WHAT IT’S ABOUT Time traveler Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) has assembled a team of “legends” from the past to stop Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) from destroying humanity in the future. They are: Prof. Stein, aka Firestorm (Victor Garber); The Atom (Brandon Routh); White Canary (Caity Lotz); Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell); Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller); Kendra Saunders, aka Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée); Carter Hall, aka Hawkman (Falk Hentschel); and Jax Jackson/Firestorm (Franz Drameh). This “Arrow/“The Flash” spinoff is also produced by Greg Berlanti (and longtime “Chuck” co-executive producer Phil Klemmer).
MY SAY “Legends” might sound like a legend too far, or a legend too many. Or to quote one, who concisely sums up the time-travel spaghetti plate you’re also about to be handed: “Our son! Our son from our previous life?! It’s all too confusing.” Now we’ve got to worry about the son, too? Yeah, all too confusing. Add to this rapidly growing population our legend’s past selves, plus a new Mr. Bad (also his past self) and “Legends’ ” own Doctor Who. That spaghetti plate gets bigger and bigger . . . heavier and heavier . . .
Berlanti and his production team have already anticipated the potential mess. These legends are well-known commodities, especially to fans of “Arrow” and “The Flash.” The story is simple enough: Stop Vandal Savage in the past before he destroys humanity in the future.
So far so good. Then that story begins and so do the problems. For example, “Legends” obviously wants to lay out each character’s back story while keeping a close eye on the main one in the foreground. But depending on which of these you find most compelling — or which “legend” you do — is obviously going to affect how closely you’ll engage with the show. Me? Kendra and Carter’s complicated reincarnation tale is key here, but also pulls both Thursday’s pilot and next week’s second part to a dead stop whenever another piece arrives.
But “Legends” fans are information junkies, and they’ll be pleased to know that the two-parter hints at the much deeper DC universe that lies beyond -- the League of Assassins, specifically, while Neal McDonough's Damien Darhk, formerly of the League, now with H.I.V.E., makes an appearance next week too.
So let’s say TMI isn’t an issue for them (or you). But tone and writing possibly will be: “Legends” simply feels too loose, too campy. The perils here don’t seem as perilous as much as comical — unintentionally so.
BOTTOM LINE Tangled spaghetti plate of stories, characters and tone