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Featured TV on DVD Review: Leverage: Season Two

May 22nd, 2010

Leverage: Season Two - Buy from Amazon

Leverage enters its third season on TNT network in June, so it is a great time to release Season Two on DVD. I reviewed Season One and outside of a shaky pilot, I thought the DVD was great. But can the show maintain this momentum throughout the second season?

Season Two begins with a very timely episode, The Beantown Bailout Job. The team had split up after the events of the season two finale, but are brought back after Nate witnesses an accident and gets involved in a bank that is about to go under that might have connections to the Mob. He brings the group back together, but for just this one job. And if anyone believes that, then I have some swampland in Florida to sell them. Other timely episodes from early in the season include The Fairy Godparents Job, which involves a Ponzi scheme a la Bernard Madoff. The Top Hat Job involves tainted food, which is an issue that has cropped up repeatedly over the past few years.

Some of the best episodes of the season include The Three Days of the Hunter Job, which has the crew working to restore a bus driver's reputation after he becomes the victim of a tabloid journalist, Monica Hunter, and her quest for ratings. Wil Wheaton has a guest shot as part of a rival crew in The Two Live Crew Job. I have two points to make about this episode. Firstly, it is arguably the best episode this season, as practically the only way to make a con / heist more interesting is to have two competing cons. Secondly, I've seen Wil Wheaton do a lot of guest shots on a number of shows, and in almost every case, he's a douche. This includes a time where he was playing himself on The Big Bang Theory. Other notable guests include Jeri Ryan, who jumps into the show with a series of guest shots starting with The Lost Heir Job, which is another strong episode. Luke Perry plays a phony psychic in The Future Job. Phony psychic, like there's any other kind. There's a trifecta of guest shots in The Zanzibar Marketplace Job with the return of Kari Matchett as Maggie, Nate's ex-wife, and Mark Sheppard as Jim Sterling, Nate's competition / nemesis, who also returns for the season's two-part finale. The third member of the trifecta is Matt Keeslar as Alexander Lundy, the mark. Who is Matt Keeslar? He's The Middleman. It's another amazing episode. The season ends on a strong note with the gang going after the corrupt mayor, played by Richard Kind.

But you know what? They are all strong episodes. I would argue that the weakest of the season is The Runway Job, which has the gang entering the world of fashion. Even this episode has good replay value. It's rare to find a show that is this consistent with the hits. I only have two minor complaints. Firstly, the flashbacks. Sometimes this flashbacks are used to fill in the blanks; i.e., show us stuff that happened off screen that they didn't want to give away at the time. Other times they are used to remind us what happened earlier in the episode, sometimes not that long ago. Sometimes just a few minutes earlier. It's like they think their audience had ADD. Secondly, some of the twists are a little telegraphed. Some of the big twists (like the team reuniting at the end of the first episode) should be obvious to anyone. After all, if that didn't happen, there would be no second season.

Extras on the 4-disc set are just as amazing as the show itself, starting with audio commentary tracks on all 15 episodes. Like season one, there's a selection of participants and very high energy. Definitely worth listening to, as if you needed another reason to re-watch the episodes. Next up is a 19-minute Q&A with the three creators, John Rogers, Dean Devlin, and Chris Downey. John Rogers also gives a 3-minute set tour. There is a 7-minute featurette on the special effect explosions seen in season two, and there are a lot. Next up is a 5-minute spoof called... The Hand Job. Yeah. Name aside, it has Aldis Hodge, a.k.a. Hardison, giving tips on how to use the techniques seen in Leverage in real world situations. There is a music video. And finally there is a 9-minute gag reel.

Like the first season DVD, there are no subtitles, no play-all buttons, and no proper chapter placements.

The Verdict

Season Two of Leverage is only 15 episodes long, but every single one of them works, every single one of them has serious replay value. Add in amazing extras, including audio commentary tracks on all 15 episodes, and the 4-disc DVD is absolutely worth picking up. It's even a contender for Pick of the Week.

One last note: Eliot's right. If the defense can't score, it's not a real sport.

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