An attempt to articulate something I’d been thinking about for a few years now; I also spoke a little about Star Wars, but the main focus is Arrow etc, because it was timely. I’m quite behind on the Arrowverse shows, but I did watch the Crisis on Earth-x crossover. It was… quite something.
Looking back, this article actually posted the same weekend as one of the more egregious of those New York Times Trump voter profiles, about a man who was a literal Nazi, being celebrated because he actually quite liked Seinfeld. Which was patently ridiculous, and got me pondering the role of fiction in reaching this climate. The above is very much a starting point rather than the definitive word on the comment, but I think it gestures at something that’s broadly on point.
Much as I do love these superhero programmes (frustrating though they often are), I’d much rather see the CW continue to encourage their original ideas, rather than continuing to pursue the tried and tested DC formula they’ve stumbled upon.
This article is in fact from late last week, I’m only just getting around to posting it on my personal blog now. It’s discussing the different DC universes, and why – ultimately – I’m actually rather glad that Warner Bros. decided to take the route of a multiverse rather than a shared universe. (Even if they didn’t approach it in those terms!)
This trailer leaves me with the least to say, I think, largely because it’s the one with the least new content – it’s predominantly recycled footage from last year, I suppose because Legends earlier in the filming process than the other two shows?
I don’t really know what to think, to be honest. For a while now I’ve had reservations about the shape of the second season of Legends, and I must admit that I’ve not really been reassured by this trailer. I kind of feel as though the best way to take advantage of the anthology format would be to really push the boat out and just go for it – I feel like the cast should have been shaken up a little more, and perhaps even the time travel aspects abandoned. Retain the “DC’s Legends of” title, and then just do whatever. DC’s Legends of the Dark, a magic and horror based series. DC’s Legends of the Universe, focusing on the intergalactic side of DC comics. Even DC’s Legends of the Multiverse, perhaps.
(I realise, obviously, that you’d need to have some continuity between series, and you can’t just completely change everything each time. My Legends of the Dark pitch does, after all, contain three characters from Legends of Tomorrow, and a further two that were already introduced on Arrow. That, in essence, is the sort of thing I had in mind.)
Even then, though, I’m not sure necessarily that repositioning the show to be about a group of time police is the best idea. I almost feel like it’s better if they have a specific, targeted aim – perhaps the defeat of Vandal Savage created a new problem (Thanagarian invasion!) that they have to deal with? I don’t know, it just feels that making these characters into, as I said, time police is perhaps changing them too far beyond their original conception, simply to ensure they still fit a premise which, honestly, they may well have outgrown.
Hmm. I’ve been quite doom and gloom about this whole thing, haven’t I? Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the first season of Legends, and I fully expect to enjoy this season too. The above was just my immediate thoughts and initial reservations; I’ve no doubt I should be able to get past them reasonably quickly. Principally, Legends of Tomorrow is just a really fun show, and as long as they manage to keep that up, I’m willing to forgive them a lot.
On a related note, I’m a tad peeved there was no Supergirl trailer. That’s the one I was looking forward to most!
With Vandal Savage defeated and the timeline restored, Rip Hunter bids farewell to his team; each returns to their own time, now truly a legend.
But upon Sara Lance’s return to Star City 2016, she’s met by another Englishman in a long coat who wants to assemble a team. His name is John Constantine, petty dabbler in the dark arts, and they’ve met before.
Darkness is rising, and a new team of Legends must rise up to defeat it.
So! DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is a program that I’m quite enjoying; it’s consistently fun and engaging, and they’re doing a really good job of developing each character. Certainly, it’s a lot better than Arrow, but… well, let’s not get into that now.
Anyway, something I thought was quite interesting, back before the series premiered, was that it was being marketed as an anthology series; each year, it’d deal with different themes, and something of a revolving cast of characters.
Which, you know, sparked the imagination somewhat. Currently they’re dealing with time travel – what if, next year, they’re dealing with magic?
DC’s Legends of the Dark
John Constantine is assembling a team of his own. It’s comprised of various different individuals from across the world, each of whom have a magical connection (with one notable exception, of course).
This team won’t be travelling across time, but rather, through different dimensions; they’ll visit fiery hellscapes and cold recesses of the underworld, while at the same time having to contend with new threats breaking through into the mortal world.
Each of these individual threats – such as Circe, Gentleman Ghost and Etrigan, all of whom the team will encounter – are being co-ordinated by a much older, much greater darkness.
Known as the Lord of the Unliving, Nekron is the personification of Death; darkness, before ever there was light. It threatens to break into our plane of existence, and corrupt the very fabric of our existence.
And that cannot be allowed to happen.
Hence this team.
Sara Lance, an assassin brought back from the dead – one of the few people resistant to Nekron’s powers over life and death.
Nyssa Raatko, one of the foremost members of the League of Assassins, and the last Heir to the Demon – that’s not just a title.
Kendra Saunders, reincarnated Hawk Goddess, and wielder of an Nth metal mace, one of the few weapons which can counteract the affects of magic. Given her own experiences with death and reincarnation, she’ll prove to be a valuable member of this team – but in many ways, her connection to death will also be their greatest weakness
Vixen, owner of the Anansi totem, and capable of channelling the life force any creature in the Animal Kingdom. Mari has a direct link to Anansi the Trickster God, who at times will be a hindrance more than a help.
Zatanna, a friend of Constantine’s – Constantine had known her late father, the magician John Zatara. Though she’s only been practicing magic a short time, it’s clear she has the potential to grow more powerful than any other.
