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Legends – First Impressions

Sean Bean is hard to kill! No wait, that’s Steven Seagal…Sean Bean is EASY to kill; in movies at least. Here’s something new to try: TV! Enter Legends, a new spy thriller from TNT. As soon as I saw the trailer for this show, I was all in! I mean, how can you go wrong with Sean Bean going all “Taken” on people in a Bourne fashion? Who would’ve guessed that there was a huge underlying mystery to the whole show? Or that the cliches would be both fast and plentiful…

I like spy stuff! I’m a Bourne fan, I love the old Bond stuff and can’t get enough of the of the new Bond. There’s just something about the single man versus impossible odds in covert fashion that just gets me going. Know what I like even more? A good mystery! Some of my all time favorite movies, The Usual Suspects, Chinatown and L.A. Confidential to name a few, are mysteries. The challenge with a TV show, however, is the fact that in a movie the mystery needs to wrap up in two hours or so. A television show’s challenge is to keep viewers interest for the course of a season and maybe more depending on the success of the show. If the introductory episode of Legends is any indication, then I’m sold on the mystery…but maybe not the entire show.

A legend, in the context of the show at least, is someone who is deep undercover for the FBI and buys into the “legend” of his alternate identity that he’ll lose themselves in that personality. Martin Odum (Sean Bean) is one of the best that the FBI has or maybe has ever had. The only problem is that Martin was found as unfit for duty by three of four doctors due to personality disorder…the fourth said he was the  most naturally gifted deep cover agent they’ve ever seen. Bring him back in! Martin has been infiltrating a militia group for six months, but the ATF screws up his gig. Ooooof course. He’s able to stay with it, even with the disapproval of team lead Crystal Quest (played by Ali Larter…but that character name??? Blech!), and foil a terrorist plot by “The Founding Father” by the end of the show. The biggest hook to me, however, didn’t have anything to do with the main plot.

 

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Who is this man and what is connection to Martin Odum?

 

During a minor scene where Martin is getting some Asian food in Chinatown, he spots a mysterious man in a trench coat following him. He follows but loses the man pretty quickly. The next time we see this man, Martin catches him but manages to get trounced in short order. The mystery man then explains, you are not Martin Odum and exclaims “You don’t know where your life ends and your legend begins”. So, is Martin not Martin? Is he already a legend that is meant to infiltrate the FBI and has gone so deep he doesn’t know that he’s not Martin Odum??? Hmmm…

The real star of this show is obviously Sean Bean; and it’s painfully obvious. The cast of supporting characters are paper thin and includes almost every stereotype that you can think of: a nerdy middle eastern man who is a computer expert, a semi-hot female boss who disapproves of almost everything that the antagonist does (and complete with a previous sexual history to boot!) and even an ex-wife who complains about him always being late. Sean Bean himself falls prey to archetypal cliches saying things like “It’s a chance we’ve got to take” and breaking off dinner plans with his son because “something came up at work”…sheesh! Try as the writers might, however, Sean Bean can’t be stopped! Even in the first episode he shows what kind of actor he can be; the scene where he slips into his militia persona Lincoln, complete with stutter and southern drawl, was effortless and quite believable. I was impressed. Everyone else, however, was spotty at best.

I’m going to continue to watch Legends, but it’s mostly because of the mystery that is Martin Odum…and that Sean Bean is in it. He’s awesome! I’m hoping, however, that the dialogue and week-to-week subplots will garner my interest a bit more or at least make it bearable enough to keep watching. I’m intrigued for sure, but with so much standout TV on right now from almost every network it’s going to have a very short leash with or without Sean Bean.

 

Sean Bean is hard to kill! No wait, that's Steven Seagal...Sean Bean is EASY to kill; in movies at least. Here's something new to try: TV! Enter Legends, a new spy thriller from TNT. As soon as I saw the trailer for this show, I was all in! I mean, how can you go wrong with Sean Bean going all "Taken" on people in a Bourne fashion? Who would've guessed that there was a huge underlying mystery to the whole show? Or that the cliches would be both fast and plentiful... I like spy stuff! I'm a Bourne fan, I love…

Review Overview

Legends - First Impressions - 6

6

Okay

Summary : Sean Bean leads a cast of very weak characters in an ocean of stereotypes and cliches. The upside? A solid mystery...and Sean Bean, of course. In an era of immaculate TV, Legends is, up to this point anyway, just another show with a solid lead actor and an interesting premise that won't last long.

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6

About Chuck Nalley

Chuck Nalley
Father of two, husband of over ten years and unapologetic UK Wildcats fan, Chuck has been involved in Geekdom for...well, a long time. Chuck spends his free time playing games, watching movies and TV, performing in live theater, pimping hoes and juggling geese. No really, baby geese. Goslings. They are juggled... Fun Fact: Chuck hasn't had a soda since 2003.