Krypton - “Pilot” and “House of El” Review

Krypton sounded terrible to me when I first heard it announced about a year ago. Mainly because the name made it sound like it was simply going to be Gotham all over again. And at least Bruce Wayne is in Gotham, even if he looks ridiculous whenever he tries acting even a little like Batman; Krypton was going to focus on Superman's grandpa, a guy I'd never heard of called Seg-El. (A fun little nod to Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel). Gotham, at least at the time I stopped watching, felt like a non-stop parade of Bat-villain origin stories, and I had even less interest in watching the same show with hastily applied Superman coat of paint.But the first trailer made me feel more optimistic. The main reason being the addition of an extra element that Gotham lacks completely: time travel. After his grandfather, Val-El, is executed by the Krytonian High Council for crimes of treason, Seg and his parents are stripped of his family name and the privileges that go along with it. We fast forward to Seg being a young adult when he meets a man who claims to be from the future. This man is Adam Strange, a C-list DC superhero who has the ability to teleport extremely long distances. Adam tells Seg that someone from the future has come to Krypton to prevent Seg's grandson from being born. He then gives Seg Superman's cape and tells him that his grandson will be the greatest hero the universe has ever known.Time Travel is only one part of the shows major plot however as just before Seg learns of his future grandson, he saves the life of the Voice of Rao, the religious leader of Krypton. This causes him to be selected as a mate for the leader of the Kryptonian High council, who is also the man who put Val-El to death.I'll stop with the plot summary here and instead implore you to watch the show if any of this sounded even halfway interesting. I personally found myself enjoying the first two episodes quite a bit. The ticking clock of the time travel element is a great hook to get you into the series, but even before the first episode revealed that aspect I found myself quite interesting in the political intrigue and world building of Kryptonian society. They are definitely going for a Game of Thrones vibe for this, which is made apparent right away as Val-El is played Ian McElhinney, who also played Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones. Of all the shows that have tried to be "Game of Thrones but..." Krypton (aka Game of Thrones but in Space) actually works pretty well. The concept of the different guilds and competing family houses already existed in how Krypton is generally portrayed and the fact that Krypton is such an advanced society gives it a very different feel than the low fantasy world of Game of Thrones.As for the actors, Seg and Adam Strange are quite charming. Wallis Day plays Nyssa-Vex, the woman Seg is supposed to be marrying and Georgina Campbell plays Lyta-Zod, the woman Seg actually loves with a surname that should be familiar to anyone that considers themselves to be a Superman fan. Both woman are intriguing and seem like they are going to be given lots of focus. Nyssa is particularly interesting as I feel she was cast to look like she would be Supergirl, possibly as a red herring to make us think that her and Seg will end up together. Even as I write this description I can see how all of this talk of relationships makes the show sound like it belongs on the CW, but the foreknowledge of who the children of these characters will grow up to be makes these relationships feel a bit more consequential to me.I do have some negative things to say. The second episode felt a bit more like filler than the first as nothing really started to happen until the latter half of the episode. I also feel like the show might feel a bit overwhelming to someone who is not already familiar with the particulars of Superman's history. For better or for worse this is a show made for Superman fans. I'm not saying don't watch it if you don't know anything about Superman, just be prepared to Google frequently.I will end my review by wholeheartedly recommending Krypton. Under this picture of the Mime I'm going to do a little spoiler talk/ speculation for what is to come. Thanks for reading and remember to check out the Yetis Without Borders podcast with myself, Tim and Patrick along with our Twitter and Facebook page.Spoiler WarningWhile the first episode reveals that Brainiac is coming to Krypton, Adam never actually says that Brainiac is the villain that travelled to the past to destroy Superman. I think the villain is simply trying to control Krypton so they can allow Brainiac to destroy Krypton completely. The obvious suspect seems like the Voice of Rao. Black Zero is another name mentioned regularly as a resistance leader, but if I had to guess I'd say they are probably a hero from the future that is trying to help.Fingers crossed that the Voice of Rao is Lex Luthor. Until next time, Kaoshuh! (Apparently that means to be continued)