By Deane Barker • Posted on March 21, 2010 • Filed under entertainment

I’ve become awfully smitten with the TNT series Leverage. it’s a dramedy about a team of five con artists who play Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and powerful and returning money to those they’ve wronged (“we provide…leverage,” Timothy Hutton says in the title sequence).

I figured out why I like it so much: it’s the re-incarnation of The A-Team.

The team is well-balanced:

What makes me laugh in every episode is the bickering among the members of the team. Elliot and Hardison are very funny together, with Elliot playing exasperated straight-man to Hardison’s never-ending stream of complaints. Nate tries to manage everyone, Sophie plays mother hen, and Parker will chime in every once in a while with something so off the wall it stops everyone dead in their tracks.

The cons they run are sometime ridiculous, sometimes extraordinary. Some episodes will be fairly realistic, while others border on slapstick and are just a framework on which to hang witty dialogue and funny situations. At times, the show seems to be almost poking fun at itself, blatantly daring you to call BS on it. At any given time, you’re not quite sure exactly how the con works, but you find out in the end, often by way of flashbacks to events they didn’t show you earlier.

Leverage is comfort food. I know that I can watch the episodes out of order without missing anything, and the single episode I watch will be entertaining all by itself. There are some continuing plotlines and story arcs, but nothing you can’t pick up.

Give it a try sometime. You don’t have to watch the series from scratch – just pick any episode and go. Netflix has every episode available for streaming, and TNT has a bunch available at their site as well.

And if you’re ambitious, head out to Portland for the official convention.

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