From the Greg Berlanti Superhero Factory, spinners of solid-to-sublime Comic-Con TV yarn, comes a geeky gloss on the “What if you could go back and kill Hitler?” idea. On DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, a Doctor Who-ish time traveler named Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill, a former Doctor companion) assembles a team of morally muddled avengers—characters culled from Arrow and The Flash—to hunt a devil, the immortal Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Roll call! The Atom (Brandon Routh), a significance-starved super-shrinker. White Canary (Caity Lotz), a lost and broken assassin. Firestorm, a nuclear-powered fusion of egghead (Victor Garber) and punk (Franz Drameh). Reincarnated lovers Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée) and Hawkman (Falk Hentschel). Killer thieves Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) round out this colorful, combustible hit squad.
One of the show’s best ideas is the irony of the title. According to the future they’re trying to change, they’re all inconsequential to history. Promising drama lies in how these expendables might use this opportunity to change their destinies, possibly at the expense of saving the world. The ambition is huge—and maybe too big for its own good. Panoramic, crowded scenes of superpowered fighting sum up the virtues and bugs of the first two hours. The production values are alternately spectacular and chintzy, the tone is wildly eclectic, the time-travel logic is whatever. Will every episode be about repairing the timeline due to a mission mistake, or blowing a clear shot at Savage? I hope not. Still, the charming cast and some poignant, surprising turns hooked me. If it can learn how to play well with all its toys, Legends of Tomorrow might pass the test of time. B