Legends of Tomorrow has never been afraid to get meta and weird, so, of course, their penultimate episode is them getting stuck in TV Land. Sort of.
In order to save her friends from her sisters, Charlie (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) has them scattered through several different television shows: a Friends riff called Ultimate Buds, a Downton Abbey nod called Highcastle Abbey, and, of course, the obligatory Star Trek rip-off, Space Trip. (Given the time travel premise of Legends, I’m surprised there’s no Doctor What in the mix.)
The episode, entitled “The One We’re Trapped on TV”, also marks the directorial debut of Marc Guggenheim, Arrowverse producer. Guggenheim talked with EW about the episode in which he admitted that he was feeling some “professional malaise” and DC TV god, Greg Berlanti, thought directing would be a good kick in the pants.
“At the time, it felt like going to someone and saying, ‘I need to lose weight’ and them telling you, ‘Great, you know what you need to do? Take piano lessons.’ I didn’t connect doing something that scared me with shocking me out of my creative malaise, but it really, really did. It was one of the most rewarding creative experiences I’ve ever had.”
Guggenheim admitted that he had a ball digging into television history and know-how for the episode.
“Truth be told, all of the shows, I tried to shoot in the style of those shows. For Ultimate Buds, it’s multi-cam. For Mister Parker’s Cul-De-Sac, it’s two cameras but both sort of on these unilateral dollies. Downton Abbey, long lens, really rich lighting, but when you go into the kitchen with the servants, then you go handheld. With Star Trek, a lot of dolly, a lot of push-ins.”
And we also get to the Loom World that the Fates created as well, which is hella dystopia.
“The point of inspiration there was the movie Brazil by Terry Gilliam. So, [I] tried to look at the lighting, and the production design, and the camera moves of that movie. I took a little bit more liberty in the Loom-World stuff in terms of moving the camera just because I wasn’t specifically homaging, unlike the television shows.”
Guggenheim also promised that, as always, Legends will balance silliness with emotion to really let it land.
“There’s some scenes in there that are real tug-at-your heartstrings kind of moments, and they really gave me a chance to direct almost everything there is to direct — like comedy, visual effects, and competing styles, and different types of shows, and different types of emotional moments. It’s kind of all in there. It was in boot camp.”
Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
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