DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season

DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season

While watching DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season, I was reminded just what a terrific era we live in for filmed superhero comic entertainment. With the time travel and the reincarnated cast (everyone but the villains on the team have come back from the dead at least once) and the drama-filled teamups and the TV-universe-building crossovers, this is the most comic-book-like show out there. And a testament to just how far special effects have come, that flying heroes and laser gun battles can be part of a weekly series.

Recapping, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darrell, Doctor Who) comes from the future to assemble a team to stop temporal dictator Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), who has killed Hunter’s wife and child. (Because it’s not a modern superhero story unless we’ve murdered a loved one or two as motivation.) He comes up with a group of characters who’ve previously appeared on either Arrow or The Flash:

DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season

  • Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh, Superman Returns), Atom, a scientist with a flying and shrinking supersuit
  • Sara Lance (Caity Lotz, Arrow), White Canary, a reincarnated fighter
  • Professor Stein (Victor Garber, Alias) and Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh, Edge of Tomorrow), Firestorm, a merged nuclear-powered superhero
  • The villain team of Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller, Prison Break) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell, Prison Break), with temperature-changing weapons and remarkably amoral attitudes
  • The uncertain pairing of Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renee), Hawkgirl, and Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel), Hawkman

Having a season-long through line isn’t a bad idea, but I found the continuing battle with Savage kind of wearying. He has also, in the past, killed the Hawks every time they meet, forcing their regeneration. I much preferred seeing the various combinations of cast members go on individual missions, particularly in different time periods. That revealed more about the characters as they interacted with those they might not otherwise choose to associate with.

The first few episodes puts them in 1975 (with a cute bit when Cold, Heat Wave, and Canary go out for a drink and wind up trashing the bar). A later arc traps Canary, Atom, and Hawkgirl in the 1950s in a storyline that surprisingly winds up being a criticism of forced domesticity and an argument for diversity and individual choice. That impressed me as a substantial, currently relevant theme to put in a time-traveling superhero show.

Another intriguing episode, guest-starring Stephen Amell, sends the heroes to the future of Arrow‘s Star City. And Jonah Hex (Johnathon Schaech) shows up when they visit the Old West.

Some of the Legends of Tomorrow -- Canary, Atom, Cold, Heat Wave, Hawkgirl, Hawkman -- being recruited

Some of the Legends of Tomorrow: Canary, Atom, Cold, Heat Wave, Hawkgirl, Hawkman

The Blu-ray set puts the 16 episodes of the first season on two discs. There’s also a DVD edition. Special features include the 2015 Comic-Con panel (19 minutes from before the show aired) and a gag reel (7 minutes), set up with credits resembling an old sci-fi TV show and containing the usual flubs, broken props and set pieces, bleeped bad words, and dancing.

The three featurettes are short pieces highlighting what the show did well. “Jonah Hex: Hex Marks the Spot” (7 minutes) talks about the Western influences they used for the setting and costumes as well as getting some comments from Johnathon Schaech. “A Fantastic Voyage: Touring the Waverider Set” (9 minutes) looks at the set construction as well as how the Waverider got its name. “History in the Making” (13 minutes) discusses the science fiction elements, particularly the time travel, and how that influences the look of the show. This was my favorite, since it focuses on the details that make for an authentic period feeling. (The studio provided a review copy.)


  • David Oakes

    OK, I have been trying to stop commenting on the Amazon recommendations, because they are in the end random. But…

    “Effortless Outfits: The Men’s Guide to Matching Clothes for Powerful Impression in Personal and Professional Life”

    I don’t know if this is a compliment to the show’s designer, or a less-than-subtle hint.

  • David Oakes

    The number of “previously dead” characters is something I am embarrassed to say I didn’t catch. And it plays so well with not only the setting of time travel, but the idea that they all started out so unimportant that the future wouldn’t miss them if they were gone. I kind of wish the Hawks were sticking around, to explore the idea of resurrection beyond the shadow of Savage. (Of course, the two characters most likely to appear without the Waverider are Carter and Shiera…)

  • Jer

    “Having a season-long through line isn’t a bad idea, but I found the continuing battle with Savage kind of wearying”

    I’d agree. I also thought a lot of it was nonsensical mostly because of a lack of planning by the writers – with any kind of season arc you have to do quite a bit of planning, and with any kind of time travel story you have to do quite a bit of planning. The first season felt like a spine was planned and then individual episodes were handed off to writers with a vague plot summary. Which led to a lot of odd backpedaling and people holding the idiot ball from week to week that was a bit offputting (though once I realized it was the kind of time travel show that was going to care little about the time travel elements beyond finding an excuse to get the cast into various historical and sci-fi costumes, I just rolled with it).

    “Because it’s not a modern superhero story unless we’ve murdered a loved one or two as motivation.”

    Is there possibly a lazier motivation for motivating a hero than “revenge”? At least with Batman and Spiderman the murder doesn’t lead to a character who is out for vengeance. (Plus the inconsistent writing meant that half the time Rip was written as a man out for revenge and the other half the time he was written as a man desperate to change the timeline to save his family. His character really suffered from a lack of the writers committing to one motivation or the other IMO.)

  • Good observation about Rip’s character, Jer — I liked the way Darvill just plowed through no matter what, though.

    David: Maybe Amazon is just keying off the word “supersuit”?

    To your other comment: you’re right, there’s more to be said about the bait-and-switch of “you’re going to be legends” to “you’re expendable”. But that means talking about how often death is used as a plot device in the Arrowverse, and those uncomfortable, lengthy debates now when a character dies of
    But Canary came back!
    No, your friend is really dead.
    But they thought Connor was dead!
    No, really dead this time.
    But Flash changed time!
    No, actor’s gone, this one needs to be permanent. Until sweeps or guest stars.

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