Promotion is beginning to ramp up for what’s being touted as a Superman prequel show, ‘Krypton’ on SyFy. Though, unlike other prequel shows such as ‘Gotham’, this won’t be depicting the earliest years of the child that will grow up to be Superman, or even the story of his parents, it’s set a generation before that, 200 years before Kal-El is born. I wonder what enticement that era might hold for fans such as myself.
Clearly, writer David S. Goyer thought that after the scenes on Krypton in ‘Man of Steel’ that were generally liked, there would be an audience for a whole show set on the doomed planet, he definitely had more of that he wanted to explore. I enjoyed some things in those scenes, they definitely fleshed out the planet in a way that other live-action adaptations had only ever briefly touched on before and with the high-budget it looked detailed and great, it worked well with the strengths of director Zack Snyder. This television show will have a fraction of the budget, actors less magnetic than Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon and even the best directors they have are unlikely to have the visual flare of Snyder.
I’m a lifelong Superman fan, but even I can’t muster up any worthwhile amount of enthusiasm for this. I’m absolutely going to start watching it, I’m happy to give it a chance to win me over, though it’ll have to be effective on levels other than a tangential link to one of my favourite IPs to keep me interested beyond the first handful of episodes.
As a comparison, ‘Gotham’ was originally advertised as a look at the crazy crime-riddled city before the emergence of Batman, but it still features Bruce Wayne and is increasingly showing his progression toward becoming the caped crusader. That show also features, or at least teases, heaps of characters, especially villains and serving as an origin story for each of these well-known and pre-defined roles.
Krypton apparently won’t feature Superman even in baby-form as Kal-El. So then, will it feature his parents and their contemporaries? Jor-El and General Zod’s backstory would be really interesting especially after ‘Man of Steel’. Nope! It’s apparently focused on Kal-El’s grandfather in his 20s, likely pre-dating this far enough before the destruction of Krypton to near enough rule out the show building to that as its series finale (without using big time jumps).
So, it’s so far removed from the main Superman mythology, is there anything that will be of considerable interest to fans of the Man of Steel? Well, maybe, but they’re kinda cheating to do this. This show apparently will use time-travelling threats coming back from Superman’s era, which is their ‘clever’ way of bringing the mythos of the Man of Steel into a time long before he was even born. I fear this is a cheat and will get overused to the point of tedium.
Surely, when plotting out a prequel show like this, the producers and writers should look at what potential the bare-bones of the concept has, finding something that underpins the idea to make it compelling in its own right, before pulling in the use of twists and surprises to form a plot. ‘Supergirl’ regularly touches on the history of the planet and the Kryptonian race, yet for me, that show often struggles to stay compelling. There’s also apparently a ‘Metropolis’ show in the works for the DC streaming service which will focus on Lois Lane and Lex Luthor’s lives, a concept I can easier get behind. Let’s not forget that we also had ‘Smallville’, one of the most successful comic-adapted TV shows, which moved heavily into Kryptonian issues by the end seasons of its run and really struggled to keep up high standards as it did so.
Premiering on March 21st, I really hope to be surprised by ‘Krypton’ in good ways though I don’t hold a hold of hope for it. That being said, I have often predicted the short life of shows because I don’t think they will work well and find an audience, eventually being proven wrong about as often as I’m right.
Have a look at the trailer and see what you think, leave any thoughts and comments below.