DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season (US - BD RA)
Daniel hops through time with a ragtag group of DC heroes and villains...
Having witnessed Earth’s terrible future, time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) assembles a group of handpicked heroes and villains to vanquish the immortal Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). The creators of The Flash and Arrow deliver a superhero spinoff series that combines characters from both shows with new heroes from the DC pantheon. Join Arrow’s Atom (Brandon Routh) and White Canary (Caity Lotz), The Flash’s Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), plus new heroes Rip Hunter, Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh) who becomes Firestorm, and Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee) as they combat a tyrant who spans the course of history – and threatens time itself. (from The CW’s official synopsis)
After Arrow and The Flash proved successes, many wondered what The CW might conjure up for a third DC Comics superhero series. Would it be the occasionally-rumored series based around Hourman? Perhaps they’d simply poach Constantine from NBC? Maybe a spin-off series about the Suicide Squad? The answer was ultimately none of the above.
While Green Arrow and The Flash (as well as CW Seed’s animated Vixen series) both have sidekicks on their respective shows, Legends of Tomorrow marks the first fully team-oriented branch of the DC TV Universe (aka Arrowverse). The assembled team ended up having a quite a few familiar faces in it, but the series has a tone and vibe all its own.
When placed alongside the three above-mentioned series (as well as Supergirl), Legends is easily the pulpiest of the bunch. The most comic book-y, if you will. The nature of its concept allows for this, of course. When you have a ragtag group of would-be heroes hopping through history and alternate timelines, it gives you a lot of room to have fun. That spirit, as well as the performances by most of the lead, goes a long way to smoothing over the show’s deficiencies.
Starting with the bad, across the 16 episodes that comprise this inaugural season, there’s a sizable amount of wheel-spinning in the middle stretch. Granted the characters and their interactions make it enjoyable regardless, but it’s easy to see that the proceedings were intentionally slowed down so as to save the show’s budget for the bigger moments peppered throughout, as well as for the final stretch of the season’s story.
Unlike Arrow or even The Flash, Legends is a very FX-heavy saga, with practically everyone on the team having some sort of superpower or nifty piece of technology to aid in their feats of daring do. The constraints of the show’s budget rear their head from time to time on the FX side of things, but that’s part of the charm. No, the biggest issue with Legends is the writing, between the aforementioned pacing issues and a few glaring instances of character’s being underserved.
Like I said, however, the cast goes a long way towards smoothing over this fledgling show’s growing pains. Arthur Darvill is compelling as our tragic lead, Rip Hunter, and Brandon Routh and Caity Lotz make for great companions for him. Victor Garber has more chemistry with Franz Drameh than he did with his previous Firestorm partner, Robbie Amell; allowing for a lot more room to flesh out both halves of the occasionally-conjoined hero.
On the dastardly side of the team, few chew scenery in the DC TV Universe as well as Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell. Their characters Captain Cold and Heat Wave were instant favorite for me during the first season of The Flash and it’s been a treat to see them used so wonderfully here. Darvill, Routh, and Lotz might be the heart of the series, but Miller and Purcell are its sense of fun.
Sadly Ciara Renee’s Hawkgirl, as well as Falk Hentschel’s Hawkman, are far less compelling. While it could be argued that part of this has to do with their performances, I lay most of the blame at the feet of the writers. For a good chunk of the season, it seemed like they had no real clue of what to do with the pair.
Casper Crump’s Vandal Savage is also somewhat underserved, popping in only sporadically at the start of the season and absent for large chunks of its middle. He finally found a great rhythm in the last third of the story, which made up for the earlier problems, but here’s hoping the showrunners strike a better balance with the villain(s) of their upcoming second season.
That brings me to another big positive of the season: it tells a singular story. Sure, there are threads left dangling in terms of the personal journeys of our heroes, but the threat of Vandal Savage is definitively dealt with by the end of the 16 episode run. Naturally there’s a tease at the end of what’s to come in Season 2 (involving aforementioned hero Hourman!), but it’s truly great to see such an episodic tale completed in the finale. All too often shows tend to drag things out for far too long these days.
This more than makes up for the fact that a viewer coming in cold might be a little lost at the start if they haven’t also seen the fourth season of Arrow and the second season of The Flash. In case you were not aware, there’s a two-parter crossover between those shows that forms a prequel of sorts to this series.
This mini-prequel establishes the characters of Hawkgirl, Hawkman, and Vandal Savage, as well as their connection to one another. You won’t be lost if you jump into Legends without seeing it, but the show will certainly be more enriched by viewing the eighth episode of Arrow’s fourth season and the eighth episode of The Flash’s second season before diving in.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the fun guest appearances throughout. Some are merely just cameos (Neal McDonough’s Damien Darhk shows up for a bit), while others are far more substantial in their respective episodes (Green Arrow and Ra’s al Ghul both factor in). We’re also treated to appearances by newcomers to the DC TV Universe, such as the villainous Negative Woman and Old West antihero Jonah Hex.
I feel like a broken record saying this, but these Berlanti-produced DC TV shows always look great on Blu-ray. That goes double for Legends, as it is perhaps the most vibrant and colorful of the shows. Even if you aren’t a fan of the storytelling, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that the series isn’t wonderful to look at.
Here I go again! As with the visual aspect of their releases, these shows always sound great on a home system. Legends is no different. Everything comes throw crystal clear and is well-balanced across all channels. The various sound effects of the different heroes showcased on the series all come out great, as does the score.
We have the usual suspects when it comes to the special features…
- Featurette – A Fantastic Voyage: Touring the Waverider’s Set
- Featurette – History in the Making
- Featurette – Jonah Hex: Hex Marks the Spot
- Featurette – DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: 2015 Comic-Con Panel
- Gag Reel
- Digital copy
Legends of Tomorrow is currently my least favorite of the four live action DC TV Universe shows, but it also has the most potential of the lot. I can easily see it rising to become a great series. This is a fun inaugural season overall and one that fans of these characters should enjoy. I’d recommend that you be caught up with both Arrow and The Flash before diving in, but I’m guessing that most of you interested in this release already are. As for the package itself, the show looks and sounds great on high-definition home video. If you like the show, you should be very pleased with this release.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Daniel Baldwin
Release Date: 23rd August 2016
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Extras: 4 Featurettes, Gag Reel, Digital Copy
Easter Egg: No
Cast: Arthur Darvill, Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh, Victor Garber, Wentworth Miller, Ciara Renee, Dominc Purcell, Franz Drameh
Length: 681 minutes
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