I finished watching the first season of Leverage on Netflix last night. Waiting for the first DVD of season 2 to arrive in the mail will be torture. Leverage is full of my favorite type of antihero: genius world-class thieves working toward the good of the world. There are funny moments in the hour-long format show, with some elements of a cop show in how the characters target their marks. The show also has an overarching plot.
The story of Nate and his family unfolds over the first season, making you want to watch. Tugging the viewer into the show a bit further is the introduction of an arch enemy in the beginning of the season. Leverage has clear evil, a big bad guy who must be brought down. As a show, Leverage works.
I like Leverage for many of the same reasons I like White Collar. The cast is made up of characters who can’t be trusted, but who you want to trust anyway. They are very smart, and very good at what they do (unbelievably good, but that is why it’s television). The characters know this, and employ the same method of trust, “I trust him until I can’t,” as Neal put it in one episode of White Collar.
The interactions between the characters on Leverage make up for their super-human thieving abilities. The inappropriately timed arguments between Sophia and Nate about a relationship they aren’t properly having feel real, coming up through the same snippy comments a dysfunctional couple made up of dysfunctional people have in real life (if they were planned to have a certain effect). The way the members of the team are reluctant to care for each other but still are willing to rescue one another from hostage situations and such is endearing.
The characters themselves also have a certain endearing quality. Parker draws you in and makes you want to hug her (and know what is wrong with that girl) the same way River does in Firefly. Hardison combines Mickey of Doctor Who and an Eddie Murphy character with someone intentionally competent, offering comic relief and absurd genius. Elliot hides is Chuck Norris martial arts skillz behind a quieter demeanor, making the outsider wonder why he is even there. Sophia is a little Daisy Adair, and a lot more femme fatal. Nate, of course, is the honest man amongst thieves- a drunk who wants to be better than his team, but has no idea what else to do.
Leverage also manages a few references to Doctor Who, which is probably one of the best television shows of all time (and space!). That means it has to be good.
I would say Leverage is 4.5 out of 5 stars.