Legion and FXNOW / by Erin Wade

Legion Promo

A week or so ago saw the premier of Legion on FX.

This is a show based on a character) that represents a deep dive into the Marvel comics universe. But this isn't your average comic book character (or show).

Like all of the best of storytelling, you'll be rewarded here by paying close attention to the detail happening as the show goes on. And you may have your trust shaken.

I was a kid, reading The New Mutants when I first came across Legion as rendered by Bill Sienkiewicz. The artwork was presented in a style that represented a frankly jarring change from both what had been seen in the series prior, and from anything I'd ever seen in a comic before. Jarring, yes, but in a magnificent way that opened my teenage mind to far more possibilities for comic art than I'd considered before. I continue to remember his art in a way that isn't true for many others.

The first episode of the new series maintains the spirit of that drastic artistic shift. It's delightfully, magnificently off kilter. I'd like to say more, but I don't want to give anything away - it's better to experience it directly.

But when you go to watch this excellent, twisted work of art, choose carefully. The first episode is available streaming through the FX Network's FXNOW app on your iOS device and, one assumes, also through other streaming options. It is also available through iTunes and Amazon Video. The first episode is free on iTunes and FXNOW (you can watch an hour of FXNOW without logging in). The season is $19.99 for HD on iTunes and Amazon Video. If you have a login from a cable or satellite provider you can log in through FXNOW and watch it there for "free".

If you want to live that way...

We watched the first episode through FXNOW. The app worked fine, and streamed the episode smoothly. Unfortunately, that's where the goodness ends. FX, in its wisdom, chose to pack six separate commercial breaks into the Legion premier, some of which contained up to 10 different spots in a single break. It structured the commercials so that there is an extended portion of the episode that occurs before the first break (the first taste is free, apparently), but after that the breaks are stacked on top of one another at fairly regular intervals. The breaks were all long, and distractingly frequent during the second half of the episode.

It's like the folks who set up FXNOW have absolutely no idea why people choose to watch video over streaming.

I highly recommend the show - that should be clear. I'd also highly recommend that you experience the first episode through iTunes (first episode is free, remember) if you want to try it out first, or through either iTunes or Amazon Video if you are sure it's your thing.

Update 2/26/17: Legion is now available on Hulu, with a much more reasonable volume of commercial breaks.