Tuesday, January 06, 2009

LEVERAGE: Stork Raving Mad/Open Thread


Ah, Stork Job. You started as the most depressing writers' room day ever -- "Hey, let's research Eastern European orphanage scams" -- and turned into our classic Mission: Impossible homage. This is the fun of doing Leverage. Bank Robbery bottle show, high-rise rappelling, classic Sting horse race heist, saving a church ... now going to Belgrade and finding a missing boy while butting heads with arms dealers. It's our little movie every week; sometimes crime-y and sometimes action-y.

Although I always cite late 60's TV as the model for the show, my Dad recently pointed out that I spent a great deal of my youth consuming the old Bantam Doc Savages from my Grandfather's cabin. Once you look at the Lester Dent master pulp fiction plot I internalized at age 12, I think we can safely say -- we're writing pulp here, people. Juicy, old school pulp.

This episode has one of my favorite scenes of the year in it, but it's spoilery, so we'll talk about it next week. The writer of the episode, Albert Kim, is a pretty great amateur photographer, although not quite as sharp as his wife Jennie. So, instead of my blathering let's look at spiffy backstage photos -- like the one above, showing first-time director Marc Roskin going over the script with Tim. Yes, Tim's hair is funny. There's a reason. Now, what else do we have in here (all pictures reveal a high-res version when clicked)...


The episode is very Beth-centric, by the way. Oh, and those weren't her parents who lived in that house she blew up. Now whether those nasty abusive people were still in there or not ... choose the answer that you like. We're never, ever going to tell you everything about these characters. For example, you have no idea exactly who Sophie was married to at age 17, do you? Or why when Eliot said "I don't like guns" in the pilot, he added "... you know that." to Nate. Why would Nate know that?

Let's see -- writer Albert Kim enjoying the thrill of the Steadicam under the expert guidance of our A Camera Operator, the legendary Gary Camp.



Hmm ... I can't show you a picture of Gina in her wardrobe for this episode, not only because it's too spoilery, but too mind-shatteringly ... sure, Moffat got her kit off. We're the ones who put her in boots and ... anyway, here's a lovely one of the gals instead:


Who else is doing this?


Nobody, sir. And finally -- "What is Howl Force?"


I cannot tell you. You are not ready for the soul-shredding truth behind Howl Force!

For those keeping track at home, this is actually Albert's second script of the year, which shot around sixth or seventh for the production cycle. His first script was the second episode shot, The Snow Job, which airs soonish. It'll be interesting to see Snow Job in that context. We were definitely still hacking out what the show exactly was at that point, and it's a much more contained crime/con game than later episodes. Big fun fact for that episode -- that actually is how you fake out an MRI.

Right, enough pimpage, let's get to those questions from last time. Spoilers now, because you can get all the episodes from iTunes and Amazon VOD.

Antonia: So are there any behind the scenes pics of whatever DB did to, how did you phrase it? Something about steamy?

Weirdly, that's the one episode I don't have pics from. Personally, I didn't get it. Apparently, though, chicks dig DB Sweeney s a tormented priest fighting to save a church with his fists and his heart. *shrugs*

Richard Jensen:Point the Second: "Toe pick"? (Puzzled look?)

From The Cutting Edge. Have your wife or girlfriend expain. I assure you she can.

Michael: 'm curious to see if you got any right wing hate mail for the episode that portrayed security contractors in Iraq as greedy, corrupt and violent.

There was a bit of a kaffuffle on the TNT boards about the reservist health care isssue, but they were quickly shut down by actual veterans showing up and saying "Yeah, that's really happening." The sad thing is, a lot of the people who posted were talking about how there are all these great programs taking care of soldiers after combat. Which is true, but like all programs conceived by fallible humans and run by the government, people fall through the cracks. A lot of Americans just don't want to wrap their head round the fact that when it comes to the men and women who serve this country, we have to try harder, and saying were not a hundred percent there is somehow implying that we don't care, we're bad, the country is bad, blah blah blah. Policies are instruments of governments, which are run by men, who are elected by the people. The entire point of the goddam country is that these men are not special. Criticism of any policy or any of those men is not inherently unpatriotic. I hope that simple, binary way of looking at things is passing.

Oh, I'm sorry, the contractors? No, nobody had any problems with that.

