Where other superhero television shows hold our hand and show us the way, Legion lets us roam free and get inside the head of one of the most complex heroes in recent memory.
Legion is technically about superheroes and superpowers, but it is far different from anything we’ve seen in the genre before. Loosely based on a little known X-Men character, we’re taken on a trip which explores the human psyche.
TV shows that involve superheroes don’t tend to make the powers of the protagonists take a back seat, but that’s exactly what Legion does here to relative success.
This is a superhero origin story, and could be one of the best told in the medium.
Adapted for the silver-screen by Noah Hawley, off of the back of the brilliant Fargo TV adaption, our mind-trip with Legion begins with a little montage of our main character’s journey through the ages, making us feel like we are inside the mind of David Haller from the off through close up shots.
It’s clear that something is not quite right with our ‘hero’, but the first episode, also written and directed by series creator Hawley, reveals very little about Haller’s seemingly troubled past. Although this can sometimes be frustrating, it works very well here due to the sheer weirdness of the whole thing – our intrigue levels are kept at maximum throughout the full 60 minute episode. The show at times can even be downright confusing due to the unique style of chopping and changing shots, we actually don’t mind.
David Haller, played by Dan Stevens (who has starred in Downton Abbey and is due to play the lead role in the live adaptation of Beauty and the Beast), has been officially diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He has been stuck at the hospital since an incident left his home in ruins.
He meets a new patient and becomes infatuated with her. Sydney “Syd” Barrett, played by Rachel Keller, is unique too – she doesn’t like to be physically touched. She helps David discover himself and the voices in his head, almost, come to a complete stop. Good things of course come to an end and a series of events leads to the hospital ward left in ruins. Through Syd, David is faced with the possibility that there may be more to him than his mental illness.
Without spoiling anything, Legion is an experience all in itself. In the first episode we are given glimpses into exactly why and it sets the tone for even more head trips and complexity for the rest of the season.
The next episode of Legion airs Thursday at 9pm on Fox.