Okay so, if you had to pick a tv show, from all the tv shows you watch (I really love watching you talk about all your shows btw), and it would be the only tv show you could watch (ad rewatch) for the rest of your life forever, which one would you choose? And you can put why you picked it, if you want, cuz I'm sure you'll have a good reason! :D
I had to think about this one! But here’s the thing: my first instinct was to say LEVERAGE.
And even after thinking about it for a while, I think my answer is still LEVERAGE.
Because Leverage kind of has it all:
- smart characters, including
- the team mastermind with a tragic past, who is in control of every tiny detail of every con but whose personal life is a total shambles
- a scary hitter who doesn’t like guns, who sings and is a gourmet cook, and who has dated a LOT of women but they weren’t interchangeable dolls, and he learned useful and important things from every one of them
- the genius hacker who is a proud young black dude with wicked fashion sense who plays violin and World of Warcraft and makes constant Star Trek and Doctor Who references, who avoids physical violence whenever possible and is probably the sweetest, gentlest person on the team
- the femme fatale grifter/team mom is an aspiring actress who can’t act her way out of a paper bag—she’s just terrible—unless she’s working a con
- the most notorious thief in the world, a cute petite blonde woman who strikes terror into the hearts of men 3x her size, who loves jumping off tall buildings and loves money more than anything, who is neuroatypical and who wants to be able to relate to people she cares about but who is also unapologetically herself at all times
- Mark Sheppard as the good-guy antagonist you will love to hate and then hate to love
- morally grey characters
- thieves with hearts of gold
- women who are friends with each other
- a found family
- a middle-aged OTP, both parts of which have their own journeys of self-realization to go through before they come together
- a divorced couple who still love each other and help each other, without any jealousy or weirdness
- an interracial so-close-to-canon OT3 that can be shipped romantically or as siblings/best friends/partners for life (I personally ship them the latter way, but I can understand why others ship them romantically)
- as part of that OT3, a young interracial couple who care deeply about each other from the start, but who take a long time to start their romance because that’s what one of the characters needs, and the other character is nothing but understanding and patient about it
- two of the characters grew up in foster care, but they had totally different experiences, one negative and one positive
- one of the characters struggles with alcohol addiction in a fairly realistic way
- when that character is an asshole, they call him on it and tell him the drinking’s gotta stop
- the white middle-aged dude has manpain, but it’s for legitimate, heartbreaking reasons and it’s never used as an excuse, and in fact it’s highlighted when the manpain is clearly holding him back, keeping him from moving on and growing alongside everyone else
- and yet this is the same character who, in his pain and grief and rage, forms a team of supergenius thieves and grifters to do good and right the world’s wrongs and get restitution for the little guys who’ve been screwed over by the big bad guys.
- the same character who says, in response to one person commenting that vigilantes don’t just give large sums of money to people in need, because the world doesn’t work that way: “So change the world.”
- some of the most amazing character arcs I’ve ever seen, ones that stretch not only entire seasons but the entire series
- seriously, one of these character arcs in particular* is mind-blowing and can only really be appreciated upon finishing the series and rewatching it, because you will realize that they were planning this all along, there are literally lines in the very first episode foreshadowing it [*note that link has major spoilers if you haven’t seen the show]
- suspense (but not too much suspense)
- complicated cons that are fairly predictable after a few episodes, but you won’t even care because they’re so fun and pulled off with such style
- also the bad guys always get what’s coming to them in really satisfying, appropriate ways
- and usually the victims are helped in a way that puts power back in their hands, so it’s not just the Leverage team swooping in and saving them triumphantly and then leaving them in the wreckage
- lots and lots of geeky references (including many Star Trek actors as guest stars and one as a regular director)
- and I haven’t even mentioned how fantastic the DVD commentaries are, or how the showrunner John Rogers is kind of an amazing human who blogged about Leverage during its run and answered questions from fans, or how there were specific policies about never letting the women be rescued by men (the women always rescued themselves, or at least helped out in a major way) because Rogers hated the damsel in distress trope, or how many women writers this show had.
So, yeah. If I had to pick one TV show to watch for the rest of my life, I’d definitely go with Leverage. And since I’ve rewatched the series several times and enjoyed it more and found new things to love each time, I think I’d be just fine.
Thanks for the ask! :) And the chance to babble about Leverage, which I’m always about two seconds away from doing anyway.