Mike Cane: You mentioned Hardison footage cut out of Miracle. Was it actually shot? I hope you're saving all those bits.

That, and how Parker got the FBI car in Bank Shot, and a few others. Sadly, when we're cutting for time the stand-alone flashbacks are the first things to go. They'll show up on the DVD's.

Maya: Reading about all the magic that is done with the green screen shots I was wondering if the actors really are looking at what the audience sees on the six plasma screen TVs when they're filming all those conference room scenes.

About eighty percent of the time they're looking at the actual video playback of imagery, the other twenty green-screen. We usually only green-screen those shots when the episode requires images that are shot out of order, or if the playback hinks up the actors' timing.

Casey: So what was your major reference source for the cons as far as books or docs go? And which was your favorite?

We've got the reading list around here somewhere ... ugh, too late in the evening for me to dig it up. Start here and branch out, you can't go wrong. We wound up with a bookshelf of criminal biographies, tech hacking manuals, and the like we took pieces from as they amused us.

rrwood: One of the greatest challenges you, as the creator/writer, face in creating episodic television is the fact that we, the audience, know that things are always going to work out-- that the hero is always going to be back next week, and that deep, fundamental changes to the formula of the show are not going to happen. This means that the easiest tools you'd use to crank up the dramatic tension in say, a movie, are locked up and off limits to you, and you guys have to work your butts off to keep us interested. And in addition to the can't-kill-the-heroes straight-jacket, you guys have a number of other pretty obvious restrictions, given the nature of the show ...

Which is why all TV shows are really about the evolution of the characters' relationships. You don't know how that's going to turn out. Hell, Nate and Sophie wound up unspooling differently than we anticipated.

That said, the pulp model applies. We want you to be hooked enough on how they'll solve THIS problem that just popped up, and then the next ten minutes later ... our complications are varied enough, too -- not a medical mystery or straight crime procedural -- that at the very least the obstacles probably aren't ones you've seen before. Commenter kinesys actually answered this question pretty well in the original Comments.

Kathryn: One question about The Bank Job (based on the sneek peak): Elmore and Leonard? Was that a nod to the author, because that was my first thought when I heard the names. But then, being a Supernatural fan and the fact they use aliases based on rock music performers, I may just be trained to think that way.

Hardison chooses the aliases for all the fake ID's they have. They tend to have some significance to the heist at hand.

gwangung: Ha. Then you'd love a friend of mine's theatre in New York. He specializes in battle choreography theatre; every single one of his shows features multiple battles (10, 12, 15 at a time), spanning all sorts of disciplines. Why, yes, he also does shows for the NY Comic Con. Why yes, he almost always features female protagonists (dressed in skin tights, very popular with said Comic Con). One show was a Shakespearean zombie/kung fu pastiche....

Personally I disapprove -- aw hell, just post the damn website address.

Tal: Do you ever wish you had more time to devote, or the budget to devote existing time to different cons? Because some of the cons that seemed really interesting to me (getting the assistant to confess, modifying the text of a Congressional bill) seemed tossed off as asides.

Every week, kiddo. Every week. 42:30 is a bitch. I think by about halfway through the season, we finally found the right balance.

Daiv: Am i mistaken? Or is that a fridge full of Jones Soda (with Real Sugar) that Elliot is pulling from in the beginning? (though he clearly did not get a bottle of Soda).

Hardison has a thing for orange soda. Jones was nice enough to provide some delicious beverages. Everyone wins.

Anonymous: Love the show -- it's definitely my current favourite! Had a question though -- who pulled the switch with the pizza box and the briefcase at the end of 'The Bank Job'? Hardison was talking to the judge the whole time, Nate was shot, Sophie was tending to Nate ...

That's just how good they are.

Yes, that's the answer. Now walk away.

Seriously, though, that's both one of the bits cut for time, and one of the times when the physical layout of the bank, didn't match exactly what was needed for one of the switch moves (the counter is on the wrong side of the actors) . So sometimes, you let this stuff go. We had a similar issue in The Snow Job and even Two Horse had a bit which was much more convoluted and involved the outside walls of the entire stables, not stalls. Choreography on location sometimes just doesn't want to cooperate.

