Base Breaker: Green Arrow. Some think he's the best character in the show; others see him as a whiny, self-centered douchebag who constantly treats Clark like dirt, despite supposedly being one of his closest superhero allies.
Though to be fair, Clark has often called Ollie out in the later seasons, and on at least one occasion has even kicked Ollie out of the Justice League. In any case, Ollie's portrayal is actually rather consistent with the way he acts in the comics...
Arguably Chloe in Seasons 8 and 9. The character was still well-liked by a good portion of the fanbase, but there was a rather vocal segment of the fanbase that began to actively loathe Chloe during the arc where she was getting closer to Davis. It really says something that in the episode where she stops Clark from banishing Davis to the Phantom Zone, there were some who actually wanted Clark to push them both through the portal, and that these people were very vocal about their opinion on the message boards (hard to say which group was really the majority). It's almost as if the Hatedom needed to find another character to focus their hatred on now that Lana was gone for good.
Brainiac. He has no redeeming qualities, ruthlessly manipulates those around him with sneering contempt, tries to unleash Zod to enslave the world, and later begins draining people of their trace minerals in order to re-build himself, murders his creator and finally body-jacks Chloe while attempting to end all life on Earth via Doomsday. During the commission of the aforementioned crimes, he experiments on victims using various deadly diseases, and twice unleashes a lethal computer virus. The first one shuts down most the planet as a distraction while he works to unleash Zod; the second one is part of his end-the-world-plot. He infects Mrs. Kent with a Kryptonian disease to make Clark help him in Season 5, and puts Lana in a coma in Season 7 in order to achieve the same end, before trapping Kara in the Phantom Zone, taking her place, and revealing Clark's secret to Lex. And oh yeah, in a Bad Future, he and Lex were going to nuke half the world so they could remake it in their image. He's treated with fear and revulsion by Clark, the Legion of Super-Heroes and even Bizarro, and actually gets the Legion to consider performing a Shoot the Dog on Chloe when he was inhabiting her. While he eventually Heel Face Turns it's after being forcibly reprogrammed by the Legion, and thus doesn't count.
Considering that his original programming was corrupted by Zod, turning him into a Complete Monster in the first place, some see the reprogramming as a return to what he was likely intended to be by his original creators, and so are more forgiving.
Lx-3 starts out by burning all the other clones and trying to murder a five year-old, successfully murders everyone at Cadmus, and ends with kidnapping, bombing and a Sadistic Choice. Not bad for a guy who appears in one episode.
There are a few minor villains who undoubtedly qualify for this too. James Gibson, Ryan James' unspeakably nasty stepfather from "Stray", comes to mind.
Crowning Moment of Awesome: The finale, oh the finale. The biggest is the ending, with Clark coming onto the roof, and revealing his giant S to save the day, while all the while John Williams' recognizable score plays.
Damsel Scrappy: Lana in some episodes, like the entire first season for example. Later, Lois, mostly in Season Eight onward. To put things in perspective, if there is an episode where Lois isn't endangered at any point, it's completely unexpected.
Designated Evil: Smallvillains points this out in the episode "Red". Let's recap; Clark gets a class ring that his dad hates (even though Clark bought it with his own money) which has red kryptonite and changes his moods. Outside of stealing his parents' credit card to buy a Gamecube, screwing around with a blind Lionel Luthor (who deserves it) and tracking down a Girl of the Weekfor a bounty. The supposed evil is slacking off in his studies, checking out Chloe, going to a bar with Lana, being more forward with her, telling Lex to MOVE OUT OF HIS HOUSE AND AWAY FROM LIONEL and generally acting like a normal teenage boy while Jonathan acts like a jerk to him.
Designated Hero: Clark Kent, in early seasons, made various morally dubious decisions without getting called out on it. This got far better in later seasons, with Clark often serving as the moral center to other, more Antiheroic characters. Lana, on the other hand, was never able to ditch this title, being constantly praised by the cast even as she repeatedly betrayed her so called friends. Depending on who you ask, Chloe picked up the Designated Hero ball after Lana left.