Ray Palmer, the ATOM. Despite having no knowledge of magic whatsoever, he was with Kendra when Constantine asked for her help. Insisting on joining the team, Constantine quickly relented – after all, he’s not one to say no to a handsome man.
Across the course of their journey together, they’ll realise they are bound by more than just their mission – death unites them all.
As Nekron commands an army of their fallen friends, family and lovers, this group of seven will confront demons both occult and personal, and have to answer the question as to whether it is worth saving the world, quite literally, at the cost of your soul…
A recent article on the Yahoo TV website, for which I am a contributor.
(An early one! A rare attempt at a general, overview type article, which I’ve not really done a lot of since. I’m not sure why, exactly; I suppose I tend to find them a little harder, but often also just don’t really have opinions about the state of television as a holistic whole like that.)
Wait, the ‘Indiana Jones’ reference is the only thing I understood.
So, typically, I don’t review episodes of Arrow, on account of my being quite so far behind on the series, but I thought I needed to make an exception for this episode, given that it’s the second part of the annual crossover special.
This episode opens with a flashback to Ancient Egypt, showing us the first life of Kendra and Carter, as well as the beginning of their enmity with Vandal Savage. It’s a clever move, and a good way to adapt the flashback structure of Arrow to fit with this episode; last year, one of the main issues with the crossover episode, The Brave and the Bold, was that they tried to maintain the typical Arrow flashback structure. The problem, though, was that it had little relevance to the main plot of the episode, and was more than a little overshadowed by the appearance of Barry, Cisco and Caitlin.
Here, though, the use of the flashbacks ties into the main plot of the episode really well, and gives us an interesting insight into the past lives of the Hawks. It’s a rather neat, effective little structural cue that has a significant impact on the story, where we get to see more of Kendra learning about her powers – and, more importantly, where we see Kendra in a position of greater authority than Carter. I must admit, I did find him quite obnoxious still in this episode – saying things like “I’ve always been the planner, and now I’m starting to understand why” really began to grate after a while – so it was nice to see Kendra starting to push back against that.
(One other things, with regards to the Hawks – I’m not really certain how I feel about the actual execution of their powers. The costume they wear aren’t great, and the wings don’t look amazing either. Perhaps I’m being a tad critical, but still. It’s something to think about for Legends of Tomorrow, when the time comes; the problem I have isn’t so much the CGI, but the style and design of the wings. It looks questionable; wings just aren’t like that, so there’s something a little off and disconcerting about seeing them here like this.)
In many ways, this episode is a significant improvement on its predecessor; although there’s quite a few characters who don’t really get much of a look in, like Thea or Diggle (and I kind of got the impression Laurel was only in it because of Katie Cassidy’s contract) or Caitlin, the entire episode felt a lot more balanced and better paced than Legends of Today. I think that’s in part because the episode was much more focused – even the digression with regards to Oliver’s child, which I’ll come to in a minute, had a direct impact on the main plot. That’s something that couldn’t be said in the previous episode, and I’m glad they made the change this go around.
Something I found quite interesting here was the fact that they used Barry’s time travel powers. It was rather a surprise, actually – I thought they’d be a little too ‘out there’ for Arrow, given that it’s typically a little more grounded. Still, I suppose now that they’re delving into magic and mysticism, that’s unlikely to remain to be the case. Regardless, it was used well (and I suppose it’s important to include that, given that Legends of Tomorrow is going to be a time travel program) and I quite liked the way the different characters dealt with it. Barry, obviously, was pretty shaken up, which is understandable given his experiences last season, but Oliver was interestingly pragmatic about the whole thing, taking the opportunity for a second chance and rolling with it.
Another useful implication of the time travel aspect is to emphasise the power of Vandal Savage; he’s such a serious adversary, they need to change time to deal with him. That’s something that’s only been true of Eobard Thawne previously, and in making that the case here, it means that Vandal Savage has a certain weight to him as a villain – he’s treated as a threat on the same level as villains who took entire seasons to deal with.
(In terms of the final resolution – I was quite surprised by the fact that they killed Vandal Savage off, with Malcolm Merlyn doing something to bring him back. I was expecting him to simply escape, though I suppose this was a deliberate move to counter expectations. Wonder how they’ll address it in Legends of Tomorrow?)
The other major plot point of this episode was the introduction of Oliver’s son – an arc they’ve been building to for nearly two years, given that the first indication of his existence came towards the end of season 2.
Oliver discovers the existence of William (not, interestingly, Connor Hawke; somewhat surprising, given the existence of the comics character and the upcoming time travel program) and begins to make efforts to get to know his son – keeping it all secret at Samantha’s behest, however. That was something I found interesting, although it’s clear that this is a set up for future drama, particularly given Felicity’s reaction to the news in the aborted timeline. (I must say, though, I found her reaction to be more than a little unreasonable – if that’s how the character was depicted throughout last year, I can understand why people became so aggravated with her.)
I’m not certain where it’ll go, but I am looking forward to eventually seeing how it all pans out – it’s a really interesting storyline, with a lot of potential, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they explore that. (As an aside – does anyone think it’s possible they’re going to depict William as having autism? I’m speaking from a place of ignorance, but the character did seem to fit most of the TV stereotypes for depictions of autism – obsessed with the Flash, quiet, didn’t make eye contact much. It’s perhaps more likely that I’m reading too far into it though.)
In the end, then, this was a very enjoyable episode of Arrow; it managed to improve on the flaws of its counterpart, whilst at the same time building a fun and engaging storyline, and laying the groundwork for a compelling ongoing plot.