TV Line has revealed that Legends of Tomorrow’s second season has been expanded. Instead of wrapping up the current season in 13 episodes, The CW has seen it fit to add a further four episodes to reach 17.
Whilst some audiences will be crying out in glee for more adventures with our Legends travelling through time, battling aberrations, Legends of Tomorrow going longer is extremely worrying. Not only will it lure the writers into falling into the same mistakes made in season one but it will diminish the special taste one gets with a new Legends episode.
The problem with the first season of Legends of Tomorrow, despite being an ultimately fun and engaging ride, was its inability to be consistent throughout the team and the season. Select episodes and adventures were strong enough in concept, dialogue and conflict to standout. But weaker conceptual episodes fell by the wayside as the writers felt the need to force in elements that nobody wanted, cared about or even felt like a natural path to take.
For instance, instead of spending more time building Vandal Savage, the season’s big bad, into a truly formidable, intellectual and worthy opponent, the show felt that a romantic sub-plot between Ray and Kendra deserved more time.
Instead of injecting the fight against Vandal Savage with much needed urgency and tension, the first season found innumerable ways to stifle the Waverider and force the Legends into taking pause.
Essentially, the elongated number of episodes (the first season spanned 16 episodes) zapped much of the show of the energy that made it fun and enjoyable. Instead of being a relentless rollercoaster of emotion, action and one-liners, it became like everything else: a relentless rollercoaster of melodrama with action and one-liners. Emotion could only be felt in sparingly sparse moments.
Keep in mind however that Legends of Tomorrow’s first season was fantastic for the scope it went for. It was complete trashy fun and humour and that’s what it set out to be. The point here is that it would have been efficient and better realised with a lesser slate of episodes and a more focused narrative.
This second season of Legends started off with 13 episodes. The drop from 16 episodes looked like The CW and the creative team reeling back and correcting some mistakes. It felt like they wanted to make Legends better than they already had and compressing the narrative seemed like a great way to start that mission.
But now, by stretching it be even longer than the first season, Legends is going for quantity over quality. You can bet, and I’ll bet anything, the show will now linger on a romantic sub-plot between Vixen and another member, most probably Nate. You can bet the show will find a way to separate the team and spend a couple of episodes forcing them to assemble again. You can bet that the overarching narrative will feel more like a marathon than the sprint it needs to be.
By going longer Legends has only diminished its quality. When Legends was first announced, people lost their minds. A weekly team up show featuring some of the best Arrow and Flash characters travelling through time was a DC fan’s dream, and for the most part it was just that. And it needs to remain that way. How? By being stingy with the audience. Give us a smaller sample than you do with Arrow and Flash and keep that feeling of seeing a superhero team up weekly fresh and precious. But by going longer you dilute that feeling and lose a huge weapon in your arsenal: awe.
After a packed week watching Supergirl, then Flash and then Arrow, it’s refreshing and truly exciting to watch Legends of Tomorrow. It’s exciting because you know you’re going to travel to an interesting period in time, enjoy great chemistry, laugh a lot and see some awesome action. And you savour it because it’s not going to be around as long as the solo heroes. But now that it’s going to be around for 17 weeks, it feels like another solo series rather than a unique one that places a cherry on the CW cake.
As much as I hate to say it, the addition of four more episodes to Legends of Tomorrow’s second season will damage the mystique of the show and the allure of a superhero team up. Will it ruin the show and plunge it into a dark and inescapable abyss? Of course not. Legends will always be fun and good but this lengthening means Legends won’t be AS good as it can be.