In 2001, yet another adaptation of the Superman comic book came to television. Lasting 10 seasons, Smallville took the traditional Superman story and turned it into an American teen action drama about Clark Kent's life at high school—before he donned the famous blue tights and red cape. Instead of depicting Superman's clashes with criminals in Metropolis, the show focused on how Clark first developed his powers and learned to cope with girls, school, and teenage angst. Although largely overlooked by critics and derided by Superman fans who regarded it as too far a departure from the comic book canon, Smallville nonetheless endeared a whole new generation of viewers. The setting, style, narrative, and cast of fresh-faced actors suggested that the Superman story was not only ready for a makeover but also still relevant for a post-9/11 American audience. In The Smallville Chronicles: Critical Essays on the Television Series, scholars examine the multiple narratives of the Smallville universe. Addressing issues related to gender, sexuality, national identity, myth, history, and politics, these essays explore how the series uses the Superman story to comment on contemporary social issues. Additional essays investigate the complex relationship the show's audience has with the characters through blogging, fan fiction, visits to filming locations, and the creation of websites. As the first book-length study specifically focused on the Smallville television series, this collection is an excellent text for studies in science fiction, fandom, and teen television scholarship, and it will also have general appeal to fans of the show.
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|Published - 2011