Smack in the middle of March, Spring Break came along and I was able to catch up on all the television I missed over the semester. With my Hulu subscription, I watched some old episodes of Cartoon Network’s amusing, yet at times dry, Regular Show and the surprisingly good We Bare Bears. I tried my best to catch up in Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and continued my attempt to finish Tina Fey’s 30 Rock – I’m only on S02E09 after almost a year of beginning the series. My efforts to watch more episodes of these shows failed mainly because I was engulfed in the worlds of two brilliant pieces of television. They happened to be FX’s Legion and Cartoon Network’s Samurai Jack.
To any frequent reader here at 4therace, you probably know that I absolutely love USA’s Mr. Robot. Every element of Mr. Robot is unique to television from its acting, to its directing, cinematography/framing, and non-linear storytelling. Never had I thought that a show would be as artistically nuanced as Mr.Robot’s second season until I began watching Legion, FX’s latest drama that exists in the same universe as Fox’s X-Men. Legion follows David Haller who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child and resides in psychiatric hospice care. The truth is that David is in fact a mutant, like the X-Men, and what has been labeled as mental illness for the entirety of his life is actually his psychic powers trying to take form. David, being the son of Charles Xavier – this is not explored in the show- is tasked with fighting off the government who wish to exploit his powers. David’s biggest obstacle of all happens to be himself ,or more specifically, a “parasite” that has latched onto his conscious since he was a child.
Due to this parasite, David has difficulty trusting his own memories and thoughts making him a little of the rails. The directors of Legion, similar to Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail, beautifully encapsulate the defragmented mind of David Haller. Sometimes the aspect ratio of the show changes at certain times for no explicable reason. Camera angles are daring yet unique. Episodes don’t pick off at the exact point in time as the preceding one, and with that, every episode stands alone through nuance in its direction, cinematography, framing, music selection, and editing. If the artistic side of Legion will not gravitate you, then surely it’s mind boggling storyline, unique characters, and outstanding action sequences will.
Samurai Jack is back, better, and more violent in its sleekly animated 5th season on Cartoon Network. Unfortunately when I watched the first episode to premiere in over 16 years I didn’t have a full understanding of what was going on. Samurai Jack was a show that I watched religiously as a young kid, but my knowledge of the universe washed away with age. Nonetheless, like David Haller, a core of information on the universe is stored away in my subconscious so I decided to rewatch the show from season 1 to refresh my memory.
For those in the same state of mind as myself, or who have no knowledge on the hit at all, Samurai Jack sees the eponymous hero flung into the future by the evil shadowy figure Aku. The world in the future is engulfed in Aku’s darkness and it is up to our hero, Jack, to get back to the past and undo the destruction of the villain. Still, in season 5, Jack is stuck in the future and endlessly fights a ray of Aku’s villains with hope to one day bring him down and restore peace. Samurai Jack was originally intended for younger audiences, but season 5 has “upped” its mature content heightening both the universe and predicament Jack faces. Jacked has aged a little, and the show has logically “aged” its content for its originally viewers who are currently young adults. If you are a fan of the series, I can not encourage you more to not only watch the latest season but revisit the older seasons to re-explore the brilliant universe that is Samurai Jack.
What do you think about Legion and Samurai Jack? What are some shows that you returned to or began watching in March? Let me know in the comments below.