When it was announced, I had initially dismissed Legion. I had thought of it as Fox’s attempt to cash in on the success and critical acclaim of Netflix’s Marvel shows. ABC’s Agents of SHIELD series had finally become bearable, even good. I viewed FX’s venture as something that would be little more than a cheap imitation of Netflix or ABC’s efforts. It did not help that I was unfamiliar with the work of Noah Hawley. I knew about his show on FX, Fargo, but I have not seen that because I have my own personal policy of not watching television shows based off of movies without seeing the movie that inspired it first. I do love the work of the Coen Brothers (No Country for Old Men) and the fact they are involved in the production of the show intrigues me. Legion however did not spark my interest.
Until I saw the first episode! After that, Legion had me on its hook! I was excited! The whole cast was great. Mostly with actors and actresses I had never seen before and I noticed Amber Midthunder from Longmire, one of my all-time favorite television shows! I was impressed! I knew beforehand that main character, David Haller (Dan Stevens), son of Professor Charles Xavier in the comic books, was a telepath with dissociative identity disorder, but I didn’t believe anyone could bring to life what must be so vivid a character and the mechanisms of his mind! I am glad to have been proven wrong!
The show follows Haller and a group of, “not the X-Men,” original characters not from the comic books as they attempt to solve the puzzle that is Haller’s mind. Something dark, dangerous, powerful lurks within his mind. It has been there ever since Haller was a little boy when his real father, who the audience, but none of the in-show characters, knows is Charles Xavier, left him with another family in an attempt to protect the boy from that evil Charles had previously fought.
As we follow David and the gang on their journey to find out how to control his powers and banish the monster inside his head, we find out more about him yet we learn nothing. It is this strange paradox that allows the show to maintain its intrigue. As we explore David’s mind, we do not know what is real and what is not. Everything that has happened over the course of these eight episodes is left ambiguous.
Even the time period is left ambiguous. It appears to be the 1970s, the gear as well as visual aesthetic heavily implies that. However, like this year’s Logan, Legion appears to exist in its own bubble, where it could very well be part of the same continuity as the X-Men movies but appears to exist as its own universe. If Patrick Stewart (Excalibur) does make an appearance on this show, reprising his role of Charles Xavier, it might not even be the same Charles we are used to. It may very well be an entirely different character, similar to what James Mangold created in Logan.
Rest assured readers, the showrunners can afford to pay what must be Stewart’s incredibly large paycheck. Legion has amazing visuals on display. Both to explore Haller’s fractured psyche and create amazing action. I felt like I was watching finished parts of a movie currently in production. If I were to compare this to the television shows of the MCU, Legion’s budget is equivalent, perhaps even surpassing, that of ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, combined with the psychological, dark intrigue of Netflix, specifically Daredevil and Jessica Jones. It helps that all these shows have Jeph Loeb involved.
Legion is truly a one–of-a-kind television experience that is not to be missed! The psychology of a powerful telepath, who can control anyone with his mind, while struggling with multiple personalities is ripe for exploration on the levels of Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick! With this first season under his belt, I cannot wait to see what Hawley has in store next time in Season 2!
*Image Souce:Rolling Stone Magazine