The world's first superheroes try to raise their superpowered children who struggle to live up to the legendary feats of their parents and try to survive in a world where the ideals and code their parents lived by no longer apply.
Spoiler Level: Very Minor
The Netflix’s new series, Jupiter’s Legacy is based on the Image Comics series of the same name and is about the first superheroes who get their powers in the 1930s and fight for decades as “The Union”, but in this modern day and age, the struggle with raising their children to be ready to take over as the new heroes of Earth. But, Is the code that the elder guard live by relevant in the modern world? The supervillains do not play by the rules anymore, the bad guys are no longer bank robbers and gangsters but corrupt corporations and politicians.
Sheldon Sampson (Josh Duhamel) is the Utopian, the team leader and father to Brandon Sampson, a.k.a. Paragon (Andrew Horton) and Chloe Sampson (Elana Kampouris) who resent that their father put being a hero over being a father. Their mother, Grace (Leslie Bibb) tries to keep the peace, but Sheldon is stubborn and tough on his children, especially Brandon, whom he is grooming to be the new Utopian. Sheldon’s brother, Walter (Ben Daniels) is Brainwave a telepath who tries to speak reason to his brother. The children of the other Union heroes are training to be the next generation of heroes, but all have their issues and fall short of the ideals and code set forth by their parents.
The show is incredibly well done. The storyline is engaging, intriguing, and addicting, you can’t just watch one episode. It flows well and at no point did I feel like they were just filling “airtime”. There are some flashback scenes, and if you aren’t paying attention, you may miss that we are now watching scenes from the past. The script is beautifully written, with witty dialogue that is touching, funny, dramatic and heartbreaking. It speaks to today’s issues and problems and brings up several moral dilemmas that really don’t have good answers. This show is smart and makes you think.
The real heroes of the show are the actors. Their performances are powerful and subtle at the same time. Josh Duhamel is perfect as the overbearing father who doesn’t know how to relate to his children. You know he loves them, but he doesn’t know how to not be The Utopian. Leslie Bibb as his wife is just as amazing, trying to temper her husband’s stubbornness. You can feel the love between them, but also her discontentment at his inability to connect with their children. Elena is good as the drunk daughter, who has superpowers, but uses them for her own career gains as a supermodel. The standout is Andrew Horton whose Brandon Sampson is always trying in vain to live up to his father’s code and ideals. Ideals that no one can live up to. His hurt is palpable as at every turn he disappoints his father. He is driven by the fact that his father thinks he will never be good enough to take over as the Earth’s mightiest hero. He conveys the love and hatred he has towards his father with ease and the subtle looks and gestures solidify his performance with complex ranges of emotions. You are drawn to this character and root for him to succeed!
I do not have a basis to compare it to the source material as I did not read the comic series written by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely. It was refreshing to watch a TV series that actually felt like a comic book. So often shows shy away from showing their heroes in costumes, budgetary constraints forcing powered characters to not use their powers, and have difficulty finding the balance between personal stories and action battle scenes. This series doesn’t seem to have that issue. It blends the character’s origins, home life and superpowered action sequences seamlessly. Each adding to the quality of the production and performances. This is truly “comic book TV”.
I was only able to watch the first two episodes so far, even though Netflix released all eight episodes at once and it was hard to tear myself away. I enjoyed what I saw immensely and look forward to watching the rest of the series!
Juipter’s Lagacy: Welcome to Utopia
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Acting - 10/1010/10
Music - 10/1010/10
Production - 10/1010/10
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