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One Of the Six Fundamental Machines

Other than that the showrunner is a geek’s geek, who has credits in RPGs, comics, and of course television in the last year, how did I like the show?

… that was way too overworked a sentence for the sake of a couple of cheap jokes. I want to put semi-colons in it, but I can’t figure out where.

Anyway, how’s Leverage? Well, it’s not great television so far. Five episodes in, and I can’t say I have a strong emotional attachment to any of the characters. I say so far because I think the potential exists — Timothy Hutton’s a solid actor and there’s backstory to be developed there, and I’ve seen Gina Bellman dig out emotional grounding from a character who’s way more superficial than Sophie. So I think there’s potential. But it’s also the case that the characters are currently collections of quirks; in the introductory sequences, we saw what they could do rather than who they were.

Which is OK! I mean, there’s a hacker and a combat specialist and a cat burglar and an actor and a plotter, which is cool. It’s not great television, but it is great fun, and I gotta say everyone’s clearly relishing their characters. Plus the con jobs are marvelous. Rogers is doing a great job with the narrative conceits, and the mini-flashbacks to reveal how a con worked are perfect. You get a nice juicy heist every week. I also like the structure a lot: the first con always breaks down, and Nate always has to think on his feet to get out on top.

We’re also getting some subtle, which is one of the other reasons I said “so far” above. There was a nice bit in “The Bank Job,” the most recent episode, where the wrong two characters are forced to pretend to be FBI agents. They’re really bad at it. For the first five seconds, I was all “oh god that’s bad acting, this is terrible,” until I realized “wait, that’s awesome acting, it’s the characters who can’t pull that off.” So I appreciated that. There is somewhat of a roleplaying game sensibility to this sucker, as S. pointed out in reference to the characters, and which also shows itself in the zeal with which the characters get put into bad situations.

Disgression begins:

Christian Kane looked familiar for a while to me; the other night, I was watching old Angel episodes. Right! He’s Lindsey from Wolfram & Hart, the mostly evil lawyer. But it does not end there, because you know who else shows up as a Wolfram & Hart lawyer? Daniel Dae Kim, who is probably better known for playing a supreme badass on Lost. It’s almost as if actors wind up appearing on multiple shows during the course of their careers.

Leverage is on my Tivo and it’s likely to stay there. Recommended.

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