A review by Nalini Haynes
DC’s minor superheroes are the Legends of Tomorrow, men and women whose contribution to history is negligible, are recruited by Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill aka Rory from Doctor Who) to travel through time to find villainous Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) who killed Rip’s wife and son and destroyed the future.
With the (false) promise of becoming Legends of Tomorrow, our intrepid heroes Firestorm, Ant Man, Hawk Girl and Hawk Man etcetera, join with villains Captain Cold and whats-his-name fire-gun-dude, embark upon what could have been a rip-roaring hilarious adventure with Farscape and Blakes 7 style dysfunctional team interactions carrying sensational stories. Once recruited, the nature of the mission changes: instead of going to the future to vanquish said bad dude, they travel into the past. Early on they visit the 1950s so they’re obviously riffing off Back to the Future. It’s just a matter of time before they visit the old west.
Following in the footsteps of many science fiction stories who used the It’s A Wonderful Life trope, Legends of Tomorrow is a little tired before it begins. A focus on intelligent comedic writing with excellent pacing would have saved the day. However, producers spent more on SFX and decided tight storytelling was an optional extra.
In the early episodes, heroes’ banter and fan services (including pop culture references and Arthur Darvill as a Time Master) carried flawed meandering plots that I gave 3 stars per episode.
By mid-season the comedic elements are so diminished and the plots increasingly problematic that episodes slide to 2 stars. A brief resurgence of comedy — for maybe 5 minutes in one zode before they set out on the Wild West adventure — doesn’t save them.
There is predictable and lacklustre romance with not 2 but 3 potential suitors for Hawk Girl. At least one of the relationships slides into the abyss fairly quickly — I’m guessing even the writers and producers realised that was a mistake.
I think the writers intended Hawk Girl to be their powerful feminist icon but she’s mostly an object of desire and an object for the men to operate on and around. Her powerful moments are too brief and usually triggered by her male allies, thus rendering her yet again dependent.
Then there is the final episode of the season, a combination of Moffat-desecrated Doctor Who, an attempt at the already-flawed ‘All Good Things’ (the finale of the Star Trek The Next Generation TV series) and DC’s own botched style, bringing the final episode down to a 1-star rating. The best thing to come of that episode is the potential for hilarious fan-made spoofs and biting reviews. I’ll settle for a mild rant because, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I care too little about this lacklustre series to take the time to write a funny review.
Overall there are predictable tropes, plots so hole-y that scenes are disparate entities loosely connected by editing-string and characters so two-dimensional that they can’t turn sideways to disappear — that would be too intelligent. Only watch Legends of Tomorrow if you’re a die-hard superhero fan. I won’t be watching season 2.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Creators: Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Phil Klemmer, Andrew Kreisberg
Starring: Victor Gaber, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz
Special appearances: Jewel Staite, Nickolas Baric… Nope. I’m not listing them all. Many of the weekly guest stars were a who’s who of science fiction TV and movies. It’s a bit distracting because, instead of following the action, you could play a game: name the actor and the shows he or she has been in previously.