Kappa Force had no right to be as good as it ended up being! I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from an on-a-budget indie-series, but after binge-watching the eight episodes, I hope we get another season! It’s diverse, queer, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are genuine laugh out loud moments in Kappa Force. It’s great!
I was provided free review screeners of Kappa Force season 1. The opinions I have shared are my own.
We don’t get to see a lot of queer superhero diversity in live-action media (Disney! What’s good?). Fortunately, things are changing for the better, and I applaud Kappa Force for being a part of such a (needed) breath of fresh air.
Here’s the official synopsis:
A camp comic superhero satire, KAPPA FORCE is the newest Revry Original series – an intersectional queer take on college rom-coms. Welcome to State University, the premier All-American university located somewhere in the United States. This place has everything: Greek life, Division 1 sports, five kick-ass sorority sisters doubling as a masked crime-fighting unit keeping the campus safe from evil, and a Chipotle. This CW meets MCU melodrama finds freshman Jen immersed in a clash between a superhero sorority and the patriarchy. When one of the sorority sisters is murdered at the hands of a new villain calling himself “The Douche,” the stability of the sisterhood, the college, and the entirety of America, comes into jeopardy in this fully formed fantasy along the lines of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER with pop parodies of The Spice Girls, Justin Beiber, Paula Cole, Third Eye Blind and tongue-in-cheek nods to queer history.
Here’s the trailer (which, in my opinion, doesn’t do justice to how amazing this show is)!
Creator Addison Heimann shared, “I wrote Kappa Force in the deep darkness of a depression that almost got me. While binge-watching old Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes until six in the morning, I dreamt up a crazy farce. An intersectional queer superhero force dedicated to saving the world and destroying evil frat bro scum. I created a world I wanted to live in: a world in which a trans woman, an Asian woman, a black woman, and a lesbian kick butt and take names, all in the name of feminism… and humor. I’ve always found the idea of “meta-humor” as a distinctly queer aspect of comedy. You get to wink through the screen, securing a bond that connects actors and audiences, assuring each other that we’re all in on the joke. I created nothing new, but the reality is, there is a severe lack of queer representation in the genre space, especially with superhero comic fare. By simply putting queer faces in the front of a genre project, getting to play out the tropes that cis straight actors have done for years: that is my kind of visibility. It literally pulled me out of my depression.”
Heimann has more than delivered with Kappa Force season 1. I’m a huge fan of meta-humor. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy watching Teen Titans GO!
I can’t tell you all how much I laughed through these eight episodes. A couple of the jokes didn’t land for me, but overall, kudos to Heimann and the entire team.
This show talks about friendships, accepting differences, finding common ground, the patriarchy, being queer, race, and so much more. All of the topics are addressed in a fashion that strikes a balance between making you think as well as laugh.
It also mocks many of the tropes we see in the media (especially in superhero stuff) including tragic backstories, weird codenames, love-at-first-sight, and more.
Of course, the cast has to be congratulated for acting the material on the screen. In the ‘Kappa Force’ team we have Michaela Petro as The Mom, Aja Wiltshire as Pippa, Alex Fisher as Cassidy, Kyra Jones as Alex, and Elle Walker as Lavender.
The series beings with one of the team members named Jeanie Gold (Alanna Rogers) being killed by the Douche (J.J. Phillips). We then jump three months ahead and meet Jennifer Silver (Madeline Weinstein) who comes to State University while the Kappa Force is looking for a freshman student to recruit.
I liked how Jenn wasn’t instantly made a member of Kappa Force. We don’t even know if she’ll join. Not being part of the superhero team gave Jenn time to form a group of interesting friends. We have Matthew C. Yee as Kevin, Dan Wenzel Jr. as Luke, Emilie Modaff as Chartreuse, and Emily Lane as Penny. I am here for more screentime featuring Jenn and her friends. They all have different personalities and it’s fun to see their weird and comedic interactions.
Kevin is exploring his sexuality. Luke has a crush on Jenn. Chartreuse is goth-ish and likes to troll misogynists online. Penny and Jenn were friends before Jenn enrolled in State University. With Jenn saying that Chartreuse is now her best friend, I think Penny might cause some drama. But then again, considering how this show did subvert a lot of tropes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Penny is okay with Jenn’s decision. The same can be said about Luke. He might realize he and Jenn are better off as just friends. Again, I hope this series continues.
As for the villainous Douche (his real name is Brad Michael James), I liked how the show depicted him. In a sense, certain young men are able to get away with highly problematic (and even downright toxic) behavior because they are deemed good-looking, know how to manipulate others by pretending to be kind, and have certain connections. Brad is one of those young men. While Phillips did an amazing job as Brad, I couldn’t help but imagine how Dylan O’Brien would have fared in such a role. I need to see O’Brien in a similar role.
As for the soundtrack, when the actors aren’t delivering humor, we get it through background music featuring parodies of well-known songs.
In the end, all I can say that you should really consider checking out Kappa Force season one. The eight episodes range from 5-7 minutes in length. So, it’s not much of a commitment.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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