Five episodes were provided prior to broadcast.
As a lifelong fan of both Superman and Batman, I can’t help but notice the balance between them when it comes to their adventures outside the comic book medium. In the case of the Dark Knight, he’s been cock of the walk in live action cinema and animation, but Big Blue has had the market cornered when it comes to live action television.
Really, even though it’s been quite some time since Adventures of Superman graced airwaves, Kryptonians have dominated the small screen since the late 1980’s, with Superboy, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Smallville and Supergirl all following each other in relatively quick succession.
Only now, there’s some serious overlap, as Metropolis is on the way and the long-gestating Krypton has finally arrived. But was it worth the wait? My short answer is “it depends on who you ask,” though I’m about to that explore at length.
But first, let’s cover the basics.
If I can compliment Krypton on anything, it’s that the writers avoided painting themselves into a corner by setting the series 200 years before the planet’s destruction, thereby lifting any sense of urgency making you feel that baby Kal-El’s rocket ride to Earth is just around the corner. To their credit, this gives them much wiggle room in the way of storytelling, easily allowing them to craft their own segment of the enduring mythos.
Actually, if one wanted to, they could loosely place this in the DC Extended Universe, for Krypton itself shares some visual similarities with the version we saw in Man of Steel, and there’s the fact that the symbol for the House of El very closely resembles that of the one used in the movie. Plus, David S. Goyer had a hand in this show’s creation, so there’s that.
And much like the elders seen on the big screen, Krypton’s council was just as stubborn, even two centuries prior to the big boom. It seems as though their favorite pastime has always been ignoring warnings about their world being threatened, even if that means silencing the most brilliant of minds among them.
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After a bit of prologue, the pilot episode leaps forward to what we’ll term the present for conversation’s sake, joining Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), who just so happens to be Superman’s grandpappy. Or, rather, he one day will be – but only if he can preserve the future.
You see, there’s a Terminator-like sense to this series, with Superman’s very existence being threatened. Long story short, if Seg-El doesn’t avert some great catastrophe, there’s no tomorrow for the Man of Tomorrow. But with the help of a time traveling Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), there just may be hope yet.
For all intents and purposes, that threat appears to be Brainiac (Blake Ritson), a Collector of Worlds who aims to live up to his namesake. As of now, it’s unclear if he, too, has traveled through time, but this will make sense only if he did. I mean, how else could his actions threaten the present? Logically, his defeat would’ve already been history, so the only way this premise could work is if he’s pulling a SkyNet and is deciding to cut off the El bloodline at a time he deemed safest.
On the plus side, what I’ve seen of Brainiac is quite pleasing, as he boasts a look I’ve long wanted to see in live action. Nuanced as James Marsters’ performances were on Smallville, his iteration of the character was decidedly human in appearance. But here, we have a living, breathing Brainiac birthed from the mind of artist Gary Frank. It’s quite wondrous.
By now, you can probably tell that this feels more like a science fiction series than a superhero one, and that’s absolutely the case. As such, I believe it to be inviting to those who are fans of the genre or are just looking for an interesting new show to pick up. Smallville certainly did the same. Rest assured the comic book readers will feel right at home, but Krypton is accessible to those of varying preferences.
Still, it falls into certain trappings, seemingly being obsessed with the concepts of ranks and guilds just as many sci-fi and fantasy tales are. Granted, it does work in these confines, but I tired of it quickly. Be forewarned that if you’re to take a drink every time someone uses the words “rank” or “rankless,” odds are that you’ll be dead before long.
To get the most out of this series, you’re going to need to enjoy both the military and political intrigue as well as Seg-El’s journey. Yes, they may be technically intertwined, but I found the latter to be much, much more gripping than the former. As much as I like the character of Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell), she’s forced to be in many of the scenes that I personally found to be a drag. Hopefully things pick up as the season stretches on, and perhaps future seasons can shift most of the focus back to Seg-El and his personal saga. Then again, the show is called “Krypton,” not “Seg-El,” so that could be wishful thinking on my part.
Having said all that, I’m willing to check out more of Krypton in order to see just how it’ll shape “the future” of Superman – and to see more of Brainiac because he’s been so criminally ignored in the live action realm. Personal preferences aside, those who enjoy superhero stuff – and those who don’t – owe it to themselves to at least give this baby a test drive.
While it may not reach the heights of DC TV shows over on The CW, it's encouraged that you give Krypton a look-see.