The Not So Super-Men…
The Man of Steel has inspired numerous reinterpretations, spin-offs, and mimics ever since the blue spandex hero made his first appearance in 1933. The icon of Super-Man is as powerful and inspiring as any myth from the ancient world- perhaps even stronger in today’s hectic and disenfranchised world.
But Syfy’s take on the Super-Man mythos, Krypton, is anything but mythical or inspiring. Filled with trite clichés, clunky dialogues, with a story that only begins to kick in around halfway through the season, Krypton left me wishing for more from concepts and scenarios that are pretty super when thought over.
Following the story of Seg (Cameron Cuffe), after his family has been dishonored due to his own grandfather’s (Ian McElhinney) refusal to bow on his belief that alien life exists to a theocratic council. Seg now lives as a “rankless” in the slums of his city as he secretly romances a childhood friend in the soldier guild, Lyta Zod (Georgina Campbell). The plot is kicked in when Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), a visitor from Earth 200 years in the future, insists that Brainiac (Blake Ritson) is on his way to Krypton to destroy Krypton and prevent the birth of the universe’s greatest hero – Super-Man.
Krypton is an icy-cold planet with bubbled cities- leading to a lot of class divisions where hierarchies are firmly and fiercely maintained. Birth’s are now external to the womb and carried in the Genesis chambers, a theocratical dictator holds spiritual and state authority, alongside the Kryptonian language itself being decipherable and consistent throughout the show.
But having interesting concepts and a flesh-out world (alongside some pretty good CGI) does not save a narrative from its inconsistent and cheap narrative.
A perfect setting to explore class politics and segregation, only for the show to veer off into CW territory with character resolutions lasting only 5 minutes to exchange for another flippant want or desire that ultimately leads to nowhere. For example, Lyta is introduced fighting her dominating commander mother Jayna (Ann Ogbomo) in a training session. When Lyta asks for mercy after being bested by Jayna, she is told to never ask for mercy by her mother – whom than proceeds to stab her in the hand as emphasis.
Because of advanced technology, Lyta’s hand is ultimately fine. But later when Lyta challenges another commander to death over the safety of innocent rankless, all of a sudden Jayna is tearing up and pleads for her to relent- no, you don’t deserve to be a loving mother now when all we have seen before is cruel and stern commander-in-chief.
Family connections and the hope in a better future are some of the narrative themes running throughout the show, but the first half of the season is Seg making dumb decisions while being a cocky and frankly unlikable protagonist. When given a chance at the end of an episode to show to the authorities and everybody in his city of Kantor to the existence of Brainiac, he instead chooses to attempt to rescue a woman’s life because he made a promise to her daughter to rescue her.
Oh, and the mother dies within the beginning of the next episode. So sad for her and for building up any consistent narrative and dramatic tension.
There are underground rebels that wish to overthrow the status quo that begin to pay off later in the season, but it takes far too long and too many irrating one-liners to get to the point that begins to somewhat pay off.
It feels bad to rail on such a show that did have some thought and effort put into the world of Krypton – the politics, language, and nods to the comics and other depictions of Super-Man is great. But it is through sloppy writing and uncharismatic characters that are hard to like or even care about that bogs the series down.
It is in the 2nd part of the season where a longtime Super-Man character and some twists are thrown in that actually raises the show a little higher than usual. But even then, you are better of watching the introductory “previously on” starting with episode 5 or 6 and moving forward than to watch the entire season.
For a show that features relatively unknown actors and actresses, concepts grand and honestly bigger than what is explored, and a promise of newer and bigger changes for season 2, Krypton has potential.
Release Date: March 21, 2018
Starring: Cameron Cuffe, Georgina Campbell, Shaun Sipos, Elliot Cowan, Ann Ogbomo, Aron Pierre, Rasmus Hardiker, Colin Salmon
Genre: Science fiction. Comics.
Runtime: 1 hour
Official Website: www.Syfy.com/Krypton
Official Social Media Pages:
IMDB Page: @KryptonTV
Wiki Link: @Krypton (TVseries)
Season 1 | Episode List:
- House of El
- The Rankless Initiative
- The World of Rao
- House of Zod
- Civil Wars
- Savage Night
- The Phantom Zone
Michael Foster| Writing Contributor
B.A | TV, Film & Media Studies | CSU – Los Angeles
Receiving my Bachelor’s in Film, Media, & Television, I have been writing freelance articles for a start-up company located in Los Angeles. As an aspiring writer and love of narrative media, I find the hero’s journey as a reflection of the best and most ideal of human ambition. A lover of Disney alongside various video-games from Super Mario Bros. to Resident Evil, I keep both my mind and body busy with running and reading. | Instagram @ThenNerdMichael | View My Articles
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