R.A Porter: (Bank Shot) was my favorite episode to date, with great scene chewing from Michael O'Neill.

He's a villain, baby. With a skinny tie! Seriously, this episode was pitched as "This is our Western." Michael absolutely nailed the big Western villain tone.

EmanG:OK, not a flame but a serious question. Why does Burn Notice get to keep shooting in Miami yet Leverage has to move away from Chicago to LA? I may be in AZ these days but I'm still a firm believer in/member of the Chicago production scene and I know that this show would be that much better in a place other than LA. I want to see a regional cinema. Stories from and set in Cleveland, Portland, Chicago, Kansas City. LIfe doesn't just happen in LA, a place stories and characters go to die in the sameness. Damnit, give me a livable wage in Phoenix and a writer that can live on the same and I'll give you programming about not just the characters, but the place they live in. And too many of us live in places not at all like LA not to have our stories told, our visuals sold. To not to at least try to have that represented, no?

Unfortunately shooting in a city requires much more than just actors and the willingness to work there. A certain level of infrastructure is needed to do a series as opposed to a short, one off movie, and Chicago just didn't have what we needed at that short notice and on our tiny, tiny budget. The fact that we were all clustered around the Doghouse post-production facility is to a great degree what allowed us to shoot the show independently. Even for bigger studios, shooting in other cities is often prohibitively costly as far as physical production goes. Remember, TV shows bleed millions of dollars while they shoot, and recoup almost none of it until foreign sales and DVD. LA is streamlined to keep those costs down.

Burn Notice "gets" to keep shooting in Miami because they get heart-stopping tax breaks and have a very good relationship with the city. (One of my favorite shows, btw)

That said, one of the main points of this blog, and why I always write about emerging technologies, is that I firmly believe we're at the point where people can begin to make local entertainment of the same technical quality as we shoot in LA. We still need to lick distribution -- hell even we haven't licked that problem entirely -- but there's no reason, if you think your city has stories to tell, you can't go get cameras and tell those stories.

Richard: Whoops. Hit post too quickly. One question: How plausible do you guys want the cons to be? Because my only real problem with this episode is the miraculous image editing. As someone who uses Photoshop professionally ...

As plausible as the medicine in House. Take that as you will. :P

kinesys: Oh. And how long before we discover that Hardison knows this weird chick named "Aleph"?

You came thisclose to an episode this year where Aldis got romantically involved with Aimee Garcia. You know Aimee, right?



And the reason I knew Chris Kane was because he was the guy who came thisclose to playing Sean Ronin on GF.

I fully expect to see Leverage/GF crossover fanfic by Friday, people. Chop chop!

Robert Emerson: One of the things I like most about how Christian Kane's fight scenes are ... not linear, but multi-directional and adaptive.

This ep was the first time I dragged my heel across the dirt, laying out "the fight line", just like Jackie Chan explained to me ten years ago. Main axis for shooting and choreography, with alternate actions happening off-axis to open up the fight space.

Now granted, Charlie Brewer has been doing fights and blowing shit up since I was in a bad prom tux, but he tolerates my obsession and even occasionally listens to me. For which I am forever grateful.

Denita: I also have a question. Which episode does Sam Anderson (Holland Manners from Angel) appear in? A few of us on Whedonesque have been wondering.

The abovementioned The Snow Job. With Danny Strong, as the co-villain.

Whew. That was a helluva mailbag. A new open thread tomorrow, and thanks as always for watching and spreading the word.

Oh, and if we get more people on Facebook than Closer, their co-exec has to buy me dinner. So feel free to spam the bastards.

Use these Comments for Stork thread business. Comments and questions.

70 comments:

Richard Jensen said...

Rogers Wrote: "Have your wife or girlfriend expain. I assure you she can."

Great, the week my LoveBot's in the shop...

Also, you'll be happy to know I've been talking the show up to my mom who's a old school "Rockford" fan. You know what her response was?
"It'll depend on what on opposite it."
I almost pulled a Hardison and said "You're adorable".

Mike Cane said...

I am all manly-hormoney-grrrrowly seeing those pics of Parker. (Yes, I KNOW it's Beth, the actress. Shut up!)

Even though my blog is dead, I harangue people on Twitter every Tuesday to WATCH LEVERAGE.

caseyko74 said...

