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A Possibly Super Prequel on Syfy: 'Krypton'
March 21, 2018  | By David Hinckley

Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego, has always been the straightest of arrows.

He didn’t get that from his grandfather, suggests the new Syfy prequel series Krypton.

The much-anticipated Krypton, which premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET, introduces eventual grandfather Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe, top) while he’s still young and annoying. Smart, handsome, likable, and destined for great things, yes, But also annoying in that self-focused, smart-alecky, sarcastic, know-it-all way common to the age even today.

This Seg-El does not at first embrace the destiny we know is coming, which suggests Krypton may not unfold exactly the way Superman fans might assume.

In the classic Superman story, young Kal-El is sent away from the planet Krypton just before it is destroyed. He arrives on Earth, where all the normal physical attributes of Kryptonites make him, well, a superman.

The lineage of this prequel presumably will remain intact. Seg-El will become father to Jor-El, who becomes father to Kal-El a/k/a Superman. Because people live longer on Krypton, we join the story about 200 years before the birth of Kal-El, which provides plenty of time for all manner of stories to unfold.

The first critical element turns out to be Seg-El’s backstory. His family, the El clan, at one time sat high in the Krypton ruling class. But a power struggle ensued, and the House of El lost, forcing Seg-El’s own grandfather Val-El (Ian McElhinney) to exile himself into the Phantom Zone.

Seg-El, who was not yet a teenager at that point, was forced to watch his much-loved grandfather vanish from his life. Meanwhile, other bad things were happening to his parents, leaving Seg-El to face life pretty much on his own.

Small wonder that, as he moved later into his teenage years, he had a jaded view of the world.

But that turns out to be a luxury he cannot maintain.  Brainiac (Blake Ritson), a villain Superman fans have known well, is moving to gobble up all the planets in the universe for his own devious ends, and Krypton has fallen into his crosshairs.

Seg-El recognizes that he has to do something, though he has absolutely no idea what. The first season of Krypton will be spending a lot of time watching him try to figure it out, and while he doesn’t make all the right decisions, it becomes clear that once he has a mission and a purpose, his view of the world is no longer “whatever, dude.”

His task becomes trickier because El is still casa non grata, meaning Seg-El must also fend off the Krypton rulers who decimate his family in the first place. That includes Daron-Vex (Elliot Cowan), whose job is protecting the oligarchy of Krypton.

The fact Seg-El becomes a person of interest to the rulers, the justice system and the military makes it nicely intriguing that he’s involved in a forbidden affair with Lyta Zod (Georgina Campbell, top), who is in the military herself and is also the daughter of a junior magistrate.

As a further wild card, Seg-El keeps running into Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), a time traveler we know is from the future because he’s wearing a Detroit Tigers cap and the Tigers, as far as we know, played no games on Krypton.

Superman fans will note that while Krypton has some notions of its own, it is generally designed to fit into the known Superman universe and story.

But because this young Seg-El is someone about whom we know little, Cuffe can make him into a fresh character. It’s an intriguing add-on to a story often told.
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