season 1

Leverage: Season 1

Leverage season 1

Leverage DVD Season 1

So, I started watching Leverage Season One.  Its a TNT show, I believe. I have watched about five episodes, but its difficult to say which episode I am on.  The “order” of episodes as listed on Amazon.com and on TV.com is different than the actual order on the DVDs.  Its a bit of a mystery.  Anyway, the first episode is definitely “The Nigerian Job.”   It was a quick and dirty intro to the cast of characters.  Unlike some first episodes/pilot episodes, you jump right in on this storyline and we don’t dwell too much on character development.

The series has been compared to both the A-Team and Robin Hood. Its probably a good mix of the two.  Contrary to what we are used to watching on TV, the show is not “that intense.”  24 was an intense show. Leverage is not. And that’s okay, I think. After all, its supposed to be entertainment – not abuse! While I might call it a “light” show, I do not mean its stupid or silly. I just like the idea of complete stories in one episode… no season-long storylines. And there is definitely less drama and heaviness. Which is nice for a change.

It took me a few episodes to accept the actors as the characters.  We are told in the first episode that Parker is crazy.  And she is… although… maybe the actress doesn’t quite portray “crazy” as well as she should. Aloof and a bit odd, yes, but not quite “crazy.”  The actor who plays Eliot Spencer is Christian Kane – a Texan.  In the first episode I felt I was watching Billy Ray Cyrus. Eliot Spencer is supposed to be the “muscle” or the physical combatant of the group.  He’s doesn’t look all that much – and he’s got long hair – so it was difficult for me to accept that this character is the muscle. I am curious to see if he does his own fight scenes or its a double.

Nate Ford is the main character and group leader of the team. Ford is played by Tim Hutton – who looks very familiar to me, and so I looked him up online. He’s been in a number of movies, the most familiar to me being French Kiss. He’s a good actor, I suppose, but I am surprised that he can “carry” this show. He’s a bit too non-descript for me to remember after the DVD is turned off.  After watching the first disc or so, I think there has been more character development for Nate Ford than any of the other characters.

Finally, there are characters Sophia Devereaux and Alec Hardison.  When Tim Hutton says Alec Hardison, I never hear him pronounce the H in the surname. So for the first few episodes, I swore the character’s name was Alec ARRdison.  Hardison is the token black guy on the team. It amuses me because 25 years ago, Hardison would have been the muscle, but in this series, he’s the techie-geek guy.  In the episode “The Wedding Job,” he has a memorable funny quote:  “Have you ever been to Kiev? The cake-maker of Kiev could whoop all our asses. This is the Butcher!” Sophia Devereaux is supposed to be the old-love-interest of Nate Ford. She’s an actress who absolutely sucks on stage or in front of the camera – but she is excellent in con jobs. She is supposed to be this sexy, foreign babe who uses her looks to sway many of their marks. I dunno, she has a vague beauty, I suppose, but I am not too impressed with her looks. She also seems to lack a good range of facial expressions.

Overall, I am liking the show. Its not one of my tier one shows (The Big Bang Theory, House), but I hope I get to finish season one soon and move on to season two. This first season originally began running on TV at the end of 2008.

3 stars

House, M.D.: Season 1

House 1

House, MD DVD season 1

House M.D. is one of  my favorite shows on TV. (I do not actually have television service, I watch all things on DVD.) I own and have seen seasons 1-6, and as I usually do when there are no more TV shows available for me to watch, I just rewatch the stuff I already own. The first time I saw this season I watched the first two discs alone at home in the afternoon. I thought it was quite good.  I hadn’t known what to expect at all. Some medical show…. the main character is named House. That’s the sum of what I knew. I got hooked on the show, though.  I am just going to highlight two of the early episodes….

  • PILOT – 4 quotes

The pilot episode is pretty good, though not the best of the whole series.  It includes the first occurrence of the famous phrase of the series: “Everybody lies” — this comes at only 05:57 in the episode.  The patient’s name is Rebecca and she is ill because of a Tapeworm that she may have gotten from eating pork.  The diagnostics team figures this out because Dr. Chase saves the day by figuring out how to prove that Rebecca actually does have a tapeworm.  Dr. Allison Cameron?  Yeah, she doesn’t do a whole lot for the team in this episode.  However, House tells Cameron that he hired her because she’s good looking and “damaged.”

This is the episode where House tells Cuddy about the “philosopher” Jagger who says: “You can’t always get what you want.”   House also tells Dr. Cuddy (22:26):  “I don’t [think I’m always right], I just find it difficult to operate on the opposite assumption.”  Honestly, I think the actor should have said “from” not “on,” but its still amusing as heck.   One odd thing:  Dr. Wilson, House’s friend, spends time treating the patient, too.  So Rebecca actually has at least 5 doctors.  When the team cures Rebecca, her grade school class children give her a card that reads: “We’re happy you’re not dead, Miss Rebecca”  Overall, I give the pilot a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

  • Occam’s Razor

The third episode of the season is one of my favorites. This one is a lot of fun because none of patient Brandon’s symptoms fit together. The episode starts off with Brandon and his girlfriend having sex.  He is taken to the hospital because of his cough, rash, and he passes out.  The girlfriend, at one point, mentions to Dr. Chase her fear that because she was “rough” with the sex act, that she might have caused Brandon’s illness.  House spends his time working on Brandon’s case and treating patients in the Clinic.  His efforts to spoil Dr. Cuddy’s orders for him to spend time in the clinic include his playing Gameboy Advance, and asking for consults from other doctors for basic diagnoses.  One of House’s clinic patients is a teenager who has an MP3 player up his anus.

The diagnosis that House maintains regarding Brandon, is that there are two different problems simultaneously causing Brandon’s illness – and House believes one of those is caused by a reaction/OD to another drug.

One of my favorite quotes is at 29:41 when House is talking to his team:  “The simplest explanation is almost always: someone screwed up.”    When it seems like House’s diagnosis might be wrong, he tells Wilson: “Reality is almost always wrong,” because House tenaciously believes he is correct.  As House’s diagnosis is proven correct, he tells Wilson:  “Make a note – I should never doubt myself.”  Wilson replies: “I think you’ll remember.”

Two other amusing quotes are when House sarcastically asks Cameron “Oh wait! Which way does time go?”  And when he scolds Wilson:  “No, there is not a thin line between love and hate. There is, in fact, a Great Wall of China with armed sentries posted every twenty feet between love and hate,” because this is the first insinuation and hint that there is any inkling of love/relationship between Dr. Cuddy and House.

I like this episode for several reasons:  how it brings up the issue of pharmacological treatments causing/interfering with other symptoms – and the potential there is for getting the incorrect medicine. I also like the balance of the comedic episodes in the Clinic with the seriousness of Brandon’s fate.  Finally, the writers are demonstrating how the other doctors in the hospital deal with (or don’t deal with) House’s antics. Of the first three episodes, this third one and the first are both necessary, canonical House episodes.

5 stars