Josh Duhamel is the dad to end all dads
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Hello! Welcome to Now Streaming, and thank you for being here. I’m Michael Sun, the Netflix Culture Editor at Junkee and general brain-worm-haver, and each week, I’ll be unpacking a new Netflix title, alongside some related recommendations and — more generally — things I can’t stop thinking about. This week, that’s Jupiter’s Legacy, a superhero series that’s really about fathers, sons, and the pressure of being both.
You’ll hear from me every Friday right here in Now Streaming, and every Tuesday, you’ll get Scene & Heard — where a guest writer reflects on just one scene from a recent Netflix release. On Thursdays, we round up the best of the Internet via memes, articles, interviews, and ephemera in Close All Tabs.
Hopefully you trust me enough to sort out your weekend viewing plans, whether that’s a sensible Sunday evening screening, or, if you’re like me and have very bad sleeping patterns, bolting upright at 4AM and not being able to get back to sleep, so deciding to watch an entire movie before work and then regretting it for the next 8 hours. If you see me in the wild, I will probably be very tired so do not say hi. But say hi online, or in the comments here on Substack — I’d love to know what you think. Let’s begin!
Does anyone else exude as much dad energy as Josh Duhamel? Simply put: no. Here he is, hoisting his son Axl Jack up after a tiring day; there he is, taking a Father’s Day selfie; there he is again, laughing with his son after a ride in the kayak. If I didn’t know any better, I would think these were stock images you find in store-bought photo frames with smiling families that are happier than your own (actually I do know better, and I still think this). Josh Duhamel is famously the suburban dad in Love, Simon; Josh Duhamel is an accidental dad in 2010 romcom Life As We Know It; Josh Duhamel is an absent dad in every Transformers film because he is off transforming into a car or something while his wife and daughter are at home. Every letter in the word ‘dad’ is also in Josh Duhamel’s last name! He is dad!
In Jupiter’s Legacy, a new superhero series based on the comic books by Mark Millar (Kingsman, Kick-Ass) and Frank Quitely, Josh Duhamel is quite literally the dad to end all dads in that he is...Zeus? Not exactly, but the resemblance is uncanny — flowing white locks and all. Playing Sheldon, an unassuming name for someone who can shoot laser beams from his eyes, he’s somewhere between 100 and 150 years old, and he looks amazing for his age (drop the skincare routine king) — although obviously weathered by the turmoil of a century of wars, greed, villainy, and...um...daddy issues.
If there’s one thing about this show, it’s that it has daddy issues in spades. There are flashbacks to 1929, when the first generation of superheroes were born, as well as the year Sheldon is forced by tragedy to reckon with his understanding of his father. Fast forward to present day, and Sheldon has two children of his own. Brandon is brooding, anguished, and desperate to live up to his father’s expectations (so essentially what I am saying is he is a softboi). Chloe is strung-out and rebelling, resentful of Sheldon for his patchy parenting during their childhoods. What they really need is family therapy but instead what they do is fight supervillains and get on each other’s nerves and storm out over dinner.
Josh Duhamel, urtext of dads that he is, practically has this character down to an artform. Sheldon is the giver and receiver of daddy issues, like an ouroboros of intergenerational trauma. He wants to be a good dad, but can we really blame him for failing when his own dad never taught him how? Also, he needs to save the world — one that’s rapidly changing from the one he grew up in, pulling away from old codes and conventions into a new generation of superheroes.
All these things coalesce in a show that’s part-action-thrills, part-multiple-storyline-mystery, but mostly — at its core — a family drama about the things we inherit from our parents, as well as those we impart to our children, whether that’s an outlook on the world, a crushing weight of responsibility, or superpowers. (Or...golf, as Josh Duhamel says about his own dad). This is a series about navigating between your parents’ expectations and your own, and it hits a little closer to home than you might expect.
Jupiter’s Legacy streams tonight on Netflix.
Watch these too:
Superhero sensation The Umbrella Academy, which very much toys with the same ideas around family — and what we owe to them. Elliot Page leads a ragtag gang of adopted superhero siblings who reunite in the wake of their father’s death.
We Can Be Heroes, a loose sequel to 2005’s most iconic and iconically camp movie The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (I hope we all remember this classroom scene). Directed again by Robert Rodriguez (!) and starring Pedro Pascal (!!), it’s about a new generation of superhero kids who must save the world when the old guard gets captured.
Never Have I Ever, Mindy Kaling’s teen comedy that’s equal parts raucous and tear-jerking. There are no superheroes here, but there is an incisive discussion of how we grieve our family members, and the legacies they leave behind.
I can’t stop thinking about:
Speaking of Pedro Pascal, these images of Pedro Pascal scrolling through his phone. I cannot believe Pedro Pascal looks happy on his phone. Who looks happy on their phone?! I certainly do not, because I have too many things open and I wish to close them all. I do, however, wish I had the energy of Pedro Pascal.
This LA Times interview with Steven Soderbergh, where he defends his choice to switch up some long-held traditions at the Oscars. Soderbergh is expectedly — and I guess rightfully — curt with his answers. “Were you surprised by the negative response to the lack of clips and montages?” the LA Times asks. “I wasn’t aware of that, ‘cause I don’t read reviews,” Soderbergh says. “So if you’re telling me that’s the case, not a lot I can do about that.” Is this king behaviour? Discuss below.
The Woman in the Window, full stop. I will not say whether or not I have watched this movie as I am under embargo, but I will say two words, which are Amy and Adams.
The word ‘cheugy’, which I am late to and only discovered yesterday when a specific 10-person group chat that I’m in (don’t ask) spent 90 minutes ranking each member of the chat from most cheugy to least cheugy. If you do not know what cheugy means, I am sorry to say that you are probably cheugy.
And apropos of nothing, a picture of mac and cheese from The Sims 4:
The Sims 4 walked so Malcolm & Marie could run etc. etc.