Ha, good to see those large sides getting used. We in the production office always wonder who uses them.

I asked about the books since I saw Apollo's list, was checking to see if there are any other's I should pickup when I go back to work.

And I dig the hell out of the 60's vibe between this and Burn Notice. And not only am I reminded of M:I and It Takes a Thief, but also shows like The Persuaders and The Saint.

Mary Sue said...

Thanks to the local Snowpocalypse turning my regular 2 hours of commute daily to 4-6 hours of "When the hell is the bus going to GET HERE ALREADY, screw this, I'm walkin'... whoops, slipped. Whoops, slipped. Whoops, someone else slipped", I had a backlog of four eps on my iPod I watched back to back yesterday.

At work.

Shhh, don't tattle. Although I almost got busted during the Nigerian Job when the C4 came out and I started giggling (I like explosions, ok?!)

Also? Doc Savage for the complete and utter win. I found a shoebox of them when I was about 13.

Mike Cane said...

Congratulations, Team Leverage! You're a global hit!!

Top 10 Most Pirated TV Shows on BitTorrent

Up to 7 from 8!!

TrentC said...

"Have your wife or girlfriend expain. I assure you she can."

So what, us guys who are DB Sweeney fans don't count?

(When exactly do I get my Strange Luck boxset, anyway?)

m said...

"Nathan Ford, you are on the Global Frequency."

"Nate, is that why you have an inexplicably cooler phone than me?" asked Hardison...drooling. "Cuz that's just wrong."

gwangung said...

Personally I disapprove -- aw hell, just post the damn website address.

http://www.vampirecowboys.com/

Not sure what would get you a comp faster...being the creator of LEVERAGE, or being the writer of BLUE BEETLE....

Two videos of their work:
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=503058296591

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=503880858171

Sapphire Smoke said...

It might be just me, but the whole Hardison and his thing for orange soda reminds me of Kenan & Kel. "Who looovvee orange soda? Kel loooovves orange soda" LOL!

Mitchy said...

Thank you for answering my question about the pizza box switch - I was worried I'd get yelled at for nitpicking :)

But...why am I anonymous? I left my name and everything!

Michael Clear said...

Hmm ... I can't show you a picture of Gina in her wardrobe for this episode, not only because it's too spoilery, but too mind-shatteringly ... sure, Moffat got her kit off. We're the ones who put her in boots and ... anyway, here's a lovely one of the gals instead:

This gives me an idea for a Leverage episode I'd like to pitch to you called "The Sophie Takes Her Clothes Off Job". It's about how some stuff happens and Sophie takes her clothes off. Let me know if you want to produce that.

Cunningham said...

Leverage gets the "Mad Pulp Bastard" Seal of Approval.

100% pulp. 100% of the time.
Accept no substitutes.

Gina. Boots. Confidence games.

Rogers, are you trying to give me a heart attack?

Sapphire Smoke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

This may be relevant to your interests: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/12/capers.html

Loved "Bank Shot." Your show is shaping up to be one of those that I watch ASAP every week (even before everything else went on break).

TV history question: What notable dramas/action-dramas before the '00s had coherent season-long story arcs? I didn't watch much TV before five or six years ago, but I know a lot of older shows were written with syndication in mind, hence very episodic. The question comes to mind now as I'm watching Buffy for the first time (*shock*), and noticing the care with which major arcs are set up.

Michael Clear said...

TV history question: What notable dramas/action-dramas before the '00s had coherent season-long story arcs?

Buffy and Babylon 5 are the only two that come to mind after devoting 15 seconds of thought to the subject.

Rob Pugh said...

The "The Sophie Takes Her Clothes Off Job" was actually an episode of Coupling, if I remember correctly. :)

emcee said...

I happened by your blog by accident. Leverage is very cute and very clever. Thanks for your great work and for making me smile. I can't wait for more episodes!

To answer Matt's question, Farscape was a good at seasonal story arcs, though, not as good as Buffy.

kinesys said...

You know, now that you mention the old IMF, The link between GF and Leverage becomes clear.

Miranda Zero has a problem. It's a problem that the government refuses to fix. She goes looking for specialists and finds Nate's website

Course, you'd have to file the serial numbers off of GF, Not because our benificent Internet Jesus would have a problem with it, but i reckon some suit would make trouble. But those of us who know, would know.

