LEGION- TV Review

Alright so this show was originally shown back around Feb/April time but I have only just got to watching all of it in just over one week with my wife. I had read and heard so many good things about this show, seen many funny and quirky gifs and clips. Right back then months ago, I did start to watch the first episode but well…life got right in the way. This happens from time to time.

So with LEGION what have we got? This is a show connected to the X-Men comicbook and film series. Not exactly a real spin-off show, but the characters do come from that same place and in future the show may overlap with the films. This is not just the X-Men you already know for small screen pleasure. No, this show and this main character LEGION/David Haller are both very complex, tricky things to understand right away but enjoyably so.

This is not a superhero comicbook show like the Arrow, Flash, Smallville and others. Legion or David is a very sick and confused young man and also a mutant-but he does not know that part right away. He is diagnosed with schizophrenia and in a mental hospital. We meet him when some unusual men in suits come to question him one day. This does not go well. Soon after David is outside, having escaped with a young woman called Sydney (also a patient inside) and he goes with her to join a secret group who say they can help him with himself and the real truth.

From the very start this is a highly unusual quirky, funny, strange show. If you have been becoming bored or tired with the very familiar mutant heroes of the X-Men world, well here we get a much more troubled and difficult character. David narrates his past early in the show but how much of it is the real truth? How much of it is real memory, fantasy or even thoughts from his other personalities?

So while that does seem very challenging to get to grips with there is steady regular humour through the series. It knows that the premise is bizarre and kooky so it gives us that with a sly wink and knowing style. It often pays homage to films such as 12 Monkeys, Fight Club, One Flow Over the Cuckoos Nest and many others. There are regular often hilarious musical sequences cut between the equally very dark and troubling memories and forces show within David and chasing him.

Like the Deadpool movie, this show offers us something much different to the usual superhero action and buff and beautiful perfection all the way. LEGION can almost be uncomfortable at times, as it focuses on personal psychological trauma and mental states. It is based on a comicbook, but like the recent Netflix Marvel shows it can come across as very real and quite powerful emotionally at times.

Will everyone like this show? Possibly not. Will everyone keep track of it, follow the plot and understand it all the way to the end of the series? I’ll be honest there were two or three times at least where I almost lost track and had to stop and mentally go back a little. This is not a simple action adventure run-of-the-mill show like Legends of Tomorrow or Arrow. At times you have to pay really good attention to where the story is with this crazy gem.

Alright so it doesn’t perhaps work all the way right through the series, but really just about. It could simply be that we’re watching a superhero comicbook tale but the villain is not a totally straight forward regular kind of enemy we see in the Marvel or DC movies. David is not exactly a simple nice or likable hero character and so far into the show we almost think it could be that we really don’t like this guy any longer. He new mutant friends are also a damaged and interesting bunch of characters. Some of them not telling the whole truth, some of them scared, confused or angry with him and events around them.

Like I said earlier though it is often a very funny show, but it is a show which balances very well a number of dramatic and emotional styles. The producers and writers obviously had a good deal of courage and faith in this very different comicbook show but it has really worked for them.

If you are a fan of the X-Men films and the Marvel Netflix shows you should really give this a go right now.

 

James E. Parsons is author of two SF books Orbital Kin and Minerva Century books out now in all good bookshops and online shops. His first horror novel is due late 2017.

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A boy sees crime:GOTHAM TV Series

In a couple of days, we will finally have the start of the new series which will open up the origins of the world of the young Dark Knight and the things and characters which would influence his adult life.
This is of course the new tv series GOTHAM, which may or may not be a good idea.
There are so many reboots, adaptations, and series influenced or inspired by books, old films, and comics currently but this particular one could turn out to be much more controversial and challenging or provocative than most.
It does seem that it will focus much more on the younger James Gordon, a long time before he will ever meet Batman. In some ways this could be a very fascinating thing, it could show us many interesting tales and sides to a deeper, darker Gotham than we have ever known.
As you may have seen from the various tv traliers and online, we will also see a good few of the very famous and well-known DC Batman villains such as Penguin, Riddler, Poison Ivy and others and they will have their own origins explored and observed.
There have of course been a number of other successful and less so comic-book inspired tv serie over the last decade or more, one very similar and very popular being Smallville based on a young Superman. There will certainly no doubt be a good few comparisons and similarities between these two shows, but Gotham is very probably going to be more of an adult, late-night detective drama-or is it?
Just what exact path will this show take?
Another similar comic-book inspired show would be Agents of Shield from Marvel, which has mostly successfully run alongside the many various hugely successful Hollywood Marvel comicbook movies. While that series has had some ups and downs, not always being as good as hoped for or satisfying, but also it connected with and played off the movies in some well timed ways. Could DC Comics hope to do similar things with this show or would it even be possible?
The current Hollywood success battle between the massive worlds and characters from Marvel and DC comics and their studios is regularly offering us a new movie project and hoping to put out the biggest and best movie after the last with their own comic characters and series.
DC comics of course have finally given many hope of the long anticipated Justice League movie/project now with the new Batman/Superman/Wonderwoman movie due in over a year or so, and finally possibly looking ready to stand strong against the might of big-screen Marvel output.
Should DC really go along in a more different approach? Many of the Batman and other DC titles have often had much more cerebral, thoughtful element to them compared to Marvel, and so should a tv adaptation not reflect this also?
Of course we had the famous super-camp 60’s Batman show, but as great as that was, it did not show other sides of DC comics and characters and no tv adaptation ever has since, with probably only the Tim Burton movies really getting very close previously.
Could this new grim show possibly then be more like a Tim Burton late-night DC comic adaptation? Would that be a fantastic thing and something which should have happened long ago?
In the next few days we will see Gotham, we will meet the ones who will meet the Dark Knight down the line.

