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I originally tuned in to see if Gina Bellman would be playing with an American accent. Even though we were over half way through the episode before we met her character Sophie Devereaux (or was that her real name?), I decided I like the other four characters enough that I didn't care and that I'd be back. Turns out, as a grifter, Sophie played all sotts of accents.

Anyway, I think that they caught lightening in a bottle with casting and writing on this one. The production team really went in for taking care of the fans with the post show blogging at Kung-Fu Monkey. And, the producers *never* talked down to the fans. We were treated as smart consumers, not dopuses.

I'd rather watch a bad episode of Leverage than much of what's still on TV these days. I think TNT made a mistake canceling it and I'm glad Ion runs it in syndication.

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I loved this show and still watch it all the time on Ion its so funny, the characters were so funny, and so many funny episodes. Still sad it ended, there were so many more things they could have done.

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There are bad episodes of Leverage?  The reruns on Ion regularly eat my Sundays, which is stupid since I own all the DVDs -- but I'm powerless to resist.

I wish Leverage had more of a legacy, since its influence could only be a positive force.  At this point, it's longest-lasting affect is to make other shows suffer by comparison, which is not the happiest of outcomes.

Edited by ChelseaNH
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ChelseaNH, sorry, I should've said "a less than stellar" episode.

I agree that all other TV seems to suffer by comparison.

And, I wish the casting folks at Nashville would hire C Kane!

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Nate, as played by Tim Hutton, quickly became one of my favorite TV characters ever. 

Watching The Cross My Heart Job made me realize that everyone needs a Nate in his/her life.  Dude was scary when dealing with Mr. Chesney.  I loved him channeling his anger at Sam dying and IYS into "I'm not going to let this rich guy get the heart meant for the kid".

I also was totally on board with him and Sophie.  When people start talking about how resolving "UST" ruins shows, I point to Nate & Sophie as an example of how to do it.

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Woot, a Leverage forum!!  I just started watching S3 discs with commentary, and I love how the writers use the actors' secondary talents in the show.  Like in The Sheherezade Job where Aldis Hodge (Hardison) played the violin, as he did IRL (also loved seeing Giancarlo Esposito).  I know CK's country singing episode is coming up in my next disc.  The commentaries also give great insight into Nate Ford's development.

I wish the show was still on.  I would also watch Nashville if CK was on it.

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I didn't watch the show enough while it was on -- I liked it, but it aired at a time that somehow didn't fit my schedule, and I wasn't smart enough to track it down -- but I always liked it when I did see it. I bought all the DVD sets a week ago, so I'm happily catching up now.

I actually think, though, that it lasted the right amount of time. It's always hard to let go of a beloved show, but I've also seen beloved series wear out their welcome, and my goodwill, by lasting too long. There are always a limited number of stories a given premise will generate, in my opinion, and Leverage stayed on the good side of that. So I'm glad I can look back and enjoy it all.

In addition to its legacy, there are also its predecessors: Mission Impossible, To Catch a Thief, possibly The A-Team (I never watched that one), all the caper-related series that are so much fun when done right. Leverage had its special gimmick that I so loved, the little in-between scenes that explained it all and that we weren't privy to till near the end. I'm so enjoying making my way through all these DVDs!

Edited by Rinaldo
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Rinaldo, I've been wanting to buy the DVDs; do they have worthwhile commentary/extras?

On your point of it going the right length of time, there is validity there.  I do think these characters hadn't (yet) become people I didn't want to spend time with (as seems to happen with so many ensemble shows).  I am, however, still holding out irrational hope for a TV movie or two from Rogers, et al. 

Edited to add: I think I'm going to be 'that person' around here: starting topics in the Leverage forum.  I feel another one coming on!

Edited by fastiller
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fastiller, EVERY episode gets commentary! Mostly from creators/director/writer, but as the seasons go by, the occasional actor joins in (I heard Aldis Hodge once when I was jumping ahead to sample a favorite later one -- so it must have been "The Scheherazade Job"). Plus there are featurettes and deleted scenes.

