Smallville kept many of the classic elements of the Man of Steel origin story, but also made a number of notable changes to optimize for the weirder parts of the Superman story like the Kryptonites.
One of the many changes Smallville made helped solve a long-standing issue fans have had with Superman at DC Comics. In the original stories, it always seemed like kryptonite was all over the Earth.
The overwhelming presence of a mineral from a distant galaxy seemed difficult to comprehend and Smallville caused Clark to land on Smallville via a full-scale meteor shower.
The meteor shower filled the city with kryptonite, so it was pretty easy to believe every time kryptonite came into play on Smallville. Of course, this didn’t allow the series to avoid all the complaints related to this, but it did help.
Also, Smallville made this solution even better in the season 4 finale when another meteor shower arrived, resupplying the city with Clark’s greatest weakness.
Fixing the kryptonite problem is only part of how the meteor shower shaped Smallville. Not only did it drive Lana and Lex’s backstories, but it also provided Clark with a host of obstacles for him.
Because of this, Clark and his friends in Smallville were constantly dealing with villains infected with kryptonite and people like Lex who sought to use it to further his science experiments.
Kryptonite was easily Smallville’s most important plot device, and it would never have worked if it weren’t for the 1989 meteor shower that was introduced to the series.