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Monday, January 13, 2020


(Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray TM I reviewed in this blog post.  The opinions I share are my own.)

Having missed the first season of this show, I couldn't make heads or tails of many of these character names and their motives.  For a while anyway, it's a bit tedious for those without photographic memories or some kind of mental filing system for keeping it all sorted out.

But somewhere around the second or third episode of KRYPTON: THE COMPLETE SECOND & FINAL SEASON things started to fall into place and the story actually got rather involving. Not terribly so, but enough for me to enjoy the rest of the season without a scorecard.

What it is, basically, is glorified space opera (which is a good thing, by the way) that reminded me a lot of the "Flash Gordon" serials that I grew up with, featuring fancifully futuristic societies and characters that are either admirably purehearted or hissably evil.

The comparison is also apt in that each episode always has a cliffhanger ending--you can almost hear the announcer exhorting us to come back to the theater same time next week--coming at the climax of much science-fantasy-type melodrama and derring-do.

The big difference is that this show has all the modern technical advantages of CGI and a generous budget to give us spectacular planetary vistas, raging monsters (such as the incredibly hostile behemoth Doomsday), and cityscapes brilliantly alight and swarming with flying craft.

I did, however, find the production design to be on the dark and murky side at times, as though Krypton sometimes had trouble paying its light bill.  And some shots seemed to lean so heavy on the CGI frou-frou as to make one yearn for the days of occasional visual austerity.

All that aside, the complicated multi-level plotlines do weave themselves together into quite a saga involving two of Krypton's main houses, El and Zod, which end up on opposite sides of a massive revolution.

During this increasingly cataclysmic clash, our hero Seg-El (a likable Cameron Cuffe), the grandfather of Kal-El (whom Earth will someday know as "Superman"), is pitted in mortal opposition to the murderous tyrant General Dru-Zod (powerfully portrayed by Colin Salmon of the Brosnan-era "James Bond" films), the show's ruthless equivalent to Ming the Merciless who rules the city of Kandor with an iron fist and is intent on conquering the universe.

A myriad of supporting characters include Seg-El's love Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell), who will inexplicably align with Dru-Zod against the rebels.  (Did I mention that Dru-Zod is the son of the younger Seg-El and Lyta-Zod? It's a time travel thing.) Also of note is Nyssa-Vex (Wallis Day), mother of Seg-El's son Cor-vex, who will someday be renamed Jor-El and become Kal-El's father. 

But seeking to prevent Kal-El from one day traveling to Earth and becoming his arch-enemy Superman is the really, really evil cyborg Brainiac, also a time traveler but with the insidious ability to enter Seg-El's body and use him toward his own malevolent ends. (Their interactions provide some of the most entertaining scenes.)

There's also yet another character displaced in time, Earth man Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), the show's main comedy relief (he's sort of a Seth Green type) who comes from a future Earth devastated by Brainiac and is trying to keep that from happening. A dozen or so additional characters of note add to the action and drama.

The dialogue fluctuates between mock-Shakespearean and unexpectedly coarse (much of the humor is scatological) but the cast perform it all with conviction. This is especially true of Colin Salmon's Dru-Zod, a fitting predecessor to the familiar General Zod from the "Superman" movies.

The 2-disc Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment contains all ten one-hour episodes and is in 16x9 widescreen with English 5.1 audio and subtitles in English and French. The bonus menu consists of two featurettes, "The Fate of Superman" and "Villains: Modes of Persuasion." There are also instructions for digital download.

For those who enjoy the old serials as I do, it won't matter that KRYPTON: THE COMPLETE SECOND & FINAL SEASON doesn't quite embody the finest of the sci-fi genre.  It's quite sufficient as a lively, intense, complex, colorful, sometimes eye-pleasing, always involving chapter play, culminating in a final blazing battle between good and evil with the fate of the entire galaxy in the balance.


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