Tag: john rogers

ECCC2011: Dwayne McDuffie Memorial

Saturday night at Emerald City Comicon 2011 marked a rather solemn occasion, that being the memorial for Dwayne McDuffie. Dwayne died suddenly and shockingly on February 21 following complications from surgery and colleagues and fans gathered to pay tribute to the amazing writer. On stage were Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek, Marv Wolfman, Bob Harras and David Walker. All five writers talked about their fondest memories of Dwayne along with how effortlessly talented he was. Everyone agreed that he was not only brilliantly insightful, but also a tireless proponent for breaking the horrendous stereotypical and sometimes downright offensive depiction of people of color in comics. The most poignant remembrance came from writer David Walker who talked about his first meeting with Dwayne many years ago and being surprised at how much Dwayne knew about him. This sparked a friendship that lasted many, many years. A couple of audience members also shared how Dwayne had inspired them, including Leverage co-creator John Rogers. At the beginning of the hour the below video was shown. This is a terrific tribute to the amazing career and work of Dwayne McDuffie and all credit should go to Thomas Nord, Brandon Jerwa and Troy Reeder for their work on putting this together.

Thank you to Mark Waid for arranging this very fitting memorial at the last minute at Emerald City, thanks to all who attended and shared their favorite memories of Dwayne and thank you to Tom Nord, Brandon Jerwa and Troy Reeder for the wonderful video.

Providing Leverage: “The Jailhouse Job” & “The Reunion Job”

Leverage is back for a third season this week and for the premiere TNT is airing two episodes back to back. Returning for the new new season are Timothy Hutton as Nate Ford, Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, Beth Riesgraf as Parker and Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison. The series is once again being shot in Portland, OR (standing in for Boston) and will run for sixteen episodes.

“The Jailhouse Job” – Sunday, June 20, at 9:00PM
Written by John Rogers, Directed by Dean Devlin

In order to save the life of an innocent inmate, Nate must bring down the corrupt warden of the Super-Max prison where he’s currently incarcerated and escape… whether he wants to or not. Elisabetta Canalis and Edwin Hodge guest-star.

“The Jailhouse Job” picks up in the aftermath of the second season finale. Nate is in a privately run prison after surrendering himself so that his friends could go free. The gun shot wound that hampered him in the closing minutes of the finale has healed nicely, so no worries there. The rest of the team (Sophie, Eliot, Parker and Hardison) are all ready to break Nate out, although everyone isn’t certain he should be freed after not keeping them in the loop with his plan. Ultimately, Nate refuses to be broken out as, surprise, he has found them a client within the jailhouse. Lurking in the shadows is a mysterious Italian woman who decides to make life a lot more complicated, if not interesting, for our merry band of con artists.

This first season three episode is as sharp, witty and brilliantly paced as any episode of Leverage previously. The actors have their characters nailed down so perfectly and the banter shoots back and forth with rapid-fire giddiness. There are some great touches for long-time fans (specifically concerning Sophie’s real name) and clever use of a proposed con at the beginning in order to inform first-time viewers exactly what this show is all about. In the first season Nate was the one holding the group together and in the second season everyone else tried to hold Nate together. It would appear that they are all on equal footing this season, thanks to our mystery Italian lady friend, so it will be interesting to see where that goes. Sophie confronts Nate about his drinking at the end of the episode and I think that sort of tells us that Nate has accepted the others as equals and says a lot about the respect he now has for them. Oh, and for those of you still mourning the loss of Hardison’s beloved van, Lucille, take heart; there’s a new girl in town. All in all, a fine return for a series that has always stood out as a quality show.

“The Reunion Job” – Sunday, June 20, at 10:00PM
Written by Michael Colton & John Aboud, Directed by Jonathan Frakes
To uncover a password, the team infiltrates the high school reunion of an amoral software magnate who’s the IT department for the Axis of Evil.

