Part 1: What’s Show #1?
Part 2: What’s Show #2?
FOR SHOW NÚMERO TRES, we chose something a bit… controversial. This trilogy of show recommendations was never meant to suggest they are necessarily la crème de la crème, simply worthy mentions that deserve a special spotlight in the waves of critical praise being hurled at so many shows these days.
3. Legends of Tomorrow, CW // Thursday, 8PM EST
“If butterfly wings can cause a hurricane, a missing marijuana joint from the past just might alter the future…”
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER “GREAT TV”? If it is a piece of entertainment that keeps you lingering on every word and plot turn and endears the characters immediately to your heart (a.k.a. gives you “the feels” for them), then DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is “great TV,” regardless of one’s genre-preference.
A show premised on a motley crew of elite fighters, killers and thieves from the DC comics banding together to stop an immortal tyrant from annihilating the world in the future, Legends of Tomorrow (LoT) seems to be typical superhero/sci-fi action fare at first blush.
We implore you to get to second blush.
For a storyline fraught with such densely packed supernatural elements (our protagonists include two winged, reincarnated Egyptian demigods, a time-traveler with a time-traveling ship, and two men with the ability to absorb and project nuclear energy once fused into one body), it is the most grounded of all superhero-driven vehicles on TV right now. While each episode is framed around a noble attempt on their grand mission, the real focus is on the ensemble of characters and their collective chemistry as well as individual story arcs.
Let’s break down exactly what makes LoT give you the feels:
LoT is basically a Suicide Squad with more hero-than-villain ingredients in the recipe. Nobody on this team is supremely powerful, altruistic or experienced in superheroics the way Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman of DC’s Justice League are. They each have noticeable flaws and weaknesses to which they must attend and confront throughout this show, especially when crammed into a time-ship with seven other colorful characters. Two of them, in fact, Captain Cold/Leonard Snart and Heatwave/Mick Rory (played by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell, respectively, from FOX’s Prison Break) are stone-cold robbers who originally joined the mission so they could steal objects of mass value throughout history.
Yet unlike the Suicide Squad, none of them are archvillains forced by G-men to perform acts of heroism. Everyone here is a volunteer. Even the two professional robbers hilariously conjoin their original selfish mission with the grand, nobler one:
- e.g. they can’t swipe a Pentagon official’s keycard to save the world without also lifting her wallet in the process:
LoT is basically a Suicide Squad with more hero-than-villain ingredients in the recipe.
The character arcs are laid out such that the darker members of the team often turn out to be more conscientious than the surface Boy Scouts. But don’t get us wrong: This isn’t one of those shows that beat you over the head with “don’t judge a book by its cover” morality tales.
What truly fascinates about Legends of Tomorrow is that it took a band of I-could-care-less, no-name superheroes and MADE us care within the first 10 minutes about each and every single member… whether they lived or died…whether they are happy or sad…thanks to the seamless manner in which the show interweaves character-driven dilemmas with the larger plot of each episode.
Legends of Tomorrow took a band of I-could-care-less, no-name superheroes and MADE us care within the first 10 minutes about each and every single member.
Time-travel. Mankind will be as obsessed with this theory as we are with zombies for as long as we are on this Earth. A group of heroes who travel to the future and back in time to stop a Hitler-on-‘roids from completing his endgame? Pretty slick.
As usual with time-travel stories, the danger of disrupting the present and future timelines by traveling to the past is presented, keeping the characters and audience on their toes.
A group of heroes who travel to the future and back in time to stop a Hitler-on-‘roids from completing his endgame? Pretty slick.
- “I’ve watched Men of Steel die and Dark Knights fall.” – Rip Hunter, the aforementioned time-traveler from the future, during a motivational speech to the team he assembled.
- “Where–when–I’m from, you’re not just heroes…You’re legends.” – Rip Hunter again (He’s the team leader–it makes sense that he gets the heart-soaring quotes)
- Speaking of the show’s human touch, a gut-wrenching plot twist is when Hunter reveals the truth: that these folks are not legends or even heroes in his time but nobodies whose lives and deaths had zero impact on the world. “Your life meant nothing,” is basically what they learned. This show is propped up on their desire to alter that fate.
A gut-wrenching twist is when Hunter reveals the truth: that these folks are not legends or even heroes but nobodies whose lives and deaths had zero impact on the world.
ITS FUN, WHACKY BOLDNESS
- An elderly, meekish professor who is the brainy half of Firestorm (the aforementioned two-men-fusing-into-one Nuclear Man) ROOFIES his significantly younger counterpart into going on a mission together. It is simultaneously creepy and hilarious.
- Someone steals a joint from the 1970s, leaving us to wonder if this will cause temporal disruptions on the show:
- If butterfly wings can cause a hurricane, a missing marijuana joint from the past just might alter the future…That’s the fun, whacky train of thinking this show provokes that makes it so refreshing from other superhero shows.
- The cojones on the showrunners to KILL OFF a major character in the second half of the pilot. Like, what?! We applaud their sheer audacity.
- As discussed, the juxtaposition of two multi-convicted criminals now having to jaunt around on a spaceship with people like a tech-billionaire do-gooder and a quantum physics professor is charming and WTF at once.
ACTING ACE IN THE HOLES:
- The roofie-ing professor is played with perfect precision and flair by living legend Victor Garber.
- The Atom/Ray Palmer is none other than Brandon Routh a.k.a. Christopher Reeves Reincarnated a.k.a. Superman in that-Superman-movie-that-was-awful-but-not-because-of-Brandon. Routh has carved his career out of being the good-looking-but-bumbling funny guy and he nails it here, as well.
Legends of Tomorrow is so enjoyable that you easily forgive the slight-if-many plotholes sprinkled throughout this show. A show about time-travel and superheroes is bound to have miniscule details brushed aside for the grander scheme of storytelling. Just hop aboard, lay back in your seat and get comfy for the fun and trippy ride.