'Smallville's' Golden Age

Comic book fans will be in for a rare treat tonight with the "Smallville" TV movie "Absolute Justice" (CW, 8 p.m.) Clark meets the original Justice Society, who ask for his help when their members are being targeted by an assassin.

For the uninitiated, the Justice Society were the first team of heroes put together by DC Comics. Formed in the 1940s, in what was called The Golden Age, it brought together the first versions of Green Lantern, the Flash, the Spectre, Hourman, Dr. Midnight, Hawkman and others. The team was formed by FDR to keep American safe through WWII, but was then disbanded in the 1950s by HUAC.

Those characters eventually went into retirement, but in the 1960s, updated versions of some of them like Green Lantern and Flash joined up with Superman, Batman et. al. to form the Justice League. Today in the comics, original members of the Justice Society have banded together once more to train the next generation of heroes, many of whom are descendents and have taken the mantles of the original Justice Society.

Over the years, "Smallville" has brought in other characters in the DC Universe to be foils for Clark (Tom Welling), but only a few times have those heroes -- including Green Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter, Impulse and Cyborg -- have banded together to form a team.

In tonight's episode, Chloe (Allison Mack) gets a call for help from Sylvester Pemberton, the original Star Spangled Kid, who is being targeted by an assassin called the Icicle, one of the JSA's old enemies. Soon, the modern heroes are brought together with members of the JSA, including Hawkman (Michael Shanks), Dr. Fate (Brent Stait) and Stargirl (Britt Irvine).

In addition, Lois (Erica Durrance) meets Amanda Waller (Pam Grier), a government operative seeking information. In the comic books, Waller was the head of Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad, a group of supervillains coerced by the government to undertake dangerous missions in exchange for their freedom. Whether we see the Squad later this season is still up in the air, but it seems that "Smallville" is trying to do a lot more mining of the rich lore of DC Comics.

At the end of the day, the episode looks to have a lot of promise.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: CBS is all new with "Ghost Whisperer," "Medium" and "Numb3rs," which features the return of Peter MacNichol. On ABC, "Shark Tank" wraps up its season at 9 p.m.

On cable, "Caprica" (SyFy, 9 p.m.) deals with the consequences of Amanda's public confession about Zoe, while Patton Oswalt guest stars as a late-night talk show host a' la Letterman or Leno.

Meanwhile, "Spartacus" (Starz, 10 p.m.) is all-new.

On Saturday, "Demons" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) airs its series finale. Once again, the BBC attempted to make its own version of "Buffy," much like they did a few years ago with "Hex," and once again, the effort fell well short.

On Sunday, it's the Super Bowl (CBS, 6 p.m.), which is a series of TV commercials for viewers interrupted by bits of football every so often between the Colts and the Saints. It will be followed by "Undercover Boss," a new reality series in which high powered execs go undercover and perform menial tasks for their companies, getting a real chance to see how their companies operate.