Noah Hawley’s new show Legion premiered on FX last night. Based on the X-Men character created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, Legion tells the story of David Haller, one of the most powerful mutants ever, with formidable telekinetic powers. In the show, he also struggles from paranoid schizophrenia.
Overall, I thought this was a really bold debut, and am interested to see how they’ll develop this character and story further. A few observations:
- The look of this show is incredible. The production design, the set pieces, the camera movements — it has all the trappings of a prestige drama, even though it’s a TV show about a lesser known X-Men character.
- That being said, some of the visual effects are hit or miss, like the final escape sequence, which had some moments that honestly looked unfinished.
- Like The Usual Suspects, this episode had two tropes that don’t usually go well together: The Unreliable Narrator and The Non-Linear Story. I think they barely pulled it off (which is impressive, given the immense level of difficulty)
- Dan Stevens is almost completely unrecognizable in the titular role. From his physique all the way to his nervous tics, he’s made an amazing transformation.
- I really loved the way they deal with the concept of a mutant who wasn’t aware of how powerful he was. The idea of his captors racing against the clock to kill/threaten him before he could use his powers against him was well explained and executed.
- The concept of a mutant being able to get projected into someone’s memory is pretty interesting. Very Eternal Sunshines of the Spotless Mind-esque.
- Using pools and electricity to stop powerful beings never works well (see also: It Follows)
I also recorded a few thoughts on Periscope if you want to see/hear me discuss it.