Created by Chris Downey, Jone Rogers
Starring Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge,
Leverage is a challenging show to execute properly. Each episode is meant to be a feature film, a heist film to be exact. The problem is that the runs on a network that doesn’t have the budget afforded a show like 24 when it ran on FOX. So to bring this show to life successfully a steady and experienced hand is required and a bevy of good writers and actors.
Nathan Ford was once a specialist at tracking down high end thieves. These thieves didn’t pick pockets or even steal cars, unless they were $100,000 cars. Last season Nathan left the insurance game where he was working and put together a group of the best thieves he ever chased in order to help people in need Robin Hood style. Each of these thieves has a shady past and Nathan himself, while a do-gooder, is in a constant battle with the bottle.
This season Sophie had to take a break from the action after the turmoil of last season and her on again off again relationship with Nathan. In her place she sent a trusted friend, Tara Cole a thief focused even more on a paycheck than the current team. Tara represents some stunt casting as she previously played the popular Seven of Nine character from Star Trek Voyager. She’s not the only one though because hardcore genre fans recognize Christian Kane who plays Elliott from his previous work in the vampire series Angel.
As great as the Tara character is Sophie is missed this season. The chemistry between her and Nathan was at the core of season one of the series. With that said though the capers this season are bigger and more exciting and there are some lengthy story arcs that make for some fantastic serialization to make the series more addictive. The show ended last year with the team splitting up to go into hiding and reforming at the beginning of season two. The end of this season ends in a similar cliffhanger but this time Nathan has to give himself up to save his team, his “family”. Sophie returns to the series for the last couple of episodes for the biggest heist the team has executed so far. This time, genre TV’s requisite bad guy, Mark Sheppard, again playing FBI agent Sterling.
Leverage Season Two continues everything that was started with season one of the show and turns it up a notch. There’s tons of action, drama, and quirky humor all bundled up in a package that would make Ocean’s Eleven proud. The serialized elements of this series aren’t so heavy or convoluted that you have to see each and every episode in order to keep up with the characters. In an era when darkness is the trend in action TV shows it’s nice to see something a little more light hearted and simply entertaining.
The widescreen presentation looks fairly standard as far as modern TV shows on DVD go. Colors are well balanced and clean and grain is minimal. Detail is a little inconsistent though. Close-ups all look great but some zoomed out shots get too soft. There also a bit of aliasing in the backgrounds. Overall though the image is quite crisp throughout the episodes.
The 5.1 surround mix is a bit basic but the rear speakers do kick in during the action heavy scenes. The music is based heavily on bass guitar riffs but the subwoofer doesn’t get the proper use considering the source of the music. With that said the mix is very clean with dialogue, score, and sound fx all coming through loud and clear.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The box set comes packaged in a slim case with artwork on the cover and slipcover matching that of the previous season but ultimately a bit boring.
The best of the bonus features comes in the form of commentaries on each episode. The commentaries are made up of a bevy of directors, producers, and cast members. They vary in quality but overall each of them has some good information to offer. There’s also a weak gag reel, an interesting Q&A with the producers, a special effects featurette, and an extremely lame spoof of the show featuring Aldis Hodge.
Season two of Leverage continues to be a lot of fun simply put. If you’re a fan of slick heist films then this show is a must.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Movie 8.5/10
The Video 7.5/10
The Audio 8/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10