5 of the Best and 1 of the Worst Things about SyFy’s “Krypton”
5 of the Best Things About SyFy’s Krypton
1. Production Design by Ondrej Nekvasil
Ondrej Nekvasil, the production designer of Snowpiercer, was the logical choice for this project because he has a similar style to Alex Dowell (Man of Steel’s production designer). Krypton is not a direct prequel to Man of Steel, but it’s evident that DC Comics wanted to maintain tonal continuity by embracing a similar production designer. Krypton features muted sets and lighting and costumes that are not as fanciful as those in 1978’s Superman. That said, there is more color in this pilot than in the 2013 film, especially when Superman’s cape is revealed at the end of the episode.
Krypton is thematically about a class-based society and how the different factions and families can function together. Nekvasil explores that theme in his design. With Snowpiercer, Nekvasil told the audience everything they needed to know about the differences between the affluence in the front of the train and the destitution in the back. The train in Krypton is metaphorically inclined: an advanced city reigns supreme over an underworld of crime and poverty.
Without these design elements, the show wouldn’t be nearly as engaging. Krypton contains worlds that viewers will want to inhabit week after week and those that don’t look similar to the previously established locations of other DC shows.
2. Music by Pinar Toprak
The other component that works best in this show is the music, composed by Pinar Toprak, who has worked on a variety of projects in the last fifteen years including the recent DC film Justice League. Toprak, like Nekvasil, provides the show originality, but she is also inspired by previous DC properties.
For instance, she uses the John Williams’ score beautifully in the final minutes of the episode to create a link between Krypton and Superman. The music is not identical to the 1978 score, but it is a loving homage with a darker tone that perfectly strikes a balance between the 1978 and 2013 films.
Toprak’s score is never intrusive or distracting. The music flows naturally into the background and provides the dialogue-heavy scenes a burst of energy to keep the show engaging.
3. Superman Mythology
Krypton features countless references to Superman’s mythology in comics, television, and film. Sometimes these references are distracting, but more often than not, they’re a fun surprise for fans. Some examples include the Fortress of Solitude, Superman’s cape, the House of Zod, Voice of Rao, Brainiac, the bottle city of Kandor, and Adam Strange.
4. Presence of Strong Female Characters
Krypton is about Superman’s grandfather, Seg-El, but surrounding him are a variety of kick-ass female characters. Nyssa-Vex is a cold but complicated woman, who Seg-El will marry. Lyta Zod is Seg-El’s secret lover and daughter to Jayna Zod, who will change Seg-El’s life irrevocably before the pilot’s end. Finally, Seg-El’s mother is a stronger character than he or his father. She resists the Voice of Rao and believes in the scientific discoveries made by Seg-El’s grandfather before his death. Seg-El is an interesting character, but I’ll be watching closely as each of these female characters develop.
5. The Classist Drama Unfolding
Krypton is about Seg-El’s mission to stop Brainiac, who wants to capture Kandor City, but it is also about a classist Kryptonian system. On one side is the House of Vex, who wholly follows the Voice of Rao, and considers any dissenters treasonous. On the opposing side is the House of El, a family of former scientists who believe that Krypton is not alone in the universe and that a threat to their way of life is imminent. In between these two Houses are the House of Zod, a militaristic clan, and the House of Em, but not much as been revealed about them yet.
1 of the Worst Things About SyFy’s Krypton
Screenwriters David S. Goyer and Damian Kindler Try to Do Too Much in the Pilot
I liked this pilot a lot, but I think the teleplays will need to become more focused in the coming weeks. David S. Goyer and Damian Kindler likely have an “everything and the kitchen sink” mentality with this show and beg you to hang on.
For instance, in the first episode, Superman’s great-great-grandfather is executed, his family is stripped of their name, the Fortress of Solitude is introduced, there is a secret romantic relationship between an El and a Zod, Adam Strange is searching Kandor City for Supes’ granddad, and Brainiac is approaching.
When you look at all of those elements together on a list, it may sound impressive, but that list features elements that mainstream Superman fans might not know. This lack of knowledge could be problematic when attempting to reach a wide audience. Regardless, Krypton is an entertaining visual spectacle that never lets up for better or worse, and I’ll definitely be tuning in for the second episode.