First came Arrow, a new take on the Green Arrow mythos, a dark and gritty and riveting tale that only just barely pushed the boundaries of realism… at least, until super-people made their debut. After that, however dire the situation has been, the show has carried a much lighter air about itself. I still enjoy it, but, really, the first two seasons are probably going to be, for me, the classic Arrow.
Then came The Flash, a spin-off that brought bubbly brightness to the Arrowverse, no matter the gravity of the situations they depict. Things got a bit wacky and fun, and there’s more where that came from! 🙂
Now, last week, we had the premiere of show number three: Legends of Tomorrow.
So how does it measure up?
Well, to start with, my biggest fear was that this show would be too dependent on the first two. And there is some legitimacy to that. If you have not watched Arrow and The Flash regularly, then the initial setup could easily feel a bit overwhelming. And if you have watched them, then the initial setup feels like it’s covering a lot of ground that has already been covered. Legends is definitely using the other two as a springboard, so the first episode isn’t an independent thing, but I do have hope that, moving forward, the series might become so.
If nothing else, the use of time travel on Legends limits most possible interactions with the other two shows, which means the show must stand on its own. With the fate of the world, and perhaps all of time and space, at stake, this is not just another unfolding of events in another another corner of the DC televised universe. This is the characters’ story. Which, as it happens, is a rather compelling recipe for a story! It’s what made the first two seasons of Arrow really great, it’s what’s made The Flash great to date, and it’s what can make Legends great.
Speaking of the characters, again, there’s a lot of setup going on in the first episode. In the grand scheme of things, they’re a bunch of nobodies, albeit powerful nobodies, with a variety of personalities, goals, talents, and inclinations, all scooped up, crammed together in a time machine, and told to save the world. It’s not easy to establish nine different characters and how they all interact with each other (in many enjoyable ways) right off the bat. It’s sort of like having nine super-powered kids screaming for attention. It makes for a very difficult balance to strike, but so far, so good!
So, again, much setting up to do. Still, for having that much work to do, they do it fairly well, and I was certainly entertained! Well, whenever they weren’t occupied with exposition of what I already knew, at least. That whole sequence involving Sara taking the two bad boys to the bar for a drink, a dance, and a brawl was easily my favorite part of the entire episode, and it showed us who these people are, rather than telling us (that would be the exposition, fyi).
Mind you, it didn’t quite ring true when they had the thug talk fancy, “Maybe you didn’t understand my request.” I’d have expected more, “Maybe you didn’t hear me.” Just a small detail.
If there was one major failing in the premiere, it was this: it was only one hour.
They had to establish Vandal Savage and his evil, world-conquering, family-slaughtering ways. They had to establish Rip Hunter going rogue against the Time Masters, who are sword to watch and preserve their time stream without ever interfering with it, as he steals a time machine to save lives (I am not the only one to notice a similarity to Doctor Who) destroyed by Savage, including those of his wife and son. They had to establish his recruitment of the other Legends, each of their choices and how they made them, and then go on their first adventure, following a lead to find Savage somewhere in the past. They had to establish what the Legends are up against, including Savage, the Time Masters and their time-traveling bounty hunters (for intending not to interfere with the past, they seem to end lives rather cavalierly, like murderous idiots), and even Time itself. They only really got around to one of those opposing parties. Savage himself showed up only at the very beginning, and at the very end.
Basically… they should have done a two-hour premiere.
I suspect watching the first episode, the setup, and the second episode, likely the action, back-to-back would have proved much more potent than just the first episode alone. They’ve established the heroes… now, let them meet and do battle with the villain! And let that not quite go as planned, so they have to shift to long-term strategies as they battle Vandal Savage across the ages. Simple as that. It’s just that they have such a huge cast to work with, everything takes more time, ya know?
To sum-up: they didn’t deliver everything they needed to, but they’ve made a promise to do so, and what they did deliver was, in my opinion, pretty fun. I’ll definitely be following this one, and adding it to my weekly lineup. I think DC’s Legends of Tomorrow just needs another day to get some traction, ya know?
Also, I cannot lie, I am just a touch disappointed that the trailers that traded on Arrow and The Flash so much had so much material that was nowhere to be found in the show. 😦
Rating: currently, 7 stars out of 10.