So popular are super hero properties these days that they are actually making TV shows that don’t include any actual superheroes. The long running Gotham concluded its series run this spring by finally showing Batman in its series finale, after 5 seasons. Under development on the DC Universe streaming platform is Metropolis, a TV show set in Superman’s city without Superman. And getting ready for its second season premiere, once again without any Superman, is Krypton.
But even among a group of odd takes on super hero locales sans actual super heroes, Krypton is different. Taking place 200 years before the planet explodes the series revolves around the adventures of Superman’s grandfather, Seg-El. But rather than just being a Gotham-esque deep dive into DC history, the series has current Earth character Adam Strange (no relation to the Marvel sorcerer) somehow time traveling and space traveling to this pre-destruction era on Krypton. Strange has a mission to save the timeline and Superman in the “present” by keeping the destruction of Krypton on course.
As a premise, this is messed up. In the first season Strange and Seg-El team up, with Seg-El only half buying Strange’s story about being from another planet in the future, their team up is contingent on Seg-El not knowing that Strange is really rooting for Krypton’s destruction. But then how would Seg-El ever find that out? Enter General Zod (as in “kneel before…”- that guy), another time traveler, who most definitely wants to alter the planet’s fate. If Superman is never born in the process; so much the better.
So putting yourself in the place of an average Kryptonian, or just a person in general, which is the more moral position? To allow or cause for an entire planet to blow up, killing billions, to make sure one man (Superman) is born or to prevent an entire planet from blowing up, saving billions, even at the cost of one man (Superman)? The answer seems rather self-evident, placing the villain Zod as the guy with the moral high ground, while Earthman Adam, who just wants to save Superman, as someone trying to ensure genocide happens on schedule.
There are plenty of gaps in the basic premise big enough to drive the entire Fortress of Solitude through.
How did Adam, a scrappy kid from Detroit, get hooked up with the alien Sardath? Why would Sardath pick Adam, of all people, to go back in time? How did Sardath even know the timeline, and Superman, were in danger? What exactly was the cause of that danger (never explained)? Why did Adam assume that Kryptonians would care about Superman more than their own world’s destruction? How did Zod end up going back in time and why?
And for season two, with the timeline changed, Krypton saved, no Superman, and Brainiac conquering Earth, why would any Kryptonian help Adam reset the timeline ( in other words, destroying Krypton)? The entire series seems as if it went to production long before the basic premise was worked out with major gaps missing from the set up. It’s a tribute to the production that I actually found the show very watchable in spite of the gaps in the premise. Or, these guys are geniuses and all will be revealed, in a way that makes sense, over time.
Who knows? But I’m interested enough to stick around for another season and find out.