WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the pilot episode of Krypton, which debuted Wednesday on Syfy.
Superman's home world is doomed. Although elements surrounding its destruction have changed over the decades (why it exploded, how many people survived, and so on), its fate remains a constant, leading the infant Kal-El to be rocketed to Earth, where he grows up to become its greatest hero. But Syfy's Krypton begins its story some 200 years earlier, with a focus on the Man of Steel's grandfather, an impetuous young man determined to restore his family's honor and now tasked with protecting the planet, and the entire universe, from an existential threat.
The problem is, Seg-El is predestined to fail. Not in saving Krypton from its ultimate destruction, mind you -- that apocalypse is for his son Jor-El to fret over, a generation later -- but instead from the looming conquest by Brainiac. Hey, you were warned about spoilers.
Developed by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) and Damian Kindler (Stargate SG-1), Krypton is an entertaining hodgepodge, sort of Game of Thrones meets Romeo and Juliet meets the DC Universe. A rigidly hierarchical society under the religious authority of the mysterious, many-faced Voice of Rao, Krypton is nearing a boiling point, with the radical group Black Zero committing acts of terror within the capital of Kandor City, and the science-denying government willfully blind to the danger lying beyond the stars.
Against that backdrop, young Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) must not only deal with the revelation that his grandfather Val-El (Ian McElinney of Game of Thrones) wasn't a traitor but instead a brilliant scientist who tried to warn the ruling council about extraterrestrial life, and the ultimate sacrifice by his parents to preserve the secrets hidden within Val-El's Fortress of Solitude.
Arriving in the middle of all of that is Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), the Earthman who travels across space and time to Krypton to deliver to Seg-El a Sunstone Crystal, and a warning: that someone from the future is coming to destroy the planet in order to prevent his unborn grandson from becoming the greatest hero the universe has ever known.
"This isn't just about your grandson, Seg," Strange later elaborates to the despondent young man. "This thing that's coming, it's not just going to stop at Krypton. It is coming for everything. It moves from planet to planet, conquering civilizations, destroying billions of lives. It is known as the Collector of Worlds, but its true name is Brainiac."