Let me tell you why I love Leverage

26 Jul

So the fifth season of TNT’s Leverage is off to a fine start and now that the hullabaloo of SDCC has died down, I can move on to discussing new topics- which translates to: I want to talk to y’all about my love for Leverage. If you don’t know the show, I hope this post will entice you check it out. If you do… I hope you will post your thoughts. Love to chat with some other fans.

 

When I lived in Chicago in the fall of ’07 I heard that Christian Kane was in town filming a new pilot. I was intrigued for a few reasons- 1) I adore Christian and have to check out each role he does (even the ones that make my head hurt), 2) The Dark Knight had been filming in Chicago all summer and it had been a lot of fun randomly coming upon their filming, so it amused me that I might randomly come up on this show filming (I did not, but the amusement at the possibility was still there)(though i do recognize most places in the pilot episode), and 3) what I heard the show was about peaked my interest- basically a robin hood gang (I’ve always loved the Robin Hood myth). So I kept my ears open for when the show would premiere.

Turned out- that it would be almost a year til I was able to see the show and by then, the Robin Hood aspect had been revamped a touch, made more into a group that takes down those individuals and companies that hurt other people (usually for profit). The group doesn’t make money off their doings and most of the team have criminal records a mile long… So the idea that the lead characters were all damaged or lost to society appealed to me. (I know, I’m sick in the head.) Plus… Christian Kane gets to beat people up. Who doesn’t want to see that?

Timothy Hutton, an academy award winner actor whose name and face I knew but couldn’t place (I have since become a huge fan… but at the time I was pathetically unaware), leads the cast as Nate Ford- the mastermind behind the operations. A former insurance guy, Nate suffered a tragic loss that basically decimated his family and career leaving him at loose ends at the start of the series. Nate is the only member of the team without a criminal history (at least… at the start of the series). Initially, Nate teams up with Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), a computer hacker extraordinaire; Elliot Spencer (Kane), a retrieval expert (i.e. ass kicker); and Parker (Beth Riesgraf), a thief; however, the team isn’t complete until Nate recruits Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), a grifter (con-person). I won’t give too much away, but essentially the team goes around helping out those in need- taking down those companies (or individuals) who have done something wrong and squashed the little people in their quest for wealth or power.

The team behind the show includes creators John Rogers and Chris Downey and executive producer, Dean Devlin. Come on? Seriously? With this team, plus the amazing cast, how can you go wrong? Well… in my opinion you can’t. Not only are the episodes strong and the performances spot on (humor, action, drama, you name it- this show has it!), but the crew puts the effort into getting things right. That stuff they do with their cellphones? Totally possible. Parker’s light touch as a thief? Consultant Apollo Robbins taught her and Beth does the lifts herself. You think there’s stunt guys faking the beatings? Kane’s added new scars kicking ass for the show- according to commentaries, his stunt guy has the cushiest job in the business and drinks a lot of coffee.

Not only do they have a consultant explaining how to pull off the cons or lifts, but the research done to create bad guys uses actual stories as a base. You think that real estate scam sounds familiar? That’d be because you just read about someone going to prison for attempting it. There is so much quality work done to make this show something that people are excited to tune in to- I’ll be honest, I don’t have TV (let alone cable) but I subscribe to this one online. And I watch my DVDs a couple times a year. This show does not get old! (Also… Kane kicks ass so well… it’s always a pleasure to watch those fight scenes.)( Yes, I have issues, shut up.)

Let’s go steal… a list. The top 5 things I love about Leverage:

(in no particular order… written as they came to me)

#1- “Damnit, Hardison“. If you’ve seen the show, you understand. If not… let me link you to a video that explains.

#1b- because I had to add- Parker. She just APPEARS. How on earth does she get into the places she gets into? love it!

#2- The Sophie/Nate and Parker/Hardison ‘ships. No spoilers, really. But I’m really enjoying this. (also, this usually leads to moments of Elliot’s romantic side, which is AWESOME!)

