The little show that could recently hit a major milestone as DC’s Legends of Tomorrow celebrates over 100 incredible episodes.
Back in 2016 when DC’s Legends of Tomorrow came to be, there was something of an uncertainty about it. The notion of a series revolving around some of the young Arrowverse‘s most beloved “B characters” traveling through time on a flying time-ship sounded great on paper, but was that enough to justify its existence, especially if it wasn’t actually based on a comic book?
The result had varying degrees of success. Though it was certainly a lot better than its critics would have you believing (yours truly was a huge fan of it), it was clear that Legends didn’t fully hit the mark on its maiden voyage. But again, it didn’t completely miss it either.
100 episodes later that is clearer than ever. And on that note, let’s reflect on Legends‘ unorthodox journey and remind ourselves how TV’s most outlandish show defied the odds and found its way to greatness.
Legends of Tomorrow likes to mess things up for the better
There was a lot of good in the first season of Legends of Tomorrow, particularly when it came to the character dynamics, the heart and the humor. It was also a huge success in the ratings department, so clearly people were invested in the characters.
When it came time for the second season, the creative team went back to the drawing board. In order to draft a superior sophomore installment, they spotlighted everything that worked in the first season and scrapped everything that didn’t. What they produced was a work of absolute genius.
While Legends held onto serious stories, it suddenly stopped taking itself so seriously, allowing the writers to capitalize on the sheer lunacy of its concept. Yes, these were some of the Arrowverse’s most beloved “B characters” traveling through time on a flying time-ship and if you had a problem with that, you got your a** kicked.
That first season needed to play out as it did so that Legends could truly find its groove in the second. And find its groove it did, as this group of outcasts and misfits produced what was without question (along with the third season) its very best season – and arguably the greatest season in the Arrowverse that year.
It was the beginning of a reinvention that would ultimately carry the show to greatness.
Defying expectations again and again
Even when Legends was at its critical best, it was often overlooked. While The Flash and Supergirl were seen as their own entities outside of parent show Arrow, Legends was often dismissed as the “goofy” Arrowverse spin-off. And yet, it stuck around, entertaining viewers week in and week out, year after year, and holding steady in the ratings while receiving positive responses from fans and critics.
Granted, it’s had a few rough patches along the way. Season 4 wasn’t its finest moment and it still does take the silliness too far from time-to-time, but it never fully went off the rails in the same way that some of its bigger, more-famous counterparts did. It knew better than to do that, and any time it did go too far in one direction or the other, the course is easily corrected in the next episode/season.
Legends of Tomorrow is an adventure and there is a beauty in it that you just can’t get in any other show on television. In a shared universe where anything is possible, it still manages to do the impossible and push the boundaries of believability to deliver episodes that are both inherently compelling and laugh-out-loud hilarious. What other show could you see a heartfelt wedding between a time-ship’s co-captains stop an alien invasion, or a giant plush doll battle a demonic time demon for the fate of the future? It shouldn’t work, and yet it really does.
Over 100 episodes and seven seasons in and it’s safe to say that Legends of Tomorrow has stood the test of time. DC’s “little show that could” did… and with no end in sight, look for it to keep on doing it for quite some time to come.
Like its protagonist, Legends has always been an outcast. A misfit. A Legend.
And we love it all the more for being so!
Legends of Tomorrow airs new episodes on The CW on Wednesday nights on at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Are you a fan of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow? What was your favorite episode? Let us know in the comments below!