tariel22 (tariel22) wrote,

Smallville: The Official Companion Season 6

As fans, we're always hungry for more information about our show. We troll the internet for spoilers, interviews, public appearances, and fan encounters, and we can never get enough. Well, Smallville: The Official Companion Season 6 is the book for us. The wealth of information stored between its covers is a wonder to behold. Craig Byrne, the author, has secured interviews with an impressive array of the talent behind Smallville; he talks to everyone from actors and writers to directors and producers to the visual effects supervisor and the costume designer. We are treated to countless anecdotes and insights about the making of this show we love, and we walk away with the true inside scoop, sated and replete.

The book is organized into a number of sections. The first major section is devoted to the episodes. For each one we are given a succinct summary, the vital statistics (writer, director, and guest stars), and several pages of behind the scenes stories, which are always rich with excerpts from the many interviews Craig has conducted. Sidebars contain trivia tidbits and information about the great music included in every episode, and there are dozens of photos. We also see fun extras sprinkled throughout, like stories from the Metropolis Inquisitor and my favorite, comparisons between Smallville and the world of DC Comics. The section is comprehensive and full of treasures, a resource to which you can return again and again, as well as just being a great read.

The other big section is an in depth look at all the characters of Smallville, and what happened to them over the course of Season 6. We delve into all the series regulars, as well as the more significant guest stars. This section is the most insightful, where we learn what motivates these characters in whom we are so invested, and, best of all, how they are seen by the actors who portray them. Nothing is more fascinating than Michael Rosenbaum waxing philosophical on whether Lex loved Lana, whether Lana ever truly loved Lex, and whether or not Lex has any good left in him.

There are several additional articles and features in the book, including a center section of gorgeous promotional photos in glorious color. One absolute gem is Justin Hartley's foreword. The actor we know as Oliver Queen on the show writes an account of his time on Smallville that is beyond funny! He is charming, witty, generous to his fellow actors, and self-deprecating, and I respect and admire him more than ever after reading this book. His participation throughout is a treat. Other highlights include Allison Mack's effervescent enthusiasm for both her character and her craft, and Erica Durance's obvious commitment to and love for the role she plays. The actor who took me most by surprise, however, was Aaron Ashmore. He has an amazing attitude, and after reading this book, I just may be his biggest fan!

So, is there anything I didn't like? I did have one big disappointment. This book seems to be strangely silent on the subject of Tom Welling. I know that Tom did not grant Craig an interview, and I'm okay with that. I don't think Tom owes us anything more than the performance we see on the show each week; he works long hours, never complains, and seems to be the consummate professional, and I thank him for that. At the same time, I would have loved to find out what he thinks about Clark, and how it felt to direct, and of course I wish he could have given his fans the gift of his participation.

Nevertheless, Tom is the star of the show, and, even without his participation, I have to admit I expected more. There is not one mention of Tom in the section on Clark Kent. No other character study fails to mention the actor who plays that character, and that includes Kristin Kreuk, who also did not participate. In Labyrinth Tom was in every single scene, and, in my opinion, gave us the most impressive performance we've ever seen from him. There is not one mention of Tom in the section on Labyrinth. In the section on Hydro, no mention is made of the fact that Tom directed the episode, beyond the stark "Directed By" credit at the top of the page. I just find these omissions, and others, odd.

In the end, I loved this book, even if I did miss Tom a bit. Craig has outdone himself to give us what is clearly the best companion book this series has ever seen. There is an incredible amount of source material in the volume, with every interview conducted by the author himself. As fans we have been given the invaluable gift of access, to the actors we idolize, the writers who craft the stories, and the directors who make the magic. No Smallville fan's collection is complete without this book.
Tags: book review, smallville, tom welling
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