Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Weekend Fling: Leverage, Season One

Kay Pea asked me to watch this show, and since she has awesome taste, I acquiesced.

I will be upfront. I cannot whole-heartedly endorse this show for a really ridiculously personal reason that does not apply to anyone but me. I cannot get over Christian Kane’s hair. Not only is it creepy on its own, it makes him look frighteningly like a guy I know (whose wife is probably reading this, hi Calah!). I fully subscribe to the philosophy that art is an imitation of reality, I just get kind of distracted when it is happens to be a duplication of parts of my reality. It makes it impossible for me to really suspend my disbelief and enjoy the show.

And there are things to enjoy about this show. It seems to me that this show is marketed improperly, because it is much more funny and much less drama-y than I expected it to be from the commercials that I have seen. Not that there are not drama-y elements. Timothy Hutton stars as Nathan Ford, as former insurance claims investigator who manages a group of thieves, whom he previously pursued, and they steal from the corrupt on behalf of the needy and oppressed, while he trys to manage his drinking problem. He has turned his back on law and order because his company refused to pay for treatment that would have prevented his young son from dying. (So see, sad drama-y stuff.) Tech specialist Hardison (Aldis Hodge) is really hysterical and kind of reminds me of Mos Def in The Italian Job. I was pleasantly surprised by how funny this character is, and how funny Hodge’s performance is, since on the two other shows I have seen him on (Supernatural and Friday Night Lights) his characters were surly or stoic, therefore he hadn’t had a chance to display his talent for comic delivery. Ninja-esque Parker (Beth Riesgraf) is sad and damaged, but it makes her socially incompetent and blunt to the point of rude, but not at all whiney or self-pitying. Also pleasantly surprising is Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, the grifter extraordinaire. Anyone who has seen Coupling (which EVERYONE should have seen by now) knows that Ms Bellman can play absurdly-crazy-but-sane like nobody’s business, but here she is lovely as the diabolically-minded but kind-hearted voice of reason and grounding force for Nathan. Sophie’s attempts at a legitimate acting career give a wonderful showcase for Ms Bellman’s capacity for over-the-top antics. (In one episode Sophie plays a nun in a fake movie and I laughed so hard there were actually tears in my eyes.) Not to mention that an occasional guest star is Mark Sheppard, who plays Nathan’s insurance-man-nemesis Jim Sterling, just happens to be a favorite “that-guy” of mine. (You should know him from roles on Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and Dollhouse.) The cast is a strong element of the show.

The particular episodes, the various heists, are for the most part entertaining and relatively clever. On occasion the conclusion is a bit too convoluted to fully follow (specifically the episode with the race-horses, I totally didn’t get it), but the viewer doesn’t necessarily fell like the writers have cheated and tried to pass off totally illogical plots with quick cuts, which is a feeling one can experience with the poorer quality of these types of stories. Interestingly, this show displays a respect for somewhat traditional values. One episode centers on a wounded soldier, another on a Catholic priest, and in both the subjects are treated with deference and appreciation for their contributions to society. Where one might expect to find snark and loaded social commentary one finds an instance where people who inhabit roles others may not agree with are considered worthy of the same justice to which everyone is entitled.

Leverage is really good summer TV: well crafted and fun without being either shallow or self-important. Now if the evil-hair-of-evilness would just be cut I would be a much happier camper.

The TV Girl

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