Leverage: hyper-geeky caper TV show

John Rogers -- who wrote the superb pilot for the stillborn TV show based on Warren Ellis's excellent comic Global Frequency -- has a new TV show in the works, called Leverage. TNT has a little trailer available (see embedded video above) and I was able to see the whole thing via BitTorrent. On the strength of both, I'd say that Leverage has the potential to be the first new TV show in more than five years that I would actually put my butt on the couch for, every week, without fail.

Leverage is an hour-long tensely plotted, technologically literate heist/caper show whose likable, flawed, comedic foursome of infiltration specialists are well-cast, funny, and given some damned good lines. The direction and camerawork is distinctive and fearsomely great: this show feels like a graphic novel (in a good way) -- that fast-moving, highly visual, stylized thing that the Wachowskis got so right in the first Matrix movie. It's a really neat trick: it feels like a cinematic graphic novel, one of those graphic novels that appears to be setting up every panel like it was a camera-shot. But those novels always transcend what a mere camera could do (because the artist is more flexible than the lens), so it was freaky to see a camera mimicking the stuff that the notional "hypercamera" of graphic novels uses.

Rogers is also a comics writer (Blue Beetle, among other things) and has had a diverse history in the field. I've been lucky enough to hang out with him a couple of times, and he really feels like "one of us" -- a net-centric geek with a gigantic D&D collection, a nonstop sense of humor, and a lust for all things gadgety. Link

See also: Screenwriter of cancelled, leaked Warren Ellis pilot marvels at his fanbase


  1. I too am definitely looking forward to this show as well. A shame we have to wait until December before it airs.

  2. I saw the pilot of Leverage last week, and I enjoyed it – I thought the cast was excellent, and was caught by surprise with a few twists – and got a huge laugh from what (I hope) seemed to be a shout-out to “The IT Crowd”… I’ll definitely be watching the show this fall…

  3. “the Wachowski’s”. Ouch.

    Lose the apostrophe!
    You’re a writer.
    You should know better than that.

  4. I’ll agree on most parts. It does feel more like a movie in parts, the cast is good, the story was strong and it bears watching at least once or twice.

    My only fears:
    1) It will turn out like Eyes (mostly in the “cancelled before its prime”), which had certain similarities in the premise.
    2) They will show more of the one character fighting. I love the intercut with the bag falling, however I like the “less is more”. We know he’s a bad ass – show just enough to confirm the impression, but not enough so that we know exactly what he’s doing.

  5. This series looks like it owes a nod to “Hustle” which airs on BBC1 for four seasons so far. I managed to see the pilot for this show and was impressed, just hope that the US TV “suits” don’t dumb it down to resemble most of what currently appears on US TV.

  6. I watched the pilot via bittorrent too and enjoyed it thoroughly. It was recommended to me by Jill Gollick:


    I also saw the parallels with “Hustle” and with a little of “the A-Team” thrown in at the end – and while that might not sound like a good thing (Fool!) I suspect this show will have some very logn legs indeed.


  7. Thanks for the tip! The missus and I loved the pilot. A high-tech take on Hustle to be sure, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

  8. Yes .. loved the ‘this is IT, have you tried to turn it off and on again’ bit … most probably a shout out …

    Good show (well .. good pilot) … which has to deal with a couple of potential pitfalls (either becoming the heist of the week thing, or painfully introducing character romance)

    we shall seee .. good start

  9. Sooooorrryyyy…but can someone give me an Asian, puhleez?! I am very grateful for the black character (though from the trailer he seems to be obligatorily clumsy, cause we all know black geeks can’t jump), and used to be able to take what I could get. BUT, I am over that shit now.

    Give me some color w/ my tech(no). You want acrobatics and mathematics? Lucy Liu is a Stuy grad, although not sure she’s available to do a TNT show. Unless, of course, they Fu Manchu our asses later on , and make the arch enemy North Korean (played by a Chinese actor).

    The possibility of an embedded IT Crowd shout out might be worth dusting off my bit torrent download. Anyway, looks hopeful, we too, shall see.

  10. Wow, outrunning an explosion! Coo-ool! We can only hope the whole series is as original as that idea!

  11. I only know this because I’ve been replaying the game recently, but that zappy noise they use for transitions sounds almost exactly like the stun prod from Deus Ex. Is there a common sample source? I can’t imagine what makes that noise in real life.

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