#3- The team is a family. Both on and off screen, apparently. On-screen, from the first episode there is a dynamic of Nate and Sophie as the bickering, yet happy parents and Elliot, Parker, and Hardison as the squabbling kids. Even if the dynamic has altered throughout the series, this essential family unit has remained. Elliot is clearly the big brother and has to keep his eye on the lil kids (and the parents… never know what trouble they might get into!). Hardison is the middle child, complete with big sibling envy and feelings of sadness over not being the baby. And Parker… clearly the youngest. She’s the sibling that needs the most guidance; but also, she’s the kid that has no worries because the family is always there to catch her (whether she realizes it or not).

#4- Guest stars. From Mark Sheppard as the re-occurring Sterling to Wil Wheaton as Chaos and the fantastic Tom Skerritt… this show has pulled in fantastic guest cast (even the locals in the “bit” parts have been killer!). In fact, I’ve only disliked one person on the show (always has to happen, right? I despised Kristin Kreuk on Smallville for YEARS)- Elisabetta Canalis. I found her stilted and… awful. Can I be honest? Awful. She was awful. And made season 3 a little tougher to watch. But! I persevered and the arc of that season was worth the pain. I’m sorry… some people probably love her. Oops. Oh, and John Schneider! Man, his character… *shudder* When I met John in 2011 I told him that I’d adored him from Dukes of Hazzard, through Smallville, but his Leverage role just broke me. He’s papa Kent! He’s supposed to be awesome not scary! This led to a comforting hug.

#5- Alright… I admit it… The Elliot fight scenes. In particular the end of season 3

Alright… there you have it. My take on Leverage. Season 5 is off to a great start and I’m already pondering the arc that has been hinted at. Cannot wait to see where it goes.

Ya know… it’d be fun to snag a quick interview with any of the cast and crew… maybe just some random questions. Don’t you think? I’ll need to see if anyone is interested in playing…

Oh and a final note… considering the list of delightful guest stars who’ve been on the show- I’d like to see Nicholas Brendon and/or J. August Richards make an appearance. But I’m biased to them and their fabulousness. I’m not wrong though… they’d be awesome. Just sayin’.

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25 Responses to “Let me tell you why I love Leverage”

  1. TBex July 28, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    I totallly agree with you…hated the Italian bird from the moment I laid eyes on her. Other than that…I still totally agree with you! Love everything about the show…its the one show I NEVER miss!

    • elizabeth ann July 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      I know, right? she was wretched. And it wasn’t the character- it was her. So weird. Anyways… glad you enjoyed my take. Thanks for commenting! Hope you visit the site again. 🙂 Never know when I might post more on this, haha!

  2. Sue Bastiani July 28, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    We love this show too….I was a big big fan of Timothy’s dad, Jim Hutton, who died too young. Then Ordinary People came along and he hooked me good. Timothy became the youngest actor to win a supporting actor Academy Award! What a job he did. Leverage intrigued me at first because it was filmed in Portland,OR just 80 miles or so from us. I love Hardison, Parker, all of the crew! Remember seeing Elliot somewhere before…will Wikipedia him. They are all so quirky and fun and tough! Sure hope others find this show!

    • elizabeth ann July 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      Don’t you just love when a show you enjoy is filmed near you? I’d never had it happen til I lived in Chicago- now I live in L.A. and it’s a daily occurrence that frequently drives me batty. I just watched Ordinary People (I was very little when it came out) last fall- fantastic film! And yet another reason to adore Tim! Christian (Elliot) was on Angel, perhaps that is where you recognize him? Anyway- thanks for your comment! Please feel free to visit the site again! We are always posting random nerdy topics and checking out shows!

