Two episodes were provided prior to broadcast.
The CW continues to expand its comics adaptation slate with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, a spinoff of both Arrow and The Flash (the latter of which is a spinoff of the former) that takes a hodgepodge of the supporting characters from each show and throws them together in an eight-person team tasked with saving the world. If you haven’t seen a minute of Arrow or The Flash, you’re probably already high-tailing it away from that last sentence, but that’s okay. Legends of Tomorrow is many crazy, odd, awesome things – most of them all in the same scene – but one thing it’s proudly not is accessible.
The usual DC television superteam of Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim set up the world of Legends with some quick glimpses into that all-endangered future of 2166, and they provide some brief previously-on montages for each of the eight heroes, but it’s a show that feels like a reward for fans more than anything else. And it actually works in a surprising way, given the constraints of a show about superheroes traveling through time to stop a 4,000-year-old immortal Egyptian from destroying the world. Legends of Tomorrow is a near master-class in ramping up smart, well-constructed entertainment with endearing idiocy – as only the best comic book adaptations do – and in that sense it easily earns the right to stand beside its progenitors.
I won’t take too much time relaying the show’s set-up, mostly because what surprises there are were revealed by marketing months ago, and the ones that remain are core to the group’s motivation (this is nothing nearing a spoiler, but think Coulson’s death in The Avengers). The main gist is that Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) has seen a future where the maniacal Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) has laid waste to the planet, subjugating all of humanity and finally completing his plans for world domination after a few centuries of failed attempts (the show hilariously suggests he was behind everything from the Holocaust to Kennedy’s assassination, and it somehow all works).
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Hunter gets a plan: assemble a team of special individuals whose collective might can take down Savage before his big stint as world conqueror begins. If you’ve been watching The CW on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, you’ll probably recognize the eight that the Time Master selects for his mission. From Arrow you get Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) as the super-suited The Atom, and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) as the newly-minted White Canary.
Everyone else gets pulled from The Flash‘s bench: Professor Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson (Victor Garber and Franz Drameh) as the fused-together Firestorm, Leonard Snart and Mick Rory (Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell) as Captain Cold and Heat Wave, and Kendra Saunders and Carter Hall (Ciara Renée and Falk Hentschel) as star-crossed lovers Hawkgirl and Hawkman.
The coolest thing about Legends of Tomorrow is that characters that were aggressively sidelined in each of their respective sister series get time to shine this time around. The biggest course correction here is for Hawkgirl and Hawkman, who never worked as interesting characters on The Flash, and became especially egregious when dumped in Arrow‘s more gritty mecca of Star City. But, when revisited on a ship called the Waverider, standing next to a guy that can shrink and being chased by a time-hopping bounty hunter, they suddenly click. Their relationship becomes more amusing to follow and Kendra’s turmoil of accepting her fate over paving her own destiny, in her 206th life, is far easier to swallow – even for a show somewhat obsessed with the words “fate,” “destiny,” and (unsurprisingly) “legends.”