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Legion - FX Network/Marvel

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Sean Bryan, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The various broadcast and cable networks are making their presentations to television critics this week, and quite a bit has come out about "Legion" (some mild spoilers):
    • Navid Negahban ("Homeland") has replaced Saïd Taghmaoui as the original, true form of the Shadow King
    • The second season will premiere in April
    • The second season will explore the character of Lenny post-Shadow King. Given that the "real" Lenny seemed to be fused into a wall and killed, not sure what form that will take.
    • "“If the first year was sort of the story of an insane man in a sane world," showrunner Noah Hawley's approach for the second season was "looking at David now being the sort of sane man in an insane world."
    • Rich + Tone choreographed a dance battle for the second season premiere.
     
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  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    FX Sets Premiere Date for Second Season of "Legion"
    Season 2 of the Acclaimed Series from Creator and Executive Producer Noah Hawley Returns to FX on Tuesday, April 3 at 10 PM ET/PT
    Legion_S02_001.
    Photo Credit Matthias Clamer-FX
     
  4. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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  5. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    For basically every other show in history, that would be an insane way to try to sell a TV show but it is the 100% correct way to market for Legion. God bless, FX.
     
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  6. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    The trailer Adam linked didn't want to play in Canada (unfortunately all too common these days). Here's the same trailer from the official source which, for now, is working in the Great White North:

     
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  7. spshultz

    spshultz Second Unit

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    This is my most anticipated TV show return of the year, well, this one and The Expanse. :dance:
     
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  8. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    New promo: "Chatter"
     
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  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Full Trailer:
     
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  10. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    The new season starts tonight at 10 PM.
     
  11. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    I thought that episode one of season two was terrific: the show didn't lose a single bit of momentum from what in my mind was a flawless first season.

    The show continued to feature an expert blend of set design, lighting, costume, and camera work to place the viewer in an almost perpetual state of discomfort (but also curiosity and wonder!). Other shows can learn a lot from just one sequence from Legion: there are other techniques besides dutch angles and faded colours.

    Using a dance-off to represent a psychic battle was truly inspired. I was glad to see the show didn't simply re-use the animated chalk battle from season one (even though it was awesome).

    The final "time traveling Syd" sequence was as enthralling as any red room scene from the three seasons of Twin Peaks. Indeed, there were a few homages to Twin Peaks (and the Red Room/lodges) in this episode. I'm still unpacking the entire thing, really (a one-armed Syd?!). The shifting light on Syd's face was one of the simplest yet effective bit of lighting "effects" work I've seen in a long time.
     
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  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    I started to watch the season premiere last night, quickly realized that I was too tired to give it the attention it required and deserved, and then started it over this evening. The first half-hour or so seemed to drowning in exposition, only for the remainder of the episode to make us question everything we think we knew.

    This is Noah Hawley's first true second season of a show as showrunner; "The Unusuals" and "My Generation" got canceled after one season, and "Fargo" is an anthology. It's exciting to see him get to tackle true long-form storytelling.

    There are shows with bigger budgets, and shows will more daunting logistical production challenges. But for my money, there is no show on television as technically accomplished as "Legion". The sheer inventiveness on display week after week -- and never gratuitous, always for a purpose -- is unmatched. And most episodes have at least a handful of moments of pure cinema, storytelling that would be impossible to translate to another medium, because no other medium besides moving pictures synchronized to sound has the necessary vocabulary.

    Even just the cold open, with the consciousnesses of Lenny and Oliver inside Farouk who is in turn inside Oliver's body; that would be the standout sequence of the season for virtually any other show. And it's just the opening salvo here.

    The "Twin Peaks" revival is the only show in recent memory that gives "Legion" a run for its money. And certainly Hawley had carefully studied the David Lynch playbook: substituting surreal imagery for straightforward information; abrupt tonal shifts; a permeating sense of the uncanny, which gives even warm and seemingly ordinary moments an unsettling undercurrent.

