Set two generations before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel’s home planet, Krypton follows Superman’s grandfather – whose House of El was ostracized and shamed – as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos.
Right now, we’re halfway through the ten-episode season of Krypton (hopefully the first of many). We’ve already reviewed the pilot episode, so for this review, we will focus on episodes 2-5.
In “House of El,” Seg initially disregards Adam Strange’s warning of an enemy from the future, instead plotting to kill Daron-Vex. After discovering a hologram of his grandfather Val in the Fortress, Seg vows to stop this future invader – revealed to be none other than Brainiac. In “The Rankless Initiative,” Brainiac’s probe infects a Kryptonian named Rhom, and our heroes attempt to save her. In “The Word of Rao,” Lyta is charged with treason in her new role as commander, while Seg is confronted by a mysterious man who knows about Brainiac. In “House of Zod,” Lyta’s name is cleared, Seg tries to escape, and the mystery man is revealed to be none other than Lyta’s son, General Zod, Superman’s greatest enemy in the future.
Five episodes in, and I have been thoroughly impressed by Krypton so far. The visuals are simply outstanding, from the CGI to the sets to the costume designs. On this level, you can tell there’s a lot of influence from Man of Steel. But there’s just as much effort in the story. While it’s easy to make a Superman prequel series on Krypton generic, this show takes a very unique approach. The idea of iconic Superman villains coming to the past and Seg struggling with his legacy is very interesting, while removing the House of El’s rank adds some intriguing drama. It also puts plenty of focus on the politics in Kandor City (the different Houses vs. the Rankless), while it explores the role of Rao as a religious figure.
The acting is also top-notch on Krypton. Cameron Cuffe is great as Seg-El, Georgina Campbell is very good as Lyta-Zod, Shaun Sipos helps lighten the mood as Adam Strange, and Ann Ogbomo kills it as Jayna-Zod. (We see more layers to the latter character in the “House of Zod” episode). But really, everyone has been on point. Seeing Colin Salmon show up was a delight, and after the General Zod reveal, I couldn’t be more excited. While we haven’t seen too much of Blake Ritson as Brainiac yet, he has owned every single scene so far. I can’t wait to see more.
What helps Krypton stand out from other DC TV shows is its more prestigious style, from acting to production design. While the other shows tend to take liberties from the comics anyways, Krypton is specifically focused on doing its own thing, creating a whole new canon. It doesn’t rely too much on what the comics do or what other shows do. This works very well in its favor, and it makes the story less predictable. Anything can happen. Its content also has more of an edge than the other shows, gearing it towards a slightly older demographic.
Overall, Krypton is yet another winner for DC TV, and it is taking the genre to new heights. While not perfect, the show has crafted a fascinating take on Kryptonian lore pre-Superman. Fingers crossed that the rest of the season is just as good, and that the show will be renewed.