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Legends Of Tomorrow - season one (2016)
- Based on characters from DC comics

review by Steven Hampton
Spoiler alert!
One of the new comicbook TV adventures developed - not created - by a gang of four, with a show-runner appointed from their writing committee, Legends Of Tomorrow is very clearly a by-product of an exploding media franchise. Following the success of Arrow, The Flash (and Supergirl, which is set in a different yet reachable universe) a bunch of supporting characters are recruited by time-travelling rogue Captain Hunter to defeat immortal Vandal Savage, who's conquered the entire world in 2166. Starting with the 'second blitz' on London, the epic story flits back and forth along an unstable timeline, as the assembled team attempt to save the planet from various evil plots and get revenge for the super-villain's numerous crimes against humanity.

Not simply another sci-fi derivative of the Terminator movies and TV series, or just a comicbook variant of X-Men: Days Of Future Past combined with historical-tourism SF, this expansive actioner blends time-paradox twists with space opera, and explores character story-arcs that are dramatically resonant enough for adult viewers, but also playfully absurd - with abundant geeky asides - to please fans of comics, and familiar skiffy tropes. Rip Hunter (Birmingham's export Arthur Darvill, formerly a Doctor Who companion), leads Ray Palmer - alias The Atom (star of Superman Returns, Brandon Routh in a tech suit), Sara Lance - alias White Canary (Caity Lotz) from Ra's al Ghul's League Of Assassins, and Dr Martin Stein (Victor Garber), who is one half of nuclear-powered hybrid Firestorm. A winged couple, Hawkgirl and Hawkman sketch a mythic and romantic destiny into this offbeat show's overall appeal to oddball legends; while - reunited from Prison Break brotherhood - sarcastic thief, Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), and his muscular-arsonist buddy, Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), make a great serio-comic double-act often in morally ambiguous quarrels with their assortment of associates.

On their time-ship 'Waverider', zooming through the centuries, our wannabe legends visit Norway in 1975, to halt the black-market sale of a nuke; then travel up-stream to Washington, DC in 1986 - but crash land in the USSR. Star City, 2046 is another time port on a dark and stormy night, where lawless 'potential' dystopia finds Green Arrow is just a one-armed survivor of the seemingly inevitable apocalypse. Marooned offers typical space pirates adventure with a time-ship twist. Visiting small-town Oregon, in 1958, two of the crew are stranded for a couple of years and so, after four millennia of her soul-mated fate, Kendra alias Hawkgirl struggles to adjust to bright opportunities for freewill. The mega-corporate worldview of 2147 contrasts with a western stopover, in Dakota, 1871 - where a saloon-brawl, on the checklist of essential cowboy clichés, is topped off neatly by a surprise guest appearance from Jonah Hex.

Apart from the Miller and Purcell professional crime-duo, a lack of chemistry between the main cast, and their awkwardly diverse characters as this obviously ad-hoc super-team, makes most of the show's early episodes rely on mere novelty and reiteration of generic plots. However, about halfway through this debut season, several clever twists of a time-paradox variety, and a quick resolution of certain ineptly conceived conflicts between misfit personalities in the group, enables new synergy for LOT. So, suddenly, the ensemble gels in unexpected ways and all the crazy fun starts. Climactic battles to save the world from Savage and his cohorts include fighting a gigantic robot, a trip to rural France in WW2, and a coordinated multi-part mission to kill the enemy tyrant in three different time periods. In the season finale, Rex Tyler (Hourman) delivers a promising JSA teaser.

Legends Of Tomorrow



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