You could call it the "You would have missed" Job.

:D

And as far as i am concerned, All pulp is good pulp.

I can also say that the reason that Leverage is probably fast becoming one of the most pirated shows is because the TNT website is crap. and doesn't post in a timely fashion.

Looking forward to the wedding job.

Richard said...

Loved "The Stork Job." Thanks for making some great TV. (And I feel that I must also vote for "The Sophie Takes Her Clothes Off Job." Somehow, though, I don't think TNT will go for it.)

Alan Scott said...

Yeah. You need to wave that number 7 in TNT's face and demand that they get a less crappy website, or put their stuff on hulu, or something.

gwangung said...

Why not "Sophie Takes Her Clothes Off"? They had a "Parker Takes her Clothes Off" bit... OK, OK, throw in a Hardison Takes His Clothes Off for the other half of the audience and...

Hollie Nell said...

This was my favorite episode yet. And I was IN the Miracle Job.

What I loved about this episode is we're really starting to see the relationships develop and learning more about the characters. Don't get me wrong, I thought the explosions and fight scenes were awesome but I'm a girly girl at heart and I just love watching the back stories unfold. Oh yeah, Timothy Hutton and Gina Bellman were awesome to watch in this episode. Loved it.

This seemed like a really expensive episode to shoot. Explosions, child actors, etc . The other episodes were slightly more contained (the bank, the church, etc) Did you have to sacrifice anything you loved in order to make all that work? Just curious.

Richard Jensen said...

I think "The Sophie Takes Her Clothes Off Job" might be too much for basic cable.
"The Sophie wears a catsuit and carries a whip Job", that could work.

adc1966 said...

Aw, I knew we'd get to see Dangerous Parker again. Nobody should raise a hand of violence against her without regretting it rather immediately.

Too bad she doesn't get to Smile Radiantly more often like Beth does in those blog photos.

BTW, you do realize that asking for Leverage/GF fanfic means you're going to wind up with Parker/Miranda femmeslash, don't you?

Hmm. **Eyes glaze over, wanders away deep in thought.**

Anonymous said...

I like the show "Leverage" I wish I could find someone in real life to get some leverage for me for thefts (one million, thirty-eight thousand value) assaults and a death threat by co-worker. A co-worker arranged to have the 2005 McDonald Monopoly "Boardwalk" game piece (value one million dollars) I collected stolen from my home. I think my boss was a part of the conspiracy. Recently the same co-worker participated in the theft of an envelop with the 2008 Subway Scrabble game pieces I had collected containing the rare "y" piece needed to win the Hybrid (value $38,000). I have reported the crimes to the McDonald Monopoly promotion, Subway Scrabble promotion, Oakland City police, Indiana State police and FBI. I have only heard back from the Subway Scrabble promotion. I am 50 years old, already had one stroke, live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford a civil suit. Your show is interesting. Actually happy to see where people using absolute power to control has to face Justice of a sort, even if it does not happen in real life.

someBrad said...

Since (at least) two of the main characters are former foster children, I'm very interested to see where you go with their backgrounds. So far it's not that interesting -- the "shuffled around the system/abusive foster parents" trope and the "black women who beat their kids because they love them" trope. And not only was Hardison's story not very original, it also really pissed me off because it was presented as the good side of foster care but he was still abused.

Rogers said...

And not only was Hardison's story not very original, it also really pissed me off because it was presented as the good side of foster care but he was still abused.

I think you misread that description. He said his Nana spanked them. I was spanked as a child and don't consider that abuse.

TheMindFantastic said...

The American Embassy scene, found the banter especially interesting. 'Irina' knowing how a person will lie by eye movements, seems right out of a Bandler-Grinder NLP book, which links to the 'Anchoring' Sophie tells Eliot and Nate about, which is right out of a Ross Jeffries manual on seduction (who got most of his tech from Bandler-Grinder). That alone (mostly because its shit I happen to know about) made this my fav ep so far. Too bad there wasn't film in the Camera for Sophie, hopefully many years from now when Leverage shows its final scene there might be this accumulation of 'scenes' picked up for her to break into legit acting... Sophie I mean, Gina has it down.

