Legends of Tomorrow Review
Legends of Tomorrow, the latest superhero TV Series, started with a bang, proving that Greg Berlanti must be a genius. Seriously. As the “developer” (and producer) of two already successful DC Comics franchises (Arrow, The Flash) and a third climbing the rating charts (Supergirl), one might assume he’d kick back and perhaps take a breather. But no, that doesn’t seem to be in his wheelhouse. Thursday night saw him debut yet another comic book bit of brilliance. This one, a spin-off (primarily) of The Flash, cobbled together a team with many familiar faces while adding one particularly good bit of British talent.
Time Master, Captain Rip Hunter (Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill) has one request of his Jedi like Time Lord council. He wishes to return to 2016 (from the futuristic year of 2166) in order to seek out and stop the villain known as Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Savage has been wreaking havoc for centuries and Rip is ready to see his timeline stopped. First, in order to have any hope of stopping him, though a normally lone traveler, Rip needs to assemble a team.
This inspires him to seek out eight people whose timelines are insignificant to the timeline, a “twist” that has the essence of Doctor Who: how it is the ordinary people who can help save the day. This twist that perhaps they aren’t “legends” after all is a great way to give the ensemble of characters good characterization. The team includes tech genius, Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh); Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), a woman who gave up being the Black Cannery long ago; Firestorm (Victor Garber, Franz Drameh); Leonard Snart alias Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) a.k.a Heat Wave; and finally Kendra (Ciara Renée) and Carter (Falk Hentschel). Reluctant though these eight people are, their mission teaches them the value of life and that the future is theirs for the taking. It’s about changing their fates.
Other than finding the TV spot promos entertaining, I really had no expectation of this show. Seeing this work as a kind of spin-off from its predecessors by assembling supporting characters from Arrow and The Flash was interesting. Ordinarily I’m not a fan of bad characters who have glimmers of the good inside (primarily because it never ends well), but this pilot has flipped my idea on that by adding Leonard Snart (Captain Cold) to the ranks of heroes as well as the dark Sara Lance to the mix. Leonard, in particular, interests me because I’ve never seen him step up to potentially be someone really good; it might be a complex experience to see if the seed Barry planted those many episodes back (on The Flash) have any impact on Leonard being good in “Legends.” Plus, who didn’t love that bar scene and the team up between Sara, Mick, and Leonard?
Aside from the intriguing team what makes this cast all the more appealing is the addition of Arthur Darvill who many might recognize as Rory from Doctor Who. I loved seeing him run around with all the cool weaponry affecting a kind of Doctor Who a-la Matt Smith style attitude. It’s entertaining to see him play that sort of character rather than the ordinarily dumbstruck expression he usually wore when the Doctor would come crashing into him and Amy’s lives.
Given this was merely the pilot, it’s difficult to say how Legends of Tomorrow will play out. It prompted some of CW’s highest ratings yet for Thursday night and seems a strong start even with the few flaws to iron out such as the clunky timeline. First impressions suggest it’s going to be one grand adventure after another not to be missed by sci-fi and comic book aficionados alike.
The cast is strong (who doesn’t like the idea of seeing more of Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer?!) with special appearances by Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow and Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, and the story has the potential to go anywhere. Unlike its sister shows, this one seems to have a more linear story line (though it involves time travel) by sticking to the team tracking and hunting one villain. Whether or not it’ll keep to this or the plotting will shift, time will tell. For now, Legends of Tomorrow got off to a solid start.
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