Is Krypton more soap opera than superhero drama?
Episode five and we’re at the half way mark on this first season of Krypton. A lot has happened in a relatively short amount of time but things still seem very near to where we started out. This rate at which things happens is almost inevitable in a show with (by American season length standards) a short run. But the show’s over all inability to make me care about the characters or what is happening to them still leaves me feeling like I’m watching icebergs.
This week is all about the Zods. With Lyta about to be executed (this holds no tension whatsoever because, you know, her descendants exist in the future) and Nyssa offering Mummy-Zod a stay of execution in return for her help in overthrowing the Voice of Rao, we’re treated to a series of flashbacks to Jayna’s childhood and we learn why she has been so harsh with her own daughter. I welcome some more insight into Ma-Zod’s character but her story is so by the book (pushy father, weaker sibling, need to succeed overthrowing her own compassion etc) that I felt I already knew this back-story from the previous few episodes’ subtext. There was nothing new shown to us and nothing really exciting or unexpected, which I think is my overall issue with the show.
While a lot of the focus this week is on the Zods, we still catch up with Seg who is trying to escape from Black Zero. After spending some time battered and bruised in the outlands, he is (sort of) rescued by a strange group of people speaking an unknown language. You get the feeling that they don’t like or trust Seg but they need him for something, with a lot of emphasis on the El name being thrown in the mix. Family Vex are still at it with the schemeing but I can’t quite get a handle on Daron and his full motivation. He seems very bad at plotting yet has managed pretty well so far? Nyssa is obviously the brains of the family but also, I suspect, is going to ultimately turn from her father’s selfish motivations and be part of who and what ushers in a new dawn for Krypton. There are moments when she is perhaps the most interesting character.
I major flaw I feel this show has is it’s complacency with its physical restrictions. Kandor feels so small, so little and tiny. This isn’t a big world. Even the outlands – featured heavily this week – just feel like a small corner of a studio with a snow machine running. I never believe the size or scope of this city, or this planet. Everything seems to take place in the same few rooms in the same few locations. Of course big sets and CG extension is expensive but as a production it feels like Krypton isn’t trying to counteract or worse, isn’t even bothered by the clear restrictions of its budget. Kandor already feels like it’s in a bottle.
This week’s biggest non-reveal is that the leader of Black Zero is in fact General Zod, back from the future to try and stop Brainiac from stealing Kandor, destabilising Krypton’s core and destroying the planet. Krypton is full of these predictable plot twists, in part this is a flaw of the prequel format but it’s also down to lazy, unimaginative story choices. It’s this lack of imagination that leaves the show feeling like a soap opera. We know that Lyta is going to be Zod’s mother so the only drama in this reveal is who the father is – since Lyta and Seg are so in love. All we’re really presented with is a soap opera plot twist that Zod and Supes could be related, which is cheesy and uninteresting.
In spite of all that is weak about this show, Colin Salmon does make a great Zod and it’s a crime that’s he’s being wasted here and not fighting Big Blue on the silver screen.
Guessed the spoiler? Are modern audiences too savvy for TV show twists?
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