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The commentaries are spectacular, especially if you're interested in how television shows are made.  Every episode has commentary; they usually have the episode's writer and director involved.  They talk about how the script came together, and how they set up shots with different cameras, and the stunt work and the costumes and just everything.  The actors don't participate much, but Aldis Hodge dropped in for several and I recall Beth Riesgraf being there for a couple.

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My favorite Nate episode is probably the Miracle Job, with his friend, Father D.B. Sweeney.

Favorite lines - one is from the Cross My Heart Job: "God killed you.  I just made sure it took."  The other is from the season 4 finale, at the very end:  "My son would be ashamed of me if I were a murderer.  My father, on the other hand, he'd buy me an ice cream cone."

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I found the sound on the commentaries to be iffy.  I could the folks up front alright, but if somebody came in later, it seems they weren't given a microphone.  Although, they're still gems on the DVDs.

I keep hoping Grimm will hire Riesgraf to be another Grimm in Portland, not necessarily family of Nick's.  A stranger.  A traditional, chop-their-heads-off Grimm.  She'd be fan-damn-tastic at it.

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I keep hoping Grimm will hire Riesgraf to be another Grimm in Portland, not necessarily family of Nick's.  A stranger.  A traditional, chop-their-heads-off Grimm.  She'd be fan-damn-tastic at it.

Ooh!  That is a great idea.  I could also see her being a Wesen.  Have they had a rabbit Wesen yet?

I'm currently marathoning the show via Netflix.  Is it just me or did Gina get scary skinny in season 4? The Hardison getting buried episode actually made me cry - awesome acting from Aldis and Beth.  How would people rank the seasons?

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Hi! I finally decided to crack open my new S5 DVDs to watch the final season (I've been a fan for several years and just couldn't bear to see it end yet).  Yes, the DVDs are awesome; my favorite outtake set has to be Aldis' takes in S01E02 with the truck.

I absolutely adore this show; my best friend got me onto it, and their selling point was that there is a group of incredibly broken people who work so well together.  The actor chemistry was so amazing throughout, and the non-romantic relationships never suffered even when there was romance involved.

One of my favorite aspects of this show is how well they subverted stereotypes - the Black dude is the hacker (and arguably the most emotionally healthy), the blonde gal is quite Aspergersy, and the Hitter is a chef.  It's also my go-to show to get inspired to fight the Power and help the Little Gal/Guy. 

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The team must exploit a corrupt airline executive's obsession with Howard Hughes and his Spruce Goose, which is now on exhibit in a museum in their new home of Portland. (Season 5 Episode 1)

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I thought I'd start an episode thread for this since I'm getting to watch it for the first time on DVD. 

It had been a while since I've watched Leverage, and I decided to jump straight in at the season opener.  They did a great job of reminding viewers of classic team dynamics - my favorite part of the show.  The characters are still the same even though they've grown up together.

I'm also a fan of Psych, so it was great seeing Cary Elwes' character get scammed this time.

Quote of the episode:

Elliot: "I'm only going to say this once, boys.  Give me ... the teddy bear."

Bad Guys: *snicker*

Elliot: *commences ass-whupping*

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Nate is such a great character, and they did a superb job of allowing him to be flawed and imperfect even though he is pretty clearly the Brain. 

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The ACTUAL Spruce Goose! (Season 5 Episode 1)

I also enjoyed the reveal of the new HQ ("Suggestion box!") and the little touch of the daughter sending her father videos.

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We didn’t get nearly enough backstory on Alec.  We learned about all the other characters, met people from their respective pasts, but not Alec.  I was really hoping to have met Nana; naturally she’d’ve been played by Nichelle Nichols (or a small Asian woman). 

I thought Hodge’s best acting was in The Grave Danger Job (after he’d been saved; Kane did some great acting right then too) & in The Experimental Job (when he was playing at Frat Boy).  He played Hardison as well rounded and he played off of Reisgraf very, very well as their relationship progressed.

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Is it just me or did Gina get scary skinny in season 4?

 

Well, Gina was pregnant during S2 and arguably in S3 probably still had some 'baby fat.'  So it could be that by comparison, she looks 'too skinny' in S4. 

