as he was in hiding from Lionel. However, when both Lionel and Lex die, their is no reason for him not to step forward and claim a huge inheritance.
    • Averted with Pete, who vanishes for several seasons, but eventually does resurface and Clark and him get closure.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: It's strongly implied by both more knowledgeable aliens and characters with Psychic Powers that Clark will outlive his loved ones. This was a recurring theme especially during Season 7, where it was used to create tension in Clark and Lana's relationship.
    • Lionel himself never intended to live forever, as he gave his own heart to resurrect Lex in exchange for having Darkseid claim his soul.
  • Wicked Cultured: Lionel and Lex Luthor. Arguably Tess too.
    • Now that we know that Tess is Lex's half-sister, it is all in the family.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Clark & Lois.
    • They probably hopefully will in Season 9.
    • Word of God says they will make love in Season 9. They specifically said "not have sex, make love".
      • They did/will/would have, in the Bad Future seen in "Pandora".
      • A Bad Future that was promptly erased thanks to Time Travel, so it's back to square one.
      • However, the end of Season 10's "Harvest" is likely not to be undone, so it has finally happened, at last.
  • Wrote the Book: Lex claims the Luthors wrote the book on uncomfortable silences.
  • Xanatos Gambit: "Absolute Justice" has Amanda Waller and Checkmate. She uses her Suicide Squad (or a member of it) to go after the JSA, not really caring that he kills a couple but killing him when he tried to kill everyone. Why? She wanted to bring them out of hiding to join the budding JLA and prepare for the coming Apocalypse (or is it Apokolips?).
      • Both Clark and Bizarro were searching for Dax-Ur for different reasons. Brainiac separately told both of them to find Dax-Ur's shield, a device which would transport the user to Dax-Ur himself. Clark manages to find it and locates Dax-Ur. It didn't matter to Brainiac who reached Dax-Ur. What's important was that the activation of the shield emitted a beacon which allowed Brainiac to reach Dax-Ur, who had created him. Brainiac wanted to download information from Dax-Ur's brain to upgrade himself and become more powerful.
      • In Season 5, Brainiac had wanted to use Clark as Zod's vessel. When that didn't work, he simply used Lex as Zod's vessel.
  • You Look Familiar: Shawn Ashmore played a villain in Seasons 1 and 3, but his identical twin brother Aaron plays Henry "Jimmy" Olsen in later seasons. Aaron returns in the series finale to play James Bartholomew Olsen.
  1. Interestingly enough, one 1940's comic featured a young Clark/Superboy winning a high school journalism contest, with the prize being a day as a cub reporter on the Daily Planet. Guess who the other winner was?
  2. It surpassed it on May 6, 2011, and the series finale aired a week later on the 13th