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TV Series Review

DC Comics is, obviously, a bit of a late-comer to the concept of cultural superhero saturation. But now the storied comic book company is trying to make up the lost ground all at once.

For years, DC was content with the occasional foray beyond the bounds of comic book culture—a Batman TV show here, a Superman movie there. Some of those gambits paid off big, of course. But they were never all rolled up into one gigantic snowball in the way Marvel has done it. That Disney-owned behemoth has now pretty much taken over the entire global entertainment complex—turning previously second-tier superheroes into box office legends and changing even bit players into small-screen superstars.

Who can blame DC for wanting a little more of the action? Enter Supergirl (on CBS starting with the 2015 season) and The Flash (which has joined Arrow on the CW). And now DC is giving us a whole grab bag of odd characters at once in Legends of Tomorrow. It's a show that attempts to mash the vibe of The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Dr. Who into one cheap, strange package.

It's the Dynamic … Nine-O?

Meet Rip Hunter, a British-sounding "time master" bent on chasing the evil Vandal Savage (a baddie we've met before on Arrow and Flash) through the currents of time itself. Alas, he does so aboard a stolen time-ship, the Waverider, and the ruling Time Council is none too happy about Rip's roguish ways.

But no matter: There's more at stake than the Council's petty p's and q's. See, Vandal Savage—an immortal being whose life extends at least back to ancient Egypt—is apparently determined to crush the human race. Rip's tangled with Savage in the past, so he knows that stopping an immortal is no easy task. As such, he's assembled a bevy of bedraggled superheroes (and a couple who aren't so super or heroic) to take on Savage and, thus, save us all. Granted, he tricked most of them into coming along for the ride but, hey, he figures: End, meet means. Now justify yourselves to each other.

Almost everyone here received some sort of face time on Arrow, Flash or both before boarding the Waverider. Sara Lance, aka White Canary, was a fixture on the former before dying in Season 3—necessitating her resurrection in a Lazarus Pit, which has changed her into a killing machine. (Yes, this gets complicated.) Ray Palmer, a brilliant scientist and insanely rich businessman, spent some time on that show, too, where he tinkered with a shrinking suit that would turn him into Atom. Eternal lovers Kendra and Carter, wielding the aliases Hawkgirl and Hawkman, respectively, were probably Savage's first real foes, and they've been reincarnating ever since in an effort to bring the guy to justice. And then there's Firestorm—two heroes, essentially, in the body of one. Former high school athlete Jax Jackson provides the brawn, while a nuclear physicist sneaks into his brain to offer sage advice.

Rip has also drafted a couple of DC supervillains—Mick Rory and Leonard Snart. They're known as Heat Wave and Captain Cold, and they sling, you might say, fire and ice. And while they may be walking slowly down the path toward reformation, they certainly don't have any qualms about reverting to their old ways from time to time.

It's quite the kooky crew, and I think that's exactly what the show's creators wanted—something a bit off-kilter. And with the opportunity to raid CW's wardrobe department for all those period costumes required in a time-travel caper, well, this might just be the weirdest superhero show since Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

Leapin' Leisure Suits!

Weird is not necessarily analogous to good, of course, no matter how much cache such a description might have at a Comic-Con convention. The whole effort feels a bit like a quirky-but-uninspiring low-budget show made in the mid-1980s. Admittedly, even cheap special effects have gotten better since I was watching The Greatest American Hero while chowing down cold cereal in my parents' den … but the negative content has clearly gotten worse.

While Legends of Tomorrow has a mindless (some will say silly) kid-focused sheen to it, that's a bit deceiving. Sure, it might not be as dark as Arrow, but there's certainly no Batman-inspired "no kill" ethos here, either. People die. And even though very little blood splashes, audiences will hear quite a few sickening squirsh and shlooorp sounds accompanying the fatalities. Problematic spiritual subjects spring up, too—Kendra's and Carter's regular reincarnations for starters.

And then there's the disappointing "life lessons." CW's titular character in The Flash is as straight an arrow as you'll find on the small screen these days—a hero who takes his hero-ing seriously. Arrow is darker, but he knows it—and we're supposed to know it, too. (Meaning we know, based on the story structure, that we're not meant to emulate everything the guy does.) But in this motley ship of super-souls, the morality gets mushier. Is stealing a ship and killing folks justifiable in the cause of a greater good? Is it OK to employ bad guys in an effort to deal with a worse one? Is revenge just fine if the original offense was foul enough?

These are thought-provoking questions … that the show asks without ever seeming to realize that it's asking them. And it's far too concerned with finding a groovy leisure suit to wear in the 1970s to ever try to answer.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Legends of Tomorrow - Feb. 4, 2016 "Blood Ties"



Readability Age Range



Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein; Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/Atom; Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary; Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter; Ciara Renée as Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl; Franz Drameh as Jefferson 'Jax' Jackson/Firestorm; Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory/Heat Wave; Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart/Captain Cold; Casper Crump as Vandal Savage






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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