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The team cons a thieving scientist by convincing him that he's made contact with aliens from another planet. (Season 5 Episode 3)

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This episode ranks as one of the funniest Leverage episodes, in my opinion.  Of course, it helps that I grew up with E.T., so every reference by Parker made me crack up. Eliot was excellent throughout, and the Parker/Hardison relationship managed to be cute and consistent to character without being cloying. Other gags, like Eliot on the tracker, have great comedic balance as well.

I haven't laughed this hard at an episode in a long while.

Ending on the moral that Nate needs to listen more to clients was a nice way to tie it off on a more serious note.

Stray observation: at the 19 minute mark, there appears to be a little Star Trek: TNG red-shirt figurine on the desk behind Eliot.  Riker? To double down on the Riker joke?

Edited by maraleia · Reason: moved post to all season's discussion thread

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I so totally agree about the casting in this show - I mentioned this in the old forum (hi all!) but it was only on rewatching, after I already knew how each story would turn out, that I was amazed by how well each actor was inhabiting his/her role.  You don't get that very much, it says a lot for the cast, and for the care they took with this show.

I do think TNT did a terrible job of not promoting it. They would schedule it right after that horrible looking (I never watched it) horror-scifi thing Falling Skies and hardly give you a second to breathe before Leverage would begin.  Ideally, they should have preceded it with something compatible IMO.

Wanted to add, CBS does rerun an episode very late at night over the weekend, or they have been lately.

Edited by roseha

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from Leverage's five-season run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

Edited by stacey · Reason: Updating Topic Info

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We're encouraged to start threads for individual episodes.

I myself, having caught just 3 or 4 episodes over the course of its run (I liked it, but kept overlooking it somehow), am now enjoying catching up with all the episodes in order on the DVD sets. I've just started Season 2 and am almost cackling with glee at the thought of how many I still have ahead of me to discover.

Edited by Rinaldo
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We're encouraged to start threads for individual episodes.

That's what I tried to do.  They all got moved in here, apparently.  :(

If an admin/mod thinks it should be kept more compact here, could we at least have separate season threads?  It's really hard to discuss character development and plot arcs when everything is crammed into one thread.  There are distinct developments that just won't make sense when taken out of context.

Also, I'm watching S5 for the first time (I've had the DVDs on the shelf and haven't had the heart to end the show).  So if this becomes "all seasons" then I'll have to leave until I'm finished. 

Edited by Zalyn

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You can absolutely start new threads for each episode or each season, I think they may have accidentally gotten collapsed. I'll pull the collapsed threads out here but you guys should feel free to start new ones too. Sorry for any confusion! 

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The team cons a thieving scientist by convincing him that he's made contact with aliens from another planet.

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Thank you!  As a new person here (and an experienced forumite), I wanted to be a good member and not inadvertently raise a stink if you guys had a policy on how to do things here.  Much appreciated!

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One of the things that came up a lot in the commentaries is that Aldis Hodge is ridiculously good at delivering pages and pages of exposition, which is normally death for actors.  It made the writers' job so much easier.

I know some people were miffed that Hardison didn't end up running the crew at the end of the show.  Here's the thing, though:  Hardison is just too in love with the details.  It's not the best quality in a mastermind.  It is, however, a valuable quality in a team member.  I love how he enjoyed doing all the props and costumes for the team (for example, the FBI windbreakers), and that his proudest moment in that respect was hacking history in The King George Job.

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I just really miss this show. So much. The writers were great, John Rogers was basically THE best show runner I've ever seen, and he was always really informative. The cast seemed to genuinely enjoy each other's company, and the chemistry was just insane with all of them. The found family is one of my favorite tropes in television, and this show exemplified it.

Also, do you guys find yourself saying "This is like an episode of Leverage!" whenever some big political/economical thing happens? Because I do that SO MUCH and it just shows how damn relevant this show will remain, even if not many people know about it.

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Also, do you guys find yourself saying "This is like an episode of Leverage!" whenever some big political/economical thing happens? Because I do that SO MUCH and it just shows how damn relevant this show will remain, even if not many people know about it.

YES.  "There was a Leverage episode about this two years ago!"  The relevance to issues today is one of the things I lov emost.

