Ever since I first heard that Noah Hawley (showrunner of Fargo) was going to do a series based on the Marvel Comics character Legion for FX, I was intrigued. Legion and I go way back, he made his first appearance in the comics in New Mutants #25, which also happened to be the first comic book I recall being given to me as a kid. It made no sense to me as a four year old, but the art by Bill Sienkiwicz intrigued me, which planted the seeds for my later comic book fandom/obsession, which has paid off now years later as the geeks have inherited the earth, this is our world now, and it’s okay, to be geeky and proud.
Legion, in the comics, is the son of Professor X, who has multiple powers/personalities. There’s Cyndi, the pyrokinetic, Jack Wayne, an adventurer type who has the telekinetic portion of his abilities, and others as well. He also has really weird like Wayne Static from Static X hair.
It remains to be seen how much of his comic book origins we’ll be seeing in this new FX show, which is co produced by Marvel, (another sign of a Fox/Marvel deal which will allow the X-Men and other characters to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe?) Maybe, but that’s a different article.
In this pilot episode, we see a montage of David Haller (Dan Stevens-Beauty And The Beast) growing up, manifesting his powers, and ending up in an insane asylum. Here he meets Lenny (Aubrey Plaza-Parks And Recreation) a fellow mental patient, as well as the mysterious Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller-Fargo) a fellow mutant who can switch bodies with people with skin contact, who also becomes his girlfriend as well.
The show jumps around with time a bit here, leaving the audience feeling as disjointed as to what’s really happening and what’s happening in his mind, jumping from the asylum, to what happened after, with him being interrogated by some men in suits, who may or may not be part of the Weapon X program. (My own fan theory here, we’ll get our answers as to what’s really going on as the show goes on I’m sure).
I really enjoyed this first episode, this show has some fantastic visuals to start out with, a real throwback like 70s style permeates the whole show, some good music in here as well, and even a Bollywood style dance sequence midway through the episode. The acting is fantastic all around. I like Dan Stevens in this role, I haven’t seen too much of him yet, as I’m not a Downton Abbey fan, but I do look forward to seeing him as The Beast (not Hank McCoy) in next month’s live action remake of the Disney classic. And here, as David Haller he nails the paranoia and the power as well that playing this character should come with.
I also really enjoyed Rachel Keller, I think, if people don’t know her yet, they will by the time this show is done. I liked how it ended too, getting us out of the asylum and into the war between mutants and humans. Is this in the same X-Men universe as the films? Questions we may find out later on. But I do find it interesting that the show is produced by all the people who are producing the X-Men movies, from the Donners to Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer, so there may be a connection there, but it’s hard to judge from this pilot episode. All I know is, I’m onboard with this weird, crazy, trip of a show that Marvel and FX have put together here. Can’t wait to see where it takes us next.
Final grade- A