Ladypeyton said...

I wanted to say that I haven't been this happy with snappy dialog since Buffy and West Wing went off the air.

A collective thank you to all involved in Leverage.

Sapphire Smoke said...

Though you could possibly be interested in this, a Parker fan video I made for The Stork Job.

I definitely stayed up six hours past my bedtime to finish it, but meh who needs sleep anyway?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3_c9O4uGQY

Also, I find it COMPLETELY unacceptable that Beth has no website, and barely any info about her on the net. Tell if she needs a website, I'll work for free, because it is SO needed.

someBrad said...

I think you misread that description. He said his Nana spanked them. I was spanked as a child and don't consider that abuse.

First, I appreciate your response.

Second, while spanking per se may not be abuse, if it leaves a mark it qualifies according to most states' definitions. Given Hardison's exact words (which I can't recall and can't find on the internet), I think it's fair to assume his Nana left marks.

Third, as a foster parent, she would be held to a much higher standard than a birth parent. In the two states I have fostered children, physical punishment or discipline of any kind is completely prohibited. If a child in my care told a social worker or a teacher that I hit him or her, he or she would be taken out of my home and I'd be investigated for child abuse. If it was determined that I hit the child, I'd lose my license.

But even leaving all that aside and granting that Hardison wasn't abused by his foster parent, it still makes me angry and sad that the _positive_ depiction of foster care in this ep involved spanking as a central feature.

And despite this complaint, as I said in my first post, I'm excited to see how the show explores foster care in telling the characters backstories. I absolutely loved the scene where Parker pointed out the signs that the child was really an orphan.

J. said...

I LOVE Leverage. So good to see a clever and well-written show on the air, given the bottom-of-the-bucket reality crap that is on the main networks. Good luck, insanely jealous that you are involved and I cannot switch careers and get into show biz.

Robert N. Emerson said...

You know, episodes of shows where the premise is fake movie or television shoots are always hilarious, as those involved seem to exorcise some ghosts of real shoots past through the episode.

I mean, seriously, damn funny episode, espcially the "Director." :D

Anyone or group of someones in particular.

Rob said...

On one hand, I don't have a really clear thread of character/relationship development. This might be a function of broadcast order, but to sum up, given they started out as People Who Work Alone, they all got more or less totally comfortable with this arrangement way too quickly. After the pilot it's a little like I've just checked back in for season 2. Is this intentional? Tied to the slightly retro tone?

But on the other hand so far you're succeeding in making every episode my favorite episode yet.

The only really substantial "hold on a second" moment I had in "Stork" was... the bad guys expected that a bunch of machine guns they've just pulled from a straw-packed crate would be chock full of bullets? Even if they themselves packed them that way, who does that?

Also, yeah, top ten and all, but still, you were torrented slightly less than Knight Rider? Oog. I know Illegal Downloading Is Wrong, but man, I'm really tempted to help you over that hump before you start showing that list around.

KazG said...

The injury that Eliot was holding an ice pack to in the beginning looked pretty real, was that make up or Chris Kane's own stunt-induced damage? Either way, that "lesbian bar" line was genius!

Mitchy said...

Oh I loved this ep! I must give major kudus to Beth for her sterling work. I thought her performance was spot on and has cemented Parker at the top of my "favourite character" list. We got Insane!Parker and Human!Parker all in one episode and it worked beautifully.

Bravo to all for a great ep.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Jooohhhn! Don't look now, but there's a Hungarian kerfuffle brewing on the TNT board, in the episode thread because you dared to use establishing shots of Budapest rather than Belgrade. We're trying to settle it down, but so far, no joy. Three new registrations, just to complain. Ugh.

(Sorry to post this twice; I somehow managed to post it with the wrong blog entry the first time.)

Rogers said...

someBrad:

Let's just say Hardison's foster care situation was a little... less formal. But I appreciate your feedback, and we did think it was important that if we were going to show the results of the occasional bad experience with the system, we would also show a positive example.

KazG: The injury that Eliot was holding an ice pack to in the beginning looked pretty real, was that make up or Chris Kane's own stunt-induced damage? Either way, that "lesbian bar" line was genius!"

