Foundation of a Legend

Legends touts Sean Bean’s return to television and uses his notorious habit of dying in his various projects as hype for the show. The hash tags for the show? #dontkillseanbean

This is a stroke of genius and allows TNT to cash of Game of Thrones by directly referencing to being beheading in their promotional material. It engages fans and makes them invested in the show’s main character. Don’t kill Sean Bean!

zap-legends-season-1-premiere-pilot-photos-201-006How does the pilot live up to the wonderful hype and social media engagement? It’s a little under whelming. Pilots often are because they have to set up for multiple arcs and give you back ground. Legends sets the basic foundation without too much information. We learn Martin is an undercover FBI agent and he has an ex-wife and child. His world is then rocked when someone tells him that he is not who he thinks he is; that his undercover life has completely taken over his real life.

This is where the meat of the story gets interesting though the idea isn’t delved into too deeply. Legends (or their undercover egos) aren’t really explained. I feel like it’s much more than just an uncover identity and see some very Dollhouse-like aspects popping up in the FBI’s program. But the show is vague (I am hoping intentionally vague).

The pilot does help you connect to the character past the original Sean Bean base. Martin wears every man “Lincoln Dittman” who joins a terrorist militia because everything in his life has gone to crap. Martin is easily able to spin his story on the fly and adapt to surrounding making him a kind of super spy even though many of his coworkers don’t like him. This includes the female lead.

Alli Larter plays Crystal an exlover, current coworker who has trouble working with Martin. He goes off script often and will disappear from contact when he goes deep undercover. She is also concerned because he failed all but one psychological exam to be fit for duty. That one he passed? It claimed he was the best candidate for this kind of job.

The writers have no problem finding a way to sexy up Larter. Though she is a gorgeous woman and I am sure the male fans were excited, I felt like it demeaned her role as operative and as a professional woman. Hopefully, the show can create in her character a beautiful, forceful woman without too much gratuitous T&A.

Legends has lots of potential especially as the show expands into Martin’s various personalities and how they bleed into each other and his “real” life.  I look forward to seeing how the next few episodes unfold.

In the Depths of Noir

After a horrendous experience and firing from AMC, fans and Frank Darabont weren’t sure if he would ever return to TV. The Walking Dead was his child, lovingly recreated from the comic book with Robert Kirkman. Darabont understood what the comic was about, the importance including Kirkman, and understood that the characters, not zombies make the story. His brilliance shines once again with the TNT series Mob City.

Darabont seems to run into endless problem when working on TV. His TNT pet project was adapting the book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City. But legally he had to change the name; the company that owned the rights to the video game L.A. Noire would not have even that close of a name usage. The series. Working through this arabount had no choice but to change the name to Lost Angels. He finally settled on Mob City.

MC1The characters are the best part of the tale. Like in most of Darabont’s work, the characters are strongly realized and well-cast.  Darabont has a unique family of actor that he likes to use and then adding a smattering of new faces. This show features Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Dumun, and Andrew Rosenthal. Fans will recognizes these faces from The Walking Dead and Darabont’s other works. Here’s why he keeps these guys around: they are fabulous completing becoming this character and making you forgets who they had played in the past. He also gets good work out of fresh faces.  I was personally amazed at Simon Pegg’s performance as a guest star in the pilot. Hos ability you do drama is wonderful and Darabount uses this to its best advantage.  Also in this amazing cast are Edward Burns and Robert Knepper.

The pilot episode it’s gorgeous.  Darabount takes us into the time when the mob runs the cities. This period piece goes to great detail with cars, costuming and language. Darabbount masterfully moves the players in a graceful narrative. Watching the show it’s like father and child as Darabount directs Bernthal with love and commitment. The pilot follows Teague as he works with a local low life to help him black mail a member of the mob. The ex-marine shows his true colors and blood is shed.

The second episode can’t deliver quite as much. Part of that is the fault of the writing. The episode is much slower than the first deviling into a few new character s while viewers want to know what the hell is going on with Teague and the woman. But even that revelation is foreseeable. What I really want to know is what did he see on the negatives? That’s the real mystery. The other issue is that the pilot is just so well done; it’s hard to live up to.

The six episode series has some promise for the future.  Darabont wants the show to never more than six episodes that would probably in Decembers if the show takes off. TNT is trying something new by pairing two episodes for a three “epic” event cashing in on the fact that regularly scheduled program


are on hiatus for the Holiday Season.  How well this works remains to be seen, but it was an awkward transition from the pilot to the second episode.

Overall, Mob City has quite a lot of potential a day just be what Darbount needs to wash the nasty TV taste from his mouth. Fans will be excited for the narrative strong narrative and beautiful visual shots.  Though it seems non-fans weren’t that excite; Mob City had a soft premier. But here’s to getting Darabont (and Bernthal) back on TV!