Hollywood Flashback: A 20-Something Justice League First Assembled on TV's 'Smallville' in 2007
The sixth season of the WB series showed a youthful version of the superhero posse that included star Tom Welling along with future 'This Is Us' actor Justin Hartley.
While Warner Bros.' Justice League, opening Nov. 17, is the undisputed heavyweight in the world of DC Comics superhero hookups, the WB Network once had a league of its own.
It came with 2001's Smallville, the show that examined Clark Kent's youth in Smallville, Kansas, before he fully becomes Superman. The Hollywood Reporter called Smallville "a brilliant blend of tradition and contemporary sensibility." It went on to enjoy a 10-season run after a debut that was the biggest in WB history and crushed both Fox and ABC in the 9 p.m. Tuesday time slot. While the show had a slew of exotic characters over its decade of airtime, a couple deserve special mention: Tori Spelling played Daily Planet gossip columnist Linda Lake, who had the ability to turn herself into water. And future five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams guest-starred as overweight teen Jodi Melville, who ate Kryptonite-infected veggies, immediately lost 60 pounds and then had to suck fat, vampire-like, from humans to survive.
"It was an illustrious guest-star role where we put her in a fat suit," says Alfred Gough, who created the show with Miles Millar. "It's probably a role she'd like expunged from her IMDb page."
It was during the show's sixth season in 2007 that a youthful Justice League emerged to destroy LuthorCorp's secret Project 33.1 lab. Smallville's heroes were Kent/Superman (Tom Welling, who's now Lt. Marcus Pierce on Fox's Lucifer); Bart Allen/Impulse (Kyle Gallner, who was recently Hasil on WGN's Outsider), Arthur Curry/Aquaman (former American Idol contestant Alan Ritchson, who became famous for doing a striptease aimed at judge Paula Abdul); Victor Stone/Cyborg (Lee Thompson Young, who died in 2013 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound); and Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Justin Hartley, who stars on the hit NBC drama This Is Us).
"With Smallville, we were trying to present the grounded version of a superhero's life," says Gough. "We were the first to take it all seriously and present it in an accessible way — to tell an epic story in an intimate setting."
This story first appeared in the Nov. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.