JUPITER’S LEGACY overcomes narrative hurdles to deliver a solid debut season

From Steven S. DeKnight comes the introduction into the world of Jupiter’s Legacy, a dual narrative covering the origin of superheroes on Earth and their passing of the torch to the next generation – those who must live up to their age-old legacy.

The use of a dual narrative is a technique that has both been done effectively and ineffectively in the past. In the case of Jupiter’s Legacy, it’s a bit of a 50/50. A dual narrative thrives when both halves of the story are compelling at the same time – here, it’s almost as if the two sides take turns at being engaging. Because of the constant back and forth, it can get quite frustrating when the series cuts away from the engaging content to focus on the stuff that isn’t as interesting at the time. For example, the modern day arc begins on a high, while the stuff based in the past is quite slow and uneventful. This really slows down the pacing in the early moments and keeps it all from taking off as much as it should have. Then the modern day arc has a deep lull through the middle of the season while the stuff in the past really takes off.

This constant pulling back and forth is thankfully non-existent in the final 2 episodes where both sides are on a high. With both the modern content and past content picking up the pace towards the climax, it paints a picture of what the entire series should have been like. There’s even a large span of time between the two storylines where a lot of great-sounding things happen, we just never see any of it. For obvious reasons, we were never going to see any of that – but when there was a lull through the middle of the season, it did make me wish we were seeing some of that stuff instead. But yeah, the penultimate episode is appropriately huge, delivering on some of the big questions that have lingered since the first episode.

I’ve noticed a number of reactions to the series criticising things such as the visual effects and the facial hair prosthetics on actors such as Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb. Neither of these elements bothered me. In fact, I thought the visuals were actually quite good. I wasn’t taken out of things by the visuals as I thought it was all pretty smooth. The action sequences were easy to see and the other-worldly landscapes were convincingly real in their appearance. I did notice the fact that the facial hair was a little off in the first episode, but once we were 15 minutes in, I completely forgot about it. Basically, these can hardly be considered as issues.

Despite liking the series and liking the performances, none really stand out as being incredible. It’s disappointing, especially considering there’s potential for the actors to really shine in some key moments. Josh Duhamel and Ben Daniels make the most impact, especially through the narrative set in the past where they drive the majority of the emotional moments. I can’t say I loved Andrew Horton and Elena Kampouris in their respective roles, but they don’t hurt the series. Beyond them, no-one else stands out enough to even mention here. There’s definitely the room for more growth going forward.

In the end, Jupiter’s Legacy thrives when both halves of its narrative are delivering the goods. When one is on the up and the other is running at a much slower pace, it’s almost as if it’s holding itself back. It goes through a bit of a lull in the middle of the season, especially in regards to the modern day narrative, while the narrative in the past has its own slow period in the early episodes. The visuals are great, world-building is thoroughly engaging and it all closes out on a high. The final 2 episodes capitalise on the strengths of both halves of the narrative to bring it all to a thrilling conclusion that puts things in an interesting place going forward. I’m looking forward to seeing whether the dual narrative is continued, if the series is continued. For fans of superhero content that has a balance of action and character-focused storytelling, this is a good watch.

7/10

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