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Thoughts on the Legends of Tomorrow Pilot

I watched the pilot of the new CW DC’s Legends of Tomorrow series, and I have some thoughts!

– I liked Arthur Darvill. I think he did a good job as Rip Hunter. However, making Rip Hunter basically Doctor Who was an odd choice.

– The Rogues and Sara Lance work together very, very well.

– Martin Stein drugging Jax to get him to go with them was waaaaaaay too disturbing of a thing to do for Jax to just go, “Eh, it’s cool. As it turns out, this reminded me that I like being part of a team again, so don’t feel bad about you drugging and kidnapping me.” Also, Franz Drameh does some terrible, terrible line readings.

– Isn’t it kind of weird that Rip Hunter tells them that Vandal Savage killed billions of people, and they’re like, “Eh, what are you going to do?” but then, “He killed my son!” and it’s, “Okay, Rip, we’ll help you!”

– The writing in general was pretty clunky, but it was understandably a hard concept to get across.

– I miss Sara Lance, so I’m glad to see her back on TV. Caity Lotz is charming.

– The whole twist of them being there because they are NOT legends was a good one.

– I really like the Hawk-people effects. I don’t like either of the actors for the Hawk-people, but the effects of their wings are cool!

– It is always fun seeing actors like Victor Garber in shows like this, because it’s almost like it is effortless for them to be good. Like all the Shakespearean actors who love doing Star Trek (remember Christopher Plummer in Star Trek VI? Dude was SO into it!).

– I’ll stick around for more, but I liked the Flash pilot a good deal more than this one and the Arrow pilot (which was a bit iffy itself) more than this.

What did you folks think?

38 Comments

Oh come on! Was it disturbing all those times George Peppard drugged Mr. T to get him on a plane? Or all those times his character did the same thing to B.A. on their TV show? Of course not, because they were A Team.

I just watched a show with the Atom, Black Canary, Firestorm, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Captain Cold, and Heatwave. Yes, there were plot issues, but this was still an amazing thing to see on my television. Loved it.

I pity the fool who didn’t laugh at Jerry’s comment!

I also thought the idea of the professor drugging the other guy (I don’t know either of their names, sorry) was a bad one. Seemed very non-heroic and I can’t imagine someone responding as they did in the show. Seemed that for a tandem hero, that would be a pretty big barrier to get past in trying to work together. I thought the two villains (Sorry I don’t remember their names either, I am terrible with names) were not very good. Especially the guy whose voice was super gruff. Seemed like he was trying too hard to be the tough guy badass. I think it was okay though. Not as good as The Flash but good enough I will likely give it a few more watches to see if I dig the series.

The reason he’s not Jason Rusch was because Jason Rusch appeared in a cameo as one of Stein’s students last season on the Flash. They probably weren’t expecting to actually need a replacement Firestorm partner so soon.

Thanks! Fair enough, then, as that wouldn’t fit into the nerd/jock riff they’re going with (a la the original Firestorm). Too bad, but yeah, you’re right, they almost certainly weren’t figuring they’d need to get a regular actor to play Firestorm so soon. I’ll take that thought out!

Having so many characters in the first episode made it difficult to become attached to any of them. And the clunky dialogue bothered me too, but when you have to cram SOOOO much exposition into 43 minutes, explaining all the time travel bs, the Vandal Savage/Hawks backstory, and reorienting viewers on the characters, it’s never gonna go smoothe.

I think Dom Purcell is having the most fun with his character and it shows. Wentworth Miller on the other hand, always looks like he’s annoyed that he’s chosen acting as a profession. Brandon Routh plays a great nerd on Arrow, but didn’t get enough screen time to let that shine here. The pitfall of being in a large cast. Apart from Garber, the rest of them are CW level actors.

The acting was approximately as abominable as you expect from these DC comics shows (better than Supergirl, not as good as Arrow) but oh my ghods, the script! Where is Joss Weedon when you need him? For that matter, where is whoever it is who writes Felicity’s lines? The dialogue rolled along like a brick wardrobe. I’ve heard zingier zingers from minor Republican candidates. Even Arthur Darville was utterly abysmal. I’ve heard the three or four versions of his signature like (“I’m from East London… and the future”) on the various previews and they were all pretty bad, but this time was the worst of the lot. How can you stuff up something with so much practice? I don’t get it.

Never mind; I’m going to keep watching. At least it’s not Man Of Steel.

I thought it was good, but not great. Better than the Arrow pilot, not nearly as good as Flash’s pilot.

