Star Trek Guide

Legends of Tomorrow: Every Genre Parody In Season 5

Legends of Tomorrow spent season 5 playing around with different genres, with most episodes doing an homage or outright parody of various TV and movie genres. Since its second season, Legends has been among the most light-hearted and irreverent shows in the Arrowverse, willing to poke fun at itself in a way that many shows don’t.

Being a time travel show with a largely episodic structure, Legends of Tomorrow has tackled many different genres before. Some of the most beloved episodes fit this mold, such as season 3’s “Here We Go Again”, a Groundhog Day-esque time loop episode, or season 4’s “Legends of To-Meow-Meow”, referencing shows like The A-Team, Charlie’s Angels, and Sesame Street.

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However, season 5 took Legends of Tomorrow’s genre references to another level, with most episodes including at least some genre parodies. Here’s every episode that parodied a TV or movie genre throughout season 5.

Meet the Legends (Mockumentary)

In the first episode after “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, the Legends are famous from what happened at the end of season 4. This leads to “Meet the Legends”, where Ava invites a documentary crew onto the Waverider, creating an episode with a feeling somewhere between The Office and What We Do in the Shadows. The end of the episode plays with the documentary format by having the Legends “reveal” everything to be fake at the end, including several pot-shots at some of the elements of season 4 that fans had issues with.

Slay Anything (Slasher movies)

While the title brings to mind Say Anything and teen romantic comedies in general, Legends of Tomorrow's “Slay Anything” is much more a reference to teen slasher movies. The Legends have to go back in time to deal with the subtly named “Freddy Meyers”, who is not only named after the A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween killers, but also has Carrie-like telekinetic powers and goes on a rampage at his school’s prom. Sara and Ava, both horror movie fans, get the thrill of being the “final girls” left after the monster (actually Freddy’s mother, a twist from Friday the 13th) has taken out everyone else.

Mortal Khanbat (Hong Kong Action Movies)

“Mortal Khanbat”, featuring a revived Genghis Khan trying to take over Hong Kong in 1997, was a very obvious reference to Hong Kong action movies of that era. Most noticeably, the bar shootout, complete with a dove flying through the air, is a reference specifically to John Woo, one of the best-known directors of that style of movie.

Mr. Parker’s Cul-De-Sac (Children’s Television)

As the name suggests, “Mr. Parker’s Cul-De-Sac” doesn’t even try to hide that it’s a parody of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, from the supporting cast down to the sweaters that Mr. Parker wears. Mr. Parker is more of a twisted, tired version of Mister Rogers, with scenes shown of him drinking on the job or turning weird DC comic references into picking fights with his producers. That isn’t the only children’s TV show parodied, as Nate appears in a short scene as the sun taken straight out of Teletubbies.

Romeo v Juliet: Dawn of Justness (Shakespeare and Superhero Movies)

“Romeo v Juliet: Dawn of Justness” takes the Legends back to Shakespeare’s times, where they get into a bar fight and accidentally inspire him to write his plays to be more like superhero stories. The parody in this episode is actually much more directed at superhero movies, with the fights and stories around superhero elements being over the top and exaggerated. The presentation of Shakespeare, including the Legends’ performance of Romeo and Juliet, is quite grounded and faithful to the original.

Freaks and Greeks (College Party Movies)

While the title of the episode is based on Freaks and Geeks, the Legends of Tomorrow episode “Freaks and Greeks” is much more based on college party movies, such as Animal House and Van Wilder. The “Greeks” in the title isn’t just a reference to the episode’s use of sororities and fraternities, but also the presence of Dionysis, the Greek god of wine, here presented as the “party god” at Hudson University, Dick Grayson’s college. Fittingly for a college party story, the episode even ends on a climactic beer pong match.

I Am Legends (Zombie Apocalypse)

“I Am Legends” sees Legends of Tomorrow parody zombie apocalypse movies, down to a zombie that resembles Night of the Living Dead director George Romero. Despite the title, the zombie apocalypse isn’t that similar to I am Legend, but instead caused by Atropos’ magic. The tone of the episode is also lighter, more like Shaun of the Dead, up until things get really dark at the end.

The One Where We’re Trapped on TV

“The One Where We’re Trapped on TV”, Legends of Tomorrow season 5, episode 13, is packed with genre references and parodies, as the title indicates. The first one isn’t from any of the shows-within-the-show, but the framing story for those shows. Now that the Fates have control of the Loom, they’ve managed to get rid of free will completely. This allows them to impose a 1984-style dystopia on the world, removing people’s free will and brainwashing them to see any and all acts of free will as betrayal.

The first show-within-a-show parody is Ultimate Buds. Nate, Zari, and Behrad star in a parody not only of multi-camera sitcoms, but Friends specifically, from the laugh track and exaggerated sitcom acting all the way down to the set being very obviously modeled on the Friends set but different enough to be lawyer-friendly. Next is Highcastle Abbey, a British period drama that’s very obviously referencing Downton Abbey. Constantine, Astra, and Astra’s mother Natalie are stuck in this show, with Astra playing a noblewoman and Constantine playing her butler, though he still retains his ability to do magic.

The rest of the cast is in Star Trip, an obvious parody of Star Trek. Sara and Ava are co-captains of the U.S.S. Waverider, playing obvious analogues of Kirk and Spock, down to the mannerisms and verbal ticks. Mick is also alive in this show, playing Dahn, the show’s equivalent of Khan. In addition to all of the new genre parodies, this episode also features a return to Mr. Parker’s Cul-De-Sac towards the end of the episode.

Swan Thong (Brave New World-style Dystopia)

While it seems like the Legends win with Sara killing Atropos early in “Swan Thong”, their victory is temporary. They go to the future to find the Fates still have control, with Lachesis having developed Fatewatch, technology that people chose to use rather than having to give in to free will. This is still a dystopia like in the previous episode, but one more inspired by Brave New World, where people choose repression rather than having it forced on them.

Season 5 of Legends of Tomorrow was full of genre references and parodies across most of its episodes, from the extremely obvious to the subtle. With next season having more focus on aliens after Sara’s abduction at the end of season 5, that’s likely to continue into season 6, just with likely more of a sci-fi skew to the genres parodied.