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Monday, January 25, 2016

Shawn Reviews CW’s DC Legends of Tomorrow

Last week CW premiered it’s new superhero show Legends of tomorrow. And there’s nothing legendary about this show. I’ve seen syndicated cartoons tell this story with more creativity and more imagination.

In between the weak premise, underdeveloped characters, uninspired writing, and cliché dialogue, Legends doesn’t do anything special. The whole show has a been there, done that feel. Guy from the future with widgets and gizmos comes to recruit people from the past to help him fight a big bad and prevent an apocalyptic future. It’s like CW’s producers tried to mix Termninator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles with Power Rangers: Time Force and Class of the Titans. Unfortunately, the end result is a show that feels more like bad Saturday morning cartoons, not a prime time TV live action superhero show.

The Big Problem with Legends is that there’s nothing special about this show. Legends gives us a bunch of stock characters to play in their stock story. We have Rip Hunter the pretentious douchebag Englishman who is the leader of this mission. Ray Palmer, the smart guy who feels insignificant, Carter Hall and Kendra Sanders the lovers who have no chemistry, Sara Lance, the girl running from her troubled past, Martin Stein and Jax the token Black guy who are the odd couple who become a superhero, and Captain Cold and Heat Wave, the Rogues looking for a payday from the past.

Oh and a talking sentient spaceship. The pilot spent so much time on exposition that not a single character had a personality or a “voice” that stood out on this show. You could exchange the dialogue of one character with another and nothing would really change. Rip Hunter says these characters are insignificant to history, but this show feels so insignificant that it’d be a waste of time to watch it. Especially when there are better shows out there that tell this exact same story better.

Power Rangers Time Force had one of the best time travel premises and bad guys that made you love to hate them. Not to mention MUCH BETTER ACTING from actors like Erin Cahill and Jason Faunt. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles had a more cohesive storyline. And Class of the Titans literally BLOWS THIS SHOW OUT OF THE WATER in terms of EVERYTHING.

Worse, Class of the Titans was a low budget syndicated animated series. But it executes this concept far better than DC’s Legends with half the budget. Class of the Titans had great characters, great chemistry, (Atlanta and Archie were an AWESOME couple and Jay and Theresa were a close second) and great character development. As the team recruited by the gods worked to take down rogue god Chronos we felt the chemistry and friendship they shared with each other in the first few episodes.

I didn’t feel that spark with Legends. Everything just fell flat. Legends isn’t as much fun as Power Rangers Time Force or as addictive as Class of the Titans. With those shows you felt HOOKED from the first episode. In between the likeable characters, snappy dialogue, and bad guys you loved to hate, there was a reason to tune in every week (or every day in the case of Class of the Titans) and learn a little history between the action and adventure.

That’s what Voyagers! On NBC used to do back in the day. But this show doesn’t make you look forward to taking that trip through time. It feels like such a waste of time it just makes you want to change the channel.

A Time Travel show should be FUN. In between interacting with historical figures and watching heroes take on bad guys there should be an energy and enthusiasm vibing onscreen. But there’s none of that in Legends. Instead the whole show feels so bogged down with DC Comics continuity that it collapses under its own weight.

Legends of Tomorrow is a major disappointment. It just feels rushed and slapped together. Even with the build through Flash and Arrow, there wasn’t anything to make me care about these characters or their mission. Yeah, they’re coming together to take down Vandal Savage BUT WHY? What makes Vandal Savage so dangerous?

Yeah he’s immortal. But he’s just a dude. Chronos was the god of time in Class of the Titans. He could change history. That made us care. The Terminators had a time machine. They could change time and blend into society to kill people. That made us care. But Vandal Savage? Yeah, the actor who plays him is menacing. In a comic book way.

But I just don’t give a shit about watching him on this TV show.

The biggest problem with DC’s Legends of tomorrow is that the producers are too busy being fanboys to be craftsmen. And while they admire their favorite characters they aren’t professional enough to put together a solid show around their premise. They’re so busy worshipping DC’s superheroes and are geeking out about the chance to explore DC’s continuity and history they forget about things like story and character development in their own program. If they weren’t so eager to put their favorite comic book heroes up on pedestals and tell us they’re gods, they’d be objective enough to take the time to show us why we should spend time watching their adventures.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow doesn’t answer a critical question most screenwriters like myself have to answer before we sit down at the keyboard. WHY SHOULD WE CARE? Because if the producers and writers don’t give the audience a reason to care then they have no incentive to keep watching every week.

I’m not expecting DC’s Legends of Tomorrow to go past a season or two. The show is just not strong enough to compete in today’s crowded TV marketplace. When low-budget shows like Power Rangers Time Force and Class of the Titans tell a story better than the big budget ones on a netlet like the CW, that show is in trouble. I’d have to say DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is the worst show WB has produced since Birds of Prey. I expect Wentworth Miller to be back on The Flash tormenting Grant Gustin sooner rather than later. On that show he’s truly legendary. But on this one he’s absolutely forgettable.


  1. I'll never understand why they keep trying to use live-action as a medium to get comics onto television and the movie theaters, can you? I mean, I just feel like no matter what angle they approach it from, be it overly comedic to being painstakingly serious, the final result never ends up being something that you will never enjoy to the fullest.

  2. Don't know, I really do enjoy Most Marvel Studios films.

    But I think people keep trying to make comics into live action because they want to make their fantasies into reality. But it's next to impossible to make a fantasy in a drawing translate into a real picture on film. So that's why many are disappointed in the final product.