DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Season Three Blu-ray Review: Legendary Television

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided the writer with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are his own.

I almost didn’t make it through the first season of Legends of Tomorrow.  The main characters weren’t interesting and it didn’t do anything that any of the other superhero shows weren’t already doing.  Most of the heroes–er, legends seemed like b-grade characters or worse.  But over time, I’ve grown to love both the series and those rejects.  Much like the show itself, I’ve learned to embrace their lack of a slick sheen.  They aren’t heroes.  They sometimes fail.  They have to work at it.

Season Two was much improved over Season One, allowing this odd assortment of characters to develop and grow organically while allowing the audience to know them.  The writing got sharper and it learned to balance the action with the comedy and drama.  It ended on a cliffhanger with the team landing in Los Angeles circa 2017, which is overrun by dinosaurs.  Sara realizes that in order to beat the Big Bad of Season 2 they have essentially broken time.

Season Three begins at that moment with the Legends wondering how they will set things right.  Enter Rip Hunter, who had only been away from the Legends for a few minutes according to their timelines, but was actually away for years creating the Time Bureau.  They quickly dispense with the dinosaurs but indicate that the entire Timeline is now filled with these anachronisms which must now be fixed.  He disbands the Legends, declaring that they are no longer needed since he has the Time Bureau, which is a well-oiled machine as opposed to the shambling mess the Legends have become.

After a pretty funny scene showing just how unqualified the team is for life outside the Legends, they band back together, steal the Waverider, and head off to fix some of the anachronisms on their own. For most of the front half of the season, they fight with the Time Bureau over whether or not they are helping or hurting the Timestream.  The Big Bad is a demon named Malus who is an old enemy of the Time Masters.  Rip has become obsessed with Malus’s return but the Time Bureau doesn’t believe it’s true and so he has to once again team up with the Legends.  Damien Dahrk, having been killed last season, returns via some dark magic.

One thing I’ve noticed about Legends of Tomorrow is they love shuffling characters around.  Rip has disappeared and returned a couple of times.  Leonard Snart was a member of the team until he died, but then has returned as a ghost and then again as the alternate version of himself from a different Earth.  Hawkgirl and Hawkman were around for awhile but are now gone. Professor Stein leaves to be with his granddaughter then returns and is now gone again.  I don’t know if this is due to various problems with actors’ schedues or if the writers just like messing around, but I actually kind of like it.  The core of the team stays the same, more or less, so it’s fun to have a large roster of other characters to come and go as they please.  New characters this season include Ava Sharpe, a tough-minded Time Bureau Agents who at first hates the Legends but learns to see their use, and Zari Thomas, a hacktivist from Seattle in 2042 which is under martial law imposed by A.R.G.U.S. which is hunting down metahumans. Both are enjoyable additions to the series.

The season-long arcs of the show are well done, but the joy of Legends lies in the individual episodes.  This is a show that has learned not to take itself too seriously and just have fun.  Some of my favorite episodes this season were “Phone Home” where the team goes back to 1988 and Ray finds his younger self who has adopted a baby Dominator.  It is filled with lots of E.T. references, which makes it near and dear to my heart.  “Welcome to the Jungle” is set during the Vietnam war where Rory spends time with his father and realizes why he was so hard on him growing up.   Also Grodd makes an appearance as a Colonel Kurtz-type figure.  “Here I Go Again” finds Zari living the same hour over and over again a’la Groundhog Day as she tries to find a bomb that keeps bowing the ship up.  “Daddy Dahrkest” introduces us to John Constantine who tries to help Damien Darhk’s daughter who is possessed by Malus.  It is seriously scary.  And “Beebo the God of War” finds a group of Vikings worshiping a Furby-like doll and the team has to stop them from taking over the Americas forever.

There is plenty of action and meaningful drama throughout the season, but it never forgets to have fun which is exactly what I want my superhero shows to do.

Extras include all four parts of this year’s crossover episodes, “Crisis on Earth-X,” which is the best one yet.  Plus, a best-of compilation from last year’s San Diego Comic Con, a behind-the-scenes feature, and post-production theater (where members of the production team fill in for the actors for pick up reaction shots in order to show executives how a scene wil look).  Also included is a gag reel and a few unaired scenes.

The Flash is my favorite show in the Arrowverse but Legends of Tomorrow isn’t far behind.  It’s gone from a series I struggled to get through in the first season to one of the very best superhero shows on television.

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Mat Brewster

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