SOMEBODY went outside at 1 am after his poker game with Tim Hutton to toss around a football, and SOMEBODY wiped out on the asphalt in his frikkin' cowboy boots. Ahem.

The amazing thing is that he healed so fast, we only had to cover that injury in two shots (notice how he was standing in the abandoned office?) Apparently "shitkicker" is indeed a genetic trait.

Cheryl P said...

So tell us, John ... was it draw, five card or Texas Hold 'Em? Who won? And what happened to Tim during the football game, HMMMM?

Anonymous said...

Not actually related to the Stork, but Wired has a list of the 7 Best Capers of 2008.

http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/12/capers.html

Tom said...

I. Want. Howl Force.

Otto Man said...

The best moment in the series so far?

The rush of "Emmanuelle" memories from the guys in this latest episode. Priceless.

Ardaniel Collier said...

The Emmanuelle bit had me worried that my husband was going to eject half-chewed Taco Bell all over the living room.

Anonymous said...

I've just discovered this blog so I don't know what comments have been made about Parker to date, but one think that I haven't liked about her up until this episode is the goofy aspect of her character which has been too little girlish IMHO. This episode didn't have any of that and was much much better without any of that goofy mugging.

Beth Riesgraf looks as if she's a good dramatic actress, I could see the pain behind Parker's eyes. More of this Parker please.

On the whole it was the best episode so far because it was harder hitting dramatically yet still retained the humour. I'd prefer this sort of episode be the standard with the lighter episodes as the exception.

gwangung said...

Hrm...

What makes Parker work for me is that measure of self-awareness of how damaged she is. That ties all the goofiness and dangerous together in a self-consistent way, yet makes her unpredictable.

Michael said...

a) yay on any GF crossover
b) yay on any Sophie Takes .. ah forget it, I'll just watch some old Coupling-episodes
c) the Emanuelle-reminiscenses were really cool
d) what kindof weird-ass van was that they used as a props-truck? It totally looked like a last-generation Mercedes Sprinter, but the front grill was wrong (no Mercedes logo, that is).
e) totally into Parker, please more chemistry between her and Hardison. Yay for nerds and so on.
f) good on the top-ten effort *grin* .. Top Gear in Position 1, no surprise there.

Michael said...

2nd thought: if there is slash, please make it rather Aleph/Parker than Miranda/Sophie. To whoever writes such things ...

Monsterbeard said...

Can you comment on Tim Hutton's portrayal of a director? How much was poking fun at Mr. Devlin, or perhaps Mr. Roskin? And was there a moment when he slipped into Jack Woltz from The Godfather?
And is the movie an homage to Dog Soldiers?

Commish said...

"Stork Job" - best episode to date. It seems like I'm saying that every week. My 2 questions this week:

1) I'm going to do some poking around on the internet myself, but I'm just curious how real, and how large-scale, of a problem the situation with orphans in Serbia is. How much did you learn about that whole dilemma in order to shoot the episode? Were the actors involved in your research? Were you hoping that this episode might highlight the problem so that it might be further addressed?

2) The only nit-pick I had this week was the way they decided to get the "real" director in Belfast out of the picture. They had to SWITCH his cell phone to send him a fake text message? Hardison couldn't just get the guy's actual cell phone #, and rout him a fake text message? Besides, wouldn't the guy be halfway to the airport when he realized it wasn't his phone, and be back on set within an hour? I know I need to zip it and suspend some disbelief, but I just wanted to mention that one.

Ooh, wait, if I can get it answered, I have one more question... how are the ratings coming for this show? Is TNT pleased? How do the +3 ratings for it compare with some of the other original programming that TNT is airing?

Michael said...

2 more thoughts (sorry):

a) I'm not entirely convinced that Serbian orphans would know the brand-name Häagen Dazs .. I mean I say this as an Austrian, who, during his youth (which wasn't so long ago) definitely didn't know it.
b) the whole con-thing got me thinking: Revolver -- brilliant or pretentious?

Killah Mate said...

