TV Recap: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, ‘Pilot, Part 1’

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DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, ‘PILOT, PART 1’ PLOT SUMMARY:

Time Master Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) recruits the Atom (Brandon Routh), White Canary (Caity Lotz), Firestorm (Victor Garber and Franz Drameh), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), Hawkman (Falk Hentschel), and Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée) to prevent a dystopian future.

It’s a very interesting time to be a DC fan, or just a superhero fan in general. A few days ago, Warner Bros. laid the groundwork for the DC Extended Universe, which included more in-depth looks into Justice League and Suicide Squad. However, the studio is also continuing its Arrowverse. And now, alongside The Flash and Arrow, we have a CW show featuring its own Justice League of sorts made up of lesser-known characters from the DC mythos. But unless they’ve watched Arrow or The Flash, many viewers have never heard of characters like the Atom or Firestorm.

Fortunately for Warner Bros. and DC, things are getting off to a relatively smooth start for the second Arrow spinoff. While there’s certainly a good amount to take in, it never becomes overwhelming. Those who’ve watched this season’s crossover episodes of Arrow and The Flash will already be up to speed (that was an unintentional pun). Still, people who haven’t seen those episodes are not left in the dark, as the premiere gives a quick refresher. While this makes the crossover episodes somewhat inconsequential, it’s for the best, though it is strange that Hawkman and Hawkgirl don’t seem to remember some of the details already explained to them. It should also be noted that Rip Hunter’s job offer goes differently than in the trailer, though this is understandable.

While Rip Hunter is sidelined for most of the promotional material, you could actually argue that he is the main character, as opposed to someone like Ray Palmer AKA the Atom, who the ads featured more prominently. Rip is very similar to the Doctor, in terms of his operation and his personality (incidentally, Darvill was on Doctor Who), though he is also a little like John Constantine. As for Rip’s goals and motivations, we’ve also seen them elsewhere, and they feel stale. But this isn’t so much the fault of Legends of Tomorrow as it is because of the overuse of certain tropes.

Surprisingly, the series premiere’s best characters are Hawkgirl and Hawkman. I didn’t much care for their inclusion in the crossovers or their origin story, but this episode finds a way to make them compelling. Obviously, I won’t say how, but I will say that it is quite sad. They won’t be my favorite characters going forward, but I appreciate the added depth. The rest of the characters also fare pretty well in terms of what time travel means for them, particularly Ray Palmer, whose presence has been missed in Arrow. It is embarrassing though that Jax Jefferson (one half of Firestorm) can only think of his life in ways that relate to football.

One character that definitely needs to be fleshed out more during this season is the big bad, Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). It’s clear that DC wants us to think of him as some ultimate evil, but right now he comes across as just a pathetic guy who’s jealous of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. It doesn’t make much sense why he also wants to rule the world. What motivation we are given is a bit too similar to what we just learned about the villain in this season of Arrow.

Because of this, the plot of Legends of Tomorrow is nothing special. But it’s unlikely that was ever the intent. The audience’s enjoyment is to be derived out of the character interactions and the action sequences, such as the premiere’s bar fight and the climatic laser battle. Though the focus on time travel, as well as the costume and set designs, once again remind me Doctor Who, the show is also reminiscent of Power Rangers, especially Time Force. That’s not necessarily bad thing though.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is slated for a 16-episode season, so we have a lot of story to go. In fact, we’re still technically in the pilot. Hopefully, the show will make good use of this time and add something to all of the characters, like this premiere does for Hawkgirl and Hawkman. Otherwise, it would be a waste of such as a large and interesting cast.

RATING: 7.5 OUT OF 10 (GOOD)

DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW AIRS THURSDAYS AT 8PM ON THE CW

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Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break.com’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in Television and Film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky

Aaron Sarnecky is The Pop Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.