Designated Villain: Lex Luthor, in early seasons, saved the jobs of half of Smallville, saved the Kent farm, saved the world, was a loyal friend to Clark, but, because he had the same name as a character in a well known (real-world) comic book, he must have been a villain all along, even if no-one's managed to find any dogs for him to kick yet...
Draco in Leather Pants: Lex, Lex, Lex. Even after he began transitioning to evil, there were fangirls (and a few online critics) willing to excuse anything he did.
Davis Bloome, Bizarro, and Earth-2 Clark/Ultraman as well.
Green Arrow quickly became a fan favorite and rose to become one of the main characters from Season Eight onwards, though he became a Base Breaker afterward.
Alicia was only supposed to appear in one episode, but despite being a Yandere, proved inexplicably popular enough that they brought her back for a run in Season 4.
Probably had something to do with the fact that she was rather sympathetic and was one of the few girls to love Clark for Clark, and be brave enough to ask him out.
Evil Is Cool: Lionel Luthor. His fans are fully aware of his utter bastardry, yet love him all the more for it. Brainiac's another example, being more or less universally loved not for his good traits, but for being an irredeemable psycho on a show that was otherwise filled with Antivillains and Tragic Monsters.
Evil Is Sexy: The opinion of many, many fangirls regarding Lex and Davis. The opinion of many fanboys regarding Tess Mercer.
Flanderization: Most of the characters to some degree, but Chloe's computer skills are the worst offence.
Foe Yay: Between Clark and Lex - so heavy in places that fans often refer to the series as "Slashville."
Lois and Tess.
Tess herself lampshades this in several episodes. In one episode where Lois and Tess met, after getting into a fight and wrestling each other on a desk the previous time they'd met, Tess smirks and notes that "things got a little physical" (and even moves her shoulders suggestively while saying this)...and then asks Lois whether she'd like to "pick up where we left off." Lois declines.
Ho Yay: Lex and Clark during the first couple seasons.
While Smallville is full of different takes on the featured comic book characters, Cat Grant is absolutely nothing like her comic book counterpart. In the comics, she started out as a promiscuous gossip columnist and later became a cougar with breast implants and low cut blouses where the TV version actually spells the word "sex" at one point because she's too uptight to say it and is actually kind of pudgy and conservatively dressed. All this to turn her into a Straw Conservative where the comic book version couldn't care less about politics.
This happens A LOT with the past two seasons of guest stars of famous DCU heroes. Jamie Reyes Blue Beetle and Booster Gold took a particular hit in "Booster" with Jamie being a basic nerd archetype from an '80s movie and Booster being made into a dillhole that wants to ruin history by replacing Clark.
Lex slowly grows into one to rival his father as his manipulative ability improves.
Major Zod is a rare non-Luthor example. Throughout Season 9 he manipulates Clark, Tess, Lois, and the Kandorians into--intentionally or unintentionally--aiding him with his Take Over the World plot. He out gambits Checkmate, successfully regains his powers, and nearly kills Clark, with a minimum of planning, while successfully hiding his own frailties and weaknesses.
Moe Moe: Probably Chloe's main reason for being beloved by a lot of fans. Allison Mack is a VERY good actress, and through a combination of this, Bunny Ears Lawyer and Break the Cutie lead to her being endearing to a lot of viewers.
Lex in Season 7's "Descent", where he murders his father. Some feel it came earlier, when he had his cloned brother shot just for getting close to Lionel, or afterwards, when he destroyed the Fortress of Solitude. "Descent" is the most widely accepted and canonical one, as we see him literally throw his conscience away.
Davis crosses this when he kills Jimmy in "Doomsday."
Major Zod. Either choking Faora to death when she refuses to join him in conquering Earth or burning Tess with heat vision.
Motive Decay: Jason Teague. He goes from refusing to help his mother after learning she may be manipulating him and Lana, to being a fully clued-in accomplice to her plan and treated as though he always was. It smacks of rushing him out of the show.
Narm: The effects budget is... pretty noticeable as the series goes on. Admittedly, this isn't the showrunners' fault; it's simply due to the fact that the show was on the CW, which for many years was arguably being run into the ground by network president Dawn Ostroff (who, by the way, seemed to despise sci-fi shows, and only kept Smallville and Supernatural around because they were the two highest-rated shows on her network).