    The "Twin Peaks" revival had more weight to it than "Legion" does, because it had the passage of 25 years to play with. And "Twin Peaks" leans toward the naturalistic more "Legion" does, with digressions into the fantastic and supernatural having an intentional hand

    But "Legion" is more polished. It's like a carnival ride for the senses. I don't know that I could pick a favorite between the two; I just know that I cherish the fact that both exist.

    I completely agree about the lighting effect on Future Syd (?) inside the orb. Lighting does a lot to shape how the audience experiences a scene, and it was very intriguing to see a show play with that.

    The introduction of the seemingly nonlinear narrative here excited me; is it the Shadow King using the visage of Syd to manipulate David, with his resulting actions just serving to create a self-fulfilling prophecy? Or is the team really reaching back from the future to shift the timeline in a different direction?
     
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  13. Scott-S

    Scott-S Cinematographer
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    I forgot how much of a mind f*ck this show is. The first season I binged, so after every episode I could go to the next to find out what in the "hell just happened!". I am not sure I can take watching this week to week. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first season after it was over. But during, I was in a constant state of confusion.

    On a different note, is there something wrong with the actress who plays Syd? Did she have an injury during filming?While watching the first episode this season I noticed she was very seldom filmed walking, and the few scenes they did, she was walking funny. It looked like she had an injury they were having to cut around. It was most noticeable in the really short scene they showed of her walking up a few stairs just before she went into Melanie's room . Just curious. For some reason this caught my eye and I became fixated on it. Must say something about me and my OCD. :)
     
  14. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Last night's episode was a little bit more conventional. The subplot that has me most interested at the moment is the inversion of the Cary and Kerry.
     
  15. Dheiner

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    I can't do it. I can't watch this week-to-week.

    I will be DVRing and binge it after they've completed this season.

    Catch ya' later!
     
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  16. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    I thought episode 3 was one of the most visually impressive episodes of television in the 2017/2018 season (Twin Peaks episode 8 takes the prize, of course). The symbolic use of colours--specifically green (stop/unsafe) and red (go/safe), black and white, and blue (neutral?)--was literally astonishing. I'll make a post about the colour use in the first three episodes hopefully later tonight or tomorrow.

    One of my favourite touches from episodes 1,2, and 3 was the floating green (stop!) hands pointing to David until the rooftop scene with the Monk. There, the hands continued to point to David until the Monk jumped off the roof, after which point the hands pointed away. Also, while the monk is alive, on of the green hands is pointing a red light (while also pointing at David).
     
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  17. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The technical aspects were off the charts this week, but my favorite moment was Kerry's (off-camera) reaction to having defecated for the first time. Because, if you hadn't been doing it your whole life, that's exactly how you would react.

    My second favorite moment was David again trying to set preconditions with the Shadow King while Lenny, from the other side of the pool, unsuccessfully attempts to kill herself in a multitude of ways in the middle of the frame.

    Melanie's maze reminded me a lot of navigating multi-user dungeons back in the nineties and early noughts. Once upon a time, I spent more hours in LambdaMOO than I'd care to admit.

    All of the Jon Hamm Serling-esque narration about delusion has me thinking David isn't interpreting what he's experiencing with Future Syd correctly, because the parable only applying to the chattering disease is too obvious.

    "Don't touch anything."
     
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  18. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    Agreed. Also, the D3 announcements definitely seem to inform how we should be interpreting certain scenes (specifically the scenes in which the announcements are heard). I'm actually questioning whether the first interaction with Future Syd (where she doesn't talk) was genuine. Is David in his own maze?
     
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  19. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    In episode 2, Jon Hamm provides us with the story of a boy who is taught wrong: the colour green is actually called red, and the colour red is actually called green. The actual colour red is good, and the actual colour green is bad (the screen flashes to the cracked egg and the black goo creature). Then, the older boy, at the lights, is told “remember, red means stop, green means go.” The stoplight turns red, and the older boy walks across the street, seemingly into traffic/danger (because this is not how the world actually works—the boy was taught wrong).

    Yet, within the colour “theory” of the show, whenever we see the colour green, perhaps we should see that as danger/stop, and whenever we see red, we should take that as safe/go.

