The latest spin-off from the growing DC TV Universe is moving the story in inspired ways. Here is my review of “Pilot: Pt.1”.
Spoiler Alert: This is your last warning! If you haven’t seen the premiere episode of the latest DC TV Universe spin-off DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, Pilot: Pt.1 than perhaps you might not want to read any further, but if you haven’t been tuning into this season’s Arrow or its sister series The Flash than you’re missing out on a truly unique television experience and one that millions of die-hard comic book fans have been waiting a very long time for.
If it wasn’t enough that almost out the gate The CW’s action-adventure series Arrow based on the often secondarily popular hero the Green Arrow immediately went to work on establishing a foothold on introducing the most number of DC Comics heroes and villains into primetime, when it helped launch The Flash — suddenly the superhero world in live-action exploded! The Flash which is more “powers” based than the street-fighting feel of its predecessor became an instant hit with fans.
The particle explosion that helped create that series hero Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has always been a staple in the mythology and The Flash one of the top-tier characters in the DC Universe. When the multiverse was ignited in the Second Season of The Flash all bets were off, and having already introduced super-powered allies like Firestorm, the Atom, and even Vixen (in a companion animated series) it wouldn’t be long before these heroic individuals came together and formed a proper team.
The element of crossing over the storylines on the series also introduced a much appreciated dynamic that hadn’t been seen before in superhero series in syndication or primetime. When the serialized adventures brought together all our heroes it had the same impact as when heroes came together in the pages of the books. Audiences were now privy to getting more bang for their buck and this season’s crossover team-up was nothing short of legendary!
A Time Master named Rip Hunter (Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill) is determined to put an end to the conquering might of Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). The tyrant has all-but laid waste to the future with his armies. In order to stop Savage once and for all, Hunter requests that he be allowed to travel back in time and recruit some very powerful allies, but the Time Masters are convinced that Hunter will cause more damage than good traversing through history. Rip Hunter steals a time ship, the “Waverider”, anyway and gathers his forces.
Moving quickly and simultaneously Hunter systematically “kidnaps” Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) The Atom, the Nuclear Man Firestorm (Victor Garber and Franz Drameh), the resurrected White Canary (Caity Lotz) and the long-lived winged warriors Hawkgirl and Hawkman (Ciara Renée and Falk Hentschel). Hunter also employs the dangerously unpredictable rogues Captain Cold and his partner in crime Heatwave (Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell). Hunter warns them of his mission and shows them a hopeless future where Savage rules.
Having only recently faced off against Savage, the Hawks are confused to learn that Vandal Savage still exists. After their last battle they teamed up with Green Arrow and the Flash and it appeared they had indeed destroyed Savage, but apparently the ancient evil has survived. Hunter hopes to convince the eight that he heroes (and villains) are needed, and that in the future history will come to know them as “legends”. That they have a legacy to live up to is attractive to them but most of all to Palmer and Prof. Stein.
The rest of the team will require a little convincing and so travel with Hunter back to the 1970’s to uncover a piece of the puzzle to help alter the grim future from coming to past. There they enlist the help of a historian Dr. Aldus Boardman (Peter Francis James) who reveals himself to be the son of both Hawkgirl and Hawkman, but a time-traveling mercenary named Chronus has followed Hunter and his intrepid team of heroes on their journey!
The group are able to outrace the mercenary’s attack but inadvertently get Boardman killed and learn the truth of why they were chosen by Rip Hunter for this mission. Hunter is himself a determined renegade out to prevent Savage from destroying anymore lives the way he destroyed his own family’s, but as for the heroes Hunter has collected…though he’s seen men of steel fall and dark knights shaken, these “legends” he’s assembled are lost to the ages.
In effect these “legends of tomorrow” are far from that; they are inconsequential and their lives — their heroics — won’t matter at all. Hunter brings them together in an effort to give them all a fighting chance to be remembered as more than just “secondary characters” in a plot line. In effect, these legends will themselves be endeavor to be the templates for all those to come! Convinced that unless the stop Vandal Savage the future will be lost!
From the moment that the group is assembled on the bridge of the time ship, their chemistry is almost immediate. In the DC Comics mythology Ray Palmer and Carter Hall are very good friends and team-up often to fight crime, so it’ll be interesting to see if that dynamic will also developed among the series’ characters. Victor Garber as the elder statesman and one-half of the powerhouse Firestorm is also wonderful invigorating, though fans may wish that Robbie Amell had been recruited instead of Jefferson “Jax” Jackson who is still developing.
The anti-heroes of Captain Cold, Heatwave and White Canary make for an interestingly dynamic mix that is both volatile and sexy, and give off some kick-ass sparks. Though charmingly entertaining Heatwave and Cold just don’t have the gravitas that audiences might prefer to see take on the Scarlet Speedster from time to time, but perhaps when these two have exhausted their appeal it will open the door for two more proper heroes to take their place…maybe Blue Beetle and Booster Gold.
One thing for certain, after proving that Arrow had great dramatic potential in serialized television and that The Flash can make superpowers interesting, DC’s Legend of Tomorrow is set to plead the case for ensemble casts that work in team shows. Feeling a little bit like Firefly and throwing in plenty of Quantum Leap and Doctor Who — DC’s Legends of Tomorrow are the primetime heroes we’ve been hoping for today!
Bonus Features: The iTunes bonus feature when you purchase a Season Pass includes the nearly half-hour documentary “The Time is Now” which sets up the world of the Legends from their origins and into primetime.
Care to check out more?! Go deeper into The HQ and goto ThrillseekerHQ.com for a look at episode data and additional features including “Legends: Who’s Who”.