Season 2 of Super Knocked Up Carves Out a Niche Superhero Genre for ITV
By Maria Kern
The blockbuster action movie season is well underway and although The Lone Ranger didn’t get the memo, superhero mania appears to be in full swing with Man of Steel and Iron Man 3 having stepped up to the plate. Yet another twist on an old story, The Lone Ranger’s heroics relied more on explosions than story, and that’s where it went wrong, begging the question of whether low-budget superhero entertainment is even conceivable.
Once again, it’s Internet TV to the rescue. KoldCast TV’s Super Knocked Up is a quirky take on the classic action hero story. The show offers comic book action for adults, combining comedy, special effects, and animosity fraught romance into a winning formula.
Flying babies, skintight costumes, and the occasional explosion complement the core of the series, which is the complex relationship between super villain Jessica James and superhero Michael Masters. After a one-night tryst between the two ends in a surprise pregnancy, these super humans must face the consequences of sleeping with the enemy.
You are watching the Season 2 premiere of
Super Knocked Up: “Welcome to the Family”
Knock me up? I’ll clean you out.
Episode 2.2: “Super Preggers”
Super Knocked Up creator Jeff Burns notes the genre has suffered record reinterpretations, but rarely was it story driven. “One thing I love about Super Knocked Up and what I hear a lot from people is that it’s a very unique take on the superhero genre. I like doing things that are a little different and giving people something new to watch.”
A native of Albany, NY, Burns originally considered a career in academia before turning to filmmaking. “As soon as I made my first short I knew that was what I was most passionate about.” Attracted to the incredible abilities of action heroes since childhood, Burns decided to produce a web series. Now in its second season, Super Knocked Up has received numerous accolades and recently won the LA WebFest award for Outstanding Visual/Special Effects in a comedy.
While the action series is traditionally dominated by dramatic storylines, Super Knocked Up provides a welcome comic relief. The show is a departure from the violence and dark psychological themes typical of the superhero genre. “It hit me, what would happen if a hero and a villain had a baby together—I think this is absolutely a comedic concept,” says Burns.
Super Knocked Up keeps viewers rooting for a villainess, another oddity in the action genre. Women are rarely placed in the role of a villain, with Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises as the most recent exception. Speaking to this, Burns says, “Jessica is really this kick-ass independent woman. I actually love writing female protagonists, and I think particularly in the film world, we need a lot more awesome female roles. Again, I like doing things that are different.” Theft and the destruction of innocents make Jessica James (A.K.A. Darkstar) the ultimate bad girl. But as a mother, viewers get to see a more nurturing side to her character.
“Jessica is actually the protagonist of our story. She’s a villain, she’s a bad guy, but underneath there is a more vulnerable side to her and there is a need for a family, something she’s never had. Particularly, in season two you see that inner conflict with her,” says Burns. Both leads have their faults, and while Michael (A.K.A. Captain Amazing) might be saintly when it comes to preventing disaster, he has a less than perfect track record with women. “On the surface he is this womanizing hero and sleeps around all the time, but again there’s another side to him. He just wants to find one girl who likes him for who he is and not his Captain Amazing persona,” explains Burns.
Usually superheroes have to forfeit a normal life in order to save (or in the villain’s case, destroy) the world, but Michael and Jessica seem able to cope with the advent of parenthood surprisingly well. Even as the power anti-couple of the comic book world, they face many of the same problems as any parents-to-be. “I’m interested in real people that the audience can relate to and empathize with,” says Burns. “I tried to make each character very layered and multi-faceted.” The pregnancy drama gives the series grounding as a relatable dilemma, setting Darkstar and Captain Amazing up for the harsh realities of childcare. After all, no parent is perfect, even those with superpowers.
The two leads have an undeniable chemistry lit by anger, resentment and competition, but Burns sees the contentious relationship between Jessica and Michael as the centerpiece of Super Knocked Up. “Their relationship is the key that the whole series revolves around. Even though its a superhero show, its really a show about two real people who are in this ridiculous situation where they can’t stand each other on the surface and they have to raise this kid together.”
Michael and Jessica share an ongoing love/hate dynamic, from the occasional lingering gaze or sweet gesture, to the more frequent sarcastic exchanges and exasperated sighs. “One of the nicest complements I get from fans is that there’s a lot of poignancy and a lot of real, touching moments between the characters. The series is a great mix of comedy, drama, action and romance,” says Burns.
The worldwide popularity of the action genre and the superhero as an American cultural icon has fostered an enduring interest in comic book-based entertainment. KoldCast TV brings series like Super Knocked Up the attention they deserve, and if the success of season two is any indication, the series will continue to thrive in that perfect balance of heroism and heart.
Click to watch Episode 2.3 of
Super Knocked Up:
Maria Kern is a contributing blogger at The Sixth Wall, Supercool Creative, and a graduate of Mills College in Oakland, CA where she earned a degree in Legal Analysis. She is interested in creative marketing, film production, and the science of branding. Maria finds creative inspiration in all things media and pop culture.