Legion has premiered, and the reviews are in: You don’t want to miss this one.
FX’s new superhero series tells the story of David Haller (Dan Stevens), aka Legion — an extremely powerful mutant whose great abilities also cause severe mental distress. Without getting into too much comic book backstory, this X-Men spin-off has the potential to turn a relatively minor Marvel villain into a superstar.
There’s only one problem for cord cutters: Because there’s no stand-alone FX streaming service, watching the show in real time isn’t easy, and watching it after it airs isn’t cheap. Still, if the first episode was an indicator of how good the rest of the season will be, you won’t want to wait until Legion shows up on a subscription service.
Luckily, while there’s no inexpensive way to stay current on Legion, there are much cheaper options than a cable or satellite subscription. If you want to see where David’s incalculable mutant powers take him next, here’s how to do it.
Cable Replacement Services
The simplest way to watch Legion is to have access to the FX network. As such, a cable replacement service is the most straightforward way to watch Legion. DirecTV Now, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue all offer FX as part of their basic packages: $35 per month for DirecTV Now, $25 per month for Sling Blue and $40 per month for PlayStation Vue. The exact roster of compatible devices varies, but you can access the three services on a variety of mobile devices, computers, streaming media players and game consoles.
The only word of warning here is that Sling TV and DirecTV Now offer mostly live TV, so you’ll have to carve time out of your schedule to watch the show at 10 p.m. every Wednesday night. (Both services have a small selection of curated on-demand content; whether Legion will make the cut has yet to be seen.) PlayStation Vue, on the other hand, has DVR features, which may make its higher price worthwhile for viewers who have other commitments at that time.
A La Carte Services
If you can wait a day, the cheapest way to follow Legion in more-or-less real time is to buy the episodes on à la carte services the day after they air. Without going into an exhaustive list of every service out there, mainstays like Amazon Video, Google Play and iTunes offer episodes for streaming or download one day after they debut on TV. Each episode costs $3 in high definition or $2 in standard definition, although you can save some dough by purchasing a season pass ($20 HD, $15 SD).
Considering Legion will take a few months to complete its first season, à la carte is much cheaper than a cable replacement service, assuming that Legion is the only cable show you want to watch. You’ll have to get pretty adept at dodging spoilers, though, especially once the show gets going and the plot twists start coming in earnest. (If you’ve read the X-Men comics, you know that there are a few bombshells about Legion’s lineage that aren’t going to stay hidden for long.)
MORE: Best Streaming Devices
Although FX doesn’t have a stand-alone service, it does have a streaming app: FXNow. The catch: You have to subscribe to a cable or satellite service in order to log in. On the plus side, it means you can watch Legion on demand, on a wide variety of streaming gadgets, from phones to game consoles.
For those who want to watch Legion on their own time but can’t stomach the idea of paying for a cable or satellite subscription just for app access, there is a slightly cheaper workaround. Both Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are legitimate providers for the FXNow app, so you can log in with your Sling or Vue credentials the same way you would if you had a full-fledged cable or satellite subscription. DirecTV now has no such option, nor is it guaranteed to get one.
If you can’t watch Legion…
If none of these options are feasible, there is one other streaming service that can help you get your Legion fix: Marvel Unlimited. Although Marvel Unlimited streams comic books, not TV shows, this is where you can experience the character’s full arc, from his mid-’80s debut up to his recent return in the modern day.
Marvel has already compiled a handy list of Legion comics to describe more about the character who’s part hero, part villain and all-powerful. Personally, I wouldn’t miss Legion Quest, which kicked off the Age of Apocalypse, one of the most epic and memorable crossover events in X-Men history. Without spoiling anything: Legion finds himself caught between Professor X and Magneto, and the resulting confrontation is about as explosive as you’d expect.
Photo credit: FX