If I had to sum up DC’s Legends of Tomorrow in one word, it would be “wild.” From its premiere in 2016 to its incredible season seven finale (Booster Gold, we hardly knew ye), Legends has been one of the most unpredictable television shows ever produced. Recently, we got the news that Legends of Tomorrow had finished its journey through time and space, and while we are saddened to hear that the Waverider has come in for a landing, it is important to take this time to celebrate everything the show gave us.
I am not using hyperbole when I say DC’s Legends of Tomorrow redefined what it meant to be a DC superhero show. If you put on an episode of Legends alongside an episode of Arrow or The Flash, it’s hard not to notice how different the tone is. For example, the pilot episode for Arrow was a gritty and grounded show about a vigilante who hunted criminals. The Legends of Tomorrow season three finale (“The Good, the Bad and the Cuddly”) had the Waverider crew travel to the Old West where they fused into a giant stuffed animal called Beebo and cuddled a powerful demon to death. Folks, these two series are in the same continuity. Like I said, it was wild.
Legends of Tomorrow Not only felt different from all the other DCTV shows out there, it also felt like a completely new series from season to season. Season four focused on magic and an evil fairy godmother (yep!), the John Constantine-driven season five dealt with demons and freed souls from hell, while season six took us into the realm of alien abductions. There is a memorable moment in the season four finale “Hey, World!” where the Legends are attempting to entertain theme park guests and one of them cries out, “They said this was a superhero show!”
It was a fun joke, but it underscored how far the show had gone. It was not defined by any genre and you never knew what kind of show you’d be getting week to week, and that was exciting!
I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall in the Legends writer’s room, because they cooked up some insane plots. Remember when the Legends had to protect a young Barack Obama from Gorilla Grodd in an episode called “Guest Starring John Noble” that was literally guest starring John Noble? This was hardly the first time the show dabbled ridiculously in politics. There was also that unforgettable episode where the Legends kidnapped President Richard Nixon after he swallowed a bug that made him incapable of lying (“The Getaway”). Of course, far more often the series just seemed to be pushing the boundaries of absurdity as far as they could get away with, like in “Beebo the God of War” where a Christianity anachronism in the timeline manages to replace with a religion that worships the aforementioned Beebo. I could go on for hours, because this was a fun show where no idea was too off-the-wall. The result was a superhero series that never ran out of ideas because every idea was worth trying, and by golly, they pulled it off.
Of course, Legends of Tomorrow was driven by more than just humor. It also had a lot of heart.
Getting to see Sara Lance and Ava Sharpe slowly fall in love and make plans to start a family was heartwarming. Martin Stein’s death in “Crisis on Earth-X, Part Four” was a gut punch that still makes me tear up. Watching the typically aloof Mick Rory try to connect with his daughter throughout season five tugged on all my heartstrings. Every time a crew member left the Waverider, it felt like seeing an old friend move away. It was hard not to become emotionally attached to the Legends as we followed them for multiple seasons in their quest to maintain the timeline.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow also deserves credit for being groundbreaking. Zari Tarazi is the first Muslim-American superhero on primetime television, and we got to experience two distinct versions of her. The crew of the Waverider also represented different ends of the LQBTQIA+ spectrum. Charlie was genderqueer and pansexual, Spooner was asexual, while Sara and Ava were in a same-sex marriage. The Waverider was a place of inclusion, no matter what race you were or who you loved. Legends of Tomorrow celebrated individuality by being one of the most diverse shows on television.
While I wish there was time for more trips on the Waverider, I think it’s important to celebrate everything we got to experience on this journey. Legends of Tomorrow was a show unlike any other, and its legacy won’t be forgotten anytime soon. We may not have a time-traveling ship of our own, but thanks to Blu-rays and streaming services like Netflix, we can go back and experience our favorite episodes as many times as we want.
A constant theme throughout the series was maintaining the timeline, which now makes me ponder—what would our timeline be like if we never had Legends of Tomorrow? Think of all the laughter and tears we would have missed out on. Think of all the thrilling stories, or genre-bending concepts we would have never experienced. So, as corny as it may seem, I salute Captain Lance and the Waverider crew for everything that they’ve done. They’ve given us the best possible timeline, and that’s why they’ll be remembered as Legends.
Never seen DC’s Legends of Tomorrow? You can now stream the series in its entirety on Netflix!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and writes our monthly Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.