The X-Men Get Into The TV Game With LEGION And HELLFIRE

Fox brings the mutants to your living room.

People talk about superhero burnout in cinema, but I don't see it happening. They're still rare enough to feel special. But on TV? That's another matter. There are a lot of superhero shows on TV, and more coming all the time. And that's just with the Marvel Studios and DC properties - now Fox is getting in on the gold rush. 

Here's the rub: they're actually bringing interesting concepts to TV. For FX they have Legion lined up, with Fargo (the TV version) creator Noah Hawley involved. I'm no fan of the character of Legion - Charles Xavier's irritating and mentally ill son - but I keep getting told that the latest title starring him, X-Men: Legacy is quite good, so I may give that a shot. Still, having your show be about a totally crazy mutant with 200 personalities... each of which are Omega Level Mutants (ie, the most powerful imaginable) and each of which have their own power sets. It's only his profound mental illness that keeps Legion from becoming God, more or less. 

The other show is Hellfire, and that's for Fox Network. That show will be kind of a spin-off of X-Men: First Class (although it's unclear if these are going to actually tie into the X-Universe in any way), with a young agent infiltrating the Hellfire Club in the swinging 60s. While I think a show about the Hellfire Club is a cool concept, especially set in the 60s, I'm a little skeptical of having the whole thing told from the POV of a doofus federal agent of some kind. Just make a soap opera about a group of wild and pervy mutants trying to take over the world!

Both of these shows are happening because Fox was able to strike a deal with Marvel; their ownership of the X-characters extended only to the movies previously. Marvel had to give their blessing and cooperation for this. Some online have decided this means Marvel Studios will be getting the X-Men back for some reason, but if anything this means the opposite - it only solidifies Fox being in the X-game for a long time (and Bryan Singer being along as well, as he's exec producing both shows). Could Fox have handed something else back, like Fantastic Four? Again, doubtful. This just feels like a money deal from where I'm sitting. Marvel couldn't really do anything with the X-characters on TV anyway (see the Mutant X lawsuit), so why not take cash from Fox as they try to figure out TV series for these guys? 

Again, what's interesting is that Fox is using less popular, less well-known characters and going with offbeat concepts. Legion will probably barely feel like a superhero show (but I bet it feels like Mr. Robot!), while who knows what Hellfire will be like. I'll be following the development of these shows with great interest.