Below Zero: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

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This week I want to talk about something that was really disappointing. I am going to talk about the many missteps and failings of the CW’s newest show, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

For those of you who are out of the DC TV loop, let me fill you in: This show is set in the CW’s DC universe, a universe that also consists of Arrow and Flash. B-level hero characters from those two shows, The Atom and White Canary from Arrow, Captain Cold, Heatwave, and Firestorm from the Flash universe are joined by Hawkman, Hawkgir,l and Rip Hunter, rounding out the team with the closest thing this show has to original characters. Our heroes, such as they may be, are pulled together to stop Vandal Savage before he conquers the globe. They also have side adventures while they hop around time (courtesy Hunter’s time-travel tech), trying to figure out the best way to kill the ostensibly immortal Savage.

Let’s start with worst thing they could have done: namely, basically turning Rip Hunter into Doctor Who. He is a British Time Master who steals a time ship to hop around the timeline… I was surprised he didn’t have a Aural Hammer or some stupid thing. Rip Hunter is supposed to be the son of Booster Gold, and a bad ass in his own right, but this show makes him little more then a poor copy of a different character. I also want to mention Firestorm and his powers, and I am about to get super nerdy here but, seriously, you can’t underplay a character’s powers the way they have here. The Firestorm of the comics is so much more powerful then firing radiation blasts: he can transmute elements! Create objects out of thin air and rearrange matter at the molecular and atomic levels. Now, rather than the thought-provoking sci-fi-tinged character he might have been, he is basically the Human Torch with Reed Richards in his head.

I find it an odd choice for Heat Wave and Captain Cold to be on this team. I get that they are fan-favorites, but they feel way out of place here. That being said, while initially hating everything about them and how they are being portrayed, I realized they were actually pretty fun to watch. You have two hardcore supervillains stuck on a team with a bunch of “real” heroes while still trying to maintain an air of villainy. The actors, Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are doing a solid job on an otherwise disappointing show. While it was nice to see Hawkman in live action for the first time since Michael Shanks’ all-too-brief appearance in Smallville, the guy playing him, Falk Hentschel, felt a bit wooden, at times even a little creepy. The only positive I can think of here is that he sure looks the part, both in and out of the helmet.

My biggest problem with this show, though, is that the main story focuses on Hawkman and Hawkgirl, characters who I actually rather enjoy, and presents those characters in my least favorite version. It’s no exaggeration to say that I hate the reincarnated lovers story of the Hawks’ origin. I always found it to be a weak story that didn’t fit their characters at all. Including Vandal Savage, played by Casper Crump, in their origin story is also a disservice to Savage. He is supposed to be an immortal born in the mists of prehistory, not in Ancient Egypt. He was a Justice League-level villain, but this show makes him little more than a really creepy stalker. He’s still an intimidating character, don’t get me wrong, and Casper is playing the part he’s been given awesomely. The main story, however, is far from all that is happening. It seems like with each episode we’ll see characters off on side adventures in the given time and place of the week. It’s for these side adventures you should watch the show as they are where the show really shines.

I would not recommend this show to anyone who isn’t going to pick up on all the little Easter eggs and nods to other DC properties. The CW has always been good at that, but this show needs to be more than just a nest for those oh-so-nerdy eggs. The showrunners could tell some really great stories and allow for a revolving anthology-style showcase for lesser heroes, and in all honesty that would be a much better track than the one this show is currently on. Legends of Tomorrow gets a -2 /5 for building up my hopes and then crushing them, if only just a little. Here’s hoping Constantine makes an appearance next season.

Andrew Dearborn
About Andrew Dearborn (81 Articles)
Andrew Dearborn is a part-time reviewer, long-time reader, and occasional video gamer. He grew up in a small Southern Manitoba town and, as many from his area tend to do, migrated to the "big city" of Winnipeg, where he works full time as a bookseller and event facilitator for McNally Robinson as well as a substitute teacher. He is actively pursuing a career in teaching, having received his Bachelor of Education in high school History and English from the University of Manitoba in 2013. While attending the University of Manitoba he was lucky enough to have one of his many short stories, "Socrates' Last Drink", published in The Manitoban. Andrew is also a bilateral cleft palate, a Mennonite, and a nerd, having started his comic book collection at the tender age of seven with a small stack of hand me down Spider Man and Jack Kirby-drawn Eternals issues. In his spare time he reads, writes and talks... incessantly.
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