The Official Companion - Season 1

Author: Paul Simpson
Titan Books
RRP 12.99, US $14.95
ISBN 1 84023 795 3
Available 24 September 2004

This authorised companion to the first season of
Smallville reveals everything you could possibly need to know about the show's first year. It is packed with exclusive interviews, unseen photos, behind-the-scenes secrets and a complete episode guide. And if that wasn't enough, there are insights into the world of Smallville, with excerpts from the town and high school newspapers, The Smallville Ledger and The Smallville Torch...

Author Paul Simpson was granted complete access to the set, and he has put this opportunity to full use. With the majority of 'official companions' you rarely come away learning anything startlingly new - or at the very least you don't discover anything that you couldn't have found on any one of a thousand fansites on the Internet. That is certainly not the case here. For example, did you know that the location used for the interior shots of Luthor mansion has also appeared in the pilot for Dark Angel? Or that the fight between Clark and Eric, in the episode Leech, pays homage to a scene in Superman II, where a de-powered Clark Kent is beaten up by a truck driver? That's just two examples of the serious research that has gone into this book.

Also, most guide books are for a couple of a show's season - which usually means that the book never really expands on areas as well as it should do. With this collection, however, we are only dealing with season one - which means that the author can simply concentrate on that season and not get bogged down with two or three years worth of episodes. From a readers point of view, this is also easier to digest. It also meant that I read the whole thing from cover to cover instead of dipping in and out - something I rarely feel the urge to do with guide books.

Another plus point is that Titan has included 16 pages of glossy full colour publicity shots from the series (as well as a whole truck load of black and white images from the episodes). I particularly liked the inclusion of the painting by Alex Ross which was split and included on four collectors' edition covers of December 2001's TV Guide.

This is how companion books should be handled. Simpson... the man's a bloody genius. Why can't all guide books be written like this. Go buy!

Steve Mikando

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