Faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive, here comes SYFY's highly anticipated Superman prequel series, Krypton!
Tonight we took the bright, shiny wrapper off Krypton's premiere episode to much fanfare and fireworks, presenting the untold saga of the Man of Steel's grandfather, Seg-El, and a dire warning centered around the fragile world's impending obliteration and the super-savior it will someday spawn.
The 10-episode Krypton series starring Cameron Cuffe comes with an impressive creative pedigree and a sweeping cinematic style that will please both geeky fans of the planet's famous son and newcomers to DC's sci-fi fantasy realms.
Executive producer David S. Goyer, one of the main architects of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy and Zack Snyder's Man of Steel and Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice, delivers style and substance to SYFY's new flagship series, and viewers will be amply rewarded by its detailed devotion to the Superman mythos in all its incarnations.
Sleepy Hollow's Damian Kindler (Stargate: Atlantis, Sanctuary) acts as the series showrunner and tempers the Prince of Darkness' propensity for constant gloom with a surprising respectability and genuine heart.
In their account, conflicts internal and external abound in Kandor City as a scruffy messenger from Earth's future delivers a frightening forecast. Whatever your issues with Goyer's storytelling in the past, here he brings a distinct level of maturity and sophistication to this satisfying superhero backstory, which at times is quite compelling. The regal caped costumes, operatic score, and intriguing set design all coalesce to kick this Krypton party off with a bang.
Ready? We've got a lot of Kryptonian houses to meet and bottled cities to behold, so tighten your cape and let's soar into the sweeping premiere of Krypton!
WARNING: EXTREME SPOILERY TERRITORY AHEAD!
COURT IS NOW IN SESSION
The debut episode opens with the scientific minds of the proud House of El gathered in a cavernous courtroom presided over by chief magistrate Daron-Vex (Elliot Cowan) and a mysterious robed figure sporting a gold multi-faced mask. An adolescent Seg-El and his parents watch as his grandfather is ordered to renounce his heretical claims of a world-killing entity headed their way.
Seg-El narrates his memory of the trial where his super-scientist grandfather Val-El, played by Game of Thrones' Ian McElhinney (exuding the same dignified nobility as his Ser Barristan Selmy), is brought up on charges of treason by the Kryptonian nobility for his radical views on space exploration and cosmic self-defense. Val remains defiant to the end and is sentenced to death by the gold-garbed High Priest of Krypton, the Voice of Rao. This results in the House of El being rudely stripped of its ranks and privileges, and sets the stage for his offspring to redeem themselves and restore honor to their lineage. Our ominous helmeted figure presiding over the council is named for Krypton's powerful red sun, Rao.
LAST CALL FOR ALCOHOL
Flash forward 14 years with Seg-El engaged in a bar fight with government officials demanding payment of a debt. Superman's grandpappy has grown into a hunky street brawler with a sharp tongue, admirably played by charismatic British star Cameron Cuffe. We're introduced to Seg's best buddy, Kem (Rasmus Hardiker), a wisecracking engineer and bartender running a gambling racket with Seg over how long he can last against the burly enforcers. The con game nets them a tidy profit and Seg heads home to his parent's modest accommodations in the city's poorer housing sectors.
Inside the hovel shared with his parents, Ter-El (Rupert Graves) and Charys-El (Paula Malcomson), Seg is scolded for wasting his time on dangerous schemes and encouraged to use his brain for better purposes. Hey, the kid's an entrerpriser! Ter accidentally leaves his medication before heading off to the guild, prompting Seg to go after him.
THE TIP OF THE SPEAR
Here we observe a bruising training session led by Jayna-Zod (Ann Ogbomo), Primus of the elite Military Guild of Krypton. She's a ripped, hard-nosed Sagitari training officer who also happens to be the mother of Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell), the secret girlfriend of Seg-El in a star-crossed lovers pairing straight out of the Bard's Romeo and Juliet. And yes, this is the notorious House Zod that produces the militant maniac General Zod in the Superman mythos. Kneel!
Jayna displays some savage martial arts skills and teaches her cadets how to cultivate the ability to purge oneself of emotion during battle. Mother and daughter engage in a fierce sparring session while Dev-Em (Aaron Pierre), Lyta's handsome intended mate, watches the brutal combat display. The Sagitari are the badass guardians of Kandor City, the tip of the spear and askers of no mercy, a lesson Lyta learns too well as dear 'ol mum stabs her hand with the tip of her dagger as a blunt reminder.
Never underestimate the Vex factor! Over at the Lawmaker's Guild, where Seg's father works, suspected members of the Black Zero terrorist organization are being tried when one of the accused activates a bomb intended on killing the High Priest. Seg happens upon the scene when delivering his dad's forgotten pills and prevents the suicide bomber from achieving his mission.
