ATX: Is TNT’s New Drama the Stuff of ‘Legends’?

Legends (Key Art: TNT)
Legends (Key Art: TNT)

The Austin Television Experience (ATX) kicked off Thursday night with a preview screening of TNT’s upcoming drama Legends. Does Sean Bean survive the first episode?

The Blurb

“Legends” follows a deep-cover operative named Martin Odum, who has an uncanny ability to transform himself into a different person for each job. But his own identity comes into question when a mysterious stranger suggests that Martin isn’t who he thinks he is.

The Screening

Legends kicked off this year’s ATX festival Thursday night. The show is about a covert ops agent (Sean Bean) who is the expert at his craft. “Legend” refers to a persona adopted by someone in deep cover. In the midst of an investigation of a militia/domestic terrorism group, the agent is tipped off that his default persona might be its own legend. Intrigue, violence, and Ali Larter as a stripper legend ensue. The pilot will be tweaked between now and its mid-August debut, but the show is a more-sophisticated CBS procedural that incorporates TNT’s “scruffy Dockers ad” aesthetic.

The Panel

The Q&A session featured Executive Producer/Director Brad Turner (24, Alias, among many others). The show has filmed about half of its ten episode order, though only nine scripts have been produced so far. Bean is still alive in episode 109, though his various legends may meet their maker along the way.

The Experience

I’m not sure if it was a lack of information or an icy reception from the audience, but the Q&A was not as lively as one would expect at the festival’s opening screening. The episode had a severe case of pilot-itis, women and people of color were the cliched victims of TV tropes, and most of the exposition was told rather than shown. Turner asked the audience to spread the word about the show, especially over social media, so expect a major push on the Turner networks after The Last Ship sets sail.

A Brief Word From Our Sponsors:

About Mike McComb 656 Articles

Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it “TV Camp.” After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv

  • Aaron Mucciolo

    If the pilot gets reworked to be, you know, less bad, I’m in… and I’d have some time to decide whether this show or NCIS:NOLA is my CBS quota for the fall.

  • Joan Reyes

    I would think that it would be wiser to critique a new series after watching the first two or three episodes than to base a decision on the pilot, since things have a tendency to change. I read the book on which the series takes some of its ideas and it seems different from the usual procedurals that we see on tv right now. So I’m looking forward to this show.

    • Hi Joan,

      I agree that it does take 3-6 episodes for a series to find its footing, but when a pilot has problems they should be noted. I haven’t dismissed the show completely—the premise intrigues me—but this show, as has been demonstrated with one episode, is not (yet) revolutionary.

      • Joan Reyes

        Hi Mike,

        From what I’ve read, the producers have given the writers the time to write scripts that will engage the audience so you may wind up changing your mind after you see the next two episodes after the pilot. One of the producers of the show also produces “Homeland”, which is why I’m hoping that this show is written as well as that one. Because “Homeland” definitely makes you think. So, I’m still holding out for my fav, Sean Bean, and crossing my fingers!