This week we received some casting news for Syfy Channel TV pilot ‘Krypton’. If the name sounds familiar it is because that is the home planet of DC superhero, and arguably the world’s most famous superhero, Superman.
The latest news is that British actress and BAFTA winner (like the British version of the Emmys) Georgina Campbell will be playing Lyta Zod, a reluctant cadet and warrior in the Kryptonian army who enters into a forbidden relationship with Seg-El. Seg is Superman’s grandfather and ‘Krypton’ will follow his struggle to redeem the honour of the ostracised and shamed House of El and save his world from chaos. Seg-El is a character from the comics but this will be a younger version in his 20s compared to his previous “grumpier” characterisation.
Now Syfy has been doing a bang up job with its series in the past couple of years and I thoroughly enjoy shows like ‘Killjoys’ , ‘Dark Matter’, ‘The Expanse’ and ’12 Monkeys’. But I must admit that Krypton has me a bit concerned due to the nature of the story and what I have learned so far. So here are my top concerns in four easy to chew slices:
#1 No Supes
Pop quiz – what is the best part of the Superman story? If you said “Superman” then ding ding ding you are a winner. The most obvious concern with this show is that you will be lacking the Man of Steel. In fellow DC prequel TV series ‘Gotham’ you don’t have Batman but at least you have a young Bruce Wayne to follow around on adventures.
According to co-developer David S. Goyer (who wrote both Man of Steel and The Dark Knight trilogy) the show will be set approximately 200 years before Man of Steel. So do not expect to see a baby Kal-El crawling around and it is unlikely we will see his Supes’ dad Jor-El either. So Goyer and fellow co-developer Damian Kindler (‘Stargate: SG-1’, ‘Stargate: Atlantis’) have their work cut out for them to craft Seg-El into a character that will draw audiences in from week to week.
#2 Unfamiliar characters
My next concern is that we are following characters that we are completely unfamiliar with. Sure Seg-El is from the comics but I doubt he is known outside of hardcore Superman fans. In the previous Superman prequel TV series ‘Smallville’, which ran for an amazing 10 years, we had a pre-Supes Clark Kent, Lex Luthor, Lana Lang, Lois Lane and the list goes on and on. ‘Gotham’ has young Bruce, Alfred, Jim Gordon and a slew of villains from Batman’s fantastic rogues gallery.
Personally I would have been more interested to see a young Jor-El courting Lara and becoming sworn enemies of General Zod as the planet inches closer and closer to destruction. But if they are tying it into Man of Steel we have already seen how that played out so I could understand why that idea was not pursued. So while they will have some brand awareness with the name Krypton and the planet setting that is the limit of the initial audience recognition. So they are going to have the hit it out of the park from the get go if they want to keep people watching past the pilot.
#3 No flight, no tights
Another drawback of the show setting is that the Kryptonians will have no super powers. Superman gets his powers from Earth’s yellow sun but Krypton had a red sun which did not give its inhabitants any such special abilities. So that’s a no on the flying, heat vision, X-Ray vision, super strength and so forth.
Now I fully expect to see lots of advanced technology and Goyer’s version of Krypton in Man of Steel was interesting to see but super powers trumps super tech on the cool meter any day of the week.
#4 What’s so special about Krypton?
Let me answer my own question written above – it is the birthplace of Superman and it blows up. These are two things we are not likely to see in ‘Krypton’ barring a vision, time travel or flash forward. Not that I particularly need to see these things having seen them repeatedly on film, television, comics and animation. But my point is if you take away these two things then the planet Krypton is no different from any other planet with advanced technology. It could have been called “Blipton” or “Lipton” and the story would be no different.
At least with ‘Battlestar Galactica’ prequel series ‘Caprica’ we met Admiral Adama’s father and saw the origin of the Cylons. But with ‘Krypton’ the events we see will have little to no effect on expanding the story we already know other than probably laying the seeds for the planet’s ultimate destruction. And ‘Krypton’ faces the same issue that ‘Caprica’ faced – many people came in expecting more BSG but did not get more BSG but a unique story and tone with ties to BSG. So people may tune into ‘Krypton’ hoping for a Superman-ish fix and come off disappointed.
In conclusion the name ‘Krypton’ is a double edged sword that may initially get people tuning in but could subsequently lose viewers due to the lack of connection with the character and world they love. I am not one to prejudge any TV show or movie so I will check ‘Krypton’ out if it is picked up and if I like it I will stay with it. But I have no illusions that the show has quite the uphill climb especially with Superman fans.
So how do you feel about the ‘Krypton’ TV series? Feel free to comment below and if you enjoyed this post you can share it with your peeps. Sharing is caring folks.
For more Superman stuff you can check out my ranking of the Top 5 Superman actors here and for my review of the ‘Gotham’ Season 2 finale you can click here. And for more completely necessary TV opinion pieces you can check back redmangoreviews for new posts Monday to Saturday and follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 for updates.
Julien is outie like a navel. l8rs