Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Thinking Out Loud: ...for we are many.

So that Fox X-Men television series is almost here... and it's Legion of all things. For those only passingly familiar with the nebulous X-Men canon, Legion is the son of Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert and has the power to alter reality at a whim. Now, I'm not saying that the programme cannot or will not be worthwhile and worth watching, but I'm stuck with the question 'why Legion?' Longtime readers of Lead Capes will be aware that I'm not a huge fan of X-Men, but it seems to me that Legion is an odd choice; all but the most hardcore of Marvel devotees will likely only remember Legion from "The Muir Island Saga" or the Ultimate equivalent. Also, for most of his history, Legion was, pretty much, a villain, trying to kill his father and mother and all the X-Men, not a great candidate for headlining a major prime-time network action series. 

You know what this reminds me of? Gotham. A Batman television series about the GCPD? Sounds awesome! Did you read Gotham Central? Great series. Gotham police have to work in the city of Batman and all of his villains and all of the associated fallout, brilliant concept for a comic and a television series. But what do they do instead? Baby Batman and Gordon in Gotham nearly twenty years before he should be. Also, Gotham is just poorly written and not that great overall so that doesn't help. So now, on the back of a disappointing X-men film based on a ridiculous 90s character, we have a television series based on a disappointing 80s character with ridiculous powers. The trailer makes it look like a cross between The Prisoner and Heroes, which is an interesting combination, but at this stage I guess I don't trust Fox to do it justice.

Know what I find the most confusing about this development? There are plenty of other X-Men spin-offs that probably would have worked better for television and been easier to realise from a production standpoint. X-Factor Investigations springs to mind as the obvious choice, but Excalibur, Freedom Force and Academy X also have a lot of potential. A programme about an overpowered, mentally unstable, antihero just feels too much like a 90s Image comic come to life. Deadpool was as good as it was because it used updated beyond the problematic beginnings of the character. Legion, as a character, isn't that interesting, which gives the writers plenty of scope to create something new, but is that really necessary when there are so many X-Men with "better" (read: more interesting) powers and origins that could find new fans in a television audience. Will I watch Legion? Of course, I'll watch anything with superheroes in it, but I'm far from keen for it. 

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