Season one of Smallville, an American television series developed by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, began airing on October 16, 2001, on The WB television network. The series recounts the early adventures of Kryptonian Clark Kent as he adjusts to his developing superpowers in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas, during the years before he becomes Superman. The first season comprises 21 episodes and concluded its initial airing on May 21, 2002. Regular cast members during season one include Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Annette O'Toole, John Schneider, Sam Jones III, Allison Mack, and Eric Johnson.
The season's stories focus on Martha and Jonathan Kent's attempts to help their adopted son Clark cope with his alien origin and control his developing superhuman abilities. Clark must deal with the meteor-infected individuals that begin appearing in Smallville, his love for Lana Lang, and not being able to tell his two best friends, Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan, about his abilities or his origins. Clark also befriends Lex Luthor after saving Lex's life.
The episodes were filmed primarily in Vancouver and post-production work took place in Los Angeles. Gough and Millar assisted the writing staff with week-to-week story development. "Villain of the week" storylines were predominant during the first season; physical effects, make-up effects, and computer generated imagery became important components as well. Limited filming schedules sometimes forced guest actors to perform physical stunts, and the series regulars were more than willing to do stunt work. Episode budgets ultimately became strictly regulated, as the show frequently ran over budget during the first half of the season. The pilot broke The WB's viewership record for a debut series, and was nominated for various awards. Although the villain of the week storylines became a concern for producers, critical reception was generally favorable, and the series was noted as having a promising start. The first season was released on DVD on September 23, 2003, and included various special features the focused on individual episodes and the series as a whole. It has also been released on home media in regions 2 and 4 in the international markets.