Showing posts with label Legends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legends. Show all posts

Monday, November 02, 2015

Previewing Legends: Season Two

When TNT started promoting Legends last summer I got excited thinking that it could very well could be a Taken prequil where we learn just exactly how Liam Neeson got his particular set of skill but with Ned Stark playing the main role. When it actually premiere it ended up being a mediocre show where Ned would go deep undercover yet still manage to solve the case in one to three episode despite real deep cover operations taking months to years. Basically it was just a slightly grittier version of what you would expect from a CBS procedural.

At the end of the first season, one of Stark's alias, Martin Odum was set up for killing the head of the FBI. If this was a CBS procedural we could expect Martin to clear his name by the second episode and back going undercover by episode three. But apparently TNT and the producers found the first season as lackluster as I did because season two because the are switching things up. And by switching things up, I mean they are gong the hard reboot route like I do not remember any series before doing

Going into season two, the season has jettisoned the entire cast besides Ned Stark as he who is now on the run in England. Morris Chestnut does show up in the first the very least in the first three episodes but is now listed as "Very Special Guest Star." Now season two looks much less CBS procedural and more cable international spy show like Homeland and The Americans but with many more title cards. There is an infinite increase of title cards because this will flip between current day London, 2001 Prauge when Martin had taken on a Legend of a ruthless Russian drug lord, and even goes all the way back to 1975 to visit a young Martin in school. By the third episode things move to France while we even get another character's flashback in Lithuania.

The modern day England plot follows Martin as he avoids both international and local police but I find the modern day and flashback scenes in Prague much more interesting. Fourteen years ago FBI agent Curtis Ballard was investigating a murder and Dmitry Petrovich (Odum's alias) was on the top of the list. Clearly the case effected him and has left him less of a man, in more ways than one, ever since. After seeing Odum's picture splashed across the present Ballard heads back to the city to figure out how this ruthless Russian mobster he chased a decade and a half ago turned out to be one of his colleagues.

Of course Martin's time in England has ties to this case to as he runs into a woman from his Petrovich past with a teenage daughter (once you do the math in your head it is easy to make an assumption; you will learn if the assumption is true or not by episode two) who just learned her mother is Chechen and decides to practice the faith of her ancestors.

I mentioned that I do not remember any television doing such a hard reboot as Legends is doing for its second season. This is probably because you run the risk of alienating your main audience and those that did not like the original concept will be extremely hesitant to give it a second chance. But I do appreciate TNT and the show taking a risk because the show is significantly better if you give it a chance. And TNT seems to be behind the show, releasing the premiere On Demand and other steaming outlets last week and have also announce that the second episode will be put up On Demand tomorrow morning after the first episode airs. And for fans of binge watching TNT has also already announced that they will stack the entire season of Legends, meaning episodes will remain available on demand throughout the entire season.

Legends airs Mondays at 10:00 on TNT. You can download episodes of Legends on iTunes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Previewing Legends

After the out of the box success of Homeland, producer Howard Gordon became a hot commodity, even if it came at the cost of the show that put him on the map (season two of Homeland was a step back in quality while season three fell off the cliff). Now the shows he was able to sell after that success are finally hitting the small screen. FX won a highly contested bidding war for Tyrant which premiered about a month ago to a resounding meh by critics. Another highly coveted property, Legends premieres tonight on TNT.

When I first saw the previews for Legends my first thought was, "Great, this will essentially be a prequel to Taken where we learn just how Liam Neeson got his very particular set of skills with Ned Stark as Neeson." Okay technically the show is based on the award winning spy novels by Robert Littell. In his iteration, Ned reattaches his head to his neck to play Martin Odum, a undercover agent for the FBI's Deep Cover Operations (or DCO). And like every good law enforcement story, he is the best at what he does and is a loose cannon.

This of course means he butts heads with his team leader Ali Larter (Varsity Blues with who he has a storied past with . Their commanding officer Steve Harris (Justified) is a little more tolerant to Stark because he does get the job done. Their team is rounded out by new to the team Tina Majorino (Veronica Mars) who provides tech support, Amber Valletta (Revenge) also pops up as Stark's ex-wife but unless their kid gets kidnapped by Albanians and sold into the sex trade, I do not really care about that storyline.

Legends stars off with Odum deep undercover, off the grid for six months as he infiltrates a militia group thought to bomb a Wichita building and looking for bigger targets. Though it looks like Legends will primarily be a procedural (and a much better one than the last deep cover show TNT put on, Dark Blue) do not expect every episode to wrap up in a nice bow with each case closed in an hours time. The second episode abruptly ends just as Martin morphs into Dante Auerbach, a "Lord of War" who hopes to locate a Russian refugee kidnapped by Russian seperitists to make him build a bomb somewhere in Los Angeles.

More interesting than the procedural aspect is when Odum is attacks by a homeless man that tells him that Martin Odum is also a Legend just like Dante and Lincoln Dittmann, the unemployed construction worker who joined the militia. As death surrounded people connected to the homeless man, it becomes clear that this is not just the rantings of a crazy person. The death also piques the interest of Morris Chestnut (Boyz in the Hood) another FBI agent in a different department tasked with investigating the homeless man's death .

Of the two new Gordan projects, Legends is the better watch because Sean Bean is a vastly more interesting lead and this show actually seems like it knows where it is going (being based on a book probably helps). This show also seems to have a small bit of a sence a humor whir is vastly missing in Gordan's other two shows, there is a scene tonight in a strip club which particularly made me chuckle. Though the long term enjoyment of Legends depends on just where they are going with what Martin learns from the homeless man. Gordan once said of Homeland that you can no longer shock audiences with plot twists, you can only shock them with when you do them. I am guessing we not learn Martin Odum's true identity until the end of the season. Hopefully Gordon shocks me with when that actually happens.

Legends airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on TNT.