Tuesday, January 12, 2010
New season of "Leverage" starts
I know this has been a big week in TV, with NBC sending Jay Leno back to 11:30 and Simon Cowell announcing he's leaving "American Idol." But, amid all this TV news, there's a ton of actual new TV -- including this week's winter premiere of TNT's frothy caper series "Leverage."
The show returns Wednesday at 10 p.m., with the gang working to scam a cruel sweatshop manager. This season, Jeri Ryan ("Boston Public") is reprising her role from the summer finale as Tara, a grifter who steps in to help the Leverage team while Sophie (Gina Bellman) is coping with "emotional issues." Really, Bellman is pregnant. But it's no matter. Ryan is a fine temporary substitute. In fact, in some ways, I like her sly, aloof Tara better than Bellman's more strongly comedic Sophie.
The two episodes I've seen so far are very strong, and both offer some excellent material for the series' star, Timothy Hutton. In this week's scam, his character, Nate, plays a kooky, fan-flipping foreign designer, and Hutton is clearly having a ball with the bit.
The show also continues to give good material to supporting characters, particularly Aldis Hodge's Hardison, who has a hilarious bit in next week's episode, in which he fakes a weather cast.
"Leverage" isn't the best show on TV, but it is among the most fun to watch, and I'm glad to have it back.