By DRWHO42 & NCDS
FX’s Legion is not your typical hero series. Based on the comic of the same name from Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, it has ties to the X-Men universe; however, it is a standalone series that is appealing to both Marvel fans and general viewers who are not familiar with the franchise.
Beginning with the pilot, we found the series unique, mind-bending, and stacked with clues for viewers to find as part of the overall narrative. After watching the first three episodes we are totally hooked, and here is why.
While the pacing is a little slower in comparison to other action series, we found the episodes already have a huge payoff in the end. You find yourself intrigued within the first five minutes of the pilot, and we both knew this show was something we would follow through on watching. The pilot has a cult classic vibe that reminded us of things like Twin Peaks, A Clockwork Orange, and Pulp Fiction. After watching the pilot, there was a lot of detail and information to absorb coupled with clues to decipher; we had to watch it again out of curiosity to see if there were any other clues we missed. The other advantage of watching again was to see how the whole episode played out with the awareness of the clues we found after the first viewing.
This is not a show you can watch while playing on your tablet, since each scene could be vitally important later (so you certainly need to pay attention). At times, you may not want to take your eyes away from the eye-popping cinematography and the visual effects. To be honest, there are points where we have to hit the rewind button to make sure we saw what we thought we saw (hats off to the production team for keeping us visually engaged).
The actors assembled for this cast are perfect for the series. From Dan Stevens to Jean Smart, there is some great talent at play here. Dan Stevens puts in a lot of emotion and energy into the character of David, a patient in Clockworks Mental Institution who has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic. However, while being “a passenger on the cruise ship Mental Health,” he begins to realize that there is something happening but is not sure if it is his mind playing tricks on him. Along with the character, you find it hard to know if this is really happening or not, and we found ourselves wanting to know the answers.
While at Clockworks, David meets and falls in love with Syd (Rachel Keller). Syd does not like to be touched, but their relationship blossoms into something unique. While she is not the focus of the series, we found that the small amount of information they have given about her makes us want to see more insight on her past. We are hoping there will be an episode in the future that focuses solely on her and what has brought her to this moment.
The standout of the cast is Aubrey Plaza, who plays Dan’s friend Lenny. Without giving too much away, her character is reminiscent of Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys – slightly crazy but very intriguing at the same time. Her character seems to be the glue that ties the story together, and we find we want to understand her significance more as the story unfolds over the span of the episodes we have seen so far.
Dr. Bird (Jean Smart) is the leader of a group of mutants. She sees a lot of potential in David and is trying to help him understand and tap into his power. While Dr. Bird is helping David conquer his mental issues, they encounter some interesting developments (no spoilers) which are just beginning to take shape. It is still unclear what her main goal is, but it looks like her character will direct David’s path. We are skeptical of her motives though because in past series, the one who always wants to help the most is usually the one you have to worry about the most. We look forward to finding out if she is truly a friend or foe.
Without including any spoilers, we think that the writers are doing a great job at laying out the groundwork for these mysteries and hiding clues everywhere. It is clear we will have menacing villains, heroic friends, and innocent people caught in the middle of everything. This story has laid the foundation to be another great series from the Marvel Universe without repeating what you have already seen. The show certainly has a rewatch benefit too, so be sure to set your DVRs while you watch it live.
If you have not had the opportunity to check out this series, we strongly recommend it. The maiden season consists of eight episodes, and we are hopeful for a second season. You can catch new episodes of Legion on the FX channel on Wednesday nights, and you can catch up/re-watch episodes on the FX website.
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Update – 3/15: Legion has been renewed for a second season.