Before he plays a Disney prince opposite Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast, Dan Stevens is returning to TV. The babely Brit stars in Legion (Wednesdays, FX), a surrealist thriller from the minds at Marvel. Yes, his character is from the world of X-Men, but you don’t need to know a thing about that to be into it. Here are 7 reasons the new series is totally worth it.
The Lack of Superhero Hallmarks
Not up to date on your X-Men origin stories? No problem. The series is engaging for both comic book fans and those starting at square one. What you’ll find is a man trying to control his ability, an organization hunting him down and a bad-ass mentor (Jean Smart) there to help him figure it out. There are no capes, damsels in distress or cheesy exit lines. Bonus trivia: David is the son of X-Men vet Professor X (played by Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the movies), but creator Noah Hawley says not to expect any crossovers any time soon.
The Genre-Bending Setup
The plot isn’t the only thing filled with unexpected twists. In keeping with the network’s taste for surrealist series like Atlanta and Man Seeking Woman, this one’s full of offbeat surprises. Who says superhero shows shouldn’t have choreographed dance numbers?
Downton Abbey fans know Dan Stevens as babe Matthew Crawley. Since then, every role he’s disappeared into has been a far cry from the upper-crust character. Now he’s leading Legion as David Haller, a man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia who has yet to realize his full strength.
Aubrey Plaza is a delight as Lenny, a fellow psychiatric patient and friend who’s there to help David break down the chaos around him. When she’s not cracking jokes or spouting observational wisdom, she’s wearing headphones and bopping along. David’s sweet side comes out around Syd (Rachel Keller), a mysterious new patient who won’t let anyone too close. Theirs is not your conventional on-camera relationship, especially since if she touches a person they immediately switch bodies.
The Throwback Style
We’ve frankly lost track of all of the superhero movies and TV shows that are out there. Thankfully, Legion looks nothing like them. With its bold colours, ’60s-inspired outfits and retro beauty looks, it’s not only highly-stylized, it’s downright trippy.
The Brains Behind It
Created by Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley, this show’s sure to be the furthest thing from a guilty pleasure. The mega-talented Emmy winner also directed Legion’s premiere episode. So tell all your friends–even the high-brow TV devotees–you’re a fan.
The Way It Hooks You
This isn’t the show you put on while scrolling through Instagram. It’s the kind you watch, wonder about and then recap with your friends. The ambitious first episode includes trips through David’s psyche, memories and time jumps. Try and piece it all together, until the next episode comes along.