Greg Berlanti (Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash) strikes again! The CW Network should just change its name to the CWGB or DCTV and be done with it. How many shows does Greg Berlanti and the gang at DC now have on the CW? They have their super hero tv formula down to a science now and it’s a formula that I love. In their latest spin-off Legends of Tomorrow, a bunch of secondary characters from Arrow and The Flash are brought together by rogue time traveller Rip Hunter (Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill) to form a team of time traveling heroes and villains whose goal is to stop the immortal Vandal Savage (Casper Crump).
The show opens during a blitz in London 2166 as Vandal Savage’s army decimates the world and we see Savage kill a kid. Hunter asks the Time Council to let him go back in time and stop Savage. Of course they being bureaucrats balk at that idea and he goes ahead with his plans anyway. He recruits his team of would be “Legends” and gives them 36 hours to decide what they want to do. This is when we get a little fan service and get cameos from Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) as Ray (Brandon Routh) and Sarah (Caity Lotz) ask for advice.
One of the nice things about spin-offs like this is all the characters and the motivations have already been established on Arrow and The Flash so we don’t have to spend a lot of time on set and getting to know everyone, so the first 10 or 15 minutes moves at a good pace. The problem is these actors are fine in small doses as guest stars, but it’s painful watching them hold their own. Franz Drameh as the new half of Firestar is awful and the worst of the bunch.
Considering everyone has had multiple appearances over the last two years as their characters, everyone seems painfully wooden when they shouldn’t be. But it feels like they’ve never played their parts before. Darvill is a bit hamfisted as the know it all time traveler and at this point not a very likable leader.
As far as super hero teams go, this is a weird mix of people and some of the banter between everyone works surprisingly well. I’m already liking the the trio of Leonard Snark/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Sara and Mick Rory/Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell). Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée) and Carter Hall/Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) have zero chemistry at this point which is not good considering they are supposed to be fated lovers – I guess we can brush this off to the fact that Hawkgirl doesn’t remember her past.
The special effects and fight choreography are solid. I loved the old school look of their time traveling ship – The Waverider and the show really takes off once they reach their first destination 1975. Yeah it looks like it was shot on a studio lot, but washed in brightly lit sundrenched colors it still looks amazing. Especially since they do a really nice job on costuming and it doesn’t hurt that they have a little Earth, Wind & Fire playing to complete the scene.
There’s a great bar brawl where Sara, Captain Cold and Heatwave take out a bar full of bikers. By this point in the show it seems like everyone starts to settle into the roles more. It’s a quick turnaround from the first painful 20 minutes. But then this is how we’re used to seeing these characters, doing what they do best – just kick ass.
If Vandal is the toughest guy on the block this team has a long way to go as they were already basically defeated by a “minion.” Watching this group become a solid fighting will be part of the fun. After a rough first 20 minutes the pilot comes together pretty nicely and provides a pretty solid kick off. I think they did a key reveal a little too early and should have waited a few episodes. I’m really curious to see where they take this, because they can’t sustain an entire series with just them going after one guy. So I’m interested to see what villains they face and where they go with this.
Final Grade B