I read a good suggestion somewhere that they should have shown all the recruiting in flashbacks over several episodes, so that the pilot wasn’t slowed down by it.

The Firestorm thing was pretty bizarre. It was one of several moments that basically felt like, “this makes no sense for the characters, but the plot demands we go from A to B.” Also, Stein is supposed to be happily married and he didn’t seem to worry much about leaving his wife.

There were hints at some great future interactions and chemistry between characters. Ray Palmer had a bit of hero worship going on for Dr. Stein; it was a nice touch to have him be a former student (that Stein doesn’t remember). t think that White Canary will end up kind of being a bridge / middle ground for the team. She gets on surprisingly well with the Rogues who respect her love of violence, boozing and flirting. She’s spent enough time with Team Arrow that she can hero it up with the DC Science Bros. And, um, she has that bird motif thing going on so she has common ground with the Hawks…?

It was a bit odd that they had cameos from Arrow, but not Flash… But when I think about it, Barry and Cisco would TOTALLY wanted to have gone with them.

Vandal Savage is still a weak point for me. The actor is ok, but not as charming as Damien Darkh or as scary as Zoom. And to me, he’s just not the ‘real’ Vandal Savage. He’s a paltry two or three thousand years old, instead of being a caveman. They combined him with the Hawks’ bad guy, Hath Set. They actually call him that a few times. It’s just not the same.

I’ve come to accept that bad acting, clunky dialogue, and cliched, soap opera style characterization is what you’re gonna get from these CW superhero shows. The people who script them simply aren’t capable of writing dialogue that would sound natural (not even “superhero natural”) when spoken by actual human beings. Even actors who’ve been pretty good at other shows, such as Darvill or the guy playing Jay Garrick, are brought down by the crappy dialogue, wooden character-building, and stupid soap opera dramas.

So pretty much only thing they got going for them is the plotting. Arrow’s grim and gritty plots, which were clearly trying to emulate the tone of Nolan’s Batman movies (with limited success), didn’t do much for me, so I couldn’t make it past the first season. So far, the Silver Age inspired shenanigans in The Flash have been fun enough to keep me interested, but I’m always on the verge of quitting it, because everything else besides the actual stories is so bad.

What do you mean Rip Hunter is basically the Doctor? I mean, he’s just a member of a stuffed shirt society that oversees time that went rogue and stole a time machine and picked up some companions from modern day earth in order to have adventures and right wrongs throughout time. That’s not even a little bit like the Doctor.

“Isn’t it kind of weird that Rip Hunter tells them that Vandal Savage killed billions of people, and they’re like, “Eh, what are you going to do?” but then, “He killed my son!” and it’s, “Okay, Rip, we’ll help you!””
– In fact that makes sense (without me having actually seen the episode). As Stalin said “A single death is a tragedy; A million deaths is a statistic.” And he should know, being responsible for so many himself. No one can get their head around a billion deaths – but the death of the son of the man they are talking to? Got it.

We saw Rip Hunter and Chronos on tv, that’s enough to get me to stick around. Maybe an appearance from Metamorpho?
If they brought the Dibneys on the Flash and the Legion of Superheroes to Supergirl that would be great too :-)

I liked it. I had the problem with the Time Masters/Time Lords but if they’d called them the Linear Men I’d probably have accepted it without any changes.

Garber apparently doesn’t find it as easy as you might think. According to a Flash panel at Dragoncon last year he hates all the technobabble he sometimes had to say.

tom fitzpatrick

January 24, 2016 at 6:56 am

Wouldn’t Karen Gillen make a great Isis or a Element girl? Another Doctor Who alumni for a reunion!

Hey TP! You should watch BASKETS if you want another Jerry Lewis comment!

I haven’t seen it yet, but like the concept. I’ve always liked the post-Crisis take on Vandal Savage, especially in the Time Masters miniseries and in Tim Truman’s Guns of the Dragon, which it seems like I’m the only one who ever read it (seriously, no one ever brings up that mini-series). He was extremely well handled in the Justice League cartoon; so, we will have to see.

Babylon 5 started out with many of the problems cited; but, grew into an epic series. Time will tell here (though B5 had more mature stories and actors, so it had an advantage).

I just watched it. It’s pretty rough; but, there is potential. The view of the 70s was a typical Hollywood fantasy, though.

For a guy who predates Doctor Who, Rip Junter sure seems to be a mix of the Doctor and Captain Jack. I’m kind of surprised the legal department didn’t have kittens over him.

My question is where Heatwave store the combustible fuel for his flame thrower? That little cylinder isn’t enough.

