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Legion: The Complete Season One (Blu-ray Review)

With superheroes dominating the box office many months of the year, it’s only natural that TV attempt to follow suit in its own way. We have the Arrow-verse, Gotham, and multiple Marvel Studios Netflix series, among other examples. FX got in the game too last year with Legion. Inspired by the Marvel Comics character, Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley took on the property and made an interesting, exciting, and very stylish series about a mutant diagnosed with schizophrenia, resulting in an uneven perspective on his own life, to say the least. Dan Stevens leads a strong ensemble cast in this eight-episode first season that happens to be my favorite of the different superhero shows currently on air. Now, with the second season fast approaching, the complete season one is now available to own.

Series: 

Stevens stars as David Haller, a troubled young man who has been in and out of mental hospitals for years. His latest stint leads him to develop a relationship with a new patient, Sydney “Syd” Barret (Rachel Keller), who is involved in more than David thinks. Soon enough, David is being sought by mysterious government men, only to be taken in by Summerland, a group that provides help to those with mutant abilities. Of course, none of them may be ready for another mystery lurking inside of David’s mind.

This Blu-ray set includes all eight episodes of the first season.

  1. Chapter 1 – A troubled young man battling mental illness wonders if the visions he experiences are real following a strange encounter with a fellow patient.
  2. Chapter 2 – With Ptonomy’s help, David goes back in time to find a meaning in his memories. As he remembers his sister needs him, he tries to leave, but Syd convinces him he’s the key to everything.
  3. Chapter 3 – David searches for answers, while a threat looms.
  4. Chapter 4 – David’s in trouble, while his friends search for answers.
  5. Chapter 5 – David faces a new threat.
  6. Chapter 6 – David goes back to where it all started.
  7. Chapter 7 – David tries to find a way out of his predicament.
  8. Chapter 8 – The Interrogator goes after David for revenge but has a surprise waiting. Division 3 is observing the turn of events. Cary devises a new experiment to separate the monster from David, but things do not go as planned.

The series also features Jean Smart as the psychiatric therapist who works to help the various people with abilities. Katie Aselton plays David’s older sister Amy, who hopes David can get better. Jeremie Harris plays a fellow mutant with memory-based mutant abilities. Bill Irwin and Amber Midhunder star as Cary and Kerry, two people who share a body, but can separate and have an interesting effect on things. And lastly, Aubrey Plaza stars as Lenny, David’s best friend, and worst enemy, in a truly inspired performance. Recurring stars also include Hamish Linklater and Jermaine Clement, who fill out this wild and unique world.

What brought me into this series was the sense of style and choice to embrace the weirdness of what David’s mind does to his mental state. All the mutants have their quirks, which further bring to life a lot of abstract ideas, but it’s all a great mix to create one of the most interesting-looking shows around. Thanks to a choice to utilize 1960s clothing and production design, along with modern-day elements, there’s truly a distorted reality to further add to how different the world of this series is. Even when thinking of the X-Men films, it’s hard to draw a direct comparison beyond a specific relation David has for those who know the comics.

The other major factor that made this series something else is the handle of mental illness. I can’t speak to how this sort of thing can affect people in real life, beyond my observations from afar, but I was fascinated by Stevens’ performance, the writing surrounding it, and the approach to training the viewer on how to watch this show. That’s important because Legion has a way of not playing by the perceived rules, without breaking its logic. Thanks to this choice, save for some cinematic performances, Legion does a great job of bringing me the closest to truly understand what it is to have the state of mind of a mutant that doesn’t understand why things are happening to them.

For all these reasons and more, Legion has so much to offer to fans of the superhero drama as well as what this “Peak TV” age has had to provide people with. The series works as an exciting drama with some wicked humor, and action elements. Some episodes event count as straight-up horror, thanks to some performances and stylish standout approaches. I adored the weekly installments of this series and can’t wait to get more of it.

Video:

Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: Legion looks quite impressive on Blu-ray, which is not surprising, but always good to see, following its HD cable broadcast. There is a lot of great detail to take in, given the varying locales and sets featured in this season. Aspects such as costume design also play a huge role.  All of this comes through incredibly well.

Depth: There are aspects of the show’s style and its handling of the different locals that do a fine job of conveying the sense of depth that is nicely handled for this Blu-ray.

Black Levels: Much like the characters, there are a lot of dark and shadowy aspects to the look of this series, and they come through very nicely thanks to the dark and inky black levels featured on this Blu-ray presentation. One of the later episodes, in particular, features a black and white sequence that helps emphasize the quality here.

Color Reproduction: Given the style of the series and the different locations, some key moments play quite well in regards to the use of color, which is fine for a series like this. The increased comic book nature of the series benefits what we see here. Lots of great contrast to, further showing how well colors pop.

Flesh Tones: Things like lighting, locations, and other aspects keep the characters in constant flux, but textures and flesh tones always come through.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing to call out.

 

Audio:

 

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Legion is a really great source of different audio elements. The series has a lot going on regarding big musical moments in the score, the action, and characters talking and yelling. There is a sturdy handle on the presentation that helps this all come together.

Low-Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is given a chance to go to work often thanks to a good amount of action and visual effects-based moments. This Blu-ray does a fine job of allowing the subwoofer to leave an impact.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels do their job in immersing the viewer throughout every episode.  The ambiance, score, action, and dialogue are all balanced quite well, making for a solid three-dimensional experience.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone sounds loud and clear.

 

Extras:

Contained entirely on the second disc, Legion includes some featurettes going over various details concerning the premise and making of the show. No commentary tracks, which would have been welcome, but enough to further delve into the stylish nature of the series, inspirations and more. Plus a collection of deleted scenes.

Features Include:

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 26:50) – The majority of these scenes appear to have come out of the pilot episode, with extended dance numbers and other stylistic flourishes.
  • Fractured Reality: A Different Kind of Hero (HD, 10:35) – A basic EPK with the cast and crew talking about what makes Legion different.
  • Promotional Materials (HD)
    • Uncanny Romance (HD, 3:09) – A look at the key relationships of the series, as there are a lot of duos to keep track of.
    • Production Design (HD, 2:38) – This featurette puts focus on the unique design of the series’ look.
    • Powers (HD, 2:37) – A fun look at the different powers exhibited by the cast.
    • Make-up (Making the Devil with the Yellow Eyes) (HD, 3:00) – A look at the creation of one of the show’s major villains.
    • Visual Effects (HD, 2:34) – A look at the visual effects developed for the series.
    • Costume Design (HD, 2:58) – The costumes are discussed in this feature.
    • Locations (HD, 2:24) – Take a look at the different places used to build the world of Legion.

 

Summary:

Legion had a terrific first season. It brought me into a unique X-Men world that I’m excited to see continue. The cast is tremendous, offering a mix of sincere, emotional performances, wildly over-the-top takes, and wickedly funny approaches. It’s a stylish show, to say the least, and the Blu-ray does a terrific job of making that clear through its technical presentation. Not hurting is the nice collection of featurettes to help emphasize what went into the series’ construction. Legion is easily recommended for some looking for something different in their superheroes.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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