Kay: RIP, Leverage


Publicity shot of the first Leverage cast.

I seem to spend more time talking about the television I watch than the books I read, but… I guess that’s the way it is right now. And I am here today to lament the reboot of Leverage, one of my favorite TV shows of all time.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the original show featured a bunch of crooks who banded together, initially unwillingly, to right a wrong. And then they made a career of it. The hitter, the hacker, the grifter, the thief. And the mastermind.

I loved that show. My favorite character was Parker, the thief, who unabashedly loved money and was so funny and innocent but also amoral: the perfect pickpocket and lockpicker. Together, though, these people could do anything, con anyone.

And I guess the management team at Electric Entertainment, which produced the original program, thought a reboot would be even better, so they brought back most of the original cast and shot a bunch of new episodes, now called Leverage: Redemption.

Friends, I am not happy. If I hadn’t seen the original, maybe I’d say there’s nothing wrong with the reboot. Most of the original cast returns. They’re still lovable. The new cast members are fine. The essential Robin-Hood-esque plot types are intact.

But to me, it’s a little bit off. The actors are a decade older. The handstands and backbends and splits that Parker did ten years ago to avoid laser alarms now look contrived. The giddiness of “Let’s steal an island!” seemed to fit better with younger characters. The new story lines have more explosions and chases. The fights go on longer. The cons don’t seem as intricate, and the storylines that compelled you to care (“They dumped toxins and my child got cancer; now they won’t pay for treatment”) are now bigger and more abstract. The beneficiaries are “thousands” of hungry children. I worry about hungry children in real life, but in a story, it helps to focus on just one.

I’m not into it.

It’s got a 9.1/10 rating on imDB, and every review I’ve read seems to love it. What about you? Have you seen the Leverage reboot? What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Kay: RIP, Leverage

  1. I love it! I really like how they let the characters grow….both over the time we’ve not been with them and over the season. I love how seamlessly Parker and Hardison and Elliot work together, and how they’ve evolved as friends and teammates. I love how they crossed-trained and worked with each other on developing each other’s and new skills. It wasn’t so hard for them to bring new people in or trust or work with them, because they’ve been doing it. I love how accepting and good they are with others as they work for redemption, because they’ve all been there and experienced it. And they have set things up to have new Leverage Teams and players come in and out if the want to expand. Leverage Inc. might have been a better title, but it’s Leverage. I really have enjoyed being with them again and I was really happy to find out that there is more to the season – we have more episodes coming. As much as I love the original episodes- I really have enjoyed being back with the crew and stealing some fun tv time.

    • I’m so glad you like the reboot! Everything you say about the program is what I loved about the original, it’s just not quite making it for me this time around. And last night I watched two more episodes, wondering if I’d gone too far. And neither of them had Hardison, which we knew would happen, but still, miss him. And the Halloween episode was too goofy for me. But everyone’s mileage varies. 🙂

  2. Wow, thanks for your post. I LOVED the original leverage (and friend put me on to the british parallel, which I haven’t seen). I had no idea they rebooted, and I’m not a cable person since I want to spend more time writing than watching TV. But I’d sure like to see an episode, to see what I think, too. The way you describe it, I’ll probably also feel like it’s not as good as the original, for all those reasons you mentioned.

    • Well, Penny loved it and so, apparently, do most other people. I’m just not on board. Or maybe I’m on the gangplank! The reboot is available for free on Amazon Prime, if you get that. Be warned: there’s advertising. Also: there’s a British parallel? What’s it called?

  3. Technically all of the Leverage seasons (5 seasons) including the new Redemption are on IMDB for free (with commercials) – when Amazon bought IMDB a couple of years ago they started making original programming for IMDB like they do for Prime. IMDB has tons of free stuff movies and series, including originals…. With commercials- Prime doesn’t have commercials.

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