“The Reunion Job” is a great trip down memory lane for those of us that came of age in the 1980s. As the episode description implies, the crew basically steals a High School reunion in order to steal a password from someone playing fast and loose with some very evil men. This episode is chock full of great scenes and character moments. We see two significant flashbacks involving a quick look at what two of our heroes were up to in the 80s and there is a dance at the end that will make long-time fans pretty happy, but it’s the not the dance you think (as in, not the one pictured below). Also, there is a very unexpected wrinkle in an otherwise perfect plan, but thinking on their toes is one of this group’s strengths. Mainly because I’m a computer nerd (geek alert for the low tech on display), but mostly because I went to High School in the mid-80s, I think I like this episode just a bit more than the premiere.

Leverage is back and better than ever. Great scripts, awesome direction and impeccable acting are the hallmarks for the first two episodes of season three. Getting even has never looked so good or been as much fun.

TNT Tease The Rest Of ‘Leverage’ Season Two

The hit TNT series Leverage resumes its acclaimed second season on January 13th and the network has released some teases of things to come. Below are episode descriptions for the remainder of the season as well as images for the next four episodes. Notably, Mark Sheppard returns as James Sterling as does Kari Matchett as Nate’s ex-wife Maggie Collins. Be sure to tune in to TNT Tuesday, January 13th at 10:00 PM for six straight weeks of brand-new Leverage episodes and remember, things are just getting started as the show will return in the summer for a third season! Leverage is executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT’s The Librarian) and creators John Rogers (Transformers) and Chris Downey (The King of Queens). The show is produced for TNT by Devlin’s Electric Entertainment.

“The Runway Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 10:00 PM
In order to take down an oppressive sweatshop owner, the LEVERAGE team infiltrates the fashion world.
Directed by Marc Roskin
Written by Albert Kim

“The Bottle Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 10:00 PM
The LEVERAGE team runs a high-tech version of a classic con on a predatory loan shark in order to save McRory’s bar.
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Written by Christine Boylan

“The Zanzibar Marketplace Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 10:00 PM
The team is forced to work with their old enemy Sterling in order to free Nate’s ex-wife, Maggie (guest star Kari Matchett) from a Ukrainian jail and clear her name.
Directed by Jeremiah Chechik
Written by Melissa Glenn & Jessica Rieder

“The Future Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 10:00 PM
The team goes after a con man masquerading as a psychic medium (guest star Luke Perry) in order to drain the life savings of his bereaved clients.
Directed by Marc Roskin
Written by Amy Berg & Chris Downey

“The Three Strikes Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 10:00 PM
While trying to take down a corrupt local mayor exploiting his love of baseball, the LEVERAGE team runs into an unexpected complication.
Directed by Dean Devlin
Written by John Rogers

“The Maltese Falcon Job” – Premieres Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 10:00 PM
Surrounded by FBI, the team decides to hide in plain sight, while continuing to take down the corrupt mayor and his gunrunning partner. Little do they suspect that Nate has a different endgame in mind for them all.
Directed by Dean Devlin
Written by John Rogers

‘Leverage’ Gets Renewed

We just received great news from TNT as word filters out that on of our favorite shows, Leverage, has been picked up for a third season. Check out all the details below!

The Con is On as TNT Orders Third Season of Hit Series LEVERAGE Popular Series, Starring Oscar® Winner Timothy Hutton, Averages 4.1 Million Viewers and Ranks as Ad-Supported Cable’s #1 Wednesday Program among Adults 25-54, Viewers and Households

Television’s hottest team of con artists, grifters, hackers and thieves will be back again as TNT lines up a third season of its fast-paced drama series LEVERAGE, starring Academy Award® winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People), Gina Bellman (Coupling), Christian Kane (TNT’s Into the West), Beth Riesgraf (Alvin and the Chipmunks) and Aldis Hodge (Friday Night Lights). The network has ordered 15 episodes of the series, which is currently in its second season, airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT). The show’s summer finale will air Wednesday, Sept. 9. It will then return to complete the second season in winter, with the third season slated to air in summer 2010.

