- Bryan W. Alaspa
Horror fan? You might want to watch 'Legion'
NOTE: Don't worry, I plan on writing more movie reviews about the Jaws rip-off movies and other horror stuff. However, since we have all the time in the world, I thought I'd take a break and talk about a TV show you may not have considered and maybe you should if you are a fan of horror.
There are a lot of shows on TV these days. I mean, there are a LOT of TV shows. There are so many places to watch TV, it was only inevitable that we would invent ways to carry our TV shows with us anywhere and everywhere we went. There are streaming services, subscriptions services, and even YouTube is now in the original TV show business. Even the TV shows not on a streaming service - are available on a streaming service.
If you are a fan of horror TV shows, horror fiction, horror books, or horror movies, there are probably just a few shows you watch. The American Horror Story shows probably jump to mind. Those are all fine, but there's this little show over on FX you may not have thought about because you either never heard of it, or you found out it was part of the Marvel Entertainment Group series of shows and figured it was another superhero show and there are just enough of those.
Sorry, but wrong. Watch Legion.
In the pantheon of horror TV, one of the best has always been Twin Peaks. Do not try to tell me that is not a horror show, because any show with demons named Bob, strange supernatural beings, murder and all of those people screaming and being possessed is definitely horror. If you watched the revival of the show on Showtime this past year, you know it drifted even more into that arena.
The great thing about Twin Peaks, when Lynch was really involved and it was firing on all cylinders, is that it kept you off balance. You spent so much time scratching your head and going "What did I just watch?" you had to engage with other fans and you really had to pay attention.
The same can be said of Legion on FX.
Legion is set in the X-Men universe in some version that seems to be set in the 60s, but isn't quite the 60s. This means there's no Avengers and, so far, no Wolverine, but there are hints of Professor X. It's all about mutants, people born with strange abilities that usually manifest about the time they reach puberty and who are feared by most of humanity.
The story revolves around David Haller, a very powerful mutant who, in the first season, believes he's crazy. You see, he hears voices and he has been told he's crazy. He also seems to make bad things happen to people around him when he gets upset.
If you are a fan of X-Men comics, you know Legion and you know David. You also know (SPOILER ALERT) he is the son of Professor X. In the comics, David has multiple personalities and each of them has a different power which has made him one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe since he can seemingly manifest any power at any time it's needed by creating a new personality.
In the TV show things are currently a bit stripped down. David learns, over the course of the first season, that he is not crazy. He's telepathic, so the voices are real and from other people. He is also a very powerful telekinetic and can make things disintegrate just by mentally pulling apart the molecules.
The problem is David has also been infiltrated by the Shadow King, another powerful telepath who now exists only as thought and hides within the subconscious of people he is using. So, most of the first season involves David realizing his power, meeting fellow mutants, falling in love, then dealing with his own mental issues including truly nightmarish creatures that are actually manifestations of the Shadow King.
I mean, some of those manifestations are truly terrifying. Horrific, hideous creatures that come out of the woodwork.
Also, there is Aubrey Plaza as Lenny and, well, she is a major tour de force. Is she actually the Shadow King or is she actually David's friend Lenny, somehow absorbed into his mind? We are still figuring that out.
Even the abilities of his fellow mutants are unlike any you have seen before. Syd, for example, is a woman who, if she touches you, mentally switches bodies with you. She can also switch bodies with animals. She has to wear gloves all the time and only by David pulling her into some mental astral plane can they actually touch and be intimate.
Another mutant can enter people's memories and dreams. Another is two people, one a scientific genius, the other a superhuman fighter. One male, one female. One in his 50s, the other, who spends most of her time inside his body, appears to be in her 20s.
This barely scratches the surface. The fact most of this takes place inside dreams, thoughts, and minds, some of the corridors we head down are truly disturbing and horrifying. The creatures within our own mind are often the most terrifying things out there and Legion is all about the mind and the things it can do.
Imagine making one of the most powerful weapons the universe has ever known and then putting it in charge of a person who may be crazy. That's Legion.
It's so out there, with most-episodes being non-linear, and unlike anything you've seen on TV, it will mess with your head. It infiltrates your thoughts, makes you doubt what you've seen. Then something jumps out of the darkness and scares the hell out of you again.
There are no costumes. No uniforms. It's almost an anti-superhero kind of show.
If you want something different, but something that makes you think and might just give you a few nightmares, now is the time to binge season 1 and start on season 2 of Legion. You won't regret it. It is the most unique thing on TV right now.
My latest novel is called SPIDAR and it's about bio-engineered spiders that try to take over a small town
in Alaska. I promise - it'll scare ya. Click on the cover image and visit Amazon to get your copy in print, Kindle or audiobook editions.