Spoilers will fly up, up and away.
We’re spoiled for choice nowadays on superhero shows with meta-commentary. If the superhero movie had become a subgenre, adding self-awareness and analysis plus providing some socially updated reference has become a must. Creating a superhero show now requires a lot more cunning, as well as some sort of an angle. So subversions, satire, humour and parody are often part of the mix. I didn’t find that was the case here, or I just found it really lacking in every department. The show lacks bite. Average is the best it does.
Jupiter’s Legacy (2021) was developed by Steven S. DeKnight who also acted as the showrunner until replaced by Sang Kyu Kim. It is based on the comic book series by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely. The superhero group called The Union formed by Sheldon Sampson aka The Utopian (Josh Duhamel), Grace Sampson aka Lady Liberty (Leslie Bibb), their son Brandon aka Paragon (Andrew Horton) and Sheldon’s brother Walt aka Brainwave (Ben Daniels) preserve their ideals of justice via a set of morals they call the Code, which includes amongst other things not killing their foes. Sheldon and Grace’s daughter Chloe (Elena Kampouris) has renounced the group and embraced modeling as well as a life of excess and heavy drug use. Retired hero Fitz Small (Mike Wade) is now paraplegic but his daughter Petra (Tenika Davis) is now a superhero as The Flame II. There is also Sheldon’s lifelong friend George Hutchence aka Skyfox (Matt Lantern) whose whereabouts are kept secret and undisclosed.
The story is narrated both in the present time and the past. In present time, there is a lot of upheaval. Paragon, who has left his life in the shadow of his father without being able to live up to his name, ends up killing known supervillain Blackstar (Tyler Mane) who has killed his friends and came close to taking out his father. Literally grounded by his father, his actions are now been judged by the heroes, the police and the public at large, challenging the Code that forbids killing. In the past, a young Sheldon sees his father take his own life and starts getting haunted by visions that seem to lead him somewhere. Big spoilers coming up. Fly away now.
The past is extremely cringy. The Sampson family is old school, we get it, they’re the nicest entitled and privileged people in the world. And the way they get their powers has no logic whatsoever. Chester Sampson takes a dive off the roof. Sheldon has visions of a farm and a kid and an island. And he talks to his dead dad, who’s got his face wide open and is downright mean. Sheldon, through no argument except that George thinks he needs this, drags a group of people to the island. None of the pep talks that everyone gives each other to convince to go with his delusions would convince a toddler. There is nothing connecting him to the farm, or the kid or the island but they go anyway because reasons (no, there are no reasons, no connection, nothing). It’s just a dream. Island puts obstacles, then gives magic, they come back flying in capes.
You don’t just… blah, magic, aliens, powers. You have to show the character has some sort of agenda that aligns with his supposed destiny. We don’t call it a “hero’s journey” without an actual heroic individual going through some friggin’ character development. And I would be willing to put up with this poor excuse of a superhero origin if there was some actual spice in these heroes. However, holy crap the main cast is bland and dull. I can’t stand Sheldon. Grace seems to have something of a rebellious vein in her but it hasn’t come out yet. Brandon is a wannabe right now. Perhaps he’ll defy his dad someday. Not in this season though. Walt is supposed to be the secret villain, but we see it from a mile away. Dull.
I like some things. George’s son, Hutch (Ian Quinlan) has this teleporting device called power rod that used to belong to another superhero and has become very inventive in the way he uses it. Despite what I hear from other reviewers online, I do like Chloe’s chaotic self because she’s out of control and we get to explore that. The fact that Hutch and Chloe have ended up together is at least something. At least I loved seeing Anna Akana as Raikou, even for a moment. I am not saying a superhero has to be flawed or a villain has to be charismatic to make this show interesting, but there’s so few characters with a personality and we have to focus on the ones that are plain uninteresting. Look at the poster above again. Chloe is the only character in a submissive position, yet technically she’s the only one that openly defies her father. No, it’s not “ironic”. It’s just lousy.
Not recommended. Perhaps lightly if you’re a fan of the comic or just want to see a few superheroics but there’s better choices out there. Sometimes it’s so bad that it’s somewhat amusing to see what it gets wrong. I found it drags specially with the whole past time thing where the Sampsons lay off their workers and any social commentary goes out the window as soon as they start Sheldon’s quest because reasons. You also have all these young heroes of different backgrounds that end up dying early on. It seems you mostly have to skip to the ones that have gone rogue to find any personality (or diversity if we’re being honest). In the end, the parts that are worth watching are few and far between. Perhaps things will go full anarchy for the second season. That’d be something.
That will do for now.