TV review: Jupiter's Legacy
The confounding thing about this small-screen comic book adaptation, which is currently showing on Netflix, is in the choices of what has been kept versus what has been changed.
The new series packs a lot in but not all of it is vital, leaving the show muddled, slow and – in a landscape filled with savvy, skewed takes on the superhero genre – lacking personality.
Jupiter's Legacy is based on the Mark Millar and Frank Quitely comic and the first product of Netflix's creator deal with Millar.
Well, with Marvel and DC taking their toys back to their own streaming services, Netflix needs its own set of capes.
The main narrative is set in the present. Earth's greatest superhero is Sheldon Sampson aka the Utopian (Josh Duhamel). He and his wife Grace aka Lady Liberty (Leslie Bibb) are struggling with the next generation of heroes, not least their own kids.
Duhamel is also struggling with a white wig/mop that, while comic-accurate, is an element needlessly slavish to the source.
The Utopian's old-fashioned values, including the oft-mentioned "code" of thou shalt not kill, is brought into question as supervillains increasingly use deadly force.
His son and understudy, the Paragon (Andrew Horton), feels unappreciated as every move is criticised by dad, while his daughter Chloe (Elena Kampouris) abandoned the hero life and is now a perma-drunk influencer.
At the same time, an old enemy appears to be back.
Like the book, there are also flashbacks to Sheldon and the gang, pre-powers, in the 1930s Depression-era US (yes, the original heroes are old).
But what covers a few pages in the book drags along for all eight episodes only to ultimately lead to what we knew from the start – some people were granted superpowers.
It is frustrating because the cast are enjoyable, especially Ian Quinlan as rebellious super scion Hutch. But some, like Bibb, deserve to have their plot threads given more prominence.
You can almost hear the wheels spinning far too often here. And these doldrums take up time that could have been used on more interesting ideas.
If Jupiter's Legacy is to defeat the enemy that is the dreaded second season axe of Netflix, there is a lot of work to do.
JUPITER'S LEGACY (M18)