After last week’s Smallville episode, “Justice,” featured Cyborg, Aquaman, Green Arrow and the Flash Impulse, there was another spike in traffic to my Flash site and the profile of Bart Allen, Smallville Edition.

Daily traffic to Flash section for January 2007, showing a 1.5× jump on Jan. 18

It jumped up to 1½ times the usual number of visits on the day “Justice” aired, then quickly started trailing off to normal levels. It’s nowhere near as big a jump as last time the Flash appeared on the show, when I saw a threefold spike in traffic for the first two days.

Why the difference? I’ve got several theories:

  • Interest in Smallville has waned over time, so fewer people dropped in. Pure speculation.
  • Viewers remembered Bart from “Run” (which was rerun a few weeks ago) and many didn’t feel the need to look him up again. Again, speculation.
  • Bart was sharing the limelight with other guest stars this time. But I’d expect people to look for all of them, which is borne out by the number of people who have searched the site for Green Arrow in the past week.
  • Overall site traffic is higher, causing the jump to be less noticeable. Wishful thinking, but the last spike hit ~7,600 hits/day, while this one hit ~8,200, so the numbers hold up. (Hits & bandwidth are down for the Flash section, but I’ve done several rounds of optimization in the last few years.)
  • Fewer sources linked to the site. Last time, there were lots of links from forums and blogs. I even got linked from Television Without Pity. (They decided to go with Wikipedia instead.) This time around, it was mostly search engine hits.

Bart as Impulse in 'Justice'With Bart Allen returning to Smallville tonight—alongside Cyborg, Green Arrow, and Aquaman—I find myself wondering about the best way to hang onto just a few episodes. Last night I went looking for my tape of “Run,” the first episode in which he appeared, and I couldn’t find it.

I have no interest in buying full seasons of Smallville, but I’d like to have copies of the two episodes with Bart (partly for character research, partly for completism). Warner Bros. has no reason to release individual episode DVDs, but downloadable episodes (as in iTunes) might be an option.

Another possibility: themed collections. There have been enough episodes guest-starring other DC heroes that WB could do something similar to Buffy‘s Slayer Collection, or The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” set. A single disc featuring, let’s say, the Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman episodes (Green Arrow might need his own disc), followed by tonight’s big team-up, “Justice.”

Hey, I’d buy it.

I’ve seen a grand total of one episode of Smallville. It just never interested me. The one I watched was last season’s “Run,” which featured the Flash as a guest star.

Apparently Aquaman showed up earlier this year, and there’ve been rumors about the Teen Titans’ Cyborg. The Pulse reports that Lee Thompson Young will play Vic Stone in the February 19th episode.

Looks like I’m gonna be watching another episode of Smallville.

I suppose it was too much to hope that the traffic spike from Smallville’s Flash guest spot would translate into a long-term increase, but it seems to have dropped to normal levels after 1½ weeks:

Traffic graph showing 3x traffic for Oct. 20-21, dropping to 2x then leveling off to about normal by the end of the month.
Daily traffic for Flash: Those Who Ride the Lightning (October 2004)

Still, it was a pretty huge spike, and I’m seeing a lot of new referrers as well. At one point the top non-search-engine referrer was actually Television Without Pity (although they seemed a bit confused about the reference they were linking to — they picked an alternate universe for Bart’s “start a league” line instead of, say, the Justice League). Lots of Smallville and Superman forums, sites, blog and LiveJournal posts linked to Bart Allen (Impulse/Kid Flash), Bart Allen (juvenile delinquent) and Superman/Flash races. It’s always nice to get some exposure outside of the usual sources, even if it is only temporary.