The Good:

– Caity Lotz is awesome as Sara Lance. Her chemistry with Katie Cassidy as her sister is fantastic. She found a nice dynamic with Captain Cold and his his pal. She is always welcome in the DC TV-verse as whatever Canary.
– Wentworth Miller is pretty great as Captain Cold. He is both self-aware and just campy enough. He was always fun on The Flash. It will be nice to see him every week.
– Brandon Routh has made me care about Ray Palmer. I didn’t think that was possible. His insecure billionaire is such a fascinating counter-point to Tony Stark. I like how well motivated he is to make a difference. None of the other characters really are.
– Victor Garber was a nifty supporting character on The Flash, but paired with not-exactly-Jason-Rusch raises things up a level. Not-Jason is a walking, talking cliche, but the actors bounce of each other well enough. Sort of interested in Dr. Stein and Ray Palmer,

The Bad:
– There is a lot to like about the Hawks, but terrible casting has sort of taken all that off the the table. There is zero chemistry between the reincarnated lovers. Neither is very interesting on their own. It is a shame, because having eternally reincarnated characters travel through time is a nifty idea.
– Rip Hunter is bad rip-off of The Doctor. All the nice little Easter Eggs (e.g. time machine named Waverider) are just ruined by it..

The Ugly
– So overstuffed.

Re:Stein drugging his partner- Ronnie forced the transformation against Stein’s will during Millenium to stop a BOOK BURNER. (The guy turned out to be under the control of Glorious Godfrey but Ronnie didn’t know that at the time.)
A couple of things bugged me about the pilot. First, why not just travel back in time to five seconds after Savage’s last defeat during the Flash/Arrow crossover, grab his ashes and kill him while he’s regenerating?
Secondly, how does it make sense that Atom, Firestorm and the Hawks dying won’t affect the timeline? They save people’s lives every day. That should DRASTICALLY change the future.

I want to get something out of the way first before I make a larger point:

On a TV screen and largely active:

Green Arrow. The Flash. Black Canary. The Atom. Hawk Man. Hawkgirl. Martian Manhunter. Firestorm. Red Tornado.

Mentioned/Alluded to:

Hal Jordan/Coast City numerous times in Arrow/Flash. Atlantis in Earth 2 on Flash (digression: personal belief is that Earth 2 is really a re-written timeline of Earth-1 that exists in it’s own world because Flash stopped the time vortex, cutting it off from becoming ; in other words, Earth-2 is the re-worked timeline because Thawne was never born as Eddie killed himself, but it was kept from coming to fruition; digression over). Superman on Supergirl (and I really cannot see how he doesn’t show at some point more fully)

Could switch:

Supergirl for Superman. Constantine for Zatanna.

Minus Batman, Wonder Woman (both of which I doubt happen) and Ralph Dibny (much higher shot of that happening),

In sum, Berlanti and Co. have given us a reasonable facsimile of almost the entire Satellite Era league as individuals in under 2 years of TV across 4 DC Comic property shows that play on 4 consecutive nights of the week in primetime, and one of them is on e major network pulling good ratings while the other 3 are among the highest rated shows on a much smaller network (and the Flash is one of CW’s biggest hits ever). That one is a team show that could conceivably swap characters in and out of it (Constantine is already set to appear next season) makes an expansion of the league concept possible on a small screen, especially as all of the characters are tied to Berlanti programs (and CBS and CW are in the same corporate umbrella, making a Supergirl crossover much more feasible, though there are agreements that would need to be handled).

Show of hands if anyone on this site ever thought such a thing was possible 3 years ago? Yeah, I thought so.

Personally, this was possibly the closest to a goofy, fun comic book we’ve gotten on TV yet. Yes, there are plot points that need to be worked out, and Jax needs to improve (but the actor has had about one episode of Flash to figure his character out), but almost every show has it’s issues as the cast gets used to one another and the writers figure it all out. My guess is that the end of the season will be much better than the first few episodes once some things get sorted, but I’m willing to go along for the ride.

Also, Brian, I think that you misread the motivation of “They feel bad for Rip and are all in”. Looking at it, they all have very self-centered motivations for sticking around. Jax/Stein want to be part of a team; Atom and Canary seem to want to re-write their history; Cold and Heatwave want to kill and thieve; and the Hawks want to kill Savage. Arguably, only 2 of the team members at this point are really on board with the ‘kill Savage’ message, and we already know that many of the characters’ personal timelines will change if the previews are any indication. If they go that route (a series about heroes/villains wanting to mess with time in part because they benefit from it), this could be really compelling in a few weeks.

