Time Master Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill, Doctor Who), has set out on a mission. During a devastating war in the future, his wife and son are killed by an immortal tyrant called Vandal Savage (Casper Crump, The Legend of Tarzan). Armed with his timeship, the Waverunner, he journeys to 2016 and recruits a team, each with a specific talent, to help him stop Savage in the past, before the immortal can gain power and kill Hunter's family.
Most of the characters Rip picks up are already introduced in the other two Arrowverse series. Ray Palmer/Atom (Brandon Routh, Superman Returns, Chuck) was the CEO of a technology empire, but the world currently thinks he is dead. Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller, Prison Break, The Resident Evil Movies) and his partner Mick Rory/Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell, also of Prison Break fame) are a pair of criminals armed with fancy weapons, while Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber, Titanic, Eli Stone), half of the hero known as Firestorm, is a nuclear physicist whose life was changed in the same explosion that made The Flash. Rounding out the list of established characters before the 2016 seasons is Sara Lance (Caity Lotz, Death Valley), the former Black Canary.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow is actually a mid-season series, and while that means the show has about half the number of episodes as Arrow and The Flash, it also allows those other two shows to prep some of these characters for the new show, especially since many of them aren't really in any condition to fight by the end of last year's episodes. For one, by the end of Arrow: Season 3, everyone think's Ray died in an explosion, and similarly, Sarah is actually dead. As for Firestorm, early in The Flash: Season 2, you find out that half of Firestorm didn't survive the previous season's cliffhanger. While re-establishing those characters isn't the main focus of the first half of Arrow: Season 4 and The Flash: Season 2, it is present. Dr. Stein fuses with a mechanic and former rising football start, Jefferson "Jax" Jackson (Franz Darmeh, Attack the Block), while Ray is found and Team Arrow helps to restore the man to his non-shrunken size, while Sara is bathed in the Lazarus Pit, but as we know from an earlier season of Arrow, that has some unusual consequences.
This season of The Flash will also introduce two new characters who will join Rip's team, and they are a key part to his plan to take down Savage. Kendra (Ciara Renee) and Carter (Falk Hentschel) are cursed lovers who were killed in ancient Egypt by Savage. The circumstances of their murder not only turned Savage immortal, but it also forced the pair to be reincarnated over and over again. In each life, they will meet, remember who they are, fall in love, and unfortunately be hunted down and killed by Savage so that the man can maintain his immortality. While not a happy cycle, the curse does give them some added benefits. They can both sprout wings and fly, as well as posses superhuman strength (at least while the wings are out, it seems). When we first meet Kendra, she has no idea of her past, but when Carter appears in her life, already aware of their history, he starts to turn the barista into Hawkgirl to complement his Hawkman persona. While Kendra is still learning the ropes by the time Legends of Tomorrow starts, she is prepared to join Rip's team and help put a stop to Savage once and for all.
While a lot of setup happens before the show even starts, the good news, for those that don't follow Arrow and The Flash, is that Legends of Tomorrow's pilot does an adequate job of recapping the necessary details so that newcomers to the Arrowverse aren't lost. That being said, to really get the full effect of how most of these character grow throughout the season, it's best to get to know them before starting on this series.
The crew of the Waverider will find themselves in many tough situations. While their task is clear, it seems that Savage is rather hard to track down. With the help of the ship's A.I., Gideon (Amy Pemberton), the team will stop off in many locations in space/time, attempt to find Savage and, hopefully, kill him. Of course, if they succeeded early on in the show, it would make for a pretty anticlimactic season. Suffice it to say, many of their plans won't turn out as expected. To make matters worse, despite Rip's constant warnings, the newly-minted time travelers often find themselves messing up history. In fact, it seems like at least a quarter of their time is spent undoing some of the issues they've created, since something as simple as leaving a piece of Ray's Atom suit in 1975 can lead to drastic changes.
The crew also learns that Rip hasn't been completely truthful with them. It turns out, his mission isn't sanctioned by the Time Masters. So, while Rip and his team are trying to stop Vandal Savage, they also find themselves pursued by several bounty hunters, the most notorious of which is called Chronos, an enemy they will encounter over and over again. Of course, if they can stop Savage for good before they are captured, then Rip hopes to be reinstated into the Time Masters and find his family safe, not to mention the possibility that Kendra and Carter will be freed from the immortal's constant hunting.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow will touch on a lot of different times - not only does the crew explore the height of the Cold War, but also a future Star City that has become a warzone. They will also travel to 1958 where their mixed-race and lifestyle team will have some trouble fitting in, and also travel to further futures where they hope to stop Savage at key points in his rise to power. Of course, the consequences of their time-hopping exploits mean that Savage will eventually catch on to his pursuers. While jumping back to earlier times in Savage's history should keep their identities a secret, when they are forced to jump ahead and Savage sees that they have not aged, he concludes their primary mode of transportation, and starts to plan for the next time(s) they show up.
While DC's Legends of Tomorrow doesn't fit right alongside the other two Arrowverse series, it does manage to work in a few crossovers. Between flashbacks, hallucinations, seeing future versions of characters and a few other twists, the show will see the likes of Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Oliver (Stephen Amell), Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) and both Ra's and Nyssa al Ghul (Matt Nable and Katrina Law, respectively). Before starting the show, I was wondering how the writers would work in crossovers and these various tidbits were a great way to keep Legends of Tomorrow anchored in the Arrowverse.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season has some interesting special features. For one, there is a featurette that focuses on one episode of the show where the crew journeys to the Old West and meets up with a classic DC character, Jonah Hex (Jonathon Schaech, That Thing You Do!). This featurette not only talks about Hex, but also about scouting out a filming location, adding to that town, and the overall tone the creators wanted.
There is also a featurette on making the Waverider set and how the production designers built full-length hallways to connect many of the locations in the ship to help add realism and let the directors have long takes that follow the crew members from one part of the ship to the next in continuous shots. The last featurette is about making the series as a whole. Everything from the show's initial concept creation to how it evolved around Rip Hunter and Vandal Savage is covered in this extra. While it doesn't go into great depths and isn't all that long, it is still something that fans will find interesting. This release also contains the 2015 Comic-Con panel for this show and a Gag Reel, both of which are always a joy to watch.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow feels like it starts off kind of rough. It seemed like the first few episodes had a pilot-like feel to them, especially since most of them ended with the nine main characters reaffirming that they would stay a team. Eventually though, the show gains momentum and it feels less and less episodic. By the end of the series, we were fans and were definitely interested in seeing what next season had to offer, though the loss of one of our favorite characters towards the end of the season is a bitter pill to swallow.
Overall, Legends of Tomorrow is a fun series that fits well in the Arrowverse, and while it stands apart from the other two shows, it relies on Arrow and The Flash backstory so much that I can't say viewers should jump in with this series. If you have interest in Legends, then do yourself the favor of making sure you are caught up on the other shows first. While not strictly necessary, it will help you enjoy the ride much better.