Summary: A troubled young man battling mental illness wonders if the visions he experiences are real following a strange encounter with a fellow patient.
Director: Noah Hawley (for this episode)
Writers: Noah Hawley (creator and writer for this episode), Chris Claremont (based on the Marvel comics by) and Bill Sienkiewicz (based on the Marvel comics by)
Stars: Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, and more.
Mind-bending, unconventional and absolutely stylish, Legion (2017-) is every X-Men fan’s dream come true. For those of you who didn’t know, Legion is the first X-Men live-action TV series aired on FX. Based on David Haller, also known as Legion, and created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, the show explores the character’s mental struggles as he tries to understand his own mind. While the show isn’t in continuity with the X-Men movies, Legion still shares the same universe, but lives and breaths in a parallel reality. There is but one element that connects these two worlds and it lies in David Haller’s parents, a secret well-kept throughout the show. Finding out who that is is only half the fun. However, the show will brilliantly clue you in to the big revelation, but fans of X-Men will already know the answer and binge this show for its mere masterful story-telling and visual craftiness.
Let’s get it out of the way. The actors in this show are excellent and beyond reproach. There isn’t a single miscast as every actor delivers a phenomenal performance throughout season 1. The first episode introduces us to the main cast with Dan Stevens (the Beast in the recent Beauty and the Beast movie) playing the role of David Haller, Fargo‘s Rachel Keller playing the role of Syd Barrett and Parks and Recreation‘s Audrey Plaza playing the role of Lenny Busker. As the episode progresses, you also find out about a secret organization that seeks to control all mutants—a premise that has always been present in the X-Men franchise. But what truly transpires as ingenious from Noah Hawley, director and writer of the recent TV show sensation Fargo, is how he molds this superhero TV series into something purely exquisite and original both in cinematography and in story-telling.
Dan Stevens’ portrayal of David Haller was authentic—performing a troubled, confused and normal-life-seeking individual. His inability to understand what his mind tortures him with forces him to question his own reality, hence succeeding in baffling viewers in their own capacity to distinguish truth from fiction. Furthermore, the introduction of Syd Barrett is what literally flips David Haller’s world upside-down. The chemistry between the two was inspiring and convinces you of the plausibility of the impossible. In fact, Syd’s special condition adds a level of complexity to their relationship that simply blows your mind. I absolutely loved how they built and developed it within just a couple of minutes, and triumphed in making the arrival of Syd a truly life-changing moment for David. Finally, while Lenny Busker doesn’t appear for a long time, her presence alone draws your attention and manages to stir up your curiosity. In fact, her confined-buddy role for David Haller and the rebellious aura that emanates from her were truly curious, and somehow added this level of comfort on screen. Having seen the whole first season, let me tell you that Audrey Plaza’s Lenny Busker performance will go down as one of the most phenomenal Spoiler (Highlight To See) : «villain performances» of all time, alongside Spoiler (Highlight To See) : «Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk and David Tennant’s Kilgrave»
The show is unorthodox in so many ways, but thrives in every possible department. It has a modern feel, yet the setting and costumes might throw you back to the 60s. The music is insanely appropriate and adds to the whole psychedelic experience that this show promises to deliver. The cinematography of this show is mind-blowing, and that is an under-statement. For example, the slow-motion destruction sequences are such eye candies, and I can promise you that this show has a lot of unexpected visually stunning moments. In fact, the show explores different and unique ways to tell the story, and manages to blend everything in such a quirky yet successful way. If anything, the visual experience of this TV series alone warrants a second season, a third season, and so many more. I just love how it surprises you at each unexpected junction. I actually believe that your first viewing (or binge) will be your best one as every revelation won’t fail to amaze you.
The pilot episode, “Chapter 1”, does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It sets the tone and reels you in with little bits that are simply irresistible. The X-Men have always been known for tackling larger subjects (minus a couple of very mediocre movies we’ve had so far) and Legion does exactly that with the concept of mental illness. There’s isn’t an instant wasted in exploring questions that society have yet to have answers for regarding mental illness, such as insanity. Ultimately, the first episode introduces us to David Haller and his unique mind, and as you approach the ending of chapter 1, you quickly grasp the gravity and importance of David Haller’s character. Legion is one show that plays with perception and memory in a ravishing fashion. If you’re looking for an artistic, well-written and talent-filled show, this is it. If you’re a fan of the X-Men and want to see a completely new take on superhero TV series, this is it. So what are you waiting for?
If you want to check out some of the most iconic comics regarding Legion (David Haller), I’d recommend his first appearance in Chris Claremont’s New Mutants Classic (Volume 4) as well as the very first recent solo run regarding our man in Simon Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy (Volume 1) Prodigal.
Have you read any of these comics? Did you start the show yet?
I finished season 1!
Tell me what you thought of Legion (TV Series 2017-)! 😀
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★★/