Produced by FX Productions in association with Marvel Television and created by Noah Hawley (“Fargo,” “Bones”), this drama is loosely based on a character from Marvel comics. “Legion” creates its own unique universe that is a bizarre look into the mind unhinged. It is never clear whether the entire show is not some Looney Tunes adventure played out in a dream.
“Everybody in here keeps saying that I’m sane. What if they’re wrong?” David Haller (Dan Stevens) has issues. The kind you probably aren’t going to relate to. He sees things. Terrible things. One being a yellow-eyed devil, the other his dead friend. David controls objects by thought with violent results. And he literally can’t touch his girlfriend, whom he met at a psychiatric hospital.
The show is a visual wonder of technical and artistic expertise. Its concepts are rooted in a dream state that implies a Stanley Kubrick type mythology. Dark and twisted, it’s a show that seems to reason with itself on the basic tenants of reality.
While staying at Clockworks, the appropriately named asylum, wiling his days away in a drug-infused state with his best friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza), David meets Sydney (Rachel Keller), a woman who doesn’t like to be touched.
“Legion” is stylistically shot in an undefined era: At some moments it seems we are looking at the ‘50s, while others seem modern-day. Each scene, though, radiates bright colors as a nod both to the show’s comic origins and the ever-present idea that reality is askew from David’s perspective.
The show’s focus on Clockworks moves quickly to the crazy cast of characters that include a frozen man trapped in an ice-cube prison of his own mind, two persons of different genders who share the same body, a man who can jump into other people’s memories, and an angry boy. These are David’s new companions as he is rescued from a government agency after his initial escape from Clockworks.
Yes, they are mutants and the story’s premise maintains a broader interpretation of the X-Men mythology without crossing the line into that world. The clarity of the protagonist/antagonist is a bit murky as is expected, given the circumstances. But through the brief scenes of nudity and random use of profanity, the show walks a tightrope of expectations and leaves you asking questions and questioning answers.
To escape your own reality for David’s, watch on Hulu to see the first season. The second season just aired, and the show has been approved for a third season coming in 2019.