SYFY has been doing a great job of promoting their new TV series “Krypton”. As a Superman fan it’s been difficult to not get caught up in the hype surrounding this new series. SYFY created a nightly live trivia challenge for Superman fans to win $1,000 each night. The TV spots and online videos have been fantastic. They attended the SXSW convention, where the pilot episode had its World Premiere. They’ve tied in everything so well with the Superman symbolism everyone knows, be it the “S” shield, the cape, or Superman’s name. They’re leaving you under no doubt that this is a Superman show.
While Superman might not be in the show as such, his very existence is under threat, and the challenge at hand is definite a job for Superman’s grandfather.
The pilot episode starts 200 years before the birth of Kal-El… We begin with Kal-El’s great, great grandfather being tried by the Kryptonian council for treason. Val-El, who is one of Krypton’s leading scientists, insists that Krypton is in great peril and that Kryptonians aren’t alone in the universe. Not only is Val sentenced to death, but his family (the House of El) is stripped of its rank and position amongst the houses of Krypton. Young Seg-El, a boy at this point in time, and his mother and father find themselves outcasts.
The story then leaps forward a number of years, with Seg-El now a young man, who has to use his wits and strong jaw to earn money for his family, who are living in the squaller of classless Krypton. While Seg (played by Cameron Cuffe) is a bit of a rogue, he has values and stands up for what he believes is right. This gets him in trouble on more than once occasion.
Without spoiling the story, Seg’s grandfather was known to have a “Fortress of Solitude” where he had been continuing his work hidden away from the eyes of the Council. Thanks to a visit back in time from Earth’s Adam Strange, Seg becomes aware of this hideaway and learns about his future grandson… Superman. He also learns about the threat of Brainiac, the Collector of Worlds.
“Krypton” is a prequel story, but it’s not a direct prequel to any specific version of the Superman story seen to date. It blends in ideas from “Man of Steel,” the comic books, and other areas of the mythos. The different versions of the “S” shield seen in the pilot are commented on and explained.
The world of Krypton feels like a real world. The slums of the classless society juxtaposed against the high-and-mighty air of the ruling houses gives you a clear understanding of just how devastating it is for Seg’s family to have been stripped of their rank. The relationships between the characters is touched on briefly, and you soon understand the connection between the different houses, their history with each other, and the strain inter-personal relationships have on a people whose futures are planned for them by their cultural rules and regulations.
The sets and locations are impressive. The attention to detail and designs of these sets feels like a movie rather than a TV series. The Fortress of Solitude built by Val-El is much the way you’d think Kal-El’s version would look like. I hope we get to see what the items are that are located within the Fortress as the series continues.
While there isn’t a lot of action in the 45 minutes of the Pilot episode (beyond fist fights and chase scenes), the story moves along quick enough to keep you entertained and interested. It’s also peppered with enough Superman-related sights and sounds/music to bring a smile to the average Superman fan.
Whether “Krypton” is interesting enough to keep non-Superman fans watching remains to be seen. I think there’s enough there to be of interest for science fiction fans. There’s definitely enough there for Superman fans, even if Superman himself isn’t in it.
I’d rate it a solid 7 out of 10.