Review: Leverage

The Cast of Leverage
Which one of these people is waaaay older than the rest?

I’ve been watching TNT’s Leverage for a while now. I’ve never been a big fan of TNT’s television line up, but tag lines like, “Get ready to get even,” and, “Sometimes villains make the best good guys,” had me hooked. If you can imagine what would happen if Burn Notice and Ocean’s Eleven got busy at some Hollywood coke party, then you’re well on your way to understanding Leverage completely. If that’s not enough, try to imagine that the party was thrown by the A-Team and you’re there … or you’re having an aneurysm right now. (Eat your heart out Erwin Schrödinger.)

So, does the show rock or does it suck?

Leverage is — officially — pretty good. It’s managed to hold my attention for more than a few episodes, which ain’t bad all by itself. Viewers rated it a 9.2 at and critics gave it a 69. (No jokes, please.) I’ll probably make it through the first season … no promises if I’ll stick around past that. That gives Leverage a firm “ehhhh” in the Atheist Geek’s rating system. (Not bad, but not great.)

The Bad

Leverage - FBI Moving and Storage
You’ll marvel as the cast of Leverage
helps the FBI move.

I like the show, but it’s far from my ideal. Like many other TV series, it really isn’t dark enough for me. Especially considering the fact that nearly all the main characters are supposed to be lowlifes and scumbags. Too bad they don’t deliver on that promise. These are definitely your kinder, gentler sort of thugs, thieves, and swindlers. Everything has been dulled down and predigested so the kids at home won’t get too scared. Darn those wussified TV execs! This is definitely your mom’s version of “bad guys,” so please try to suppress your giggles and sneers as the heroes open their hearts as wide as the villains are forced to open their wallets.

Gina got legs
Can Timothy Hutton
ring this Bellman?!?

Gina Bellman (who has respectable boobage by BBC standards) is Sophie Devereaux, a con artist so vile, so heinous, that she really just wants to be an award winning actress deep down inside. Yep. Can you feel the evil yet?? Oh, and she has the poor sense of judgement to fall in love with Timothy Hutton of all things. Like, whaaaaaaat? Note that Hutton, who plays Nathan Ford, is supposed to be “the good guy” ex-insurance claim investigator. Ford’s insurance company let his son die when they refused to pay for his medical treatment, so now Ford is a bitter wreck. Only it turns out that he’s actually a great and well adjusted guy so long as he’s kept busy helping the innocent. Again, I ask — can you feel the evil?! He’s the brilliant strategist who holds the team together. He and Sophie crossed swords once before, so he’ll be banging her before the series is through. Count on it. You heard it here first.

Christian Kane (who was better as the evil lawyer on Angel) plays Eliot Spencer, the muscle. He doesn’t like to use guns, which is pretty bogus. Lucky for him that this is TV land, so he somehow manages to beat people up who

Spencer and his hog
Only a man most vile would park in a handicapped
spot … when he isn’t even handicapped!!! Damn,
what’ll he do next!?

should be able to simply shoot him in the face. I don’t think Spencer would last too long in the real world of crime. Oh, it seems he likes horses and helping nice people he wronged in his past. Damn his evilness! Yeah, gives ya the shivers, don’t it? ::Yawn:: Alec Hardison is played by Aldis Hodge, who also made an appearance in the TV series Supernatural. (Which is a better show than this one, BTW.) Hardison is the cyber-geek and fake ID guy. He’s better known as the token black dude on set. He spends hours building Powerpoint presentations for the team before they go into each mission, complete with slideshows of faces and locations. He seems strangely dedicated for a get-rich-via-computer-theft guy. Huh. Weird. It’s like he’s not evil at all or somethin’. Damn.

Parker in leather
Parker, the real star of Leverage!

Parker (played by Beth Riesgraf) is my favorite. She’s the crazyass blonde chick with a disturbing past and an even more disturbing psyche. Parker is one part acrobat, one part thief, one part Satan’s only daughter. Yes, someone actually thought of my dream date and had the decency to put her on screen. If not for her, I might have grown bored with the show already. Note that she definitely does not have big boobs. See ladies? I’m not all about the boobies. True uber-geeks will be doin’ her in their sleep tonight. (Only they’ll imagine her with bigger boobs … and she won’t try to kill them afterward. Well, maybe she will. But she’ll fail. This time. Or maybe some part of her wanted to fail? She must be in love. Aw hell, now I’m in for the evening…)

The Good

By now, you’re probably wondering why you should even give the show a try. Aside from my beloved Parker, who needs padding, but is also an acrobat. Very flexible, those acrobats. Or so I hear.

alternate description of image
Here, a homeless
man wonders onto
the set of Leverage.

Basically, the show really is a lot like Ocean’s Eleven. Sometimes you’ll see the payoff coming, which sucks. But when their schemes work, the whole thing does sort of even out. I’ll be watching Leverage, but I’ll be thinking about Burn Notice. Or even better, In Plain Sight, which is due back on the USA Network soon. Yeah, since my review of the pilot, In Plain Sight has surpassed Burn Notice in my eyes. (In case you’re wondering, after the pilot, In Plain Sight really did get the whole family thing right.) Basically, if you like those Ocean’s Eleven movies, you’ll probably like Leverage.

So … Parker or Mary McCormack? Damn! Damn! I can’t decide!

Luckily, all the women in my head are into three ways. I hope they’re well rested tonight because they’ve got a busy night ahead of them. ’nuff said.

About The Atheist Geek

The Atheist Geek is a former Jehovah's Witness turned secular humanist. He's a lifelong sci-fi geek and a writer wannabe.
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