Cast of Leverage around a Painting

Leverage Season 2 Review

  • Series Title: Leverage
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 15
  • Discs: 4
  • Network:  TNT
  • Cast: Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge, Jeri Ryan, Mark Sheppard (semi-regular)
  • DVD: R1, NTSC DVD

The second season of Leverage reunites the crew and moves the show to Boston, although they filmed in Portland, Oregan. But where the first season had Nate and his tame thieves going after corporate criminals – in the second season, the cases they work tend to be more personal – a corrupt wrestling trainer and promoter, a loan shark mobster, even Nate’s wife finds herself framed for a multi-million dollar art theft. Also, Sophie temporarily leaves the group, only to be seen from the shoulders up in the occasional video call. She’s replaced by Jeri Ryan as Tara. And while Ryan is good, she never quite develops the chemistry that existed between Sophie and Nate. Sophie returns at the very end of the season.

The last two episodes on the set are a two-parter, ending in a cliff-hanger with Nate getting shot during a con and none of his team realizing it. He also offers to let himself get arrested and then turn state’s evidence as long as his team is set free.

I liked seeing Portland as Boston – it was a nice change from L.A. and led to some beautiful scenes. In cloudy scenes, the colors are more muted and the details have a look that avoids sharp shadows or harsh lighting – it’s like natural portrait lighting and it’s gorgeous. In sunny scenes, because of the higher latitude – both Timothy Hutton and guest stars with brunette hair get red highlights – it looks gorgeous. Also, it’s nice to see outdoor scenes in different places one usually doesn’t see on TV or in the movies.

Overall, I didn’t like season 2 of Leverage as much as season 1 – I preferred the corrupt corporate bad guys, and I really missed Sophie, but at the same time I re-watched these because I wanted to figure out if I wanted to finish buying the series and get seasons 3-5 or if I wanted to pull it from my collection, because I hadn’t seen Leverage in a while. Well, I definitely want season 3! Season 2 also still manages to have some very good episodes, and it’s still just a fun, enjoyable series to watch.

Recommended.

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Book Review – Moonstruck Vol. 2: Some Enchanted Evening

  • Title: Moonstruck vol. 2: Some Enchanted Evening
  • Author: Grace Ellis
  • Artists: Shae Beagle, Caitlin Quirk (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)
  • Additional Material Artist: Kat Fajardo
  • Collection Date: 2019
  • Publisher: Image Comics, Inc.
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 04/06/2019

I devoured the first year of Moonstruck in its bimonthly softcover form, and this collection of the second year is equally brilliant, fun and different. Julie is a barista in a college town, trying to come to terms with being a werewolf and her identity as a lesbian. Her friends are also magical creatures like a centaur, vampires, a minotaur, and a prophetess named Cass. This time around it’s finals time, so of course, everyone wants to take a break. The annual Winter Solstice party at one of the fraternities seems like a chance to relax and blow off steam.

Julie is now dating Selina, another werewolf, and more comfortable in her skin, though she’s still a bit shy and her self-esteem is a bit low. Still, she’s written a script for a “Pleasant Mountain Sisters” graphic novel. “Pleasant Mountain Sisters” is a syndicated series of books for pre-teen girls and Julie is a fan. Julie has Manual read and proofread her script, but someone else has entered comments in the pages already. Selina gets upset when it turns out two people read Julie’s script before Julie showed it to her. Manual also asks Julie if she’s comfortable publishing such an “autobiographical” story.

The group does go to the Beta Psi Episilon (ßѱΣ) party, and even though its the dead of snowy Winter, the fraternity is bathed in warm Spring sunshine. The house is protected by a fairy circle. Once inside Julie, Selina, Chet, and their friends meet up with some other friends. The band is Lindi and the Hops, but they start to argue amongst themselves. Julie and her friends decide to leave – only to discover anyone who had anything to eat or drink can’t leave, because: fairy circle.

Julie is able to leave and the next night ends up at the sorority house that’s a rival to the frat house. It’s also a fairy house but their Winter Solstice party is always a far second to the frat party. Julie and Selina must find the members of Lini’s band that escaped the frat party, and tank the party or she and Selina will be trapped in the Sorority House, where they ate tea sandwiches.

It is definitely worth reading the graphic novel to see how Julie manages to free herself and Selina from one fairy circle, bring down the rep of the fraternity, and how Julie and Selina work things out between themselves. Along the way, Moonstruck introduces a number of magical people who have issues, insecurities, and problems that teenagers and twenty-somethings will identify with. Moonstruck is a joy to read – the art is light and has a gorgeous pastel color palette, even in the scenes with Lindi the dragon. I highly recommend this book and this series.

Leverage Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: Leverage
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 4
  • Network:  TNT
  • Cast: Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge, Mark Sheppard (semi-regular)
  • DVD: R1, NTSC DVD

Nathan Ford was a high-powered insurance investigator, recovering stolen art so his company, Lys Insurance didn’t have to pay the claims until his son developed cancer. The company refused to pay for medical treatment for Ford’s son, and as a result, Sam Ford died. Nathan lost his job, his wife divorced him, and he slid into depression and alcoholism. Then one day, Nathan runs into someone with a similar story of being screwed-over by a rich company and having no legal recourse against it. So Nathan decides to help and recruits several thieves and con artists he had run in to in his former career. Thinking it’s a one-time thing with a big payoff, the four Nathan recruits – Parker, Sophie Devereaux, Alec Hardison, and Eliot Spencer agree to help out once. But the team soon realize that they have a good thing going and decide to continue.

Nate usually finds and brings in clients, but occasionally one of the others will find out someone they know needs help and suggests the potential client call “Leverage Consulting”. Often clients only want back the money or property they lost, or simply want the company to pay – such as acknowledging a mistake. Often the client can’t sue for various reasons (it’s too expensive, lawsuits take too long – often years, while what the company or person did was immoral or harmful it wasn’t technically illegal, etc.) But Nathan and his crew can provide what their clients want. Once Leverage Consulting accepts a client, Nathan plans out the con they will pull on the target. Sophie is the “grifter” – a gifted con artist and in the sphere of running cons actress. She also has experience as a high-end thief. Parker is the thief with experience in breaking into any sort of museum, vault, private collection, etc. Eliot is basically muscle, and also fills in where needed, sometimes as back-up for Sophie, other times as back up for Parker. Hardison is a computer hacker. He can also pull an in-person con, but he prefers to use his hacking skills. Hardison can also produce fake ids and other credentials as needed.

The show is great fun, with lots of action. However, it’s often intelligently written, with snappy dialogue, and complex, well-written, smart plots. Most of the time an episode will have a twist – the audience thinks it’s going in one direction, but it then goes in another direction. This will often involve what looks to be a major setback, but in reality, was something Nathan had planned in advance, often to further embarrass the target or to get them arrested by exposing illegal actions. Essentially, each episode of Leverage is a small heist film, that is filmed beautifully and uses great stunts and effects. But unlike some action-oriented films and television shows, Leverage is also smartly-written, which makes it very enjoyable.

I like Leverage a lot. I bought seasons 1 and 2 when the show aired and watched season 3 on TNT, but like many of TNT’s shows, Leverage could be hard to find. I decided to re-watch the show to see if I wanted to purchase the final three seasons. My answer is “yes”. This show is recommended, it’s fun, there’s plenty of action, the dialogue is witty and smart, there’s an emotional core to the stories because they deal with people who feel real and have real problems, it’s just a good show.