IRON MAN 3: SHELL HEAD’S END?

With the all pervasive AVENGERS ASSEMBLE( Oh that title, woe) promotion everywhere-interviews, posters, the trailers amazing us daily from all directions, I have returned my personal interest back to the forgotten adventures that wait still for Stark in the IRON MAN 3 sequel due to be shooting in the next couple of months.

Not too much has be revealed of the plot at all so far-I’m quite impressed at the secrecy, or worried that the script is still yet unfinished-but there are of course as expected a good many rumours and suggestions from the corners of the internet, from fanboys and comic obsessives (which does include myself to some humble level).

the die-hard IRON MAN fans would so much love to see the all powerful MANDARIN villain of the comics challenge Tony Stark this time. MANDARIN is arguably IRON MAN’S biggest, most suitable very comic book villain who keeps returning  every few years and has had some of the most challenging, epic battles with IRON MAN through the history of the comic, and the off shoot titles.

Or would that be far too obvious? Just too easy and predictable for the filmmakers? There have been suggestions that the third movie will go more in the direction of the BOURNE series, and become much more like JAMES BOND, more espionage, detective work, perhaps like overblown and camp with the brightly coloured costumed characters.

There could be some unknown new villian or threat for Stark, totally created just for the movie, but that would be such a waste I would believe as there as so many really interesting and potentially fantastic villains from the history of IRON MAN to take up and use, as they did with WHIPLASH/CRIMSON DYNAMO in the second film.

And then with Tony Stark and IRON MAN, where can they go next? They examined the past and family/father-son relationship in the last movie, so in this third they might look ahead with Stark. I see it perhaps getting more tragic, a more sombre darkness falling over the tale after the huge colourful smash and clash of the AVENGERS movie before it this year.

I will remain waiting like a true comic nerd, hoping for the rumoured after credits extra at the end of THE AVENGERS to shed some light on the direction of the third IRON MAN movie.

‘Nuff said, for now…

WHO WRITES THE WATCHMEN: PREQUEL HORROR…?

Yes, after months of uncertain terrifying rumours, questions and discussion it seems now that the infamous continuation of the legendary WATCHMEN comics will happen, albeit in strange perhaps even more unnecessary prequel format.

The WATCHMEN series and subsequent graphic novel version are now so widely well viewed as modern classic, even among the respected world of literature, it is remebered for the groundbreaking visionary approach and unflinching radical structure and issues tackled in the comic book fortmat and subversion of superhero genre. Then for many years a film adaptation struggled between a number of daunted and frustrated directors, eventually falling to ZACK SNYDER, who did manage to produce some kind of flawed epic vision interpretation. All the while, ALAN MOORE stayed well back, as ever wishing to have little to do with what Hollywood wanted to pull utilise from his original tales.

So why now are these new spin off tales being produed, and is there any real need? It is now around twenty five years since the original series was first published and revolutionised the comic world but to add more to that WATCHMEN world now, is that going to work well? Is the story context actually dated in the period that it was produced, possibly like V FOR VENDETTA, which is certainly powerful in many ways but has come along now having a possibly vintage feel to it over time.

It could be facinating or interesting to open up the view points of the individual characters including RORSCHACH, SILK SPECTRE, DR MANHATTAN, NITE OWL, THE COMEDIAN, OZYMANDIAS. But if this is done, will it then detract from the way the original whole story is read and remembered?

Could it though, possibly add even more to the size and complexity of the tale or without ALAN MOORE being involved or without him actually writing these new books, will they simply not be able to reach any where near the same stunning level as the previous chapters before in the classic WATCHMEN story?

BEFORE WATCHMEN is due for release in the summer from DC COMICS.