I would consider myself a pretty big Superman fan. I read the comics, I’ve seen all the movies, I love the animated movies and TV shows and I even go to the Superman Celebration every year. I love all things Superman, even when they aren’t very good (DC movies, I’m looking at you).
It was with some trepidation that I watched the new Syfy series Krypton, which tells the story not of Superman, but of his grandfather. That’s a pretty tough line to sell, but I am happy to report that not only does Krypton deliver a straight up amazing Superman-related story that I think will please most Superman fans, but it’s also works well as a good science fiction story, too.
Krypton begins with the fall of the House El. That’s right: the House El was once considered downcasts on their home planet, stripped of their rank and delegated to live in the slums at the bottom of the city of Kandor with the rest of the riff raff. And that’s what makes this story interesting right from the start: this isn’t about the pretty Krypton that Superman always dreams about, the Krypton that exists no more. This is the real Krypton, a place where the Voice of Rao rules with an iron fist, people get assigned ranks and jobs for the rest of their lives, marriages are arranged and the rankless live in squalor. And Superman’s grandfather is right down there in the nitty gritty of the city, getting into bar fights to raise money to help his family pay their bills.
And so we meet Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), who has a very Han Solo demeanor and a heart of gold, a young man more worthy of something more. He’s also in love with Lyta Zod (Georgina Campbell). Yes, Zod. Seg’s life gets even more complicated when he does something heroic, which ends up resulting in his entire world falling apart. Meanwhile, Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) pops up and warns Seg that his grandson, Superman, is facing a threat that would erase him from history.
If that doesn’t sound like an amazing set-up for a TV series, I don’t know what does. And it really does work well in the pilot episode of Krypton. The first episode is non-stop drama and action, so much so that you might need to catch your breath at the end of it. And what makes it work so well is that the story gets you invested right from the opening scene when you see a young Seg with his mother, father and grandfather.
Of course, without the right actors, this would all fall apart. Fortunately, Cuffe is perfect in the role of Seg and is surrounded by other great talent, including Campbell, Sipos, Ann Ogbomo as Alura Zod, Elliot Cowan as Daron-Vex, Rasmus Hardiker as Kem. These actors don’t just hit their marks: they make Krypton come alive in a way that makes you care about it.
The visuals are also really good. Syfy has a hit or miss record with digital effects, but the work here brings us a version of Kandor that we are familiar with, while also showing us a grittier side of the city that we have never seen before.
It’s not often I give something a solid five stars, but I loved this series so much, both as a Superman fan and an avid TV viewer.
Krypton premieres on Syfy tonight, March 21. Don’t miss it.
Rating: (5 / 5)