Glaring flaws in Netflix’s “Jupiter’s Legacy”

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Sara Gebka

Whenever I think of a superhero television series, there is usually a balance of story, action, and suspense that helps a series flow from episode to episode. It also has memorable and likable characters that are seen as relatable and believable. With that being said, Jupiter’s Legacy doesn’t have these qualities.

The series first originated from a comic book series created by Mark Miller and Frank Quitely by the same name before being adapted into a series by the initial show-runner, Steven S. DeKnight, who was then replaced by Sang Kyu Kim. DeKnight was a producer for Daredevil (2015) and for Jupiter’s Legacy (2021). Kim was a producer for The Walking Dead series (2012-2013) and the producer and writer for Jupiter’s Legacy. It was released on May 7, 2021 on Netflix. 

The series follows a group of rundown superheroes known as “The Union” and their offspring. It consists of “The Utopian” (acted by Josh Duhamel), who’s the creator and leader of the group and known as Sheldon Sampson throughout the series; “Brainwave” (played by Ben Daniels), who’s Sheldon’s older brother named Walter; “Lady Liberty” (played by Leslie Bibb), who is Sheldon’s wife named Grace. “The Paragon” (played by Andrew Horton), is the younger son of Sheldon and Grace; and Chloe Sampson (played by Elena Kampouris), is the rebellious older daughter of Sheldon and Grace.

There are plenty of other characters in the series as well, but they are not as fleshed out, let alone introduced properly at the very beginning of the series. In fact, three of the characters who are a part of “The Union” are killed in the very first episode during a battle. What’s even worse is that in the very next episode, the audience learns that one of those characters that died were Brandon’s best friend. I’ll get back to that in a second, but I would like to explain the story of this television series, so stay with me. 

There is plot A and plot B that mingles within each episode. Plot A has to deal with the modern world and how “The Union” is crumbling because of Sheldon’s strict “code”. The code was created when “The Union” was first created to set a set of rules for our superheroes: never kill anyone no matter what and never interfere in politics. Plot B has to do with the origins of “The Union” and how the heroes got their powers.

After a conflict in the first episode which involved the supposed killing of a villain by the name of Blackstar (played by Tyler Mane), conflict arises as Sheldon’s code is questioned. Some heroes in “The Union” start to rebel against the code by either accidentally or purposefully taking the life of another character. Again, most of the background characters are not fully fleshed out and I was rather confused whenever another conflict arose since I kept asking myself who these characters were.

The origin of “The Union” superheroes goes way back to the Stock Market Crash, before the incident Sheldon and Walt, along with their father, owned a successful steel company that was prepared to make changes. After taking on one of Sheldon’s suggestions and the market crashing, Sheldon was unlucky enough to watch his father commit suicide. From there, Sheldon’s mental health begins to spiral and he starts to hallucinate about an island and a group of people that he needs to bring to said place. 

Throughout the entire series, the two plots switch back and forth every few minutes to keep its story going or even just for plot convenience. Even in the first episode, it happens, which can be confusing since you’re not really sure what’s going on. Additionally, once the series starts jumping from two characters to three, it gets even more complicated. Especially since the third character usually rotates every episode.

Now onto the problems that I had with this series, the first being the introduction: 

If you have a handful of characters in your show, introduce them in an organic way during the first episode. It doesn’t even have to be something in your face, just something so that we are aware of who this person is to the main characters. Make it clear what their names are since that is something that I had a hard time figuring out during the entire series. Additionally, if you have a character who’s close to the main character and then they die, don’t tell the audience verbally how much of a good friend that character was: show it. If you have a character who wasn’t there for his kids, don’t have one of his kids tell the audience. You need to show it, the audience is not a bunch of thumb-sucking idiots who are unable to put two and two together. 

One of the biggest problems with this series is that I get lost very quickly with it way too many times. One minute you’re watching a character contemplate whether or not they should follow the “code” and in the next, another character gets run over by a car. The sudden jumps from one plot to the other make it hard to focus on what is happening, and once you’ve finished an episode it is like: “Oh, well that happened. Who’s this character or that character?”

I can understand if the producers are trying to stay true with the comic books, but you need to use discretion to make the show less confusing. If a viewer has already read the books, then they will have a better idea of what is happening, unlike viewers who have not. 

The first volume of the series ends in a plot twist, which I was not really surprised by since I was expecting to see some sort of twist-villain by this time. I can applaud the series for giving the twist villain a realistic motivation regarding their relationship with “The Union”.

Since there are 10 issues of the comic book series and with the introduction of the twist villain, there is promise of another season or two to be produced by Netflix. Hopefully, future seasons of Jupiter’s Legacy will improve from its original season with the continuation of the plot and its characters.

Overall, the series was all right, even with its glaring flaws, so if you’re looking for a short superhero series to watch, Jupiter’s Legacy is the way to go.