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I was just watching some reruns last night, and I love Nate.  He was a great character, and Tim played him to perfection.  My only quibble is that I thought his chemistry with Maggie was off the chart, and I was heartbroken that they broke up over their son's death.  I knew it was futile, but I kept rooting for Maggie and Nate to get back together.  Sophie was not a favorite character, and I never thought they made a good couple.  Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled with the series finale. 

Chelsea, I love those quotes, too!

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My only quibble is that I thought his chemistry with Maggie was off the chart, and I was heartbroken that they broke up over their son's death.  I knew it was futile, but I kept rooting for Maggie and Nate to get back together.  Sophie was not a favorite character, and I never thought they made a good couple.

This show managed a rare thing for me - it made me equally happy with either of two possible love interests for the lead.  (Most shows can't convince me of even one.)  I love Maggie, and I love Sophie.  I think Nate's chemistry with each of them is great in different ways.  I was also heartbroken that Nate and Maggie broke up over Sam's death.  I spent the first three seasons hoping they'd get back together again.  

I was iffy about him and Sophie when they first really got together, but I loved the reactions of Parker and Hardison when they found out about them (in the Boiler Room job, I think it was), and that pushed me towards liking the couple-aspect of their relationship more.

Tim Hutton and Kari Matchett had worked together before, back on Nero Wolfe, and I think that contributed to the chemistry they had on this show.

While I'm at it, I guess I'll mention that my favorite episode for Nate would be The Inside Job.  Nate's not one to show a lot of emotion, and you know he's got to feel something when Archie talks about how he couldn't introduce Parker to his "real" family, but Nate still knows that Archie would die for Parker just like his own team would.  And it's not like Nate's a good father figure for Parker himself, really.  The dynamic is very understated and feels real for the characters. 

Honorary mention for favorite Nate episode has to be The 10 Lil Grifters Job, because Ellery Queen.  (Jim Hutton as Ellery Queen is my favorite thing in the world, thanks to the wonders of DVD's.)

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My favorite Leverage episode (which is saying something) and one of the best-written episodes of television ever.  Not only do they interweave five (5!) separate theft plots, but they slip in all sorts of lovely character bits.  The obvious ones come when a character's involvement has already been revealed (see everyone's treatment of Eliot and knives) but there are more subtle indications of characters who have not yet been revealed (such as the way the "minister" thanks Eliot for his medical assistance).

 

And of course there's the business with Sophie's accent.

 

And John Billingsley is delightful.

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I loved this episode for all the reasons you mention.  It's a great opportunity for all the actors, including John Billingsley, to play around with different angles of their characters.

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I really enoyed the way that Nate was supposed to be the honest broker who saw everything that happened clearly, but there was still a little glow about the way he saw Sophie, and he was clearly pissed off about Coswell being attracted to her.

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This is such a great hour of television. Many series have done a Rashomon episode (Fame and thirtysomething come to mind, but there are plenty more), but I bet none have been as intricately layered as this. The first time I saw it (during its initial airing) my eyes kept getting wider and my grin bigger. After a while I was able to anticipate what might happen next, but they still surpassed my expectations. Gina Bellman deserves a special medal for her adaptability with accents.

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This is my favorite episode as well. I really enjoyed the commentary on this one, too. (I have all the DVDs and watch them frequently, but right now I'm enjoying going through the commentaries. I'm about halfway through season 4 now.) I loved the different ways each character saw the events and each other, and Sophie's changing accent is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.  Do you think Nate's version of Coswell is correct or was it colored, as some have suggested, by his own attraction to Sophie?

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Oh, I definitely think Nate saw Coswell as besotted because he is.

I believe Nate exaggerated this a bit. That's one of the points of a Roshomon story. We see things from each character's viewpoint, which necessarily will involve the other characters being exaggerated to a certain degree. Nate was pretty accurate with the team, but, given his feelings for Sophie, I have no doubt that his description of Coswell was somewhat prejudiced.

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As I mentioned near the start of this thread, I've binge-watched all 5 seasons recently -- maybe a dozen episodes were familiar to me, the rest were all new. 

