“Legion” is a TV series created for FX by writer and producer, Noah Hawley, who is best known for creating and writing the popular FX series “Fargo.” The show premiered in early February and although I recall seeing very little promotion for the show, I wasn’t immediately drawn to it. Several months later, I’ve spent most of the summer catching up on shows and “Legion” had resurfaced out of the blue on my newsfeed. After looking into it, I learned about the show’s connection to Marvel Comics as well as X-Men, which definitely caught my attention. In fact, “Legion” is linked to the X-Men film series, which is the first television series to do so (!?).
Now that I’m all caught up and have binge-watched eight perplexing episodes, I can honestly state that “Legion” is by far the weirdest show I've watched to this day. From the very first episode, I was rather confused by the order of events, only to learn throughout the course of the show that the melding of reality and fantasy is a significant element. Despite being uncertain of how I felt about the show after the first episode, I decided to give it a chance. The following episodes were intriguing and abstract at the very least.
The series focuses on David Haller aka Legion, a character from Marvel Comics. In the show, Haller is diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age and is initially stuck in a mental institution, which becomes a recurring setting in the complex combination of memories, reality, and fantasy. Haller later learns that he is a mutant with extraordinary psychic powers, including telepathy and telekinesis. However, he also has a form of dissociative identity disorder, which considerably takes the psychological aspects of the show to a new level I have yet to see in other TV shows.
Furthermore, the show is unsettling with dark and haunting visuals, which crawl under your skin at times. With its bending of reality and fantasy, it also contains many psychedelic moments, in which you lose your sense of time along with the character, whose past and present are intertwined. Another aspect of the show that surprised me was the cinematography, including 1960s design mixed with modern day elements, along with Haller’s distorted view of reality. There is much to appreciate with the various settings and visual effects throughout the series.
In addition, Dan Stevens plays the lead role of David Haller/Legion. Stevens arguably does very minimal acting as the Beast/Prince in this year’s live action film adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast,” and everyone else mainly knows him from “Downton Abbey.” “Legion” undoubtedly puts his acting skills on display, to the fullest. Aubrey Plaza, known for her comedic role of April on “Parks and Rec” also plays a multifaceted character in the show, starting off as creepy Lenny who consistently is a negative influence toward Haller. It isn't until much later that viewers find out there is something much more sinister in motion with that character. So keep a cautious eye out for her.
On a final note, towards the end of the show, it is hinted that Haller’s father may be the one and only, Professor Charles Xavier, the founder and leader of the X-Men. (Confirmed: according to the description provided by Marvel Comics, David Haller is the mutant son of Professor Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller.)
If you’re interested in psychological thrillers, and/or everything connected to the X-Men, and/or all things related to Marvel Comics, check out “Legion.” There are only eight episodes, a rather short amount for a TV series. The series has already been renewed for a second season, scheduled to premiere in February 2018.