Out of all the shows based off comic books that have come out recently, “Jupiter’s Legacy” is by far the worst I have seen. This is a show that had promise and the story in the past really worked as it has an almost “Carnivale” meets “Lost” feel to it. The problem was in the present and weakly written characters who had actors unable to elevate the performances. Suffice to say, I don’t recommend this show.
The showrunner as Steven S. DeKnight and the series is based on the comic of the same name by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.
The show follows the superhero family of the Sampsons as we learn how they got their powers and uncover a plot to destroy the Union of Justice.
The Story in the Past – The past is compelling as we follow Sheldon Sampson who begins having strange visions after his Steelowner father kills himself after the Great Depresssion Era crash. From here we see him recruit people from is vision to travel to a mysterious island. All of this is awesome in how haunting it is and how Sheldon grows into the role of leader. I liked the past scenes and when they focused on the different people like his friend George or brother Walter he recruits.
The Island – The island is constantly testing the 6 who would later form the Union of Justice as we see them face their trauma and hate of one another and come to trust. It is a great story and the island gives great environments from haunting snow filled forests, cliffs and the mountains themselves. All this leads to aliens gifting the 6 with powers that also spreads superpowers around the world.
George Hutchence / Skyfox – Matt Lanter is the best actor on this show and plays the flirt and trusting friend to Sheldon really well. He goes villain but we never see it and his son is trying to get him back. In this way he is saved as we only see his past and is past is a complex character who believes in his friend who might be mad. He made such an impact on the world his son is searching for him in the present after he went missing.
Walter Sampson / Brainwave – Walter is the baddy behind it all. It is kind of obvious as he talks about using his power to change the world but Ben Daniels still makes him a empathetic character. He’s got nuance until his full badness is revealed. He is still most interesting in the past as the man trying to save his father’s company and always clashing with George and Sheldon.
Fitz and Petra Small / The Flares – Fitz worked for Sheldon’s company and later joins him in the quest for the island. He is the inventor and calls out Sheldon’s arrogance and blind spots on the Code. His daughter Petra is the same way. They really both deserved more exploration as we get glimpses of their lives but not enough of their worlds.
Sheldon and Grace-Kennedy Sampson / The Utopian and Lady Liberty – Our main leads are interesting in concept but poorly executed in writing. The performances keep things okay but they function to clash with their kids and Sheldon is there to be the distant dad with high expectations with Grace as the once idealist feeling isolated. They needed better writing then they got. The only notable scene for Sheldon in the present is him getting therapy from a supervillain he put away. Beyond that he doesn’t change and is easily manipulated by his brother Walter.
So the Supervillains Honored the Code Prior? – It is mentioned so many times that the world is getting worse and supervillians are killing. My only question of this was where was the proof they weren’t always doing this? Brandon killing Darkstar’s clone was a big deal but it was never established or shown why. Again weak writing. This worked in the comic “Kingdom Come” but Netflix couldn’t pull off that in this show.
The Special Effects and Super Hero Costumes – This show has moments where it looks really cheap. Like early CW DC shows cheap. The later CW DC shows I’d say look better than this. How could they fail this bad? The super hero costumes don’t help either and look cheap as well with bad wigs and age make-up.
Slow Motion Sequences – These are worst in the last 2 episodes but come up earlier. Who thought slowing down screaming and shaking your head was a good idea for dramatic effect? It just looks silly and it took me out of the action. I don’t know why they made this choice to show drama when all it did was achieve the opposite.
Chloe and Brandon Sampson – The Sampson kids are static and bland. Brandon is sad and mopes all season after killing Darkstar’s clone and Chloe is drunk and doing drugs almost every scene she appears in. These aren’t interesting characters and they take up most of the time on the show.
If you want a good version of generational superhero conflict, read “Kingdom Come.” You won’t find good drama here except in the flashbacks, which are worth seeing on their own. I hope the other Millar World show works because as promising as some of the ideas in this show were, I can see why it was canceled.
Final Score: 6 / 10 For the story in the past. Would be much lower without it.