In sum (I hate when I get rolling), we’re in a literal golden age of things that seemed impossible a few years ago, Enjoy it.

Sorry, it was during LEGENDS that Ronnie forced the transformation, not Millenium.

Michael, do we know that the Hawks actually go around saving lives? Or do they just hang out and fly together? Generally you have a good point but I’ve seen worse illogic with time travel (I’ve watched a lot of time travel films so I’m largely inured to Stupid).

I will air a minor annoying point, that contrary to Savage’s ending speech, splitting the atom—as opposed to building the bomb—happened well before the war and was pure research. But of course just because Savage is immortal doesn’t make him a historian.

It was above average, but nothing spectacular (yet).

Not using Jason because of a once off cameo in Flash was silly. They could of just ignored it. I mean, everyone else got to keep their names.

The acting and the way some lines were delivered weren’t the greatest.

But Supergirl took about 5 eps to start getting really good, so hopefully the same happens here

*wasn’t the greatest :)

The meta-premise of the show is a bit annoying–to me, at least. “We have all these second-string characters who aren’t good enough to have their own shows. Let’s invent a pretext and put them all on the same team!”

From a storytelling viewpoint, it would’ve been better to get people from a variety of places and eras. Take the Shining Knight or the Demon from Arthurian times. Jonah Hex from the Old West. Maybe Joan of Arc and make her into a badass warrior. Leonardo da Vinci to be the brainy inventor of the team. And yes, a couple of people from nonwhite countries.

On the meta level, again, the showrunners can write off–kill or banish–any character that isn’t working. And bring in new ones. For example, they don’t need two Hawkpersons. One Hawkperson, probably Hawkgirl, is enough.

In fact, one could argue for a fluid membership a la SHIELD. That show got better when Bobbi, Hunter, and Mack joined the team.

P.S. White Canary was in Tibet when Rip Hunter found her. Going to Asia for the white chick…that’s diversity!

They could’ve done a whole season of gathering the team. And maybe the heroes’ reasons for joining would’ve seemed more organic. Not like, “We have eight leftover characters from 2015. We should stick them somewhere.”

I hope they justify all the hopping back and forth in time, but I bet they won’t. The smart move would be to go back to a pre-industrial era and kill Vandal Savage before he acquired any technology.

Rob, as Savage has magic too, that’s probably not a winning strategy (“I thought Savage would be vulnerable in 1588 but he found the weather-control ring Francis Drake used to destroy the Spanish Armada!”).

Rob –

“From a storytelling viewpoint, it would’ve been better to get people from a variety of places and eras.”

But then it wouldn’t be a superhero show.

@Rob- I think the idea is that they can’t kill Savage before World War I because Savage caused World War I and killing him before then would risk wiping all of them out of existence. There doesn’t seem to be a reason why they can’t just travel back to Savage’s last defeat and have one of the Hawks strike the final blow, though.

I felt the show had a lot of positives and only two things I’m not that keen on.
The positives include yet another superhero show being made and shown ten years ago we’d have been grateful for one let alone three or four. The return of Caity Lotz’s Canary who for me is better than Katie Cassidys.
Some nice touches like the Savage expert turning out to be connected to the Hawks and the ship name being Waverider.

The downs are just this.
I wonder if there are just too many cast. If each of them has five minutes solo air time that is a whole show!
I don’t like the new Firestorm guy Jax.
Mind you I tend not to like replacement characters much at all. I want my Cap to be Steve, my Spidey to be Peter and my Firestorm to be Martin and Ronnie

@ Rob Schmidt:

The meta-premise of the show is a bit annoying–to me, at least. “We have all these second-string characters who aren’t good enough to have their own shows. Let’s invent a pretext and put them all on the same team!”

Both Arrow and The Flash are overstuffed with good characters. It is a good problem to have and you can certainly understand why they don’t want to lose Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh, Victor Garber or Wentworth Miller to other shows. Not sure that this was the best route, but it is always nice to see good actors working.

Caity Lotz is awesome as Sara Lance. Her chemistry with Katie Cassidy as her sister is fantastic

I agree Caity Lotz is awesome but I’m not sure I’ve seen Katie Cassidy have chemistry with ANYONE.

I will preface this that it was only Pt. 1 of the pilot, since for whatever reason they spread it to two weeks when everyone else is doing 2 hours one night.

I didn’t mind the pretending to be Dr. Who meta, because his whole character was a front. He’s trying to come off as the ultra confident follow me leader, but really he’s a lying thieving failure who is a crushed man.

