Monday, September 23, 2019

TV Show Review: Legends of Tomorrow - Season 4

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun trips through time
Cons: Too many new(er) characters
The Bottom Line:
Legends numbers grow
As they chase demons through time
Overall, it’s fun

“Sounds Like Classic Legends Hijinks to Me.”

Of the four Arrowverse shows, Legends of Tomorrow continues to be my favorite.  How could it not be since it doesn’t take itself so seriously?  It’s just plain fun.  I thought that might change this year, but they proved to still be the most fun of the shows with season 4.

The Legends should learn about unintended consequences.  Yes, they defeated Mallus, but unfortunately that just means they have unleashed more time demons, and those demons have scattered throughout time.  So Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), and Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) team up with John Constantine (Matt Ryan) to travel through time and track them down.  There are stops and Woodstock and the Salem Witch Trials among other places and times to capture them.

Unfortunately, one of them has a familiar face, or at least freezes as a familiar face.  Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) hits on trying to gain the Legends sympathy by looking like Amaya.  Yes, it throws Nate (Nick Zano) for a loop, but he has other things to worry about since he has opted to stay in the present working as a liaison of sorts between the Time Bureau and his father (recurring guest star Thomas F. Wilson), the senator in charge of their budget.  That means he finds himself working alongside Gary (Adam Tsekhman) and Ava (Jes Macallan) as they try to keep some magical creatures contained.  Will that work?  Will the rest of the Legends round up the rest of the demons?

The fact that we were actively chasing time demons with Constantine worried me going into the season.  I could see it getting very dark and, well, demonic.  However, they kept the sense of fun the entire way through the season.  While they did go darker for the final couple of episodes, it still wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.  This isn’t to say there aren’t some more serious episodes and plot twists as the season progressed.  But overall, the tone was light and fun.

My issue with the show is the characters, mainly the new ones.  Yes, the show has always had a revolving cast of characters.  However, I feel like the new characters are beginning to outnumber the characters we already know.  That includes characters like Vixen because, even though we already know the actress, it’s really a new character.  Part of it is that I just haven’t warmed up to all the characters.  Gary is a series regular this year, but he is best in small doses, like a few scenes every few episodes.  (And the less said about his nipple, the better.)  Ramona Young joined the cast this year as Mona Wu, but her character seemed to be superfluous to the rest of the season until the very last couple of episodes.  She could have been a guest star.  On the other hand, I was happy to see more of Ava and Nora Darhk (Courtney Ford).  For that matter, I still haven’t warmed up with Zari (Tala Ashe), and she’s been on the show for two seasons now.  Instead of introducing new characters, let us get to know the ones we already have a bit more.  That’s hard to do with such a large cast, but it would really help the show.

Now, this isn’t a criticism of the actors.  They are doing what they can with the material they have.  It’s the writers who are taking on too many characters and storylines to fully flesh them out.

Of course, the other side is, if there is a character you don’t like, they only get a couple of episodes where they have significant screen time since there are so many characters to juggle.  Still, I hope they reign in the impulse to create new characters a bit.

Wow, I’ve been ranting.  Maybe this bothered me more than I realized.  On a weekly basis, it really didn’t bother me that much, however.  Each episode was fun, usually making me laugh several times along the way.  This is science fiction action at its finest.  Because of that, the show features a large number of special effects each week.  A few times the budget and production schedule become evident with some weaker effects, but most of the time I’m fine with what we are watching on the screen.

One thing I enjoy about the Arrowverse shows is the annual crossover.  Legends of Tomorrow wasn’t invited to participate this year.  However, the multiple realities episode they aired during that week (with a wonderful joke about the crossovers) was hilarious and made up for not being included for me.

This show has always had shorter seasons than its sister shows, and season 4 was the same with only sixteen episodes.

Yes, at times it is silly, but season 4 of Legends of Tomorrow is fun.  I’m hoping that the characters get a bit more focused but the fun continues as the show goes forward.

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