What's that, you say? Another superhero TV show? Oh, go on then. The entire first season of Legion, a spin-off from Marvel's X-Men universe starring Downton Abbey's own Dan Stevens, is now available on to watch On Demand (you can find it in On Demand > Box Sets). Aside from its, ahem, legion of potential comics fans, the show has piqued the attention of TV critics and viewers alike because the show-runner is writer-producer Noah Hawley, the creative talent behind TV's excellent anthology series Fargo.
If you missed this brilliantly trippy show with its intriguing characters and impressive production design, now’s your chance to catch up to speed. But what's the show actually about? Here's everything you need to know...
David Haller (Dan Stevens)
“Downton Dan” plays David Haller, the son of Professor Charles Xavier, who was diagnosed as schizophrenic as a child and has spent his life bouncing in and out of various psychiatric institutions. Like his father, David has extremely powerful psychic abilities, including telekinesis and telepathy, though he has trouble distinguishing what's real and what's in his head.
Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller)
Rachel Keller (who previously worked with Hawley on Fargo) plays Syd Barrett, a reclusive, touch-phobic patient at the institution who falls in love with David. It soon turns out that Syd has a superpower of her own, namely the ability to swap consciousness with whoever she touches. After an eye-opening encounter with Syd, David starts to believe that the voices in his head and the visions he keeps experiencing (including, apparently, Bollywood song and dance numbers) might actually be real. However, things get complicated when Syd mysteriously disappears, with David believing that sinister forces have taken her.
Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza)
Parks & Recreation's Aubrey Plaza plays Lenny Busker, a fellow patient and Haller's best friend in the institution. Described as “an impossible optimist” with a history of drug and alcohol problems, Lenny is loyal to David and basically behaves like most of the characters Aubrey Plaza has played, with deadpan sardonic wisecracks and withering glances her stock in trade.
Amy Haller (Katie Aselton)
Katie Aselton plays David's concerned older sister Amy, who shelters her brother after he escapes from the hospital. Does she also have powers? Given that they're brother and sister, it seems prudent to expect something along those lines…
Melanie Bird (Jean Smart)
Fan-favourite character actress Jean Smart (who was also in Fargo, though to us she'll always be First Lady Martha Logan from 24) plays Melanie Bird, a sharp-minded, demanding and unconventional psychiatric therapist who takes over David's case after his escape from the hospital. With Melanie's help, David comes to have a greater understanding of his powers and own history.
Other supporting characters
Working alongside Melanie Bird are a team of fellow psychiatrists that includes: memory artist and former child prodigy Ptonomy Wallace (Jeremie Harris); Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder), described as a “savant” and “a woman of action with a childlike sense of wonder”; and geeky scientist Cary Loudermilk (Bill Irwin). Flight Of The Conchords' Jemaine Clement also appears, playing Melanie's husband, who has spent the last 20 years on the astral plane. Hey, what’s the bet that he knows Doctor Strange?
Legion season 1 is available to watch now On Demand. You can find it in On Demand > Box Sets.