LegendsofTomorrowcoverGrade: B-
Entire family: No
2016, 681 min. (16 episodes), Color
Warner Bros.
Not rated (would be PG-13 for sci-fi/fantasy violence and some sensuality)
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Featured audio: DTS-HDMA 5.1
Bonus features: C+
Includes: Blu-ray, Digital HD
Amazon link

Marvel may be masters of the film universe, but DC is holding its own in the battle for small screen supremacy. The latest case-in-point is DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the first season of which comes out on Blu-ray and DVD today. While it may not have the charismatic cast of Supergirl, the edgy darkness of Arrow, or the conceptual “coolness” of The Flash, it’s still entertaining—especially if you haven’t had your fill of classic time-travel shows like Quantum Leap.

In the DC Universe, instead of (or perhaps in addition to) a deity there’s an organization known as the Time Masters, whose job it is to manipulate time in order to protect the future. Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) was once one of them, though he goes off on his own time-altering mission after his wife and son are murdered in 2166 by an immortal dictator named Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Knowing his own limitations Hunter tricks or persuades a mismatched group of special talents to join him:

  • Nuclear physicist Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and his student, Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), who collectively form the character Firestorm, which was introduced on The Flash
  • Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) as Atom, a character introduced on Arrow
  • Kendra Saunders (Clara Renée) and Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel) as Hawkgirl and Hawkman, incarnations of ancient Egyptians who sprout wings as outward manifestations of their inner warriors and who have been reincarnated multiple times, also introduced on The Flash
  • Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), a character with rage issues who’s talked into wearing the White Canary suit (based on a Black Canary character seen on Arrow)
  • Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) as the former Captain Cold introduced on The Flash, a petty criminal
  • Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) as the arsonist Heat Wave, Captain Cold’s criminal partner

LegendsofTomorrowscreen1All of the characters have their moments, but the two that consistently appealed to our family were the petty criminals—perhaps because Purcell and Miller drew on the bond they developed as screen brothers on Prison Break.

The look and feel of this sci-fi/fantasy series comes closer to the 1960’s Irwin Allen TV series The Time Tunnel than it does to any of its current DC cousins—and maybe that was deliberate. The eighth episode, for LegendsofTomorrowscreen2example—in which Jefferson is attacked by bird-like humanoids created by Savage—and the Egyptian flashbacks will have older viewers flashing back to Allen’s campy Time Tunnel and Lost in Space. Like those series, the hand-to-hand battles are clunkier in Legends of Tomorrow, and there are more Power Rangers moments (especially scenes featuring bounty hunter Chronos). The season-long plot also has more of a single trajectory than the other DC television series. In Supergirl there’s an arc that pushes from one episode to the next, but each episode is also different to a degree and self-contained. There’s less of that in Legends of Tomorrow, which relies more on a simple plot for the entire season: stop Vandal Savage and save the future world from destruction.

Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it addictive? Not as much as Arrow, The Flash, or even Supergirl—at least in the early episodes. Give it a chance, though, and Season 1 really picks up during the second half. It gets more complicated, and time travel to 1871 (where they meet Jonah Hex) juxtaposed against a trip to 2147 push the show toward a strong finish.

Language: Nothing bad here
Sex: Kissing and implied coupling, but nothing shown
Violence: The usual superhero/sci-fi/fantasy violence, graphic but without much blood or gore
Adult situations: Nothing besides good vs. evil predicaments
Takeaway: Irwin Allen lives!