Before Clark Kent came down with a meteor shower on Smallville, Max Evans and company crashed into the New Mexico desert on Roswell. Both shows garnered high enough ratings in the first year to be labeled a Break Out Hit for the WB, and the similarities don’t end there.
It’s clear enough that both shows share the same theme – teenage alien(s) tries desperately to fit in with teenage humans while battling evil – but Smallville has also chosen to recycle Roswell’s tragic love story. Regardless of the source material inherent in the Superman myth, the creators of Smallville have followed the standard WB teen angst route in creating the will-they-won’t-they relationship of Clark and Lana. If it seems familiar to you, it is. They’re a near-carbon copy of Roswell’s Max and Liz. For instance…
Max/Liz: He was an alien, she was a human.
Clark/Lana: He’s an alien, she’s a human.
Max: Was a chiseled brunette with large ears.
Clark: Is a chiseled brunette with large teeth.
Liz: Was petite with straight brown hair and exotic eyes.
Lana: Is petite with straight brown hair and exotic eyes.
Max/Liz: He saved her life over and over, like when a skanky alien shapeshifter tried to off her.
Clark/Lana: He saves her life over and over, like when a skanky mutant shapeshifter tried to off her.
Liz: Her best friend was a spunky blond.
Lana: Her new best friend is a spunky blond.
Max: His best friend was a sarcastic, poofy-haired alien freak.
Clark: His best friend is a sarcastic, bald mutant freak.
Liz: Was a waitress in a wacky diner.
Lana: Is a waitress in a trendy café.
Max: Had an indecipherable book from his home planet.
Clark: Has an indecipherable book from his home planet.
Max/Liz: She knew what he was.
Clark/Lana: She’s starting to guess at what he is.
Max: When he got horny, he made Liz glow.
Clark: When he gets horny, he sets Lana’s coffee shop on fire.
Liz: Was dating a football player until she opened her eyes and saw Max.
Lana: Was dating a football player until she opened her eyes and saw Clark.
Max: Was found naked (with his sister) in the desert as a child.
Clark: Was found naked in a cornfield by his parents as a child.
Max/Liz: He tried to push her away, because he could only hurt her.
Clark/Lana: He’s holding out on the lovin’, because he’ll only hurt her.
Max: His ship was hidden in a mountain cave, but the key was missing.
Clark: His ship is hidden in the storm cellar, but the key is missing.
Max/Liz: They attended the Junior/Senior prom together, and ended up apart.
Clark/Lana: He went to the Spring Formal with someone else, and ended up with her.
Liz: Her family owned the café in which she worked.
Lana: Her aunt owned the theater, which became the trendy café where she works.
Max: His football-playing enemy learned his secret, and became his friend.
Clark: His football-playing friend learns his secret, and almost becomes an enemy.
Max/Liz: He owed her a dance, Dave Matthews provided the soundtrack. Fans everywhere chose “Hanging by a Moment” by Lifehouse as Their Song anyway.
Clark/Lana: He owed her a dance, Lifehouse provided the soundtrack. Fans everywhere try to come up with a song for Clark and Lex instead. Dave Matthews “Crash” is a top contender.
okay, this last one is a stretch. but still!
Can Clark and Lana be any more similar to Max and Liz? Only time will tell. The good news is that, three episodes into Smallville’s second season, the writers are managing to adhere to a mytharc and haven’t really contradicted anything they said last season. If we were keeping a tally, that would easily catapult Smallville ahead of it’s teen-targeted predecessor.