  3. Mickey July 28, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    I agree with everything! (Well, except about Kristin Kreuk. But then I started watching Smallville in season 4 and couldn’t understand what fangirls had against Lana. Then I went back and saw seasons 1-3 and I got it. I hate it when female characters are written only to be the eye candy, object of desire and damsel in distress, and that’s the way she was written in the first three seasons. But I agree about Elisabetta Canalis. Thankfully she is the only flaw, and a minor one, in four completely awesome seasons.)

    Leverage is one of those shows where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Not only is each actor perfectly cast and each character perfectly written, but when you put them all together as a team the chemistry is just off the charts.

    The writing is stellar as well. Not only are they making something that is highly entertaining, but they are using real-life bad guys and crimes and problems ripped from the headlines, so it adds depth and substance to all the unabashed fun. It’s just a joy to watch. The friends I lent my DVDs to all agree–they power through them five episodes at a time and then e-mail me to say “WE NEED MORE LEVERAGE ASAP.”

    • elizabeth ann July 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      I really wanted to like Kristin Kreuk. I tried. But all she did was get captured and whine. And then when she tried to get a backbone, it was too little too late. (I should mention that I just saw her in a panel at SDCC and she tried so hard to present herself as an empowered woman… it was like a little girl in mom’s clothes, made me sad) But I had my Chloe and that made those first years on Smallville bearable. Anyways… I wish it was that Elisabetta’s character was at fault for her failure, but I feel it was the actress. I’ve rewatched the series several times and I just fast forward through must of her scenes now. So sad to miss Tim’s performances but… better than having to sit through her.

      We really do need more Leverage. It should be a full 22 ep season, with bonus eps- every year! Though per twitter posts… I think John Rogers may hurt me if I were to demand that. Ha!

      Please feel free to visit our site again! Never know when Leverage may present itself again… we do love our nerdy topics here. 🙂

  4. Jenn July 28, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    You are not alone in your love for Leverage (and especially Christian). I started watching the show because of CK and Tim but quickly fell in love with the entire crew. Every episode gets better then the other and everything about this is tight. The guest stars are honestly 2nd to none (well except for Elisabetta.. yikes)! The way season 5 has started off it just might be the best one yet. I can’t even understand why TNT hasn’t announced a 6th season. Are they crazy? Do they not realize the power and love of the Kaniacs?
    Thanks again for the fantastic article!

    • elizabeth ann July 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      So glad that I’m not alone! It’s always more fun to share the love with others. And haha! I love that I am not the only one who hated Elisabetta.

      TNT really should just calm everyone down and renew the show already. The fan love is there- and they’ve been so great about respecting that. Though I hear there wasn’t as obvious of a marketing campaign this season… And there was no SDCC panel- even though the season premiered on the last day of con! 😦

      Hope you pop by the site again! We love to hear from readers and you never know what nerdy topic we’re going to discuss next!

  5. huttonfan July 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    yes they are leverage forever and ever @huttonfan

  6. Carmen Walsh July 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    I too am one of those people without cable and have resorted to iTunes to get my Leverage fix…its goood to know there is others like that out there

    • elizabeth ann July 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      I am so glad that options exist! Remember when something came on and we didn’t have Hulu or Netflix or iTunes? Had to wait months-years for a recording to be available! Ugh.

      🙂

  7. Jeannette July 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Thanks for the great supportive article. Many of us are on a campaign to steal a season 6.

  8. Patricia July 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Loved it!!!! PLEASE DO send it to the tnt people…they are giving us a very hard time maaking us beg for a season 6… You clearly know what are you talking about. Beautiful article and one of the most accurates descriptions of plot and characters ever!

    • elizabeth ann July 29, 2012 at 1:26 am #

      Awww, thank you for the wonderful compliments! Hopefully, someone who isn’t me (as the author) has tweeted or facebooked or emailed the link to TNT and their people- as the author of the post, I don’t like the idea of shamelessly promoting like that (but I love others sharing for me, LOL). Please visit my site again! Never know when my or my crews ramblings may lead to another topic you’re interested in (or even revisit *cough*Leverage*cough* one we’ve already covered).

