Leverage Season 5 Review



Tuesday 5 February 2013 at 10pm on Fox

Archimedes once said “Give me a Lever long enough and I can move the worldâ€?.

It is also what I write to try to find a nice segue way into talking about Leverage, another American show about a group of slick, talented individuals doing cool things.

I couldn’t think of a slick and cool opening, so if you noticed I took the easy way out and got meta on your ass. This has led me a bit further down the self-referencing path. It’s not a path I like and I think of it as more of a spiral; a spiral of shame.

I have now commented on my comment about not being able to think of an opening gag to this review. I think I should be taken out the back and shot.

Which, now it’s been cancelled, is what has rightly been done to ‘Leverage’. But for the wrong reasons.

Creativity is by definition about coming up with something new and hopefully wonderful. Now, that new thing might well be influenced by whatever has gone before it or it might be something completely new entirely. At best, it will be brilliant and at worst it could be confused, unfathomable and rubbish.

Weirdly, it doesn’t matter which. The quality of the creation does not really have much to do with success. We all know of crap things that are very popular and conversely; brilliant works that never achieve the recognition they deserve.

But, the business side of creativity is all about trying to predict what will be successful. Without clairvoyance or other magical powers the only way to predict something is by recognizing patterns and then inferring outcomes from your deductions.

That’s not usually so difficult, past performance and behaviour are often very good indicators of future performance and behaviour but art is different.

You could trust the artist but they are unreliable.

So, the money guys who invest and fund in TV, Film and Music look at what is successful and go with that.

They also know that it needs to be different in order to stand out. You can’t completely re-make CSI (well you can, hence CSI:Miami etc.) so you take the formula and put a spin on it, which results in shows like NCIS, the ‘slightly wacky’ CSI. Eventually this leads us to uninspired derivative creations.

Thus the conception, mild success and now death of ‘Leverage’; its entire life cycle determined by its mediocrity and lack of gumption.

I had not only, not seen ‘Leverage’ before but also knew zero about it, yet within a minute of watching I knew the score.

It’s not entirely bad (other than Gina Bellman, who almost makes me blush with her embarrassing version of acting) but my god have you seen it before. This time in addition to CSI, we have the wackiness and light comedy of NCIS combined with the con men of British TV’s ‘Hustle’ (which was in turn an attempt to replicate wise ass American shows and the ‘Oceans 11’ movies).

I get why these shows are made, I honestly do, but there is a factor that ‘The Suits’ don’t take into account when trying to predict future success. Humans like novelty, it actually releases endorphins into our brains and we get a sexy buzz. Routine is easy but does nothing to stimulate.

‘Leverage’ should not have had to wait five seasons to be killed off due to a lack of ratings. It should’ve been shot at birth for being self-referencing, lazy and uninspiring. Just like me.