I very nearly washed my hands of this series early during the second season. I’ll explain why, and then let you know why I didn’t.
I enjoyed Season 1 of Krypton, which did a deep dive into Superman’s science fiction roots by focusing on Kal-El’s grandfather, Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), beginning at a time before Jor-El, Superman’s dad, was born. I liked that we were getting a Superman show in which Superman doesn’t appear. Then, I appreciated the weird turn the show took with Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) traveling to Krypton from the future (complete with his Magnum PI Detroit Tigers ball cap). Adam knows Seg-El’s grandson Kal-El as the mightiest hero of Earth, whose existence is threatened by Brainiac (Blake Ritson). The Brainiac of this series is creepy and, to an old Trekkie, more than a little Borg-like.
The first season accomplished a lot of worldbuilding. Krypton’s rigid caste system is vividly presented, and we find out that even the act of procreation has become more a matter of science through cloning and genetic manipulation than one of natural selection. Seg-El is introduced as an intelligent, lower-class ruffian who is involved in a taboo romantic relationship with a member of a more elite class. Things get even more interesting when the villainous General Dru-Zod (Colin Salmon) is introduced, traveling from the future to save Krypton, and then we find out that he’s Seg-El’s son. Future Jor-El and General Dru-Zod are half-brothers. The super-creature Doomsday is also introduced.
Season 1 built to an action-packed crescendo and cliffhanger, leaving me wanting more. Seg-El is trapped in the Phantom Zone with Brainiac. Dru-Zod has seized control of all of Krypton, and Adam Strange learns that the future has been changed.
When Season 2 began, it seemed to abruptly drop into low gear and begin a slow,tedious climb up a slippery slope. It almost felt like the reins of the show were handed off to a completely new writing staff and showrunner, who hadn’t really paid close attention to the first season at all.
As Seg-El makes his way back to Krypton, there are some fun bits. The character Lobo (Emmett J. Scanlan) is introduced. He’s the bounty hunter with an amazing, Wolverine-like regeneration ability, a dark character I never thought I’d see in live-action DC shows. He disappears from the series about three episodes in, but reappears during the finale.
The show picks up steam around the midpoint of the season and makes a Blitzkrieg run towards the final episode. And I do mean final, not finale.
There’s lots of sci-fi fighting, and re-introduction of some DC concepts we’ve seen before, such as the Black Mercy. Doomsday is finally unleashed in all his ferocious glory, and for the first time, in my opinion, looks like the being who could kill Superman. Cor-Vex, Seg’s son with Nyssa-Vex (Wallis Day), is finally rechristened as Jor-El, a name familiar to all comic book fans, and is then promptly kidnapped by Brainiac. Unfortunately, Kem (Rasmus Hardiker) is killed off, but dies a hero’s death, which helps.
Ultimately, though, everyone is killed off, so grieving for Kem proves unnecessary. SyFy cancelled the series earlier this month. No Season 3. The Lobo spinoff that was being talked about was also axed. I guess the slow start to the second season disheartened some important people at the network as well. Too bad, because things were getting interesting.
I feel like the series was building up to something great, even if it didn’t quite achieve its goals. I particularly liked how it developed strong female characters who were equal to, and more often superior to, their male counterparts. Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell), Jayna-Zod (Ann Ogbomo), Nyssa-Vex (Wallis Day), and Jax-Ur (Hannah Waddingham) are the main examples, but all of the female cast are portrayed as strong characters. Since the viewership of the series demonstrated a steady decline all during the second season, it’s unlikely that the series will be picked up by another outlet, such as Amazon (ala The Expanse). I have mixed emotions about this. While the completist in me would love to see the series brought to some natural, satisfying conclusion, the tone-deafness of the first half of the second season suggests that this never would have happened anyway.
Long-time Superman and DC Comics fans need to watch this series just for the eccentric novelties presented here. You’ll find things to enjoy. The rest of you can safely take a pass on it.
Firewater’s Krypton-Implodes-Once-Again Report Card: C+
Not horrible, but not great either. From a story standpoint, this series will leave you unsatisfied. But, there are great visuals and Easter Eggs here you may enjoy.