By Abdulkareem Baba Aminu @kareemreal
‘Legion’ (FX) tells the story of Charles Xavier’s son David Haller (Dan Stevens), a mutant whose psychiatric illness turns out to endow him with a set of incredible powers. While in the beginning, there was an almost feverish hope that new – or established – X-Men will show up once in a while, the series soon wove its very own intrigues. The look and feel of the show, too, went a long way in shaping this truly great show.
The wait for ‘Legion’ from announcement to premiere wasn’t a very long one, and I was indeed anxious to watch it. Confession: I’m a die-hard X-Men fan, so anything even remotely connected with that part of Marvel’s comic-book universe piques my interest. The show came at a time when superhero TV is seen by many as having reached critical mass. But the Dan Stevens starrer flipped everything over its head, mutating the genre further.
The story of David Haller, ‘Legion’ tells the tale of a troubled young man who may be more than human and has, since he was a teen, struggled with mental illness. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, he has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for years. But after a strange encounter with a fellow patient, he’s confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might be real. His life at the hospital turns upside down – more than ever – when a new in-patient called Sydney Barrett (a dazzling Aubrey Plaza who’s like a more believable Harley Quinn) arrives, and fireworks figurative and literal ensue.
There were many surprises as the show progressed. An outright connection to the movies, an insolent – defiant, even – X is cheekily present on the ‘Legion’ logo. Super-showrunner Noah Hawley simply took a genre, did some splicing, a masterpiece was born. One of the best parts of ‘Legion’ is the way everything seems at once a chaotic mix of madness and fireworks, as well as a carefully, well-threaded sequential tapestry.
There are seldom more compelling things than the creative freedom that is offered on a big budget movie or TV show, and it is obvious that set designer Michael Wylie got just that, backed up by a clear love for architecture and mod Britannica which typify this show. It certainly looks like the 60s and 70s as imagined by someone in the past.
If there was any minus for ‘Legion’, then it would be the scandalously scant eight episodes, which aren’t enough. Currently boasting of a staggering 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems that the jury’s out on ‘Legion’ and our naming it the best comic-book TV series of 2017 not too far-fetched. If you haven’t watched it yet, go binge-watch it this instant! After all, it’s not yet 2018.