 

Well, I've finished them all now (there are still some outtakes and commentaries left for me to enjoy), so I thought I should report on my overall reaction. Which is, of course, hugely positive, especially given that the family you find for yourself and the caper in the cause of good are two of my favorite premises, above and beyond the quality of the show itself.

 

I already knew how skilled and likeable the cast was, and how clever the scripts would be. After watching the whole series in such a short time, I'm especially impressed by two aspects (well, more, but I'll single out these two for now). 1, that despite the seemingly haphazard way stories were proposed and developed (I mean that on the whole, if someone came up with a premise that seemed workable and entertaining, they went ahead and did it -- there generally wasn't a "master plan" for what each individual story in sequence would have to be), each of the five seasons, and the series as a whole, felt coherent and well shaped. Whatever the diversions along the way, there always seemed to be a consistency to a season's arc. This has to be to the credit of the creators/overseers (and the commentaries reveal that there was a one-word "theme" for each season). The little blips along the way -- I never quite bought the character of "the Italian" and her mission (I know they were going for a 60s spy-movie aura, but it doesn't do much for me), and there has to be a lot of hand-waving to explain away that Nate, after breaking out of prison, goes right back home and lives there openly for two more years -- don't really matter much in the end.

 

Which brings me to 2, that the show did a nice job straddling the serious/fun line. I mean this in the specific sense that of course we're supposed to (and I did) get involved with the stories and characters, and take them seriously; but at the same time we shouldn't take it all too too seriously, and worry if a certain moment is impossible, or a certain plot point strains belief; it's all, in the end, for fun. Obviously a producer shouldn't be able to get away with murder in this respect, but I don't grudge him an occasional such moment, because that balance is satisfyingly maintained. (My own biggest nitpicks are in the Sheherazade and Studio Jobs, because my own musical background makes their liberties glaringly obvious to me. No doubt others focus elsewhere. Still no big deal.)

 

So anyway, it all adds up very satisfyingly, and I'm delighted to have all the DVDs on my shelf.

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I never quite bought the character of "the Italian" and her mission

 

 

I consider her to be the only real weakness in an otherwise fabulous show.  And I blame it largely on the fact that the actress was one of the most untalented I've ever seen.  (Sorry to be harsh, but it's true.  And it's especially noticeable in a show like this, where the talent of the main cast sets a very high bar.)

 

 

a lot of hand-waving to explain away that Nate, after breaking out of prison, goes right back home and lives there openly for two more years

 

 

My hand-waving on that is that Hardison erased some records.  But, then,  hand-waving only goes so far when they bring Bonnano into a case later.  And I've never been able to come up with much of an explanation for McSweetin, et al not figuring out that Parker and Hardison weren't feds.  I'm forgiving of it because this show delivers a lot of good stuff, so I'll excuse the occasional absurdity.  

 

 

Sheherazade

 

 

Heh. Yeah. Can't waive that one away.  I like the episode but there should've been another way to manage the virtuoso thing.

 

 

I was sorry the show ended after five seasons, but at the same time I'm glad it never outstayed its ability to continue providing good stories.  The fifth season contains as many of  what I consider good episodes as any other season.  Hand-waving and suspension of disbelief sometimes, sure. But of a type that I don't mind as long as the overall story hung together well.  And it does, for this show.  The stories are entertaining, the characters are likable, and the relationships between the characters are interesting.

 

I often run fleeing from the TV when a romantic sub-plot is introduced into a show that isn't primarily a "romance" show.  But the development of Nate/Sophie and especially of Alec/Parker works for me because every step of the way I saw those relationships develop naturally.  It wasn't a case of, 'let's put these two together' or 'will they or won't they'.  It was a nice layering of steps in the development of the feelings.  And the non-romantic relationships are also well-done and each unique in its own way, and true to who the characters are.  I've always liked the relationships between Sophie and Eliot,  between Sophie and Parker,  between Eliot and Parker,  between Eliot and Hardison.  

 

And watching them pull off their capers and knock down the bad guys is always fun. 

 

 

the show did a nice job straddling the serious/fun line.

 

 

Very true.  With both the characters and the capers.

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Riker? To double down on the Riker joke?

