Red Right Hand: TV08: LEVERAGE: The Nigerian Job"
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.

 

TV08: LEVERAGE: The Nigerian Job"

Continuing my review of my favorite episodes of stuff from the last calendar year. Not necessarily the best of the year, but ones I liked for one subjective reason or another.



There will be spoilers.
The only pilot that I came away from watching genuinely excited about the series. And that was a little painful because I watched it, like, six months before the premiere.

Some things are just so good, right out of the gate that it completely fouls the gauges. Up is down. Left is right. And being bad is just fucking good.

And most importantly, it's fun. It doesn't try to be dramatically-laden, it's escapist in the best sense of the word, so if you can't turn on a TV and accept some cheats int eh name of having a good time, keep moving along and stick to your period dramas and your Fox Searchlight films, we got no room for you here. Example: Actually believing that Christian Kane can take out like, five, dudes int he time it takes a duffel bag to drop four feet to the ground. Sorry, I want to believe it. Fuck your reality.

The concept is pretty basic. It's modern-era Ocean's Eleven for TV, so not eleven. Bad people doing good things to even worse people. Or if you're down with Hu$tle, you're down with this.

This pilot also sets a high bar. Care was taken to make the scam in this episode better than typical. It wasn't the umpteenth version of The Sting. In fact, it was twisty, yet simple and also current as the team actually manages to use actual law in order to crush their victim, tricking him into violating that law, but that wasn't even where the sting lay. It was too simple. It was just opening the door for his own crimes to be exposed.

While the series is most reminiscent of Hu$tle (it's Hu$tle with 'splosions), I was also put in ind of maybe a less obvious and lesser known series.

There's a scene early on where the principals meet up in a big empty warehouse after things have gone a little sideways. There's suspicion, there's gun's getting drawn and there's a fierce desire to get paid. It was during this scene that it really hit me. This show stands to be everything that Smith wasn't.

Smith was my favorite show of a the new season a couple of years ago, but it was really a show about bad guys. Not good bad guys, really unpleasant people. And being on CBS, it failed to find its audience in its three weeks on the air. It also opted for a lot of heavy drama and not enough fun. Difficult balance to strike.

Leverage doesn't have the irredeemable bad guy thing, but it's nailing enough of that wrong side of the law thing that this is a worthy, of not superior successor.

Technologically scamtastic with a biting sense of humor...a drawing blood biting. I can learn from this show, in good and bad ways.

When I watched it, I'd put off watching it because I had high hopes for it and I wanted to be in an optimal state of mind, with optimal snacking options and optimal whatever else. It lived up to and then some.

I want to spec this show.
©2016 Michael Patrick Sullivan