Thursday, March 14, 2019

KRYPTON: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (2018) (Warner Bros. Blu-ray review)

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this blog post. The Opinions I share are my own. 


Label: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 427 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Cast: Cameron Cuffe, Georgina Campbell, Shaun Sipos, Colin Salmon, Elliot Cowan, Ann Ogbomo, Aaron Pierre, Rasmus Hardiker, Wallis Day, Blake Ritson, Ian McElhinney  

Synopsis: What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, Krypton follows a young Seg-El, the legendary Man of Steel’s grandfather, who is faced with a life and death conflict – save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson. With Krypton’s leadership in disarray and the House of El ostracized, Seg fights alongside Earthly time-traveler Adam Strange to redeem his family’s honor and protect the ones he loves while saving the future of his legacy from DC Super-Villain Brainiac.

Okay, I'll be honest, when I first heard about this prequel of sorts about the adventures of Superman's grandpa back on Krypton I was not exactly on board with it.  It just sounded like an awful idea for a show to me, but being a comic-fan I dutifully set the Direct TV record it and let a few episodes record before I finally sat down to binge-watch it. While my expectation were low I was quite surprised to find that I did not hate the show, in fact it not-so-slowly began to grow on me.

Set two hundred years before Krypton was destroyed we follow the adventures of Kal-El's grandfather Seg-El, whose family has been stripped of their upper-class status privileges following the banishment of Seg-El's grandfather Val-El to the Phantom Zone for treason. Enter into the fray future Earth's Adam Strange who arrives in the city of Kandor on Krypton to warn Seg about a potential threat to his future grandson Kal-El, Earth's Superman, and how events in the present day Krypton threaten the life of his grandson and the safety of the whole universe. That's a heavy load and Seg is not too keen to believe this stranger's story, but as the series continues a bond is formed between the young, and we follow their adventures leading to the arrival of a pair of Superman's greatest villains, the world-collecting Braniac and Doomsday! 

There's a lot of Kryptonian politics at plahy here, expanding on what we know from both the comics and the films, as well as a bunch of social commentary on the culture's caste systems, religious and power structures, all diffused through the filter of the world-building that is Krypton. The political intrigue and social commentary is probably my least favorite part of the series to be truthful, and there's a lot of it, but what this series does that I absolutely love is the world building. The visuals of the show are fantastic, building a rich culture with unique architecture, vehicles 
and weaponry, all of deeply and well realized. 

Obviously you cannot have a story about Krypton and not also tell the story of the House of El versus The House of Zod, and we get it here, the two family lines are entangled, and by the end of the season there's a great set-up for where the Zod arc could potentially lead, and I loved it. 

Let's talk about villains, sure, we have political villains, military villains, but we also have a pair of very familiar super-powered villains by way of Brainiac and Doomsday. This is by several measures by favorite incarnation of Brainaic, played here by Blake Ritson, who infuses the world-collecting villain with the sort of creepy vibe that brought to mind someone like Jefferey Combs (Re-Animator), in fact I thought it was him when he first arrives on the scenes, and that's a total compliment to Ritson. Fans of Doomsday are in for a treat, we don't  get a full-on Doomsday story arc but we get the beginnings of what's to come, and it was a tasty treat indeed, looking forward to more when season two is released sometime this spring! 

Audio/Video: All 10-episodes of Krypton arrive on Blu-ray from Warner Bros. framed in 1.78:1 widescreen in 1080p HD. The ten episodes are spread out over 2-discs, looking solid with excellent color saturation and decent black levels, though some darker scenes can be a bit bit murky with less than stellar shadow detail. Reds and blues pop throughout when called upon, clarity is good. Audio on the discs come by way of an impressive English DTS-HD 5.1  with optional English subtitles, the sound designs boasts some excellent use of the surrounds for both action and more subtle immersive elements. 
Extras are present but not exactly deep, we get a 2017 Comic-Con panel with show runners speaking about the show and taking questions, deleted scenes, a gag reel and two featurettes exploring the world building and social themes of the series. 

Special Features: 
- Krypton: 2017 Comic-Con Panel (24 min) HD 
 -Krypton: Bringing the Home World to Life (17 min) HD 
- A Lost Kingdom: Life on Krypton (23 min) HD 
- Gag reel (3 min) HD 
- Deleted Scenes (6 min) 

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