Why Legends Of Tomorrow Fails And How To Fix It


I love comics. I love the Arrowverse. That being said, Legends of Tomorrow is a show I struggle to watch. It’s not just kind of bad, it’s the worst kind of television I’ve seen on TV in a long, long time. It’s so bad, in fact, that the only show I can compare it to is Gotham, and the thing is, Gotham is better. However, there’s still hope for LoT if they can just adjusts these few simple things. There will be spoilers from the first four episodes. 

Make the Show Logical

more than a few similarities
more than a few similarities

So I understand that a show involving time travel as it’s central plot device is not always going to make a lot of sense. There are going to be things that just don’t pan out. I get that. I’ve seen Doctor Who, and after all this is based on a comic book universe, so at this point wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey is a valid excuse. That being said, the show makes no damn sense.

Okay, so here’s the premise: There’s an immortal bad guy (Vandal Savage) who one day will take over the world for evil reasons (that apparently aren’t important). So Rip Hunter, a timelord, uh, er, I mean a Time Master, goes back in time and assembles a crew of companions, *cough* I mean heroes to stop him. So instead of getting Batman and Superman he get rejects who, if they die, will have very little impact on history. THAT makes sense. What doesn’t is why he only goes thirty years in the past to stop him. Why this doesn’t make sense is that Vandal Savage is immortal, and gets stronger each time he kills Hawkman and Hawkgirl. By the 70s he’s killed them 800 plus times. Why not go back to ancient Egypt after he’s killed them just once? Or maybe back to when he had yet to kill them? Or in his crib? The reason is

Rip Hunter is the Worst Time Traveler, ever

He's just so bad at his job
He’s just so bad at his job

So the main rule that sort of prevents him from doing at least one of those things listed above is that you can only travel back to a specific point in time once, otherwise bad things happen. So Rip Hunter went back, by himself, to kill Savage. He had him dead to rights, but choked. He literally had the fate of the world in his hands and the man couldn’t kill a literal immortal Egyptian Nazi Wizard who, by the way, had murdered his family.

So since he can’t kill Savage himself, he gets his cadre of people who won’t have the same compunction about offing immortal Egyptian Nazi Wizard, but he gives those same people no training or instruction on how not to irreparably damage time. He also doesn’t tell them until a time traveling bounty hunter shows up to capture him that this whole mission is unsanctioned. He also lets these people from the future, with no training, to run about willy nilly changing the events of the future. It gets so bad at one point that they literally cause Savage to conquer the world 200 YEARS SOONER! They eventually fix the mistake, and I love that the show allowed them to make the mistake. It was a brave scriptwriting choice, but the characters didn’t learn AT ALL from it. Which brings me to my next point.

The Show Makes the Characters look Stupid

From this week's episode
From this week’s episode

I love all the characters on this show (except Hawkgirl and Rip Hunter. Hawkgirl’s not had a chance to shine and develop yet, and well, see above for Rip Hunter), but I’ve never seen them act so uncharacteristically stupid. How many times have we seen Captain Cold outsmart the Flash? How many times in just four episodes have we seen him be captured or failed his mission? So just in the last episode we saw:

1) The sheepish and shy Ray Palmer grow affection for a stranger and become blinded even though we could all obviously tell she was a bad guy (after all, we already knew she was working for Savage),

2) The team enacted a heist of the Pentagon, which failed spectacularly, when all that would have been necessary to avoid that was to let Ray shrink, sneak into the Pentagon, and get the necessary files,

3) Instead of infiltrating the Pentagon to get the classified intel they could have searched future wikileaks to find said classified intel OR traveled 75 years to the future and gotten the declassified version,

4) they leave a highly radioactive fusion core sitting on the table OPEN while they discuss things!

5) Rip Hunter leaves two people with uncontrollable (magically caused) outburst of rage to spar UNSUPERVISED and just hopes that they sort out their magically induced issues instead of killing each other,

6) Captain Cold for some reason listens to what Ray says,

7) Ray powers the reactor back up once the bad chick he sent Cold to save holds Cold hostage,

8) Once Heat Wave, Ray, and Dr. Stein get captured and thrown in a Gulag I heard a f@#king time traveler say that he can’t break into a RUSSIAN GULAG FROM 1986!?!?!?!?!?! I’m being serious, a time traveler said that he can’t break into something that at his time was 200 years old. THEY HAVE PORTABLE CLOAKING DEVICES we saw his mentor use it in the same damn episode!?! Seriously! I don’t think these people think about things before they write these scripts. It’s like freestyle jazz, they just go where the caffeine takes them.

Bright Spots

So. Awesome.

So now that I’ve trashed the show, let me say a few good things to wrap up. I really enjoy Heat Wave, and I really didn’t think I would. He and Snart are the reason I’m still watching this show. I enjoy all the other characters, but they’re being written to be so dumb  that I want to pull my hair out. But Heat Wave is awesome.

The actions scenes and CGI are pretty great for a low budget TV show. I wish the sets and costumes looked a little better, but overall it still feels very connected to the Arrowverse.

Even though the characters are dumb, the acting is spot on, and I still feel for them (especially Snart and Stein). I really want them to fix the narrative issues. If they do that I feel like I can really get into this show. There’s a lot of potential here, it’s just drowning in a sea of plot holes and dumb character decisions.

Definitely the most interesting character arc
Definitely the most interesting character arc

Also, I didn’t like Savage when he first showed up, but he’s really coming into his own as a truly terrifying villain. It’s seriously like watching the Teen Titans going up against Apocalypse, that’s how drastically outclassed this team is. Even when they have a good plan it seems like they can’t beat him.

Overall, I’m still watching the show, and I like it better than Gotham, but it has some serious issues. At least Gotham verges into so bad it’s awesome territory, LoT doesn’t even do that.

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3 thoughts on “Why Legends Of Tomorrow Fails And How To Fix It

  1. Have to agree that Rip sort of sucks. I don’t know if it’s the actor, the writers, or both that are the problem. He tries too hard (and fails) to be dramatic, clever and ‘funny’ at the same time, and it all comes off as stiff and forced.

    And what’s up with that ridiculous push bar he drives the ship with? Do they seriously want us to think that several hundred years into the future, they can have an advanced AI, but the only way they can drive their ships is with part of a fishing boat throttle? LOL

    I’m liking the show, but I agree, it needs some work. There’s far too much inconsistency and silliness going on.

  2. I know I am late but going to the distant past to kill Savage seems like a horrible idea. They had evidence that he was involved in major historical events throughout history. If you killed Savage in ancient egypt, what if Caesar never got assasinated? No spanish inquisition, no world wars, no holocaust? If those things never happened who knows what the present would be like. They would probably have erased themselves from existence.
    I do agree that Rip and Kendra are the worst. I found myself wishing I could just do the job instead. If you really want to save the world you can’t be so squemish about murder. They had a billion chances to kill once and future hitler and each time just could not do it?! If I cut Kendra’s arm off while it was holding the dagger or mace, and then proceeding to kill Savage with it, would it still count? Or does her arm have to be attached to her body for it to be considered Kendra that killed Savage?
    I only watched this for Leonard Snart.

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