Seg is rewarded and gains the favor of the new regime, especially Daron-Vex, the same man who gave his grandfather a death sentence 14 years ago. Seg is granted a position in the science guild and assigned a new surname -- Vex. With this new rank, he's allowed to bind with dad's beautiful platinum-blond daughter Nyssa-Vex (Wallis Day). Wow, welcome to the family!
Later, after a scuffle with a Sagitari security detail over their harsh treatment of a homeless old man, Lyta-Zod cuffs Seg and hauls him off to a secluded corner where she plants a wet one on his lips and we're privy to a taste of their forbidden romance.
STRANGE TIMES AHEAD
When traveling through time, never forget your Detroit Tigers baseball cap! Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) reveals himself to Seg as a messenger from Earth's future there to warn him of a doomsday threat coming to destroy Krypton. Seg must try to ensure this event happens, but not before the birth of the legendary person who will become the greatest hero in the universe, Kal-El, aka Superman. Before evaporating into temporal mist, Strange hands over a crystal sunstone engraved with the House of El sigil and begs him to find "the fortress" and save Superman.
ENTER THE GENESIS CHAMBER
Forget making babies the fun, old-fashioned way! Modern Kryptonians are birthed in incubation pods inside a massive womb-like chamber containing thousands of evolving embryos. Nyssa-Vex and Seg-El stroll the baby-making pathways to offer their thumbs up for DNA samples. The Oracle computer foresees the product of their union and announces that their child will be male and named Cor-Vex. Nyssa is more cunning than she appears and is well aware of her father's political ambitions and plotting. Despite their disparate lives, this forced marriage of Nyssa and Seg carries with it a certain palpable chemistry.
In the Superman film canon, Car-Vex is a future female warrior loyal to General Zod and his Sword of Rao movement in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, but it's not immediately apparent that this is the same character. She was sentenced to 300 cycles of somatic reconditioning in the Phantom Zone in that timeline before breaking free and taking up arms with her famous leader.
THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE
After another dust-up with security forces, Seg is rescued by his mother, Charys, and boards her stolen Skimmer. The two zoom beyond the domed Kandorian city limits to a remote mountainous region where Val-El has erected a magnificent Fortress of Solitude. Seg's sunstone key unlocks the main iris entrance when inserted into a crystal pedestal. Inside, the hallowed icy halls are decorated with astonishing scientific instruments and enlightening statues indicating his belief in life existing outside the boundaries of Krypton. Here Val conducted illegal experiments that discovered an unstoppable alien presence that was consuming other worlds.
Military forces have tracked the Skimmer, so Seg and his rebellious mom zip back home, where she's arrested by Dev-Em and his Sagitari as her son hides protecting the sunstone. Charys proclaims her allegiance to the terrorist group Black Zero and is hauled off to jail.
THE HALLS OF INJUSTICE
Incarcerated and put on trial for her crimes, Charys declares the truth behind Val's controversial claims and faces the wrath of chief magistrate Daron-Vex and Jayna-Zod. To save his son, Ter-El appears at the last second and tells the council that he was in the Skimmer with her, not Seg. Ter grabs a pistol from a nearby guard, but is shot dead in cold blood by Jayna. In a moment of extreme grief, Charys picks up the gun and aims it at Jayna, but she's blasted by the Zod matriarch in a swift defensive strike.
A CAPE OF DESTINY
Now orphaned, Seg returns to Val's epic Fortress of Solitude and is revisited by Adam Strange. Strange pulls out an iconic piece of clothing from his backpack... the stunning red cape of Superman. The cape is visibly deteriorating by the second and acts as an hourglass warning of the importance that certain events be maintained. Seg isn't the last of his line. But the dreaded Collector of Worlds is coming!
Finally, we're treated to a bold glimpse of Brainiac's mutated, planet-wrecking Skull Ship and its interior filled with a galaxy of glass orbs containing miniaturized cities abducted from across the universe. The imagery here is a breathtaking bit of world-building. Amid the tangle of dark vines and twisted cables, nesting within their constrictive confines, the sinister, black-eyed visage of Brainiac awakens!
Fans have been waiting decades for a live-action Superman movie to spotlight this insidious 12th-level intellect, and it appears that British actor Blake Ritson already has the iconic supervillain perfectly dialed in.
We can't wait to see what interstellar nightmares he has in store!
Well, what are your thoughts and opinions on the first chapter of Krypton, and are you on board this first season so far? Krypton Episode 2, "House of El," airs on SYFY March 28 at 10 p.m. ET.