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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Own DC'S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW Today

Article first published as Blu-ray Review: 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow - The Complete First Season' on Blogcritics.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this blog post. The opinions I share are my own.

Once upon a time, two successful television shows, Arrow and The Flash, had a wealth of great, fun recurring characters between them. Unable to devote as much time as the writers would like to these personalities, given that they had lots of main characters to serve, too, it seemed that fans would have to wait impatiently for little snippets of them when they fit into the stories.

A solution presented itself, though. What if a whole bunch of the supporting players were lumped together and given their own team spin-off? And to sweeten the pot, how about add time travel into the mix, opening up a lot more possibilities and setting the story apart so it didn’t run into the continuity of the other series every week? Thus, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was born, an Avengers-style team-up of heroes and villains.

Those chosen are a pretty strong crew. There’s Sara Lance / White Canary (Caity Lotz), Ray Palmer / The Atom (Brandon Routh), Leonard Snart / Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), Mick Rory / Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), who together become Firestorm, and a couple of Hawk people that aren’t all that interesting, but are essential to the first Big Bad’s plot. Toss in Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter, the man who as seeks their help, and it’s an incredibly ensemble right off the bat.

Barely has the season began when (SPOILER ALERT) the premise is blown apart. Originally, Rip tells these people that they are Legends in his time, and that’s why he’s sought their help. Instead, it turns out that they are forgotten footnotes who won’t be missed if something happens to them. This is a painful twist, but one that makes the following proceedings all the more emotionally moving, as each player suddenly has something to prove to both themselves and the word. It’s a really neat idea.

The season itself, comprised of sixteen episodes on this two-disc set, is a tad uneven. For every really cool event, there’s also a snoozer that no one will care about. But for me, already a fan of the six players and newbie mentioned above, I found the run to be overall quite engaging. There are some heroic sacrifices and emotional moments that make the occasional hokey action sequence or repetitive Hawk flashback worth it. Add in fun crossover cameos and a cool cliffhanger featuring Hourman (Patrick J. Adams, Suits), and this show is definitely worth watching. I am very excited to see where it goes when it returns for a second season.

The extras in this release are good. I like the tour of the Waverider, the ship the troupe travels on, which is a pretty spectacular set that begs for further examination. The history major in me also appreciates the featurette on real-life events, even if I wish it were a little more in-depth. The Comic Con panel is, like on most home releases, shortened considerably, which is pretty disappointing, considering most of us will never get the opportunity to travel to San Diego. Still, it’s nice that some of it is here. There’s also a bit on the character of Jonah Hill, who is much cooler in this show than in the recent film flop, and a gag reel, which many people like.

This means I’m pretty happy with the whole thing, and appreciate that the also-ran of the CW’s DC-lineup (which didn’t quite hit as strongly as the two shows that spawned it) isn’t also the black sheep of the Blu-ray market. I look forward to an even better second season, and if you skipped this one, give it a chance. It’s probably better than you think, superior to most broadcast network television.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – The Complete First Season is available now.

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