Is DC losing their mojo? After a couple of mixed to very poorly reviewed films from their DC Extended Universe, like Suicide Squad, for example, the past season of The Arrow, which was so dull it felt like it could be used as a new sleep aid, and, well, Supergirl, which got run off the major network CBS and will now be residing on second tier The CW, DC comes up with this spinoff series.
Legends of Tomorrow on paper looks like it has a lot of promise. The spinoff from The Arrow and The Flash takes some of those series’ tertiary characters and combines them with some new heroes from the world of DC and works them into an action-filled sci-fi adventure that is unapologetic about borrowing heavily from Doctor Who. Ray Palmer aka Atom (Brandon Routh), Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and his new second half of Firestorm, Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), once the Black Canary, but now the White Canary, criminal duo Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) — who loves freezing things — and Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) — who loves setting things on fire – plus the immortal demigod and demigoddess ill-fated lovers Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée) and Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel) are all approached in 2016 by a time traveler from the future, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), who claims he needs their help specifically to stop nefarious villain Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) from destroying the world in the mid-22 century. Helping him do this, he tells them, will also lead to them becoming legends in the future. What Rip doesn’t tell them is that Savage is responsible for killing his wife and son in 2146, and that he is on a mission of personal vengeance, and that he is now rogue from the organization that oversees time travel and preserves the timeline, the Time Masters.
This series gets off to what can only be called a slow and lackluster start. So slow in fact that, although I had it set on my DVR, I only managed to make it through the first three-and-a-half episodes in its original run on The CW. I deleted them all finally when this Blu-ray set arrived and I binged watched the series over two days. I still struggled through the first few episodes wherein this team of misfit time travelers on the most high-tech time travelling space ship ever basically bumble their way through killing super villain Savage in various time periods. And we get the usual throwbacks to the 1970s and 1950s with a few of episodes set in 1975 and 1958 respectively. They include some cheeky references to smoking a lot of pot (1975) and intolerance to blacks and gays (1958), as if these things don’t also occur now. It quickly becomes repetitive, but then the writers start playing with time paradoxes, which is always tricky. One character that is sent out by the Time Masters to hunt the Legends turns out to someone they already know from their present.
This Time Master thing and the Rip Hunter character in general seem to be blatant copies right from Doctor Who, right down to Rip’s pained and mysterious past and the long coat he wears to the manual lever on the Waverider he has to use when he takes over from Gideon, the advanced (and talking) AI that usually controls all systems.
This uneven, not somewhat unoriginal plot and the obvious flaws in the incoherent time traveling paradoxes that get more and more complex as the story arc progresses make this series a bit of a letdown. That said, the action is rollicking, as are the visual effects. They seemed to have gone all out. There’s one episode where Atom reverses the effect on his super-suit and becomes a giant to take on “Leviathan” a giant robotic humanoid super weapon in Vandal Savage’s post-apocalyptic 2146. The battle is awesome for something on television. And it is moments like those as well as the deliciously wicked performance as the villain by Casper Crump that keep Legends of Tomorrow interesting enough, if not an outright winner all around.
Legends of Tomorrow is an HD production that arrives on Blu-ray from Warner Bros. in an AVC 1080p encodement that looks excellent. There aren’t any complaints with this clean, crisp transfer that doesn’t suffer any black crush, has strong contrast, and conveys the visual effects of this sci-fi series very well.
Legends of Tomorrow gets a fairly solid lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix on Blu-ray that has a big low-end that offers up some rollicking, floorboard rattling lows during the series’ multitudinous explosions, sweeps across the room of the roaring engine of the Waverider time-ship, and more. Discrete effects in the surrounds aren’t really in abundance, they seem to appear mostly during the opening credits cut scene of the series logo, but there is certainly a heavy amount of atmosphere and the occasional strong pan off to the far side or rear. Dialogue has a bit of audible clipping during some of the louder passages, but it doesn’t drop below the loud sound effects during the action sequences.
These are mostly EPK/Promo-type featurettes.
- Digital HD UltraViolet
- DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: 2015 Comic-Con Panel (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:18:49) – Warner Bros. Television presents a night of DC Entertainment at Comic-Con 2015: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
- Gag Reel (1.33:1/1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:03)
- Jonah Hex: Hex Marks the Spot (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:59) – Journey behind the scenes of “ The Magnificent Eight” as producers bring the legend of Jonah Hex and the ways of the Old West to life.
- A Fantastic Voyage: Touring the Waverider Set (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:57) – Journey behind the scenes with the production design team responsible for bringing the Waverider to life. Get an in-depth look – from the origin of the time-traveling ship to the VFX that complete the illusion.
- History in the Making (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:04) – Explore the crossover between fact and fiction as the Legends team makes contact with a variety of eras throughout the series. Time travel with the heroes and villains of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
The Final Assessment
A shaky first season with a truly hateful villain and awesome special effects defined Legends of Tomorrow. The series shows a lot of promise, but the issue with time paradoxes could spiral out of control if the writers don’t rein it in. This Blu-ray set from Warner Bros. is a strong release with an excellent video presentation and god audio, although the supplements could be stronger.
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