Krypton: The Complete First Season
I was happy to get a review copy of Krypton: The Complete First Season, because I’m always curious, with so many superhero/comic-related TV shows out there these days, to see what a show is doing differently to set itself apart.
Unfortunately, Krypton is full of things that seem familiar and feel as though you’ve seen all this before. There’s a young, generically attractive hero (Seg-El, Superman’s grandfather, played by Cameron Cuffe), rebelling against a harsh, merciless ruling culture. As a child, they murdered his grandfather in front of him for heresy and treason, which sent his family into the underclass, and now, he fights them and works to uncover a conspiracy.
One of the settings is a dark, dirty, slum-like alley and bar. Seg is paired with an upperclass blonde but secretly loves the daughter (Georgina Campbell) of military leader Zod (who, in one of the few interesting notes, is now a black woman (Ann Ogbomo, who was an Amazon in Wonder Woman)).
Adam Strange, another interchangeable actor (Shaun Sipos), shows up to tell Seg that he needs to make sure his grandson fulfills his destiny. Seg is torn between two worlds and is also the secret savior in a fight against Brainiac. I thought they were trying too hard to make him different from Superman by putting him in a bar fight and making him out to be a bad boy. Yet he also has a hologram of his dead ancestor to advise him.
There have been any number of dystopian settings and rebellious young people in stories of this kind over the past years. In this case, few of the characters or actors stood out to me, and I didn’t want to spend time watching them. The one I wanted to follow, Rupert Graves as Seg’s father, is only in the first episode. By the way, everyone has an accent because the show is filmed in the UK, which I guess is good for consistency, but it added to the “we’re cutting cost corners” feel.
There’s no energy or excitement or ability to draw attention here, whether in plot or performance. Perhaps something interesting happens later on in the series — I only made it through two of the ten episodes, because everything was so predictable and slow-paced, without much action or other interesting visuals. Every so often there was a tiny moment that reminded me of the source material, as when they mention the Jewel Mountains, but most of this show is generic and forgettable science fiction. I was hoping to see Hawkwoman, but although she kept being mentioned in the promotion, the storylines took another direction and they didn’t include her.
I was excited about one thing: It’s great that Warner seems committed to putting out the shows that are available on cable networks (this show airs on Syfy in the US), streaming services, and the like on home video so people can check them out without having to subscribe. And they’re released relatively quickly, too! It’s been less than a year since these episodes aired.
As previously announced, the extras include 23 minutes of the 2017 Comic-Con panel, where Geoff Johns narrates and star Cameron Cuffe shows he really is a comic geek. Also on the panel are executive producers Cameron Welsh and Damian Kindler. There are also about eight minutes of deleted scenes, spread across the two discs, and a gag reel, made more entertaining by the British accents.
Two featurettes, “Bringing the Home World to Life” (17 minutes) and “A Lost Kingdom: Life on Krypton” (23 minutes), cover the show’s look (designing an alien world) and building the characterization and culture, respectively. Both are longer than they needed to be, and in both, most of the commentary is made by the producers and a writer, explaining what they’re trying to do. The show they described was more interesting than the one I watched, and that was the most enjoyable part of the set for me, hearing them talk about their goals and the themes they were trying to demonstrate. “Romeo and Juliet in Brave New World” is a pretty good concept, even if it didn’t manifest that well.
Season 2 is coming later this year. The teaser features Doomsday, who showed up this season. Lobo, Nightwing, and Flamebird are reportedly going to appear as well. (Long-time readers will recall that Nightwing and Flamebird, a Batman and Robin-inspired duo, were the aliases of Superman and Jimmy Olsen when they fought crime in the bottle city of Kandor, where Superman didn’t have any powers.)