When to watch: 8 p.m. Thursdays CW. Online at Hulu and CW.com
“Legends of Tomorrow” may satisfy those looking for a superhero TV show fix, but will be uninteresting to pretty much everyone else.
“Legends of Tomorrow” takes characters from other super CW Television Network shows like “Arrow” and “The Flash” and adds a few new faces. For those who watch “Arrow” and “The Flash,” it’s nice to see side characters get more screen time. For those unfamiliar with the show, it’s a solid introduction.
These characters include: Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), Ray Palmer aka Atom (Brandon Routh), Sara Lance aka White Canary (Caity Lotz), Kendra Saunders aka Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee), Carter Hall aka Hawkman (Falk Hentschel), Leonard Snart aka Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Mick Rory aka Heatwave (Dominic Purcell), Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh) and Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber), together, they create Firestorm.
What makes this hodgepodge of heroes and villains so legendary is what they haven’t done — yet. Hunter is a time traveler who assembles the ragtag group to defeat Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), an immortal warlord who eventually takes over the world in a rather destructive way. Hunter isn’t even sure if the team can save the world, but after attempting on his own and finding no luck, he throws them in his time-traveling ship, goes to the not-so-distant past and hopes for the best.
Many episodes focus on the fact that the “team” isn’t much of a team. Each character has their own reasons — good and bad — for joining: a shot at redemption, a time-traveling self-discovery journey, boredom, an opportunity to pull some heists, or because they were basically kidnapped. But as each episode reveals why they don’t work as a team, it slowly starts to show how they work together to stop Savage.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are a lot of characters, and it’s hard to develop nine of them in an hour-long show. But “Legends of Tomorrow” pulls it off by focusing on one or two characters per episode. It also changes up who the characters spend their time with in a given episode. For instance, one episode may have Palmer and Stein on a task, working on developing their relationship, while the next episode Palmer is with Rory. This gives each character their screen time while also creating different developments and interactions.
Work toward the main task — defeating Savage — does get off to a slow start. Each plan ends in failure and frustration, and the teams seem incapable and incompetent. But by the fifth episode “Legends of Tomorrow” seems to find its footing in solid storytelling. And it’s just plain fun and exciting to see these characters doing their thing every episode.
There is no doubt that this show is geared toward a particular fan base. Those who enjoy “Arrow” and “The Flash” will definitely want to tune in, as will general comic-book nerds who never tire of seeing their favorites on screen, no matter how small. For others, it will seem like over-the-top ridiculousness, with heroes having all kinds of zany superpowers — like Stein and Jackson, who merge together to become a human-nuclear fireball — and plenty of fistfights in the name of saving the world.
If you have an hour to spend in a dazzling world full of science-fiction and heroes who always arrive just in time to save the day, it’s the perfect distraction.