I’m with James though, no Jason Rusch because of a background cameo no one remembers is just stupid. I also lament that Vandal Savage isn’t a caveman. He’s no more a special immortal than the Hawks really. If you’ve been around for all of humanity, that was Savage’s special thing. Since he’s basically just a mean guy.

And it becomes more and more obvious that Ray Palmer was so meant to be Ted Kord that it goes beyond even his original development, to how they feel and treat the character after he’s been around multiple shows for multiple seasons.

@Jeff- how is the heat gun any different than the cold gun? Both are comic book tech. I’m not wondering where all the cold comes from. It’s not like he picked up a flamethrower from the army supply store.

Some of the acting… It’s just SO bad!!! Particularly from Drameh and the hawk people. Trust me, I get the idea of CW caliber acting/script writing, but this show takes the cake by a long shot. I’ve been in plays with better actors than Drameh when I was in middle school for goodness sake! How does no one else seem to see this?!? The hawk people aren’t quite as bad as him, just rather wooden, which has been mentioned. The same can be said about Savage too, really. I don’t feel like he’s the threat that he should be, possibly because he just really lacks charisma. For example, Neal McDonough is terrifying as Damian Darhk, but I think that’s because he’s so charismatic that you almost like him. I think it scares us a little to know that we could have positive feelings about someone so evil. Just like with Heath Ledger’s Joker.

On the plus side, even with the terrible script constraints, Garber does a fine job. Wentworth Miller is pheonominal. As a fully straight man, I have no problem admitting my man-crush on him. Speaking of crushes, I’d watch Caity Lotz do laundry for an hour. “Charming” is an understatement. Arthur Darville is really owning the Whovian aspects of Rip Hunter, albeit maybe a bit too much, but it’s fun to watch, and he’s doing a great job with it.

The jury is still out on Routh and Purcell for me. Purcell does seem to be playing up the tough guy cliché a bit, but, cheesy as it is at times, I kinda buy it. I personally wouldn’t wanna get on his bad side. I REALLY wanna like Routh. I thought he was poorly cast as Superman, but I’ve been very on board with him as Atom. He plays the nerdy and innocent do-gooder very pleasantly. I think my issue is the lines they give him, and his overall underutilization. He could really be a breakout team leader, if they give him the chance… Unfortunately, that’s a big IF.

Overall, the writing is killing me the most. I get the complexity of cramming a huge cast and a massive amount of plot into 85min, but I just feel like they could have done it much more gracefully than subjecting us to ExpositionFest 2016. And the lines themselves were just abysmal. At one point, 2 separate characters (Stein & Savage), on opposite sides of the conflict, use the not-terribly-common phrase “Suffice it to say”. It wasn’t done in a tongue-in-cheek way, the way it’s often used in a Coen bros. film, it was just obviously lazy writing.

In summary, as it’s been stated by many others, this show has potential. It’s certainly a treat to see a screen full of heroes anytime we can get it. Even the special effects are quite well done. For my part, I really want to keep watching, and I will until the writing becomes unbearable… but can’t we fix that before it happens, CW?… Please? We don’t even need a time machine yet…

After two episodes, it already feels formulaic to me.

Sample episode: Hunter announces, “Pandora’s Box is buried in 1936! We must find it before Savage does or the world is DOOMED!”

They arrive in 1936! One team has to infiltrate the super-secret hiding place and GET THE BOX! The other team has to find Rip Hunter’s great-great-grandmother who invented the quantum-flux capacitor! It’s the only thing that can reverse the FLOW OF EVIL from the box!

Team One meets Savage’s minions! Fight, fight, fight! Team Two meets Hunter’s great-grandma! Poignancy, poignancy, poignancy!

The teams reunite…but Savage opens the box first! As everyone fights the minions once more, the evil flows free! But Hunter manages to trigger the quantum-flux capacitor! The escaping evil returns to the box!

The minions are defeated, but Savage escapes! Gideon says the next threat is a cloud of groovy but deadly psychedelic gas about to be unleashed at Woodstock! Will our heroes get there in time to stop Savage from blowing everyone’s mind…literally?!

I get that they can’t revisit the same event twice. But why exactly couldn’t they travel a week or a month into the past and stop Savage from getting the warhead? Hoping to bluff the world’s greatest evildoers at an auction sounds like something from an old Jimmy Olsen comic or Batman ’66 episode.

This show is terrible. It’s only good because of arrow and the flash. The people who watch those shows automatically watch legends. Guarantee this show does not go past 2 seasons

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