We all know the sad story of Superman’s home planet Krypton, one that has chilling parallels to our planet’s very real climate crisis today. Despite its notoriety, relatively little information on the Kryptonian’s culture and history have been revealed. But this is all about to change.
Syfy’s ‘Krypton’ is giving us a glimpse into the planet’s past, two generations before the birth of Superman (or Kal-El, his Kryptonian birth name). The protagonist is his grandfather Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) who struggles to earn back the honor of the House of El, find a way to be with the woman he loves and to save his world for the sake of his future grandson.
Krypton Episode 1 Viewing Details
Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Time: 10:00 P.M. EST
Episode Title: Piot
TV Channel: SyFy
The pilot begins 14 years before the rest of the series, with the trial and execution of El patriarch Van-El. The scene hints at a recent and drastic regime change, apparently grounded in religion. A masked figure called The Voice of Rao (Krypton’s primary deity) silently presides over all court scenes and seems to be the foremost authority of Kandor City.
Kandor City is founded on a caste system, with noble houses, guilds, and the swarms of ‘Rankless’ citizens that eke out a living in the lower alleys and streets. The Rankless seem to have few rights compared to the rest of the populace and suffer regular harassment from law enforcers and a strict curfew. Seg-El manuevers through this world like he was born to it, only to suddenly get an offer of advancement from one of the men most responsible for his House’s dissolution and grandfather’s death, Daron-Vex (Elliot Cowan).
The House of Zod
The House of Zod leads the warrior guild, with the infamous General Zod’s great-grandmother Jayna-Zodd (Ann Ogbomo ) and grandmother Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell) at its forefront. Lyta is also in a star-crossed relationship with Seg even as unfolding events seem to strain or even threaten the end of their relationship.
As Seg faces trial after trial, he encounters the time-displaced Adam Strange, who warns him of an enemy approaching Krypton to change the future and gives him the key to Van-El’s Fortress of Solitude. Using one of Superman’s capes to gauge changes to the past, he enlists Seg to finish his grandfather’s work and defend his planet and future grandson against the villain Brainiac.
The episode ends with Seg at a crossroads; his entire family and legacy have been destroyed before his eyes, yet he has received not only a chance to redeem himself but proof from the future of his success.
Krypton is ultimately an enjoyable show that requires little to no pre-existing knowledge of Superman or DC comics. While set in a fairly typical futuristic dystopia, elements such as the Voice of Rao, decent special effects and the excitement of learning more about Superman’s homeworld add intrigue and leave you wanting more. Aside from the near-constant presence of the iconic S-shaped Crest of the House of El, the seasoned DC fan can spy inspirations taken from comics such as John Byrne and Mike Mignola’s The World of Krypton and the prologue in Man of Steel (2013).
The show could have easily done, however, without the time-travel and Adam Strange plot. His quest to save Superman and gain the help of Seg ultimately distracts from the greater narrative and Kryptonian culture. Future episodes would do well to better integrate the plots in future episodes.