DVD REVIEW: Leverage Season Two
Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys...
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One of the best shows on television is back with its second hit season on DVD. That's right; available next Tuesday, May 25th, is Season 2 of Leverage. A TNT original series created by executive producer Dean Devlin (producer of things you might have heard of like Stargate, Independence Day, The Patriot, etc.), Leverage also returns to TV with the Season Three premiere on Sunday June 20th!
The first season of Leverage saw the collection and development of an expert team of facilitators (former criminals) brought together by a former insurance investigator for the express purpose of helping those in need. The team includes the leader/face man/recovering alcoholic Nate Ford (Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton), professional grifter Sophie (Gina Bellman), tough guy Eliot (Christian Kane), technology expert Alec (Aldis Hodge), and acrobatic thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf). After a series of adventures the team appeared to disband after a particularly rough and personal confrontation, leading to questions about whether the A-Team-like group would work together again...
Leverage Season Two comes packaged in a standard sized DVD case within an outer cardboard sleeve. The cover of both the case and sleeve shows off the team, with Nate on the top and the rest beneath the show's logo. Behind the group's leader is a brightly lit Boston skyline. The back of the package has a rundown of the show along with a second set of pictures of the main team and a list of the special features. Inside the case are breakdowns of the four discs’ contents, with 15 episodes, audio commentaries, and lots of special features including featurettes, a gag reel, and a parody "The Hand Job" video.
Season Two thankfully opens with the reunion of the main characters in an all-new locale, Nate's new apartment in Boston that would quickly become the team’s base of operations. The "jobs" started up again like clockwork, along with the witty dialogue, cool gadgets, and high-intensity action fans had come to expect from the first season. If anything, the jobs got bigger and more complicated, with the stakes even greater and more riveting. The gang this time gets involved with the Irish mob, crooked MMA bosses, a hospital virus, a school for gifted children, military cover-ups, diamond thieves, the world of high fashion, the American embassy in the Ukraine, television psychics, a corrupt baseball loving mayor involved in gun running, and more! As if that wasn't enough, the team also has to deal with the surprising loss of Sophie (don't worry – she just takes a jet setting vacation) and subsequent addition of Tara played by television genre star Jeri Ryan (Star Trek Voyager's Seven of Nine)!
Some of the best episodes in the second season include: "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" in which the team cons a TV newscaster (played by Beth Broderick of Sabrina), "The Two Live Crew Job" that introduces a rival team of crooks and thieves that includes Wil Wheaton (Star Trek The Next Generation's Wesley Crusher), "The Future Job" matching Tara against Luke Perry's television psychic, and a two part finale absolutely bursting with action and plot twists!
Like Season One before it, Leverage is still very accessible by new viewers with plenty of compelling storylines and character developments for the hardcore fans who have been watching since the beginning. In the Second Season the characters really grow and become fully realized human beings, each with his or her own strengths and demons to be overcome. Of course, I'd still be remiss if I didn't mention all of the cool action scenes and Hardison's endless geek speak.
Review by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of Paramount