Film unlikely by eleven.
I don’t know how TNT messed up Legends. I’m pretty sure I know why they did – for the exact reasons I feared in my first look at Sean Bean’s spy serial. They have themselves a shiny new show with some serious slickness in the production design and definitely sellable stars (Bean, Larter, now Morris Chestnut for good measure) so someone, somewhere is thinking maybe it would be nice to have this story go on for a while, just, y’know, no reason to rush things. And while you’re at it, let’s recoup some of what it cost to get all that slickness and those stars.
Problem is there’s barely a story going on through the first three episodes of Legends. That sleepwalking shamble that Željko Ivanek was doing in the pilot that stuck in my craw? The showrunner and the writers drank the same cough syrup and here we are – three episodes in, almost no mention of the show’s ostensible premise, and so little happening on the active plotline I struggled to remember what episode 2 was even about.
Focus for a moment on the ‘is his life actually a cover story?’ hook on which this show was sold: so little has happened regarding it through episode 3 that the most charitable read I can take is they’re intending it more as flavor than the main course.1 Less charitably, and more likely: they don’t know how they’re going to get to whatever conclusion they have planned. Oo, back to the metaphor – the amuse-bouche kept me at the table, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a fairly good dessert awaiting me at the end. Yet you cannot have the pastry chef plan the whole menu.
Okay, the metaphor still isn’t working, but neither is Legends.
I wanted to like Legends. I won’t say I needed to like it because we’re almost at the fall season and I can fill the meantime with Continuum2 and Chuck3 and whathaveyou. But damnit I wanted a nice, strong spy show with Bean dipping in and out of characters a la Alias, plus a deeper, interesting mystery to keep it spicy.
Instead it’s a bag of beige. No, that’s not fair to the design or the way Bean and Larter and Steve Harris are nailing certain lines and beats.
What Legends is, ultimately, is empty.
Legends is doing its thing Wednesdays at 9/8c on TNT.
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