There were layers upon layers in this episode. Character name Riker, Riker figurine, directed by Jonathan Frakes and titled 'First Contact" just like the TNG movie directed by Jonathan Frakes.

Leverage was never afraid to be meta. And we loved them for it!

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My own biggest nitpicks are in the Sheherazade and Studio Jobs, because my own musical background makes their liberties glaringly obvious to me. No doubt others focus elsewhere. Still no big deal.

If you're referring to each character being a talented musician (however deeply talented or not): Hodge is trained in the violin & Kane does have a side career as a country musician.  So, I think in each case the writers decided to use the actors' side talents to allow the characters to do whatever was needed for each episode.

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Sheherazade

 

 

Heh. Yeah. Can't waive that one away.  I like the episode but there should've been another way to manage the virtuoso thing.

I like it too. I saw it first-run (Alan Sepinwall, who in general didn't cover the show, did a special write-up in advance that alerted me to watch) and as a lover and teacher of classical music I was pleased to see this piece featured so prominently, with both the violin solo and the orchestral climax (shades of The Man Who Knew Too Much!) crucial to the plot. But so many things were wrong with its treatment (each one ignorable on its own, maybe, but as a group, not): the composer's surname is Rimsky-Korsakov, not Korsakov (and Sophie, the sophisticate, should have gotten it right); the fourth movement is never done on its own; there are violin solos all the way through the four movements, not just at the very end; the solos are done by the concertmaster (first chair in the first violin section), not an outside soloist. Some of that might be waved away as the result of this being a special short concert to honor a foreign guest, and I can try to dismiss some of the rest as "things are done differently in this fictional world"; but there's no way to imagine that a conductor would show up for a concert never having rehearsed with the soloist or heard him play. Not on any planet. Also the errors of Aldis Hodge's finger-syncing... John Rogers tries to pass them off as his fault because of editing necessities, but I can't picture an editing need that would require picture to be slightly off from sound.

 

But you know, I can ignore most of that if I try, because the premise is so fun for me. But "The Studio Job" -- how's the chronology on that again? Eliot acquires a flock of screaming fangirls the morning after he played in a Memphis bar? John Schneider thinks he can pass off a song as his own after someone else played it in public as their own the night before? And sundry other bits I won't go into, but they're a matter of surface believability, not specialized knowledge.

 

But in the end I forgive it, because I do enjoy the series so much. I bet it'll have a long life in cable syndication and other such outlets.

 

(fastiller, I didn't see your response till I'd posted. But as the above makes clear, I hope, the points you mention weren't what I was thinking of at all.)

Edited by Rinaldo
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I've always liked the relationships between Sophie and Eliot,  between Sophie and Parker,  between Eliot and Parker,  between Eliot and Hardison.

 

One of the things I appreciated is that they would try to mix up the pairings of characters.

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But you know, I can ignore most of that if I try, because the premise is so fun for me. But "The Studio Job" -- how's the chronology on that again? Eliot acquires a flock of screaming fangirls the morning after he played in a Memphis bar? John Schneider thinks he can pass off a song as his own after someone else played it in public as their own the night before? And sundry other bits I won't go into, but they're a matter of surface believability, not specialized knowledge.

 

I'll give you the Schneider trying to pass the song off as his own in one day's time as ridiculous.  But Kane having a flock of screaming fan girls overnight, yeah, I can believe that for sure.  :)

 

I do agree with you on the Scheherazade episode.  Maybe Hodges can play violin, but it sure didn't look like he was playing that solo during the show.  I can play a violin too, but not good enough for that solo.

 

Listening to the commentaries, its interesting to find out how much the actors put into the show themselves in terms of ad libs and other little extras.  CK also did quite a few stunts himself.

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But Kane having a flock of screaming fan girls overnight, yeah, I can believe that for sure.  :)

OK, I know what you're saying here, and I know Kane has devoted fans in real life. I'm not saying he couldn't attract them. But just practically speaking: how did he? He sings one evening in a bar to which none of these girls could be admitted, and then by 10 the next morning they've all cut school to follow him around the streets of Memphis? On the basis of what? :) If he'd made a TV appearance, sure.

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