Monday, December 24, 2012

The End of Leverage

It was with some dismay that I heard about the cancellation of the TNT show Leverage, one of the few shows (and fewer non-genre shows) I've actually followed in recent years.

Leverage may well be, as some have charged, an American variant on Britain's earlier (and in the view of many, better) Hu$tle. Still, it executed the concept with a measure of flair and conviction, something not so common as it might be. (Watching "Tick, Tick, Tick" and "Boom!"--the only episodes of Castle I've actually sat down and watched--every line seemed so trite and so insincere that I was certain I was watching a parody of the cop genre. If that's what the writers intended, the publicists have done an excellent job of keeping it a secret.)

Leverage also benefited from an affable tone, aided by a group of central characters who, despite their abundance of ego, managed to be something other than the jerks and douchebags who comprise far too much of the dramatis personae on the small screen. (Like the often insufferable Mary Sues and Gary Stus of NCIS. Or the cast of the recently concluded House, whose dialogue consisted mostly of their inflicting their psychoanalyses of each other on each other, and the hapless audience. Or the insufferable gang on How I Met Your Mother. Or--this is just too easy.)

It, helped that the will-they-won't-they-type soap opera (which there was some of between Nathan and Sophie) was kept to a minimum, and on the margins of the narrative, while the writers actually worked out their arcs (rather than using them merely to string the audience along, like Lost).

And it was nice to see a touch of social conscience in a medium so strongly given to the worship of wealth, position and their trappings, and the denigration of anyone not so situated (like the ultra-elitist drivel of Suits).

As of the fifth season I still found the show entertaining enough to think another go-round would be worthwhile, but it seems that we will at least be getting a proper series finale, airing tomorrow at 10 PM, Christmas night.

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