Netflix changed superhero shows, with series like Daredevil and Jessica Jones that deal with darker, more adult subject matter than theatrically released comic-book movies. Now in its second season, FX’s Marvel show Legion has revolutionized how fans watch superheroes again.
Legion‘s first season aired last year with only eight episodes, starring Dan Stevens as David Haller — whose hero name is the same as the show’s title. The series begins with David in a mental institution. It’s slowly revealed that David is a mutant with extraordinary mental powers and little idea how to control them. A mysterious parasite known as the Shadow King feeds off David’s powers. After he escapes the institution, he joins a group of mutants. The first season comes to a head when the Shadow King escapes, taking a different mutant with him, and David is absorbed into a mysterious orb.
The second season picks up a year later, with David claiming to have no memory of the time since he disappeared. The group of mutants has now joined forces with the government organization that hunted them, and is looking to destroy the Shadow King’s body before the villain can find it. Without giving away more about the series, I’ll simply say the show has enhanced its style in the second season.
Where the Netflix series redefined the superhero story by taking a smaller, intimate scope, Legion presents the story in an entirely new way. The show — like its hero David — is cerebral, and often relies on media other than physical fights to show David’s battles with opponents.
The premiere of the most recent season includes a spectacular sequence focusing on David battling the Shadow King, portrayed by a horrifying Aubrey Plaza. The group of mutants engages in a bizarre dance-off in a night club, in a strange yet easily understood and profound scene.
Less than halfway into its second season, the show has continued to push the boundaries of the bizarre and surreal. Moments like David waking up from a deep mental state, only to ask the mutant who saved him, “Do you have any waffles?” make light of the show’s perverseness.
The strongest addition to the second season are the voiceovers by Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm. He narrates bizarre, grotesque theories that explore important themes in the show over white backdrops, It’s still unclear if Hamm plays a character, or if it’s just the show’s creative way of introducing themes and ideas that can be carried through the show.
Legion‘s uniqueness sets itself apart from other shows. Much like the 2017 film Logan, the show pushes the boundaries of the superhero show genre. The show has a message and style that can appeal to TV lovers, even those who aren’t superhero fans. With a good portion of the second season left, now is as good a time as any to try the best superhero show on the air.