“Thanks in large part to its engaging cast and clever storytelling, LEVERAGE has proven itself to be one of the most exciting and fun hours on television,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “The producers, cast and crew have been incredible to work with, and we anticipate another wonderful season.”

LEVERAGE is executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT’s The Librarian) and creators John Rogers (Transformers) and Chris Downey (The King of Queens). It comes to the network from Devlin’s Electric Entertainment and is one of six high-profile original dramas that have populated TNT’s Monday-Wednesday lineup this summer. The six series, which include The Closer, Raising the Bar, HawthoRNe, Saving Grace and Dark Blue, are part of an aggressive TNT strategy to build a slate of quality original programming in primetime.

LEVERAGE scored big in its first season, ranking as ad-supported cable’s #1 show in its timeslot with an average of 3.9 million viewers. The second season has averaged 4.1 million viewers* and ranks as ad-supported cable’s #1 Wednesday program in delivery of adults 25-54, viewers and households. The show is enjoying solid growth when compared to its first season, with viewers up 5% and households up 7%.

LEVERAGE scores tremendously well with DVR users, garnering an extraordinary 66% growth among adults 25-54 when comparing Live to Live + 7 viewing.

In LEVERAGE, Hutton stars as Nate Ford, a former insurance investigator determined to bring down the kind of corrupt bigwigs whose neglect led to the death of his son. His highly skilled team includes Sophie Devereaux (Bellman), a grifter who uses her acting skills to corner her marks; Eliot Spencer (Kane), a “retrieval specialist” with bone-crunching fighting skills; Alec Hardison (Hodge), a gadget and technology wizard who keeps the team connected and informed; and Parker (Riesgraf), a slightly off-center thief adept at rappelling off buildings or squeezing into tight places.

Review: ‘Leverage’ Series Premiere

In the opening moments of Leverage we are introduced to Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton), a man close to the end of a downward spiral. He has suffered a horrible tragedy indirectly due to the insurance company he used to work for. When a desperate man (guest star Saul Rubinek) seeks Ford’s help in stealing back some documents he only agrees when he is told that it will also cause harm to his former employer. Knowing he can’t do this job alone, he assembles a team of criminals, each with a particular skill. There’s Parker (Beth Riesgraf), who scales skyscrapers as calmly as she repels off of them. She may also be clinically insane. Cool and confident Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane) can incapacitate a group of tough guys frighteningly quick. For the computer hacking needs of the operation there is Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge). And lastly, but certainly not least, there is professional grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman) who also is an aspiring actress…a bad one. Once together these loners have to figure out how to work as a team or if they even want to. Then the double-cross starts.

leverage_the-nigerian-job-18-timothy-hutton-gina-bellmanLeverage is a prime example of what TNT excels at, great characters and what they do in dramatic situations. What the premiere episode doesn’t do is start off with the normal situation and setting of the show. That doesn’t happen until the second episode. What it does do, and it does this very well, is introduce us to the characters. As the episode, and eventual caper, progresses we see each character’s strengths play out as well as their personalities. This happens organically in tandem with the plot and not gratuitously rushed, which is not always easy to accomplish in a first episode. It’s also refreshing that the story is self-contained. Who the characters are, what made them who they are and what evil-doer they take on next is what will compel you to tune in for each subsequent episode in this thirteen episode run.

A few things stand out after the episode is done. The script by John Rogers and Chris Downey is well paced with some great dialogue. Aldis Hodge nearly steals the show almost upstaging the rest of the cast, including Hutton. Dean Devlin makes his directorial debut look like the work of a veteran director. This pilot episode does it’s job and does it well. The “Modern Day Robin Hood and His Merry Men” conceit that’s at the core of the show doesn’t feel worn out at all. In fact, with these characters and script it feels new again. This is a fun show and well worth checking out. Do the quality and premise hold up through to the second episode? We’ll answer that on Tuesday.