  9. Dianne July 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Hi there! It was nice reading your take on one of the best shows ever! Season 4 is just showing here in Asia, really behind, but like you said, the story doesn’t get old. I agree on everything, maybe not so much on the Italian though… I don’t like her, but I don’t hate her, I don’t know what to make of her… Either way, the Leverage gang never ceases to amaze me with their wit and clever cons.

    I also love the action! Elliot with guns was a pleasant treat. (I guess you are not the only one sick in the head. 😉) On the other hand, I also enjoy the Hardison-Parker relationship. They are weird but also very sweet. I’ve been watching out for them since season 1 and I’m still excited to see where it’ll lead to.

    It was also my first time to read about the research that goes on behind the series. Now i know why everything seems credible in the show. Thanks for mentioning that in your article.

    You’re article did justice to the show (otherwise Dean Devlin wouldn’t share this via twitter). Good job and cheers to more seasons of our beloved show Leverage. 🎥📺💻

    • elizabeth ann July 29, 2012 at 1:29 am #

      oh! Such kind comments! Thank you! And OMG! You have such a good season ahead for you! YAY!

      I remember seeing something about the research and ideas behind things way back as the first season was airing. And then it came out that Apollo was on twitter- I used to follow him but he never tweets anymore- and I caught him once and asked him about things. Then, if you watch the DVD commentaries, they often talk about the research and tech. I think John Rogers covers it on his blog, as well. Fascinating stuff!

      Please free to drop my site again! Never know when we may touch on a topic you enjoy, too. 🙂

  10. Lori July 29, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    It’s all been said and more. Living about 45 miles from downtown Portland, it’s nice that you sometimes wander past a street of trucks and know there is Leverage filming nearby.

    We really enjoy the tweets and updates that come along during filming. I’ve never know of a cast or crew that keeps us so well informed. Due to that, we know they usually film until late August, and get the news they were renewed during the filming of the last one or two episodes. This year, no breaks, extra work on weekends and a major push to finish early, and they are out town weeks early and before knowing if they’ll be back. This has made us all a little anxious about a season six.

    In June, John Rogers informed us that writing snail mail far exceeded tweets, email, and other electronic media. Many of us are writing postcards, letters, and promoting this effort on our own pages and blogs. An effort to write to sponsors (ok, you can use email for this) is also underway. There have been a couple of addresses posted, but I like the one that meanders through the TNT offices so everyone gets to know how much we love Leverage. Anyone reading, please join in this week, a post card is .32 and can tip the balance on renewal:

    Turner Broadcasting/ TNT/ Leverage
    One CNN Center
    Atlanta, Georgia 30303

    • elizabeth ann July 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      Yeah, I thought they were done awfully early this year. But you’re right, they didn’t take any breaks- I recall in years past that there would be a little time off here and there. Hmmm…

      Thank you for providing all the great info on who to contact! While I love twitter etc and they do open the eyes of people, getting the physical evidence will always have a greater effect on the big wigs. Do you remember the Hot Sauce mailings during the Roswell renewal campaign? Or, I think it was Peanuts, used for Jericho? Physical evidence will always carry more weight. So thanks for posting the address!

      And please, pop by the site again. Never know when we might touch on a topic you enjoy or come back to this one!

  11. alikitty619 July 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Completely agree. This show means the world to me. I have so many friends and amazing memories associated w/ Leverage. I LOVE this show. And I have the tattoo to prove it.

  12. Cubex September 2, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    As a true geek/Nerd – I have love in descending order, Harrison, Parker, Eliot, Sofie then Nate.
    Cell phone and computer mastery forever! Where’s my wallet?! – It’s all about the soft touch.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] it’d probably be easier if I could afford cable. I mean, it’s tough enough to catch Leverage! But… I’ll work on […]

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    […] smart stories. We see this in the US on some shows that get a shorter run (for instance… Leverage). I think the 22 episode season stretches some shows out too much. Mind you, I enjoy having more […]

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