First Impression: Krypton

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Geoff Harris

Krypton (2018) is a new science fiction show based off the Superman comic books. It tells the story of Seg, who is Superman’s biological grandfather. The House of El has been labelled as traitors so Seg has to live with a sigma over his head. Kryptonian society is divided between the Ranked and the Unranked. The Ranked make up the ruling class and governing body politic. They live in high towers in luxury while the Unranked dwell in the back alleys and crowded streets below.  Kandor City is the location for the bulk of the pilot episode. A city-state as a matter of fact which is under threat of attack from nearby city-states and a terrorist group, although some say freedom fighters, called Black Zero. Seg is visited by a man named Adam Strange who tells him that a great evil from the future is coming to destroy Krypton and he needs to find a hidden fortress and unlock its secrets to save Superman. The Fortress of Solitude apparently was designed to monitor and ward off “The Collector of Worlds” aka Brainiac.

It’s a tamer version of Game of Thrones with the House versus House intrigue. Although romantically involved with Zod’s grandmother, Seg is “sealed” to a member of House Vex. There are some eye-scathing visual effects but most of the action is actually rather downplayed and more martial. It looks dark and foreboding like a science fiction version of Gotham. You don’t need to know much about the comic to really understand the plot. Krypton is more a character driven story with a definite ticking clock motif. It is interesting to go so deep into Superman’s backstory because a lot of that has changed so much over the years. It has a cinematic vibe akin to Man of Steel’s take on the planet and it’s people.

I don’t know how to feel about it. It’s chuck full of tropes and, as I mentioned, courtly aspects but there’s something there. Something lurking just behind the scenes. I find myself drawn in, curious to see where this story goes. When you set up a definitive destination narrative, there begins the limiting of how far afield your story can go before corrupting the end narrative’s integrity. If they go the way of the Star Trek reboot and create a new path, that would definitely peak my interest. I know there is plenty of dirt to cross between where they have started to the established endgame, which is Superman’s origin, before any real harm can be done. Krypton will be a journey and not a destination.

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