Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys

To anyone who has even a passing knowledge of me, it should be obvious that I’m a big fan of the TNT show Leverage. Not only is Christian Kane (Angel) one of the stars, but it’s got action, humor, and incredible writing.

I started strong watching the show from the first, and loved it, and then of course, lost my cable. Fun times. It took me til mid Season 2 to catch up, then again, I fell behind.

Season 3 starts next month, so I knew I had to be caught up and knowledgeable. Especially since I finally caved and got television service again. Go Direct TV. Boo Charter cable.

This is primarily my thoughts on Season 2, but I’ll also have some tiny reflections on Season 1.

Leverage may be my favorite show on the air today. Above all else in a show, I appreciate humor, and this show has some of the greatest lines, and best sight gags, I’ve seen in quite some time.

The best part of the series is the fantastic cast. Other than Christian, I was most excited about Timothy Hutton. I was a Stephen King baby, started reading the books at age 9 and had the misfortune of seeing It at an even earlier age. But I also saw The Dark Half, and have had a very real soft spot for Hutton ever since. He would've been enough motivation for me to tune in for at least one episode.

As Nathan Ford, Hutton is PHENOMENAL. He plays the distanced-from-crime leader so well, with just the right amount of humor and wit. He is so believable as a brilliant criminal-but-not mind, I would be rather worried if I knew him in real life.

He's also brilliant at ripping my heart out and making my tear ducts bleed. Everytime they flashed back to the hospital scene with his son, I felt a little tug at the heart strings. Then at the end of Season 1, they showed more than just him screaming at the window. When he ran in and grabbed his son, I bawled. Like a wee little baby.

Then we have Parker. Beth Riesgraf is a truly gorgeous woman, and the warddrobe department does such a great job of keeping her under wraps until it's necessary to va va voom her up. She's beautiful on her own, but then they slap her into something skin tight, and that's when the jaws drop.

The character of Parker is so original. Yes, we've had the tough bad ass women who love to scale walls. But normally these women are also comfortable seducing evil princes and playing any role thrown at them. This isn't Parker. Parker is a thief, and that is all she wants to be. She doesn't like people, or money. All she cares about is the conquest. Thrown into a situation, she's awkward, acting the way she is "supposed to". Her bluntness is one of the greatest things to watch for. She also got the best flash cut of all of the characters, which was Horse vs. Clown.

I love the sparks that fly between her and Hardison. They are so very different, and the two who would never seem like a good pairing. But they just are. The extreme differences are what make the two so perfect and 'shippable.

Hardison is a fantastic character. He gets all of the greatest lines on the show, hands down. I live for his sarcastic quips in each episode, and his early exposition scenes. Even in the most horrific and high tense scenes, you can count on Hardison to come up with something brilliantly funny.

He is also best in costume. Nate, Hardison, and Elliot are all fantastic at "make believe", but Hardison always gets the best action. Whether it's as the crazed alien believer, WoW playing office drone, or everyone's favorite FBI agent, he grabs the role and makes it work. I'd never heard of Aldis Hodge before this show. Looking at his IMDB page, I see he's been in all of the shows I really love, including Castle and Bones. Then I was shocked as hell to discover he was in an episode of Buffy! Mind you, he was "Man in Mask", but still. Hilariously, I know exactly which Man in Mask he was. How sad is that?

Sophie is my throw-away character. When she's doing her shtick, she's brilliant and fun to watch. Gina Bellman is fantastic at different accents, and the flashbacks to her and Nate before he left the insurance company were wonderful. But of all the main cast, she's the one I could give or take. She doesn't do crazy, and she mostly plays straight man to everyone else. I like her well enough, but when she disappeared midway through the season, I didn't really miss her. Her re-appearance in the Season 2 finale was a VERY nice surprise, though.

It was obvious from the jump that they were moving toward a relationship between Nate and Sophie. And honestly, they do make a very great coupling. But I personally thought there was more than a few subtextual sparks between Sophie and Elliot. A few glances, a similar way of thinking. I'm not giving up on that hope, either.

Suppose I should talk about Elliot now, right?

I have more than a little crush on Mr Kane. I can't deny it. When he first appeared on Angel, he barely made a blip on my radar. Pretty eyes, gravely voice, but not a real stand out. Then his hair started growing long. And then I heard him sing. And I was a goner.

The character of Elliot is ideal for me. I am a big lover of choreography, and all of the most fantastic fight scenes in the show involve his character. The fight scenes on this show have such clean lines, and are just amazing to watch. I find myself bobbing my head to catch each angle. This is how fight scenes are supposed to be done.
Chef Badass
The human element to Elliot isn't as forth coming as it is with the other characters. We know he loves to cook. We know he liberated Croatia. And we know the chick from The Two Horse Job was More Than [He] Deserve[s]. It's not a lot. The episode I'm really looking forward to is where he gets to sing.

Hear that, Dean Devlin? Give the badass a guitar and LET HIM GO. Not that I wasn't appreciative for the baseball episode. My niece plays catcher on her softball team, so I look forward to having her watch that episode with me. She can learn some tips and tricks from his plate protection strategy.

With this cast, it's essentially impossible to hate this show. But add to it the amazing "jobs" that they get into with each episode, and you have fantastic plot lines and twists that you never see coming.

Each episode is a "Job". When I first heard this, I figured it was going to be an Italian Job wanna be. I do love that movie. And to my amazement, it's not a rip off of The Italian Job, it takes the twists of the movie and puts them into an hour long television program. This is what laymen refer to as Pretty Fucking Cool.

Watching this show is a treat and a half. I really wish it aired all year long. There's so much to see, so much to look forward to. You know that halfway through the episode, something is going to go wrong, and things will get twisted. And you know that even when it looks like they'll get busted, somehow there's something going on behind the scenes.

The exception being in the season finale, of course. In both Seasons 1 and 2, the finale flipped something on its head. Especially season 2. Despite being slightly spoiled by pictures from Tim Hutton via Twitter, I was shocked as hell by the ending. So wonderful.

I would not recommend jumping in to the show with the first episode of Season 3 (premiering June 20th! 9/8c!). Not because you wouldn't be able to catch on. I think you would be able to follow perfectly well. But rather, there is so much opportunity for being spoiled to wonderful surprises in the previous two seasons, and you really don't want to miss those.

I will be watching next month. Will you?

Favorite moment screencaps:

1 comment:

  1. postal4333 (Ann)May 17, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    It's so funny how much & agree with your characterizations. (Especially of Sophie). & your fav screen caps are some of mine too. I mean "guy liner" is the funniest thing ever but he was also kinda hot too. anyway this is a great piece of work--Thank you!!