This series has repeatedly blown my mind, in multiple episodes. It stars Dan Stevens who plays Marvel Comics infamous ‘Legion’. Legion began as a comic book series that FX took under its wing and pupated into the most ridiculously intriguing, intelligent and insightful thought-provoking show. There is not a single flaw in this piece. The first series has 8 episodes and they’re hour long, this is a series on par with ‘The Sopranos’, ‘House of Cards’, ‘Westworld’. If you want to be sucked into a series that is consistently mindblowing this is your show.
I’d only ever seen a handful of episodes of ‘Downton Abbey’ and wasn’t particularly drawn by it so when i initially heard that the lead character of this series was going to be personified by one of the Downton heads i was a little irked. This feeling was obliterated within the first three minutes of the pilot. The protagonist in the series is “David Haller” who is a mentally-ill patient in a psychiatric hospital when we meet him in present day. The world that we’re immersed into is one that links up with the X-men universe, so although David accepts that he is mentally ill, he is also aware that he has a power.
The second and arguable ‘protagonist/antagonist/ there is no category for this myriad of characters’ is portrayed by Aubrey Plaza. This is an actress that is a main character in one of my favourite shows : ‘Parks and Recreation’.
I adored her sultry moody depiction of April in that show and i’d never actually seen her in anything that had a serious tone to it. She melted my mind with her performance in this series, i could not picture anyone being able to capture the insane depths of emotion that her character ends up exploring.
The series is created purposely, as Davids mind is fractured, so is our presentation of the events, the timeline and even the direction. We are constantly being made aware that because our protagonist is mentally ill, what we’re being shown could be his warped version of reality rather than what could potentially be occurring. The first two episodes you are supposed to feel intrigued, confused and quizzical. The direction is something else entirely and you are consistently being made to feel at ill-ease. It is magic. Literally and figuratively. And, rewatching it is even more heavenly.
We soon get flashes and hints into what the scope of his power might be, but not the full extent until the series delves into things further.
It explores mental illness with a surprisingly refreshing point of view, it doesnt try to appease or lessen the impact that it has on the person in question or their family and friends. It explores, in depth the reality of psychiatric hospitals and the tendencies to over-medicate the tricky patients to make them more amenable.
The direction in this show is another thing worthy of its own post (which i may dabble into) the way they switch between scenes has been turned into an art.
There’s also some ridiculously trippy bits floating throughout it too.
This is a series to be watched with your full attention, no phones, no distractions, complete submission. Every. Single. Second is imperative. If your looking for a new series to become bowled-over by then this, is for you. You’ll have some transformative thoughts, get caught up in the mystery and loose your mind so many times you’ll think your cognition has been altered irrevocably, and you will be so damn satisfied when you finish the eighth and final episode.
This is a declaration of the new standard Television series can achieve, intelligent, philosophically involved and appeals to your mind as well as the entertainment factor that they have to offer.