TV Review: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Season 2, 2016-2017)

Following the destruction of Vandal Savage, and the departure of Hawkgirl and Hawkman at the end of season one, season two of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow continues the time-and-space disrupting shenanigans of the Legends, our rag-tag bunch of heroes and anti-heroes. The core cast (listed below) must contend with the new deadly trio of The Legion of Doom, as they attempt to find a mystical artifact capable of changing reality itself. Along the way they will meet with various historical figures, and perhaps even influence the world we know today.

The Legends are made up of a stacked cast, each originally from The Flash or Arrow, as well as various incarnations from the DC Comics library:
– Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter, a Time Master and captain of the Waverider;
– Caity Lotz as Sara Lance, aka the White Canary;
– Victor Garber as Martin Stein and Franz Drameh as Jax, collectively known as Firestorm;
– Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer, aka the Atom;
– Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory, aka Heat Wave, a former villain turned Legend;
– Nick Zano joins the cast as historian Nate Heywood, grandson of the legendary Commander Steel;
– and, originally from the Justice Society of America in 1942, Maisie Richardson-Sellers joins the team as Amaya Jiwe, an earlier incarnation of Vixen.

+ the cast of characters on hand, both heroes and villains, are just so much fun. Mick Rory (Purcell) is my personal favourite, and he is the most anti-hero-ish of the team, and it is his clashes with the leaders Sara (Lotz) and Rip (Darvill), and the stark difference in character between he and Ray (Routh) which provide much of the humour. In the same vein, his anti-hero status does often provide some of the more nuanced conflict between the teammates. Overall, it is just a very good cast of characters
+ the new antagonists, the newly formed Legion of Doom of the Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher), Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) and Damien Darkh (Neal McDonough), each reprising their roles from The Flash or Arrow, are just unimaginably better than Savage was. Vandal Savage served his role well enough, but the dynamics between each member of the LoD was great
+ the shorter seasons really benefit the show, as I have previously condemned the other Arrowverse and Marvel Netflix series’ for. With six-ish episodes fewer than the other shows, there was much less room to pad the story with meaningless stuff (although there are still some stretches of boring subplot)
+ some of the celebrity or historical cameos (as characters, not the actual celebrities) were clever, even if they were often done in overly cliched ways. I am surprised just how many of the women throughout history were lesbians, although I can’t really blame them seeing Caity Lotz
+ the entire crossover trifecta of episodes were such fun. I’d be very interested to see some of the Legends, Ray and Mick in particular, crossover to the Supergirl universe

The full crossover cast, from The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.

– the diverse cast makes it possible to do some episodes with real social commentary, but outside of a few episodes it was not really utilised properly. Hell, the second episode featured Nazis who were more wacky than half the other villains
– nearly every episode had some frustrating story decisions, like why they always split up the two halves of Firestorm or why Atom only ever shrinks to the size of a small toy, not a, you know, atom. I understand not wanting ‘an out’ for every conflict, but surely keeping Stein/Jax apart is just stupid for everyone involved
– I wish the show had more to do with the other shows; when LoT completely changes reality, I wish the other shows would have one episode set in this new reality. I understand WHY they don’t do this, but since they are all set more or less simultaneously (I know, it’s time travel), I just wish they had some more fun with it
– I thought the line about not changing some events in history (the crucifixion of Jesus, in particular) was a real cop out. Either everything should be on limits, or they should just not even bring it up in the first place, because there must be other equal, arguably more important moments in history

> It is a shame the show is so dramatically improved without the Hawks/Savage plot. I always liked the character of Hawkgirl, but never got behind her actor on this show

Should you watch this show: It was only a few weeks ago I was praising The Flash for being the best of the Arrowverse series, but the more I though about it, the more it was Legends of Tomorrow that was the most fun, made the most of it’s cast and generally had the fewest frustrating moments. Despite some silly story decisions, and sometimes not utilising the cast to it’s fullest, Legends of Tomorrow season two was a fantastic improvement from the first, and well worth watching.


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