In Season 2's "Heat," the Freak of the Week, Desire Atkins, is trying to make her escape after setting Lex on fire. She runs for the door, but Clark heats up the doorknob from a distance with his heat vision. Desire grabs the doorknob and lets out what must be the most unconvincing and fake-sounding shriek ever heard on national TV. Oh and the best part? The whole time she's screaming she's still holding on tightly to the doorknob instead of letting go of it the way one would in real life. Blame the actress for that one.
The Kents also get this in Lex-centric fics, despite having very good reasons for wanting their son to stay away from the Luthors in the actual show. Lex himself will get heavyDraco in Leather Pants treatment, while the Kents will be turned into vicious, abusive ControlFreaks who don't care about Clark's happiness at all and loathe the Luthors for literally no reason, and occasionally scheme to steal the Luthors' wealth. This is especially jarring when one remembers that in the actual 'canon, Jonathan and Martha Kent are supposed to be among the nicest people in the entire DC Multiverse.
In Chloe/Clark shipper fics or Chlois Theory fics, poor Lois will often be made out to be some kind of ditzy alcoholic and Memetic Slut who doesn't "deserve" the identity of Lois Lane. She will then bumble her way to an embarassing death at the hands of the Big Bad, or occasionally (in the more extreme fics) even turn out to be the Big Bad's evil Dragon sidekick, in which case she will be unceremoniously defeated and banished to the Phantom Zone. Chloe will then assume the identity of "Lois Lane" (for... some reason) and becomes the reporter character we know from the comics. Naturally the Chlois Theory and all related fanfics are extremely far from canon.
Even Clark gets this treatment very often in fanfic. That's right folks: the future Superman often gets made out to be a Complete Monster in fanfic, usually in fics that involve Chloe shipping with Lex, Ollie or Davis. These fanfics often bash on Clark for committing the horrible crime of seeing Chloe as *gasp* just a friend and not a love interest. Apparently, Clark deciding that he and Chloe are Better as Friends is enough to justify portraying Clark as a borderline retarded, selfish, and sniveling asshole who genuinely wants to make Chloe as miserable as possible. Chloe will then rush into the waiting arms of Lex/Davis/etc., who will usually get heavyDraco in Leather Pants treatment. Naturally, this is the farthest thing from canon. In the show's actual canon, Clark is a genuinely nice person (and The Cape in fact) who cares deeply about Chloe (as his best friend) and shares a Like Brother and Sister relationship with her from Season 5 onwards... but don't tell that to the shippers.
The Scrappy/Creator's Pet: Lana. No matter how irrelevant her plot lines were, or how annoying the fans found her, she kept getting more and more screen time, until Seasons 4 through 6 were nicknamed "Lanaville" by the fans. The writers arguably kept the character on board way past the point of her usefulness to the plot, and in the case of Al Gough and Miles Millar even seemed to care more about Lana than any other character (even Clark). It really says something that in the DVD commentary, co-creators Gough and Millar actually declare that "she is the true magic of the show."
Apparently it came out that Gough and Millar actually did the casting for Lana before they did the casting for Clark. That is all.
Seasonal Rot: Pick any season after Season 3 and you'll find its fair share of haters or people who agree this is when the show got bad. However Season 9 has had more mixed reviews compared to past seasons, and the final season, 10, has been even better received, though the series finale breaks the base again.
Strangled by the Red String: Clark and Lana. Repeatedly. Heck, Lex and Lana too for that matter. Where in the heck did that relationship come from?
Actually Lex/Lana was hinted at the very first time they met, in "Metamorphosis." Lex stares at Lana, and tells Clark that he has good taste in women. Later, as Lana walks away, Lex is still staring at her.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Comic book fans seem to often have this reaction to the show. Not that the comics themselves have been all that consistent over seven decades.
Fans of the earlier seasons often do this to the later ones as well. Especially Lex fans, who decry him a) actually becoming the villain, and b) being written out.
