My Take On….LEGION on FX

LEGION — Pictured: Dan Stevens as David Haller. CR: Frank Ockenfels/FX

There were a few things I knew before diving into LEGION (premiering at 10/9c on FX 2/8):

  • FX produces incredible TV, some of the best shows in recent memory.
  • Noah Hawley is a genius who writes shows like novels that I can’t wait to read top to bottom.
  • Dan Stevens is a dreamboat and Aubrey Plaza gives good weird.

Given my limited knowledge on Marvel, X-Men, Dan Stevens’ actual acting ability, you name it, I didn’t know what to expect.  What I was not prepared for, and delightfully surprised by, is that the show quickly sky-rocketed to the top of my 2017 new series list and I couldn’t get enough of the world created here.

Based on the Marvel Comics by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, LEGION follows Stevens’ troubled David Haller, a man diagnosed as schizophrenic as a child, who has spent the majority of his adult life in a psychiatric hospital, while dealing with hallucinations of the hearing and seeing kind. He has come to accept his life, living peacefully in the institution with his best friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza, giving great weird). When his whole life is disrupted by the arrival of new patient Syd (Rachel Keller), David finds himself facing the fact that maybe he’s not certifiable and there’s something other-worldly going on.

Dan Stevens is great here – and should maybe always play this kind of twitchy and insane character, as it seems to fit him like a glove. You sympathize with the character as he’s dealt a few blows, but also wonder if you should, since a lot of what’s happened to him has happened because of him. Great chemistry with Rachel Keller, and to a platonic degree, with Aubrey Plaza, much of what makes the show thrive for me is the way they approach the dialogue, everyone a little unhinged, everyone trying to find a sense of stability. The writing is sharp – dark, comedic, frenetic; the music direction is fantastic. Really wonderful direction propels the show (Hawley tackles the pilot, with Michael Uppendahl taking the reins for Eps2 and 3) – close up shots aim to peer through the minds of the subjects while the large scale action sequences could stand up to any blockbuster e superhero movie, and then some.  It looks gorgeous.

Three things I know now after spending time in this confusing, insane, dark, emotional world of FX’s LEGION:

  • FX produces incredible TV, some of the best shows in recent memory – LEGION stands among the greats.
  • Noah Hawley is a genius who writes shows like novels that I can’t wait to read top to bottom. The pilot could have gone one for 10 hours and I would have been engrossed in the entire thing.
  • Dan Stevens is a dreamboat who sells the HELL out of this part and Aubrey Plaza gives good great weird.

Check out LEGION at 10/9c on FX and let us know what you think!

 

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