(S02E12) "[Nathan's] drinking is not a problem. It's a symptom." - Eliot to Tara
Action dramas don't have to be so layered. As long as the screen is filled with lots of explosions and tough guys with their backs to them, smirking at the camera as if to say, "Oh yeah, that's an explosion behind me and I caused it. I'm a badass, even if I would face federal charges for detonating an explosive device in a public area. So who out there wants to sleep with me?"
Even though this week's Leverage had a couple of moments like that, it still managed to be more layered in both its plot and characters than it has a right to be.
The second season saw them lose their stately headquarters and tackle these jobs in a much more street level fashion, and in several ways the show got better. At the same time, rather than the heist always taking center stage, at times it was our five characters that shone brightest.
By that I'm referring to the quirks of their individual personalities, because we haven't gotten a great deal of character development this season. The banter and camaraderie within the crew gives us some great lines and moments each week, though. Now that a third season is secured, I'd like to see the character arcs for those great personalities pick up again.
Hutton stars as Nathan Ford, a former insurance investigator leading a team of thieves and con artists who balance the scales when ordinary people fall victim to corrupt politicians, authorities and corporations.
The show co-stars Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge as Ford's less than reputable teammates.
As Leverage approaches its second season premiere July 15, Hutton connected with TV Squad to share his hopes for the show.
Have you seen TNT's new show, Leverage yet? It's been called a new age A-Team, but I see it more as a lighthearted combination of Ocean's 11, Alias, Burn Notice and even How I Met Your Mother.
In fact, I'm willing to go out on a limb and state in no uncertain terms that Leverage is the best new show to premiere this season. I would have given the title to The Mentalist previous to Leverage's premiere, but since then, it has continued to steal my heart a little more each week.
What makes Leverage the best new show this season? In no particular order ...
Random House defines outrageous as highly unusual or unconventional; extravagant; remarkable. It's as though they've been watching TV, and wrote their definition to fit some of the crazy characters on television shows today.
Oh, don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. I love these larger-than-life characters, played to perfection by the talented actors who grace these roles. Some fit in perfectly with their surroundings, others stand out like a sore thumb amongst castmates. One thing they all have in common, though, is that watching them is pure entertainment.
Patrick Jane (played by Simon Baker on The Mentalist)
Jane doesn't quite have the social graces to blend into society, and that's why I love him. The frumpy suits, the obnoxious antics, and the constant pushing of the envelope make for some good TV. From card counting in the casino to reading Lisbon's mind; hypnotizing suspects to making a sandwich in a victim's home, Jane's done it all. Unconventional, to say the least.
(S01E02) "The world doesn't work this way." --Dr. Laroque
"Then change the world." --Nathan Ford
Oh, I really do like this show. It looks like the fine folks behind Leverage are going to use this platform to "expose" the kinds of corporate corruption that we all know are there but may just not be able to prove. As established over the past several years, a lot of these bastards at the top of the corporate world are just as bad, if not worse, than the common street criminal. In fact, I'm going to go with worse. Tonight's target: Castleman, a company that provides a private "army" to the U.S. Government. You know, Blackwater.
In keeping with the Robin Hood concept, the idea behind this heist is to ensure that PFC Dwight Caplan can get the rehab he needs to get out and start working. The kid's not looking for a handout, just a fare shake in life. And since it was Castleman, and not insurgent fire, who took that away from him, he's looking for justice. Which is what Leverage is all about.
Leverage delivered TNT's best ratings for the 18-49 demo for an original series aired during a regular broadcast season. That means we'll probably see a lot more of Timothy Hutton and crew gracing our tubes in 2009. Fans of good TV everywhere should be celebrating.
I mostly tuned into Leverage to see Christian Kane, who I loved as the scheming Lindsey McDonald on Joss Whedon's Angel. Kane plays Eliot Spencer on Leverage, a dude who could make Jason Bourne cry "uncle!" with his amazing hand-to-hand combat skills. Kane was only one of the things I liked about this show. The entire cast was great, especially Hutton, and the whole A-Team meets Ocean's 11 thing really worked for me.
(S01E01) 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.
I've said it before, I'm a sucker for a series that casts actors from my favorite shows. It's really all it takes to get me to watch something at least once. I suppose that means I'm going to have to give Leverage at least a three episode run. Look at that cast photo. Christian Kane from Angel, Gina Bellman from Coupling, and Aldis Hodge from Friday Night Lights. And as a bonus, Timothy Hutton. That's a pretty good start.
If that's not enough, one of the executive producers is John Rogers. TNT lists him as being from Cosby, but I remember him for writing and producing one of the best pilots that didn't go to series that I've ever seen, Global Frequency.
(S01E22) Don't believe everything you're foretold. -- Angel
Finally! After 21episodes, the death of Doyle, the introduction of Wolfram & Hart, Cordelia's visions, Wesley's partnership with Angel Investigations, and the appearances of Spike, Faith and Buffy (twice), we come to end of season one of Angel. During this first season we watched Angel become the undead hero of Los Angeles. In that time he became the enemy of Wolfram & Hart, a partner with Charles Gunn and his rag-tag team of vamp hunters, and the object of hate by Detective Kate Lockley (whom Angel pretty much tells off this episode. Good for him!). So, in this 22nd episode you would think that Angel and his crew would rest on their laurels and take a well-needed break.
Nope. In fact, totally the opposite. As they say on television, after this episode nothing is the same. So, read on to find out why.
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