And to be fair, a lot of the comic book fans had a reaction of "They changed it and made it suck", which is different from "They changed it so it sucks".
Well to be honest...a lot of the comic fans actually did have the "They changed it so it sucks" attitude.
Too Dumb to Live: Lana, Lana, Lana! Most of the times she gets in trouble for Clark to save her, she only has herself to blame. Key example: in the Season 1 finale, she was stranded next to her car by a ditch and saw a huge tornado approaching her. Anyone with half a brain knows that the best thing to do in that situation is lie down in the ditch and cover your head. Yet Lana, who was raised in Kansas and probably had tornado safety drilled into her since grade school, went back into her car to get picked up by the tornado and nearly die!
It appears this troper lacks "half a brain". Getting into a car to drive away from the tornado seems more reasonable than staying in the same area in a ditch, at first glance at least.
Unfortunate Implications: Half-Chinese actress Kristin Kreuk was cast as Lana Lang, but both of her parents were played by white actors.
And the unfortunate implications would be what, exactly?
Yeah, that's not unfortunate implications, that's just lazy casting.
Another one was the creation of Zod's towers in Season 9. The writers decided that his weapon that he would use to destroy humanity would be disguised as a pair of towers in the center of the biggest city in the Smallville Universe. Further, the best way to deal with them would be for Clark to slice them with his heat vision, causing the upper floors to collapse and the unfinished structure to implode, destroying the weapon before it could be completed and before Zod had a chance to use it.
This is actually briefly brought up in Season 10, where General Lane refers to it as a terrorist attack as part of his stance against vigilantes.
Though as of the mid-season finale, Icarus, Cat seems to be "warming-up" to vigilantes after a chat with Lois. Or, at least, she's going to be more objective on the subject.
A couple of articles mentioned that Clark's Crucified Hero Shot in the pilot was uncomfortably similar to the circumstances of the Matthew Shepherd murder.
Wangst: Clark sinks into it quite frequently, and Lana lives here. Yes, you're different Clark. You're also Superman. As for Lana, not an episode goes by without a reminder that her parents were flattened in the first episode. The biggest offender, though, is Lex. As the show progresses, Lex's daddy issues and self-pity gradually take over his character and he shifts the blame for his failures from himself to Lionel, Clark, Lana and anyone else he can. Then again, that's entirely deliberate in his case, since having a major Never My Fault complex is one of Lex's defining attributes in the comics.
This sadly seems to be Oliver's basic characterization. Justified, in that Green Arrow has always had stories that were a little... darker... than other superheroes ever since the 1970's.
The fangirls seem to have a HUGE case of Draco in Leather Pants when it comes to Lex, so debates over how much of a Woobie Lex is or isn't can get very complicated.
It's kind of unfair to blame it all on the fangirls. The show itself 'woobified' Lex to the extreme. The child who takes the blame for the murder of his brother to save his insane mom from the sociopathic father? You cannot get 'woobier'!
True, but it kind of got ridiculous how fangirls (and online critics as well) were still giving Lex the Draco in Leather Pants treatment even after he sent a band of superpowered murderers after Clark's parents in "Mortal," had Chloe tortured in a 33.1 laboratory in "Freak," and of course, murdered his own father in "Descent."
The writers clearly believe that Lana is the show's true Woobie. They are wrong.
Chloe can be a pretty big Woobie as well.
Doctor Fate in Season 9's "Absolute Justice".
Arguably Most DEFINITELY Jonathan Kent was a Woobie. The guy basically spent his entire adult life working to protect Clark's secret, and (along with Martha) dealing with Clark's developing powers. Then, he makes an unfortunate deal with the Jor-El AI that leads to his developing a heart condition that eventually kills him, all for the sake of saving Clark. Along the way, poor Jonathan had to deal with the stresses of running a barely-profitable farm that was constantly beset with financial difficulties. And how does Jonathan react to all of this? By NOT taking refuge in Wangst. Instead, he tells Clark and Martha not to worry about him, and focuses on getting the job done. In Season 10, when we see Clark talking to Jonathan in the afterlife, Jonathan reminisces on his own life, and still refuses to dwell in self-pity. Now THAT'S an honorable character.