Krypton: Season One Blu-ray Review


The Best Brainiac To Ever Hit The Screen In This Superman Prequel Series

From screenwriter David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight) and showrunner Cameron Welsh (Constantine) comes a completely new story that exists entirely as a prequel to the widely known adventures of Superman. Set two generations before the destruction of the legendary hero’s home planet, Krypton follows Superman’s grandfather (Cameron Cuffe) living in the Kryptonian city of Kandor as he fights to redeem his disgraced family’s honor and save the planet from a deadly menace every Superman fan knows – the dangerous alien villain known as Brainiac.

Based on familiar DC characters like Adam Strange and General Zod traveling back in time to the planet Krypton, Season one unfolded on Syfy to become one of the channel’s highest-rated series. Everything from the Phantom Zone to the Fortress of Solitude are incorporated into the series, in hopes of luring in the superhero’s fans. Besides lead actor Cameron Cuffe as the obvious stand-in for Superman himself, Krypton stars Georgina Campbell, Elliot Cowan, Wallis Day, Aaron Pierre and Ian McElhinney. You may not have known her name before Krypton, but Wallis Day’s Nyssa-Vex stands out in the excellent cast as a serious breakout role for the young actress.

The sci-fi series follows Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe). He’s contacted by a strange hero from the future named Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos). Strange tells Seg-El that his grandson will become the universe’s greatest hero, but that a menace has come back through time to stop Superman before he’s ever born. He is tasked with preventing this fate and saving his planet in the process.

Everyone from hardcore Superman fans to casual superhero viewers should lap up the intricate political intrigue and sci-fi action

Seg finds himself caught up in a difficult position in the highly stratified Kryptonian society, split between an elite called the Guilded and everyone below called the Rankless. Seg must work to redeem his disgraced family’s honor and protect the ones he loves, while dealing with the political threats within Kandor that threaten to tear the city apart. The twist here is that Seg-El, from the House of El, has fallen in love with Lyta-Zod from the House of Zod. It’s a star-crossed romance ripped from Romeo and Juliette.

Ambitious from the beginning, Krypton has a breathless amount of world building and DC easter eggs dropped into its slick first season. In only ten episodes, we are introduced to the complex sociopolitical dynamics found in Kryptonian society and how these characters relate. There are religious, social, and moral dimensions that play out while also realistically developing each character. It has far more depth and scope than the lighter DC shows found on places like The CW, taking more after Game of Thrones than Arrow.

Other shows set in the DC Universe like Arrow and Supergirl have been on the decline for awhile, so I came in skeptical about Krypton. Goyer has been a polarizing figure among DC fans, having been behind some of the questionable creative decisions made about Superman’s character in Man of Steel. This series proved me wrong. Season one has been intelligently constructed with care and respects the source material a great deal, even if a few necessary changes deviate from previous Superman stories.

Krypton takes a smart approach by exploring the relatively unknown and uncharted parts of Superman’s background, tackling his ancestors. He’s referenced on the show by Adam Strange, but this is really a smart sci-fi show set in a futuristic alien world. It’s not a superhero show, though it does drop a lot of well-known references like Doomsday into the mix.

The show is very British, maybe too British, as the entire cast with the exception of Adam Strange is from the UK and speaks with their native accent. Apparently Krypton was somehow an English colony in this continuity. They try to force Strange as a typical American character, which only sometimes works. He’s often used for comic relief. It’s a tiny complaint considering the resounding success of Krypton’s first season.

Krypton has it all in this action-packed first season that delivers surprise twists, suspense, drama, romance and some humor. They nail Brainiac, it’s the best take on the character in any medium outside of the comic books. I think most fans would be very happy if the movies ever get the character this right. Everyone from hardcore Superman fans to casual superhero viewers should lap up the intricate political intrigue and sci-fi action.

Video

All ten episodes of Krypton’s first season are included on two BD-50s, split evenly. WB’s 1.78:1 Blu-ray presentation looks fairly similar to Syfy’s HD broadcast, albeit in superior 1080P resolution. Krypton isn’t an eye-popping example of demo picture quality but certainly delivers when it counts.

The AVC encode isn’t flawless but captures the grittier aesthetic of Krypton nicely with few overt compression artifacts. Outside of a few specific settings, Krypton eschews the glossy colors and razor-sharp definition found in most superhero fare for a rougher palette with desaturated primary colors. It takes a cue from Snyder’s Man of Steel and its darker palette for the home world of Superman.

The Blu-ray presentation shows off the lavish and opulent production values for a cable series. From the rugged exteriors of Kandor to Krypton’s own version of the Fortress of Solitude, every detail is captured with excellent clarity in the consistently engaging video quality. One weakness may be the sub-par shadow delineation. Black levels are fine but verge on crushing background texture in key scenes, especially in the dark tunnels of Kandor.

Audio

A lot of money has been sunk into Krypton and that is reflected in its solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack which often sounds better than most television productions. The cable series stretches its surround mix with discrete action and a nice score with nods to both John Williams’ classic Superman: The Movie score and Hans Zimmer’s score for Man of Steel.

The impressive sound design fits the futuristic technology seen on Krypton, befitting the show’s sci-fi action. Dialogue is nicely balanced with the bigger audio elements. A nice sense of spatial depth and imaging provide excellent immersion.

This Blu-ray set has clearly been authored with an eye on Europe. The only included dub is German in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Eight optional subtitles are included in a white font. English SDH and usual suspects like French and German subs are included, among other European languages. Strangely enough, this set lacks Spanish subtitles.

Extras

Krypton’s first season comes in a package familiar to fans of DC’s television content on Blu-ray. The two-disc Blu-ray set arrives in a slipcase and includes a digital copy. This being the first Warner television release after the announcement in January that UltraViolet is being killed off, the included digital copy is only useful now for redemption on VUDU and does not give UV rights. No Movies Anywhere rights are included with the VUDU redemption.

Bringing The Home World To Life featurette (17:04 in HD) – Creator David Goyer and others, including cast and crew members, discuss the design and work that went into building Krypton’s impressive sets. This is a well-constructed featurette that delves into marrying the practical props and sets with a bevy of green screen VFX.

A Lost Kingdom: Life On Krypton featurette (22:38 in HD) – Goyer and showrunner Cameron Welsh go into the sociopolitical stratification seen in Krypton’s society. It details the grounded world-building needed for the show’s deeper themes, from the Rankless to the Guilded classes. It’s an interesting and thoughtful exploration behind the scenes. Some intricate detail has been laid out so Krypton can sustain itself as a series for many seasons.

Krypton: 2017 Comic-Con Panel (22:52 in HD) – A much more serious and straightforward Comic-Con panel than we normally get from DC shows, which is a breath of fresh air after sitting through the usually fluffy panels. DC Comics’ superstar writer Geoff Johns moderates with showrunner Cameron Welsh and lead actor Cameron Cuffe discussing the new series. We learn Cuffe was apparently a huge comic book reader before getting cast as Seg-El.

Deleted Scenes (05:37 and 02:46 in HD) – Throwing the various deleted scenes together in two separate batches and then splitting them up one per disc, these are all throwaway scenes likely cut for time.

Gag Reel (03:22 in HD) – A series of actors flubbing lines and generally going off script for their own amusement.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Krypton: Season One
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Season

Inventing an entire backstory and mythology for Superman’s grandfather on the planet Krypton, this first season is an unqualified success with winning characters and memorable plot twists.

Overall
5
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User Review
5 (1 vote)

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