    Applying this theory to the first three episodes, here’s what we get:

    Episode 1

    We open to Lenny and Oliver lounging in the pool, surrounded by green grass and trees (clearly some Beverly Hills mansion). They are trapped inside Farouk. They are trapped (bounded) by green.

    David is rescued. His shirt in this episode has the image of a green pyramid bounded by red lines. Perhaps David’s “good” psyche is keeping his “bad” psyche in control (his good is surrounding his bad).

    When Syd goes to visit Melanie in her apartment, we see her floor is also red and green. Notably, the teapot whistles but the stopper isn’t actually down, so it shouldn’t whistle. I’ll come back to this later. We also see the minotaur for the first time (when the camera is upside down).

    We later see David at a booth with Clark, who is in a red suit. Perhaps this means Clark is safe (for now?).

    Then, David visits Cary in his lab. Cary is wearing a dusty yellow suit and is showing David the amplification chamber. As Cary moves around the room/chamber, the varying lighting causes his suit to appear different colours. When he is further away from the chamber, the suit looks red (safe), but as he approaches the chamber, the suit looks green (bad).

    After a scene between Syd and Ptonomy (red pants, blue jacket), we’re back with David in the chamber. Cary plugs in a red wire, and David in the water chamber twitches slightly, but doesn’t appear to be in pain. However, we also see a different David, in a different and larger chamber (without water). Different David reacts to the red wire as though in pain. Cary unplugs a green wire (the red wire seems to be gone), and David in the water chamber says that’s slightly better. The camera flies through the cafeteria, cuts to what looks like a flash of Future Syd writing something, and then to what we now know is the monk jumping off the building. Both the Future Syd writing and the monk falling happen in the future, but David is flashing on them now.

    We see children in a circle playing duck-duck-goose. The minotaur is there in the hallway. Also—and I only noticed this on a re-watch—one girl is not playing and is off to the side colouring. A boy is also not playing, and he is at a different chalkboard writing lines of numbers (maybe being punished?). The teacher is writing “Roja=R…” I have no idea what this means other than what google says (it’s a famous Indian movie where militants kidnap a government official.

    Then we have the psychic battle scene at the club. At first, the club is bathed in red light, which then changes to blue. Is blue “neutral”? I think it’s important to note that Cary is monitoring David and also dancing.

    The battle ends and David is naked in the hall, Terminator style (evoking time travel?). Note that David did not walk to the hallway from the Cary’s office, or interact with Cary at all. Yet, when we see him in their apartment, David has a golden compass that Cary made and gave him. When did this happen? Cary was monitoring David and dancing. David specifically says, “I had Cary make it while I was in the tank.” We know this isn’t true.

    The next sequence is David dreaming/remembering his time in the sphere. Here we realize that the Different David we saw flashes of while David was in the tank is maybe this past David. So while David was in the tank, he saw flashes of the past (himself in the sphere, the psychic battle at the club), the present (flying through the cafeteria), and the future (Syd’s writing, the monk jumping off the building).

    David emerges from his memory of the sphere—he literally walks out of the sphere—into a black room where he meets Future Syd with one arm. This entire sequence evokes Twin Peaks. Notably, Future Syd is wearing David’s compass, but it is silver, not gold.

    Future Syd tells David to help Farouk find his body. We have no red/green colour indications in the sequence to tell us whether this is good or bad.

    David is then dreaming of the club again. We see the monk, and Lenny. The entire sequence also evokes Twin Peaks—this time the club scene in Fire Walk With Me. The lights are flickering between red and green.

    Episode 2

    The music box in the desert is red. The ballerina inside is wearing red. Oliver is wearing a red jacket. We’re told all of these are bad (the box and ballerina are diversions that allow Oliver and Lenny in infiltrate D3, and are also there to screw with Syd’s head, while Oliver is the enemy), but if red is good, perhaps we’re wrong.

    Syd’s compass is silver, like it was with Future Syd.

    We later see David back in the tank, trying it visit Future Syd. This time, the two meet in a dark room with a purplish-pink tinge—not black like the first time. Future Syd is not wearing the compass. Future Syd can also talk, unlike the previous visit, and is surprised to see David: “impossible…for you…to be here.” Is it possible that the scene from episode 1 was fake? A false memory/reality? Additionally, Future Syd says that Farouk is dead in here “timeline.” Interesting word choice implying different timelines, not simply a past, present, and future along the same timeline.

