DC's Legends of Tomorrow sparks pure joy.
The campy superhero series follows a group of misfits who journey through time and space to protect history, making sure to have a little fun along the way. It's a refreshing show that not only recognizes the whimsy of its premise but absolutely relishes in it. But that wasn't always the case. Legends' disappointing first season was a drab affair that tried to ground itself in a darker reality like its Arrowverse counterpartsThe Flash and Arrow and that ultimately didn't work. The show's surprising Season 2 renewal came as a relief for showrunner Phil Klemmer, who seized on the opportunity to try something new and different.
"We were given this new lease on life after Season 1 and it was like beating a terminal illness," he told TV Guide. "I think we were one of these people who were like, 'I'm gonna go skydiving! I'm gonna learn how to play guitar. I'm gonna travel the world.'"
Legends really hit its stride once it learned to let loose and really have fun. Taking on a zanier tone in Season 2, the show began to push the boundaries of what a superhero series should be with goofy storylines like Damien Darhk's unforgettable battle set to the '90s classic "Return of the Mack." By the end of Season 3, it had carved out a unique space as one of the most exciting shows on TV, but not without great risk.
"There were a couple of these moments where we were like, 'This must be it. This is when the chord is gonna snap and we're gonna have to go back to being a more conventional show,'" Klemmer explained.
The gamble paid off, however, and that delayed success has motived the show's creative team to go bigger and bolder. "In a weird way, the big swings have [worked] and you're just like, 'Well, let's try something even crazier. How much can you stretch network TV?' Because times are changing so why not have fun with it?" Klemmer added.
The result of this new outlook is "Séance & Sensibility," a daring and delightful hour set to air Monday, April 15. The episode finds the Legends headed to Regency England to figure out why Jane Austen's famous works have suddenly disappeared. In what can only be described as Legends' most ambitious installment yet, the gang encounters a magical being along the way and is soon immersed in a full-on Bollywood musical number. The idea almost didn't make it out of the writer's room until Klemmer realized they had composer Raashi Kulkarni, who'd previously worked with Bollywood vets Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani, to help bring the pitch to life.
"It's just really humbling to do something like music because we get so good at doing the things we do week in and week out, the visual effects, the comedy and action sequences," Klemmer said. "But when you do a musical, you have to compose the music, choreograph the dance, prerecord the music... It was definitely the most stressful and complicated thing we've done."
The experience hasn't deterred Klemmer from trying other musical ventures, though, and it looks like Legends may take on an iconic musical moment in history. "The music episode we really want to do is to return to the concert that David Hasselhoff performed at the Berlin Wall in the early '90s to learn that he (as he takes credit for in real life!) was truly responsible for the reunification of Germany and the collapse of the Soviet Union," Klemmer said.
Whether or not that will actually come to fruition remains to be seen, but if anyone can pull that off, it's them.
Legends of Tomorrow airsMondays at 8/7c on The CW.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)