FX has been putting out original premium content since 2002, with a string of successful hit shows under their belt, such as: Justified, American Horror Story, Nip/Tuck (being their tent-pole show, which amassed critical success), Always Sunny in Philadelphia(on its 12th season)and The Strain. FX is second in overall Emmy nominations, (considering they have only been around twenty-five years compared to HBO’s forty-some-odd years), and that’s an amazing accomplishment. Legion, is no exception. It has already received very positive reviews. This is no surprise considering the network’s track record for original content.
David Haller, (Dan Stevens, The Guest,Downtown Abbey) is a man diagnosed with severe schizophrenia at a young age. Later on in life, he is admitted into a psychiatric hospital, due to an attempted suicide. He meets a young woman who has a Haphephobia (the fear of being touched), and they soon become smitten with one another. Sydney “Syd” Barrett (Rachel Keller, Fargo (not the founding member of Pink Floyd, but she is named after the infamous musician)), disappears and David is beside himself. She comes back for David and takes him to a place that makes David question everything he has come to know about himself.
David is confronted with the realization that he may not be crazy, but really, a very powerful mutant capable of telekinetic and telepathic abilities, as well as reality warping and time travel. In the comics, Legion, is considered an Omega-level mutant, meaning, he possesses an extraordinary amount of power. Phoenix and Psylocke, are also considered Omega-level mutants, because of the extraordinary powers they possess. It is unknown whether they will tie the X-Men movies into the show, but there is a very real possibility.
There are times throughout the narrative of the show the viewer may wonder if certain characters are part of David’s distorted version of reality, such as the character Lenny (Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation). The ambiguity of what is real and what isn’t, makes the show a bit confusing; paired with the incongruent plot, makes it hard for the viewer to discern the inner workings of David’s mind from reality. This is the only major negative about this show, otherwise, this show contains some great story-telling.There are several shows that have non-linear narratives that have been widely successful. Mr. Robot is the best example of a plot that jumps back and forth in time, but is still able to achieve a cohesive narrative.
Legion shows great promise for the X-Men franchise. It is a new twist on the Super-hero trope. Dan Stevens is already a star in the making, showing exceptional range in the roles he has portrayed. He was given the opportunity to play the Beast in Disney’s live screen adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, which will hit theaters, March 17th, of this year. Stevens shows great depth to the David Haller character, exemplifying why this show is unique and will continue to break barriers. This is why Jessica Jones was such a hit. Jones was a broken individual with a disheartening back story, much like David Haller.
People want a dose of realism in super-hero shows. They want to identify with the character in some minute way. Let’s face it, super-humans don’t exist in reality. Humans are a flawed and oft times immoral species. Super-humans with cracks in their morality are much more appealing than a super-hero that can do no wrong. This is the era of the super hero with a broken moral compass, the super-hero with a vendetta, the super-hero that lies, cheats and sometimes…has a flawed past. You can catch Legion on FX Wednesday’s at 10PM.