Leverage follows a team of five; Parker – the thief, Sophie Deveraux – the grifter, Alec Hardison – the hacker and Eliot Spencer – the hitter, headed up by Nate Ford – the mastermind in a modern day Robin Hood style drama – they take down corporate and governmental evils, righting the wrongs that they do that hurt ordinary people. As Nate says, “sometimes the bad guys make the best good guys”.
Leverage has three key recurring guest stars who all boast very strong geek links. Wil Wheaton pops up from time to time, he of course is best known for his role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation, though a quick glance at his credits throws up many geeky roles including his regular appearances as Sheldon Cooper’s nemesis on The Big Bang Theory. Jeri Ryan is another Star Trek alum who has appeared in a number of episodes of Leverage, her role as Seven of Nine on Star Trek Voyager continues to be the role many people know her for.
And then we come to the grandaddy of geek guest stars, Mark Sheppard. It’s reaching the stage where it’s probably easier to name the geek shows he doesn’t appear in than the ones he does, so I’m just going to mention my favourite roles of his, Crowley in Supernatural, Romo in Battlestar Galactica and Badger in Firefly.
In addition to acting talent with plenty of geek cred, it’s important to point out how that the creators are geeky too. Co-creator and lead writer John Rogers has also written comics for DC and IDW, screenplay drafts for movies including the first Transformers and has been involved with role-playing games. This helps to contribute to the geek references that litter the show, from adopted aliases to nods in the direction of geek staples such as Doctor Who.
The show is slick and takes advantage of technology, both tech that’s available and tech that has been advanced a little. Hodge’s character Alec Hardison is the teams resident hacker and all round geek – his catchphrase of choice “age of the geek” never fails to make me smile.
Leverage is currently one of the best shows in understanding its fans and connecting with them. In addition to the now standard Facebook and Twitter presences, John Rogers’ own blog Kung-Fu Monkey is a wonderful mix of pop culture commentary and a one stop portal to the show. There have been regular updates on Leverage from before they even shot the pilot, and before every episode premieres he provides a post for viewers to comment and ask questions, and then posts a follow up where he actually answers as many of the questions as he can.
In addition to Rogers’ blog, this year has seen an official Leverage podcast launched, Leverage 10. This launched midway through season 4 and started with episode linked shows with the ever changing panel answering 10 questions about that particular episode. Now that they’re writing and filming season 5 the podcast is focusing on the creative side of the show, giving such a good look behind the scenes. The writing geek in me has learned so much from this show.
So to sum up, Leverage is a essentially a brilliantly geek friendly show. If you haven’t seen it why not give it a try?