I watched the pilot episode of Krypton last night on SyFy. It was solid. Actually it was a bit more than solid, it was intriguing and I'm definitely adding it to my rotation of shows to keep current on.
Granted, there's a lot on my plate starting with all of the other DC Comics shows on The CW Network and then at some point I really do have to get caught up on Gotham, but this was a premiere that I had a chance to get in on the ground floor of and since it's a DC Comics show I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
The best thing that I can say about Krypton is that so far it looks like a truly "world-building" show where we are going to see a lot of the daily and extended life of Kryptonians. We definitely saw a lot of it in this first episode and it was really cool to see all of that. Up to now in live action we have only been afforded opening movie sequences and flashback appearances here and there for Superman's long lost home planet. Now that we have a full-blown TV series devoted to it, it's nice to see that we are actually going to be getting some depth with it instead of just focusing everything on Superman's future.
Don't get it twisted, the future of Kal-El the Last Son of Krypton is very much a part of this show and really appears to be a plot device for it, but that's just one aspect of the show that is given to us in this pilot. The show revolves around Seg-El, Kal-El's grandfather and the tale of his life on Krypton at a time when the House of El is anything but a revered name by anyone. Seg is subjected to this pain pretty early in his life when he witnesses his grandfather Val-El executed for treason due to his scientific research that could affect the livelihood and existence of the whole planet. As he grows up in a totalitarian, genetically controlled Krypton he struggles with balancing a respectable life with the fact that his last name is absolute mud in the eyes of the people.
Then he gets a visit from Adam Strange from the future, who is there to tell him that Brainiac is coming not only for Krypton and all other worlds in the galaxy, but also to destroy the future existence of Superman by wiping out his past. Seg is skeptical at first but other events in the episode start to lead him down a subconscious path to not only restoring his family's name but also attempting to make Krypton a better world through open-mindedness and tolerance.
Outside of a scant few people, this cast is largely unknown at least to me. This is Cameron Cuffe's first big role in a major TV series and it will be interesting to see how he's able to lead the show with Seg's character. Because he's surrounded by a lot of largely unknown actors as well, this is a case where the story and the threads between characters is really going to carry the day for the show in the long run and you can see the seeds of it in this pilot episode. Like I said, this story isn't just about Superman's family affecting his future, it's also about the people of Krypton and what they deal with in their daily, almost completely "freedom-less" lives.
Seriously, Krypton feels like a cross between V for Vendetta and Gattaca, at least through the pilot episode. Secret police enforcing curfews for the lower class on the streets with genetic predisposition and arranged marriages. For all of its technological prowess and beauty, Krypton itself is an extremely flawed society, at least within Candor it is. There's also clearly a lot of layers to it and the people within it, including Seg's incredibly complicated relationship with the Zod house. That should be very interesting to see unfold in the coming season.
VFX is solid. SyFy quality but just a bit better because of the obvious Man of Steel art design influence. On that note, I thought this pilot did a solid job of honoring both that movie and also the Richard Donner films with its use of the John Williams theme in a few spots. Very organic use and blended into the score and the episode pretty well without beating you over the head with the nostalgia. Some people may roll their eyes when they hear that theme with anything new tied to Superman but if you're going to do it, this is the way you should do it in my opinion.
I didn't think that I wasn't going to like Krypton but it's still cool to have that confidence confirmed. Now I suppose a standing DVR recording for Wednesdays at 10pm on SyFy is in order.