    David then meets with Clark again in the cafeteria. Clark is still in the red suit, while David is in a green shirt (as he is throughout the episode).

    Later, we see David battle Farouk again. This time, in the form of a duel/wrestling match. Farouk is wearing red.

    When we catch up with David and Syd on the roof, we see the floating green hands. They almost always point at David. David is wearing green, with green hands pointing at him. Is what he is doing (helping Farouk) bad?

    Episode 3

    After the opening Jon Hamm sequence, we see Farouk sitting in a restaurant/palace. Flashing in his sunglasses are bits from his psychic battle with Professor X from the first season’s chalkboard scene. Professor X wins and Farouk drops dead. This is a great interpretation of a few panels from X-men 117, which is the first appearance of Farouk, and also features Empress Lilandra from the Shi’ar.

    Xavier+kills+Farouk+original+Byrne+%28Uncanny+X-men+117%29.

    After Farouk dies, the monks take possession of his body. The monks are wearing black and red.

    The D3 alarm goes off, and everyone realizes the monk had been hiding there (amongst the chattering victims) but has now escaped. The emergency lights throughout D3 are pulsing red.

    David once visits Lenny and Farouk at the Beverly Hills mansion. Green is everywhere. David is wearing a blue jacket and a slightly tattered green tshirt. Lenny wants to escape—notably she is wearing a black and white bathing suit. Later, we see a cow (black and white). Lenny, in episode 2, asked Farouk to make her a new body. Maybe she’s the cow?

    David then goes and visits everyone’s mazes. First up is Ptonomy. Notably, the floor in his apartment is tiled red and blue, not red and green like the other apartments else we’ve seen. From the first psychic battle in the club, maybe blue is neutral? Also, Cary is wearing blue and red (and remember David is wearing blue and green). When David and Cary find Ptonomy in his maze, he is wearing a blue suit with red flowers, paired with a red shirt.

    They rescue Ptonomy and continue looking throughout D3. This is when they encounter the cow. The cow has some sort of black residue on its back, and there is some residue on the floor. It looks like the ash left behind from when Oliver and Lenny killing soldiers when in the invasion of D3 in episode 2. Maybe it’s a residue from psychic powers being used a weapon? Is Lenny the cow?

    The team finds Melanie and enter her maze, which is in my mind modeled after Zork. They free Melanie, who we see is wearing all red.

    David says the team has to split up and he has to fund Syd. He runs out of Cary’s lab, Cary follows, but passes David in the hall as David has a flash of Syd’s arm (her body seems to be buried in what appears to be the black residue). Did Cary ever even see David? I’m not sure—why would Cary just keep walking? I think the Monk obscured David from Cary’s sight, and then knocked David out after Cary moved on.

    The monk interacts with David and he is in the monastery, which may also be the Beverly Hills mansion. The floor brown brick, but the lighting makes it appear red sometimes. When David is in the memory of the laughing fit, the scene is bathed in red.

    David catches up with the monk in the Admiral’s room. David brings the monk up to the roof. There is one green hand pointing both in the direction of David and directly at a flashing red light. The monk jumps off the building, and we see the scene from David’s tank vision in episode 1, albeit from a different perspective. At this point, all of the green hands are pointing away from David.
     
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  20. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Last night's episode was absolutely brilliant. If it had been released in cinemas in the late sixties, early seventies I think it'd be regarded today as a classic.

    One of the few weak spots for this show is that Syd is too often seen exclusively through David's gaze, so it was great to get a deep dive into Syd's formative traumas and struggles. All three young actresses who played Syd at various ages were terrific. And Lily Rabe as Syd's mother was just immaculate casting. She's such a brilliant actress that it's a shame she's so often confined to Ryan Murphy's stable.

    I've heard of long cold opens before -- some of "The Good Wife"/"The Good Fight" cold opens run twenty minutes or more, but I don't think I've ever seen one this long.
     

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