KRYPTON: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
Starring: Cameron Cuffe, Georgina Campbell, Shaun Sipos, Elliot Cowan, Ann Ogbomo, Wallis Day, Rasmus Hardiker, Ian McElhinney, Paula Malcomson, Rupert Graves, and Blake Ritson.
Written by: Ian B. Goldberg, David S. Goyer, Cameron Welsh, Nadria Tucker, Luke Kalteux, Lina Patel, Doris Egan, David Paul Francis, David Kob, Chad Fiveash, and James Patrick Stoteraux
Directed by: Colm McCarthy, Ciaran Donnelly, Steve Shill, Keith Boak, Julius Ramsay, Kate Dennis, Metin Hüseyin, Marc Roskin, and Lukas Ettlin
“I’m an El. We always find a way.”
Silver Age pulpiness and cable TV intrigue collide in the first season of Krypton, from Warner Brothers, DC, and Syfy. Standing as a sort of “Game of Thrones-esque” take on the mythical planet of Superman’s birth, Krypton S1 manages to rise above its premise, delivering a true-blue space opera and staying true to the core tenets of Superman throughout its 10-episode run. The first season recently hit shelves this last week, and we were lucky enough to snag a copy for the offices. While the box itself leaves a bit to be desired in the special feature department, the actual show found in this set still holds up marvelously as a complete work. Perhaps even a bit better! Though it doesn’t look it, Krypton: The Complete First Season is a must-own for any Superman fan.
By now, you have probably heard the premise, so I’ll keep this brief. Transporting himself to decades before the destruction of Krypton, “big deal superhero” Adam Strange (a twitchy-but-endearing Shaun Sipos) is heralding the coming of Brainiac (a magnetic Blake Ritson in some truly, truly impressive and comic-accurate makeup). Seeking help from the descendant of literally everyone’s hero Superman, Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), Strange is looking to preserve the timeline by stopping Brainiac, keeping Superman written in reality. But Seg has problems of his own, mainly Kandor City’s rigid caste system and his forbidden love with one Lyta-Zod (a smoldering Georgina Campbell), one of Kandor’s defenders and daughter to military leader Jayna-Zod (Wonder Woman’s Ann Ogbomo).
It does indulge in some sluggish pacing that seems to be the baseline for most cable TV dramas. As it progresses, it proves to be a consistently improving and engaging science-fiction drama, with the added bonus of being ultra respectful and reverent to the legacy of Superman and the House of El. Created by DC TV-mainstay David S. Goyer and Sleepy Hollow’s Damian Kindler, this 10-episode serial dives deeply into Kryptonian culture and time travel shenanigans, all the while delivering solid performances and impressive production values.
I know the trailers sold a very serious melodrama, but as I re-watched the show again, I was really struck at just how pulpy the show would allow itself to get, and that just drew me in more. Spearheaded by writers and directors from all sorts of fandom favorites like Fringe, Game of Thrones, and other superhero properties, this show never shies away from or is embarrassed by the optimistic and hopeful tone of its source material. It’s a real breath of fresh air as show after show makes jabs at theirs to prove how “cool” they are. Basically, if you were wondering if the show would be brave enough to talk about stuff like “The Phantom Zone” or mention “Thanagarian Snare Beasts,” I am here to tell you it is, and it is all the better for it.
But while the episodes encoded in crisp, gorgeous 1080p on these discs are fantastic, it is with the special features that make the set a bit wanting. Five of the 10 episodes are presented with deleted scenes. While these give you a bit more of the fantastic cast this show is graced with, you can see why they were cut. Most of them delve a bit more into the nuances of Kryptonian culture, which the first season already does so well. There are also two featurettes in the set, Bringing the Home World to Life and A Lost Kingdom: Life on Krypton. Both are interesting in their own right. The former looks at the design and production aspects of the sets, costumes, and props. The latter delves even deeper into the genesis of the caste system and life on Krypton pre-fall. But both seem to end right before they ever say anything meaningful about the show or Superman. Fans of the production elements of the show, which are truly stunning, will find a lot to love here, but I worry not many others will.
The special features are rounded out by the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con panel for the show and a gag reel which spans the whole season. To me, these were the most interesting features. Mainly because it highlighted the chemistry and fun dynamic between the cast and allowed them to directly connect and convey to an audience just how excited they were to be playing the DC sandbox. I know watching a panel at home isn’t nearly as cool as being at one live. However, I think the earnestness of the cast, coupled with the earnestness of the show itself, will really hook some people and maybe get them tuning in once the show comes back to Syfy here in the next year or so.
So it’s a kinda good set for a great show! That’s where we’ve landed with Krypton: The Complete First Season. But I really should stress that Krypton is a great show, and those starved for good Superman content or a fun, future-punk inspired series to add to your collection should really look into this. And keep your eyes peeled for S2 which should be ramping up here soon. Until next time, may Rao’s light be your shield, and I’ll be seeing you.