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October 7, 2015

Leverage: The Nigerian Job (series premiere)

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 8th 2008 12:08PM
Leverage Cast
Now that's what good television is all about. This slickly produced show managed to keep things light and fun in the world of high-stakes criminal espionage. It makes sense since executive producer Dean Devlin directed the pilot and slick and fancy is what he's all about. Certainly Independence Day got by on its look and feel rather than any great plotlines or dialogue. Devlin's production company has also been behind the very successful The Librarian series of films for TNT which are also very high on style.

If this pilot is anything to go by, it looks like Devlin and TNT will have reason to be pleased again. The pilot, presented with no commercial breaks, kept the momentum going from the opening sequence to the end. Timothy Hutton was effective in the lead role, but it's not like we slowed down long enough to get inside his head or anything. The closest we came was a twelve second heart-to-heart between him and Eliot leading into a flashback where we saw him watching through a door as his son died.

But it really doesn't matter, though, as that's not what the show is about. Sure it would be great to get to know these people a little bit more than we do at this point, but the fun of the show is in the execution of their plans and the outsmarting of their rich fat-cat enemies. I love the premise that it will be them taking on the rich and corrupt to help the little man who so often gets swept under the rug.

It's also fantastic how this team is a group of criminals and loners, save for Nate (Hutton). Okay, he's a criminal now but only after the corporate machine swept his son's life under the carpet. I like that as a motivation, and I really enjoyed the banter between the various members of the team. With Devlin having only directed this pilot, I'm curious and a little worried to see how the tone and presentation might shift in forthcoming installments.

There's potential for this premise to go years without getting stale. Hell, it could even handle cast changes and keep going. The strength of tonight's episode was in watching how they pulled off the original heist and then how they took down the fat cat who left them to die. And tonight they were flawless. While it would add an element of suspense if their plans didn't always go off nearly perfect, it's almost just as much fun to see how clever they are.

This is one of the better premieres I've seen in the last several years. My mind keeps going back to FX's short-lived 2006 series Thief with Andre Braugher. I enjoyed that show as well, but it seemed so much more somber and intense than Leverage. Maybe it's the era we're living in, but escapist fare seems a good fit these days, and Leverage seems to offer it in spades.

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Chip Douglas

I really like this show. Thief on FX was also great! I do hope that it catches on. I will watch it regularly.

I agree that it could be darker. The cast and the storyline give us the opportunity to explore these sort of topics.

I like this show a lot better than some of the other shows TNT has produced. They are finally giving FX and AMC a run for their (advertising) money.

December 09 2008 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Reading this blog was painful. Six paragraphs and you don't even give any description of the show or story. The whole thing was just fluff and trivia.

December 08 2008 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug Nelson

I enjoyed the show, and I hope it's a hit, but a break halfway through thanking Hyundai for airing the show without commercials is a commercial.

December 08 2008 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

loved it, cast had great chemistry and the direction and pacing was fast and crisp. Will be definitely watching this show.

December 08 2008 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
harry l smith jr

this show is going to be a big hit. hutton is superb and the cast of newbees will only get better. they all gell really good the casting dir gets an a plus. i can see a lot of possibilites to showcase each team member and explore there past more indepth. i also can see some big names doing guest appearances. all good actors love to be the bad guy every now and then. weel done TNT.

December 08 2008 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this show kicks ass....NBC you suck

December 08 2008 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I ended up re-watching part of the rerun an hour later with commercials. To give an idea of how much content the commercials took away from it. The entire police/hospital scene was gone, as was much of the bad actress stuff. Not sure if anything else was cut later on.

December 08 2008 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While I wasn't too happy with the latest Librarian escapade, Leverage definitely made up for it. Loved this premiere! Great cast, great writing with a plausible plot and neat turns and twists. Yes, I do hope we learn more about each individual as the series progresses. Those back stories are always neat to see. And I hope the great writing continues.

Leverage is now on my must-see list!

December 08 2008 at 1:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I suppose if I can't have a third season of "Hustle" (which this looks a lot like), I'll settle for this show.

December 08 2008 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watched this last night, not live, but I guess that wouldn't have mattered. I didn't know they had planned on airing it with no commercials.
This is the kind of TV that keeps me giving money to the cable company. With any luck the ratings will be there so TNT will let it ride out a very long life.

December 08 2008 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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