Fox’s X-Men universe was the first movie to kick off the superhero craze of the early 2000s. The franchise spans 11 films, most of them are really good, some of them, not so much. But little do people know that there is a tv show set in the X-Men universe. It follows the son of Professor X, David Haller. That’s what I’m here to take a look at today. Not only the most underrated superhero show, but one of the most underrated tv shows of all time. This is one of those shows that you can’t talk about without mentioning spoilers, that’s your spoiler warning.
Legion tells the story of David Haller, a patient at Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital. He’s diagnosed with schizophrenia and tried to kill himself once. He is later broken out by a mutant group lead by Melanie Bird and is taken to their base, Summerland. They help him discovers his mutant abilities, such as telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation, just to name a few. But we learn later that he has another telepath hiding in his mind. His name is Amal Farouk, the shadow king.
Firstly, the protagonist, David Haller, played by Dan Stevens, is a person who has a hard time figuring out what is real. Dan’s performance is spectacular, he acts like a man on the brink of insanity, which is perfect. At any moment he could snap. He’s trying his best to be normal, all his life he’s been told he’s sick and needs help, which can really affect a someone. Now that he knows about his powers, he’s treated like a resource, a weapon. He constantly pleads with people to help him rescue his sister, but no one will help him. So he just does it himself.
Secondly, Rachel Keller does a spectacular job playing Davids girlfriend, Sydney Barret. She feels believable and doesn’t come off as the girl who needs saving. She’s perfectly capable, and sometimes takes charge of the situation. She’s kinda tragic, as she can never be touched, even while wearing gloves, it hurts like hell. She just wants someone to love, and with David, she can have that.
Thirdly, Melanie Bird, played by Jean Smart, is a quiet, reserved character. She leads the group of mutants at Summerland. She does have a vulnerable side, as revealed in episode 6.
Additionally, Jemaine Clement as Oliver Bird commands your attention every time he’s on screen. He,s one of the more eccentric characters. Every time we see him I always want to see more. His intro in episode 4 is interesting, we just see this mysterious man in an ice cube talk about bedtime stories. He also talks about a play in 5 acts, hinting at the 5 episodes left in the season, but he doesn’t count the episodes before the one with him in it, as if the show doesn’t really begin until he arrives. I need a show of just him doing beat poetry, come on FX, make it happen.
Moreover, Aubrey Plaza’s Lenny Busker is a show stealer, her performance is super energetic and fun. That dance sequence was so entertaining. She’s introduced in the first episode as a mental patient in clockworks but keeps coming back, and you keep wondering why. But when she’s playing the shadow king, she’s super elegant, and just fun to watch, always stealing the show.
Noah Hawley is a very talented writer, and he doesn’t disappoint with Legion. Every episode you need to watch twice, the first time for the story, the second time for the subtext. Every episode has hidden meanings, you just need to know where to look. I think this is the reason the general audience hasn’t really cared about this show, it’s hard to understand. It’s weird, but in a good way, and the weirdness builds each episode. You need to watch it in order because without the context of the previous episodes, you’ll be completely lost.
This is one of the most beautiful tv shows I’ve ever seen. One thing I noticed is that every color has a purpose. The color red is a sign that someone is corrupted, or that the shadow king is there. The color blue reflects when David is alone with his thoughts. The sets are beautifully lit, and really inventive. The costumes remind me of the 60s, which compliments the sets really well. The visuals are so amazing that almost any frame is good enough to be a desktop wallpaper. In the earlier episodes you can make out eyes in a bunch of random scenes, it’s like a sign that the shadow king is watching.
The music is written by Jeff Russo, and he doesn’t disappoint. Every track used has a purpose. the Bolero sequence is outstanding, and it wouldn’t be as great without that music. The montage with “it’s like a rainbow” playing in montage really helps sell David and Sydney’s relationship. The music doesn’t always lead you into what’s going to happen, but it still complements what’s happening at the same time.
Legion is a show that everyone should see, it has amazing visuals, great story, and outstanding music. I can’t recommend this show enough. The sad thing is that this show is so overlooked in the comic book community, it’s one of those shows you can’t duplicate. It’s not just one of the best superhero shows, but one of the best tv shows. It’s available on FX, go watch it. Next time, I’ll review season 2. Stay tuned!