Heroes in More Ways Than One: LEVERAGE Returns to TNT Tonight

leverage

We’ll admit it–the dismal summer TV offerings are killing us. Killing us. I’m getting a lot more pleasure out of the Tour de France (Tour de Fraaaaaance, if you follow the announcers’ lead), the Sotomayor hearings, and watching people rip out bathrooms on HGTV than I am from the likes of Wipeout or America’s Got Talent (a dubious conclusion). It’s been so bad that I’ve even been driven by this cathode-based pain toward haiku:

HawthoRNe:

A moron could see

That after the commercial

This patient will breathe.

It buuuuurns. It freeeeeezes! Make it stoooooop!

Thank the heavens above, then, for the return of the loopy, lovable Leverage, here to save us at last from the cruel doldrums of summer TV. The adventures of a bunch of con men turned Robin Hood, Leverage might on occasion dance on the edge of depth (such as last season’s offerings questioning whether God would use a bunch of con men to pull off a miracle or suggesting that group father figure Nate [Timothy Hutton] might have a bit of a problem with the drinky-drinky). But for the most part, it’s just juicy fun. The plots are ludicrous, but watching the pieces of the puzzle unfold in closing flashbacks is a hootenanny of intellectual leapfrogging. Perhaps most fun is the chemistry among the characters. It’s no accident Nate is a father figure–this little crew chooses each other as a weird but strangely functional family. Personally, I could use a little less of the will-they-won’t-they flirtation between Daddy and Mommy (frontwoman Sophie, played by Gina Bellman), but the witty interactions among a thief who has honed her craft since elementary school–and who is socially barely beyond that stage (Beth Riesgraf), the computer expert who is by turns slick and geeky (Aldis Hodge), and the muscle with both brains and heart (Christian Kane) will keep us coming back week after week. Welcome back, Leverage–what took you so long to get here?

TNT is using the Leverage premiere to launch Dark Blue, an undercover cop saga starring Dylan McDermott. I don’t much care about the details of this beyond the fact that it allows me to gaze upon Dylan McDermott. I’m not yet convinced Dark Blue, which appears to be, well, dark (imagine that title intoned by the late Don LaFontaine–“Dark. Blue.“), is a great tonal match with the frothy pleasures of Leverage, but we’d like to see McDermott have another success, so here’s hoping. Leverage begins tonight on TNT at 9pm Eastern/Pacific, followed immediately by Dark Blue.