It’s finally here! Long-awaited CW’s new series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow premiered last Thursday, and it was… not so great. The pilot episode (first of a two-parter) still maintained a decent amount of superhero action, sassy comebacks, and cool fight sequences, but on a larger scale it did a merely OK job of introducing the audience to the main characters, their mission, and main adversary.
While this could disappoint some viewers, it is not unexpected, and frankly it’s understandable. Legends is essentially a spin-off of two well-established series, the CW’s Arrow and Flash, but it’s trying to detach itself from those shows to find its own spot in the increasingly crowded DC TV universe.
It features characters whom some viewers will be familiar (as they appeared on either or both of the original shows), but it also wants to give them a clean break and a fresh introduction to new viewers. It revisits a pre-established plot and the villain at its centre, but offers plenty of explanations and throwbacks to make sure everybody is up to par. All in all, this is certainly not an easy task—especially on top of everything else a pilot episode needs to achieve.
The premise itself is compelling and promising: Time master Rip Hunter travels back in time from 2166 London to current day to put together a team of supposed legends to hunt villain Vandal Savage through time, and stop him before he conquers the planet. Recruits include various DC characters, for a comprehensive spectrum of super-powered folks: Sara Lance/White Canary, Ray Palmer/Atom, Leonard Snart/Captain Cold, Mick Rory/Heatwave, Professor Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson/the two halves of Firestorm, Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl and Carter Hall/Hawkman (AKA reincarnated Egyptian princes Chay-Ara and Khufu).
Not everyone immediately jumps at “the chance to get murdered by an immortal psychopath,” but the matter of enlisting is dealt with fairly quickly, and then the shows moves on to the story it set out to tell—and it does so well.
With kickass superheroes and heroines, promises of time-travel and great adventures to be told, and a cast that tries to be diverse, Legends is certainly an ambitious effort on CW’s part.
It’s also most definitely a show with great potential: The premise of the story is entertaining, the chemistry among the cast is bubbly and fun to watch, and most characters are compelling and leave viewers wanting more after only one hour (in no small part thanks to their portrayers). Yes, the writing would benefit from less explaining and more narrating, but new shows often need some slack and a bit of time to find a rhythm that suits them.
Overall, the foundations of the show seem solid, and there’s certainly room for exciting future developments. If you bear through the not-so-brilliant start and still decide to embark on this adventure through time, a great tomorrow is (hopefully!) ahead, and chances are it’ll be legendary.
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