Sunday, May 22, 2016

'Legends of Tomorrow' Has Immense Potential, but Barely Justifies Its Necessity for Existing

When the trailer for Legends of Tomorrow came out, I was extremely pumped for it.  However, its first season – which has just finished – turned out being not as awesome as I was hoping it would be. It’s a mix of disappointments and delights.  There’s a small part of me that even wish this show didn’t happen, that these characters I like – namely Sara Lance, Atom, Captain Cold, Heatwave, and Martin Stein – would have thrived more in their parent shows, i.e. Arrow and The Flash.  Still, this show has terrific production value (for a TV show) and tons of promise, which keeps me remaining interested.

The first thing I didn’t like about this show is how the pilot didn’t reflect the footages of its promo trailer.  Now, I understand that those have been likely taken from its “unaired pilot” – the initial pilot episode shown to producers – and it’s not unusual for unaired pilots to be different from the official pilots shown on TV.  However, I love the implications of that promo trailer/unaired pilot more.  It featured Green Arrow and the Flash having an active part in assembling the Legends team.  It even showed the Flash taking part in a mission with some team members.  I was slightly crushed to discover that the pilot isn’t anything like that.  I was hoping Legends would help enrich the world building of Arrowverse along the way, and express synergy with its parent shows.  I saw little of this realized.
It’s also pretty stupid as a time travel story.  Its time travel rules are inconsistent and messy.  It also contradicts already existing time travel rules in the Arrowverse, as established by The Flash.  This aspect really annoys me.

Speaking of time travel, it also seems to copy a bit of Doctor Who (e.g. the Time Council is an obvious analogue for the Time Lords), which just doesn’t work for me.

However, the good thing about Legends of Tomorrow is that it sometimes makes me forget of my gripes about it by showing something immensely enjoyable.  For example, having a Wild West adventure with Jonah Hex, or visiting an elderly Oliver Queen in a future, post-apocalyptic Star City.  These are when the show makes good with its premise and potential.

But the most fun thing about this show is still its titular team.  Its heroes are no A-listers like the Avengers or Justice League.  However, there are character moments and action sequences that give the impression that they are.  I also don’t mind the redundancies of its team dynamic (e.g. two scientific geniuses, two criminals, two winged warriors, two fire-powered roster members) – I think this makes the team more unique.  The times where they work or struggle together as a team are easily the highest points of this show.  I also like the implication that the roster of the team will be rotational – meaning the show will always have an ever-changing set of characters.
However, unlike The Flash, which is so tremendously fun that all its flaws are easily forgiven and forgotten,    Legends of Tomorrow has noticeably serious flaws that can’t be overshadowed by the amount of fun it offers.  If not addressed soon, or if they get worse, this show will be easily derailed.  Hence, the next season should make up for the failings of its debut season.  The writing desperately needs to be cleverer in its dealing with time travel.  It needs to crossover with Arrow and The Flash.  And, most importantly, it must finally tap into the immense potential it possesses – to finally be the quality superhero TV series that can rival and complement Arrow and The Flash, as what I hoped it would be when I was blown away by its promo trailer.  Fortunately, the terrific cliff-hanger of the season finale (SPOILERS: introduction of Hourman and friggin’ Justice Society of America!!!) makes me optimistic that Legends of Tomorrow is heading to the right direction.
Gonna miss Sara till season two arrives.

No comments: