Sheldon Sampson, aka The Utopian (Josh Duhamel), works alongside his brother Walter, aka Brainwave (Ben Daniels). Duhamel delivers an impressive performance, effectively transforming his character from the handsome and carefree son of a millionaire into a disheveled shell of himself that no one wants to be around.
Sheldon’s psychotic break eventually leads him, his brother, and an unlikely band of misfits on a quest that feels very akin to an Indiana Jones-esque adventure involving strange symbols that need translating, graves that need pillaging, and even a daring captain that needs hiring for a trip across treacherous waters in search of an island no ones ever heard of. Sure, this is all par for the course when it comes to adventure stories such as this, but it’s all told in a way that’s fun to watch, thanks in part to sharp writing and endearing characters.
Jupiter’s Legacy Gallery
The other members of the troupe include: George Hutchence, aka Skyfox (Matt Lanter); Fitz Small, aka The Flare (Mike Wade); Grace Kennedy, aka Lady Liberty/the future Mrs. Sampson (Leslie Bibb); and Dr. Richard Conrad, aka Blue Bolt (David Julian Hirsh). While not every member gets equal amounts of screentime, the writers do a solid job of distinguishing each character with their own set of quirks and backstories, making each founding member feel unique in their own way.
Apart from the Sampson family, Lanter’s portrayal of George stands out among the rest of the cast. We spend most of the time with him in the past, where he’s the overly optimistic best friend to Sheldon. In one of my favorite episodes of the season, titled “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine” (also the name of Skyfox’s theme song), George gets a proper origin story of sorts as we learn more about why he tries to see the world in the best way possible. What happens to him between the two time periods is one of the biggest unanswered questions of the show, and one I’m dying to hear more about if the Netflix gods deem Jupiter’s Legacy worthy of a second season.
While we get to see Sheldon, Walter, Grace, and Fitz’s respective stories develop over the course of several decades, the children of the founding members simply don’t get that kind of attention and suffer a bit in development relative to their parents. This story-driven dilemma makes them feel more one-dimensional than they probably ought to be: the Sheldon siblings (Andrew Horton and Elena Kampouris) have predictable storylines and personalities. Brandon is the loyal son who wants nothing more than to please his father and take over the family business, while Chloe is the drug-addled and rebellious daughter who hates everything her family stands for.Though Brandon and Chloe’s characters don’t change much throughout Season 1, there are some aspects about their characters that I found interesting. Chloe, for instance, exhibits super strength and flight like her parents, but she doesn’t wear a costume or even have a superhero alter ego. Her style is punk rock, which speaks to her rebellious nature, and is a cool touch from a production and costume design standpoint that tells a lot about her character without needing to say anything at all.
The most interesting member of the new generation of superheroes/villains doesn’t have superpowers at all. Hutch (Ian Quinlan) is the son of Skyfox, and what he lacks in strength he makes up for in cunning, determination, and some powerful gadgets. He’s a dynamic wildcard to watch in Season 1 since it’s difficult to tell which side he’ll end up on. Like everyone else in the show (and me!), he just wants to find out what happened to his dad.
In terms of superhero action, Jupiter’s Legacy doesn’t quite reach the theatrical-quality heights of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but it does do an adequate job of capturing the spectacle of demigods trying to tear each other apart. Most of the action takes place in the present-day story, with a particular thrilling battle in the premiere that serves as a great showcase for the variety of superpowers these heroes possess with the help of some solid visual effects.
Netflix Spotlight: May 2021