At some point during their numerous time travel escapades, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow became the Arrowverse’s best show – and Constantine proves it. As the CW’s shared superhero TV universe rapidly expands, the marquee names remain Green Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. When the annual crossovers like last year’s Crisis on Earth-X occur, those heroes take center stage as the focal points of the events, while the Legends play a support role to the Arrowverse’s “Big Three.” However, as the 2017-2018 season has progressed, it’s Legends of Tomorrow that delivers the best comic book-y superhero action and adventure week to week.
Legends was an oddball experiment from the get-go, but a crucial one for the Arrowverse. As a spinoff of Arrow and The Flash (Supergirl wouldn’t jump to The CW from CBS and officially join the Arrowverse until Season 2), Legends was a novel way to utilize some of the ancillary characters who had outlived their purpose while also allowing the Arrowverse access to other DC Comics characters and concepts that wouldn’t fit in Arrow‘s grim and gritty Star City or Flash‘s more cheerful Central City.
Related: Why The CW Needs To Cancel Arrow
The inaugural season of Legends was uneven; established and popular heroes like White Canary, The Atom, Captain Cold, and Heatwave were joined by newer heroes like Hawkman, Hawkwoman, and Rip Hunter to chase immortal Big Bad Vandal Savage throughout time. The series showed sparks of what it could be, but not everything – or everyone – clicked. Season 2 saw unpopular characters like the Hawks jettisoned while a new Vixen and Steel joined the Legends. To some fans, it looked like Legends was scraping the bottom of DC’s barrel of D-list superheroes, but it was a necessary revamp that established a crucial identity for the team: they were the screw-ups of the Arrowverse, but somehow, this rabble of underdogs still manage to succeed and be heroes. Season 3 has now forged the Legends as the dysfunctional family you want to wander around history with.
According to their deposed leader Rip Hunter, he united the Legends because they were inconsequential characters the timestream wouldn’t miss if they died. However, it was when the Legends embraced their status as the goofball outliers of the Arrowverse that the show really began to take off and realized its potential.
This Page: Legends Is The Most Inventive Arrowverse Show
Legends Is More Inventive Than Other Arrowverse Shows
While The Flash, Supergirl, and Arrow constantly repeat the same patterns while being inextricably tied to the fictional cities the titular heroes protect, the Legends have no such limitations. Aboard their timeship, the Waverider, they can – and do – go anywhere and anywhen. Fans never quite know what to expect when they watch a new episode of Legends, and the freewheeling inventiveness of the series has been one of its greatest strengths.
The Legends have blundered their way to the distant future, to the prehistoric past, and all points in between. They’ve fought alongside the Justice Society of America in World War II and traveled to feudal Japan, Hollywood of the 1920s, the Old West (where they meet up with their ally Jonah Hex), and the Summer of Love in the 1960s, just to name a few exotic locales. They have saved Star Wars itself by rescuing its creator George Lucas from the Legion of Doom, and they recently saved Elvis Presley and thus, the entire music genre of rock & roll, from supernatural evil. Like many comic book fans, they are constantly cosplaying as they enter a new historical venue. Anything goes on Legends, and the novelty almost always works. Even it doesn’t, the effort is weirdly entertaining.
Season 3’s masterstroke was introducing the concept that the Legends themselves created “time anachronisms” that they must constantly attempt to repair. This created zany situations like Julius Caesar appearing on the beaches of Aruba, Gorilla Grodd’s conquest at the Vietnam War, and the truly bizarre but utterly hilarious crisis of a furry doll named Beebo materializing in Viking times and supplanting the Norse deities as their god. More importantly, the series’ writers led by showrunners Phil Klemmer and Chris Fedak make sure that each ludicrous time anachronism ties into the histories, fears, and personalities of the Legends themselves, so that the stakes are personal and fans end up caring more deeply about Sara Lance, Ray Palmer, Mick Rory, Nate Heywood, Amaya Jiwe, Zari Tomaz, and the rest of the heroes as they arrive aboard or depart the Waverider. What’s more, Legends isn’t afraid to be downright goofy; goofiness has become part of the show’s charm.
Meanwhile, tying the week-to-week time-jumping shenanigans together is a macro-story about the Legends seeking to prevent an ancient demon called Mallus from returning to the Multiverse. This involves the Legends racing against Damien Darhk and his daughter Nora Darhk to acquire mystic Zambesi totems that can resurrect Mallus. With the Legends, there’s simply never a dull moment. Even a bottle episode where the Legends were caught in a time loop (just like on Star Trek: Discovery) turned out to be a series-best episode that cemented the importance of Zari to the dysfunctional family that adopted her.
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