For superheroes, it's now a team project


If you like comid-book superheroes -- hey, who wouldn't? -- then these are good times. We have Avengers and Guardians and now Legends, in an ambitious new show that starts Thursday (Jan, 21). Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

PASADENA -- At
first, the superheroes invaded our screens one at a time.

There was Superman,
Spider-Man, Batman, Hulk; each got his own movie or TV show or both.

And then came the
notion of putting them together. There were Avengers and Guardians of
the Galaxy and the Justice League; and now comes the new “Legends
of Tomorrow.”

The who? This is “a
rag-tag group of heroes and rogues,” said CW network spokesman Paul
Hewitt.

They join a network
filled with sci-fi shows, some dead-serious. “Legends” takes
another route.

“It is fun,”
said Mark Pedowitz, the CW program chief. “It's big; it's lighter
than 'Arrow' and 'Flash' .... I want popcorn with me anytime I watch
it.”

This started, he
said, when he “woke up in the middle of the night (with) a bad
idea” -- a heroes-and-villains show. That was molded into a new
idea, using lesser-known heroes from DC Comics.

Rip Hunter is a
time-traveler, determined to stop Vandal Savage from destroying the
Earth. Now he gathers a team, which he assumes will only be needed
once. He “doesn't want to spend any time with these people,” said
Arthur Darvill, who plays him. “He hasn't chosen them because he
likes them.”

Some are hard to
like. Heat Wave and Captain Cold – played by former “Prison
Break” brothers Dominic Pursell and Wentworth Miller – are tough,
nasty and self-centered.

On the flip side is
The Atom, the one person eager to be a hero. Brandon Roush, the Iowa
guy who plays him, says that fits. “This is part of my nature, I
guess. So it's fun to play (him), because it's a lot of me coming
out.”

Between those
extremes are:

-- White Canary, who
was killed and resurrected on the “Arrow” series. “After dying
and coming back to life, she's kind of seen if all,” said Caity
Lotz, who plays her. Now she's “like, 'whatever goes.'”

-- Hawkman and
Hawkgirl, who have been lovers through many lives, since his days as
a prince in ancient Egypt. “They bicker quite a lot,” said Ciara
Renee, who plays Hawkgirl, opposite Falk Hentschel. “But you can
tell, even though they're fighting, that there's an underlying
passion.”

-- And Firestorm,
whose existence is complicated: Two mismatched people sometimes share
a body.

The actors are just
as mismatched. Victor Garber is 66, Canadian, with six Emmy
nominations and four Tony nominations; Franz Drameh is 23, mostly
unknown and British ... with the accent to prove it.

“I said, 'I don't
really understand what you're saying' ... and then he broke into this
flawless American accent,” Garber said. “I thought, 'Well, this
boy's talented.'”

This ragged
collection must save the world, with the help of some huge special
effects.

“The degree of
difficulty on this show ... is so much higher than it is on any of
the other shows,” said Marc Guggenheim, the writer who developed
the series. “You've got a guy who shoots a heat gun, a cold gun,
two people who fly, two people with sets of computer-generated wings
(and) a guy in a suit who shrinks down and flies.”

And that's not
counting Firestorm. It's an odd collection; you'd probably need that
to keep Vandal Savage from destroying the world.

-- “Legends of
Tomorrow,” CW

-- 8 p.m. Thursdays;
opens Jan. 21, leading into the season-opener of another fantasy
show, “The 100”

-- Opener reruns
Tuesday, Jan. 26