Yeah, as a Croatian (we're across the street from Serbia) I have to say Häagen Dazs probably wouldn't have the dramatic effect portrayed... Best to stick to the tried-and-true brands and simply yell 'Snickers!' or something :-)

Don't worry about it though, it wasn't too suspension-shattering. In fact, if we ignore the locations, extras casting, all that budget-dependent stuff (and hell, even Casino Royale wasn't shot anywhere near Montenegro) you come out looking pretty good. I appreciated the amount of local language spoken, even by the leads (which is rarely done, maybe because they don't want it to sound stupid - which your guys and girls didn't, so props to the language team). Also, you established a nice sense of place (lovely greenscreen work, regardless of the actual source of the panoramas).

But listen. That bus they get away in at the end? Dude, that's an American bus. That shit be all wrong. Ours are boxy, not roundish like yours. All wrong.

Still loved the con though. And any show that references Doctor Who is good in my book. So keep it up!

I mean, keep it up in general, not just with the Who references.

But that too.

Dayv said...

I'm a bit confused about one aspect of the episodes since the pilot.  I had thought that while the crew was going to keep helping the little guy and bringing down the big meanies, they were going to keep turning a profit off of their capers.  Since then it seems like they're doing everything out of pocket, in pure acts of charity.  Did I misunderstand the pilot premise, or has that aspect of their work been backpedaled?

Chad said...

Does anyone know the manufacturer of the brown and orange star designed knit hat Hardison is wearing in the 1/6 episode?

gwangung said...

I'm a bit confused about one aspect of the episodes since the pilot. I had thought that while the crew was going to keep helping the little guy and bringing down the big meanies, they were going to keep turning a profit off of their capers. Since then it seems like they're doing everything out of pocket, in pure acts of charity. Did I misunderstand the pilot premise, or has that aspect of their work been backpedaled?

I dunno about other jobs, but I saw the opportunity HERE pretty clearly...(like, who said ALL the money from the gun runners was blown to the four winds...)....

David Hunt said...

Wow, that's a lot of comments and the robots haven't even found this thread yet. I had a question that occurred to me as I was watching for the second time:

When Parker is staging her initial break-in to the orphanage, Hardison uses a dead-tree edition dictionary to translate the name of the place. That struck me as strange as I would have expected him to have some sort of computer translator available to him for something like that. In fact, later in the episode we find out that he did have a translation program that he used to figure out info on the guns sale. Granted, I have no idea how fast translation resources are these days, but I still would have expected him to be using software even if it was simply a searchable version of the dictionary. I was wondering if we see him using that hard-copy book just so we know where Parker gets it from when she uses it to humorous effect.

Hmmm, now that I think about I have another question. I had originally assumed that all of the equipment from the hijacked movie set came from stuff that you people use to actually make the series. Then I reconsidered. I was curious if there was some piece of equipment that you had to put on set to evoke "movie being made" that you didn't have just available by virtue of being a TV Series. For example, do you really have that director-on-a-crane setup as part of your "kit?"

Jim Kakalios said...

I was also going to ask about Hardison using a translation book as opposed to software (even if the software I could use is too slow, I don't believe that Hardison hasn't hacked the NSA's super secret real time programs).

A nit - but I stopped to gripe real time, so it took me momentarily out of the story.

Maya said...

Wanted to say thank you for posting the behind-the-scenes photos of the cast. They're great!

I'm a member of both Facebook groups, The Closer and Leverage, love both shows.

Stellar Drift said...

As plausible as the medicine in House. Take that as you will. :P

I won't - haven't seen House! (And wont see it either - hate hospitals)

Mike Cane said...

Congratulations, Team Leverage! You're a global hit!! Up to 7 from 8!!

Yeah, but Sanctuary is number 8 and that is the most pathetic money grabbing mephetic bilge surrounded by commodore 64 graphics and doesn't deserve to be within 6 digits of ranking on a list with Leverage - ie that list isn't worth that much ;)

Mike Cane said...

Forgive me Father Rogers, for I have sinned. I am FOUR episodes behind in watching LEVERAGE. Now three. I just saw Stork Job this morning.

1) OK, I understand the stab with the fork. Hell, I'd probably do that too (do not invite me to food events with real silverware and yank my chain!) ... but:

2) Parker busting out like Diana Rigg?!!? I couldn't buy that. Elliot should've been there to pull her aside and take out the guy.

Man, is Hutton having fun! First that lost tourist, now a mad director.

"Who knew it was a lesbian bar?" -- FTW!!

Oh, and Hardison, keep your mitts off my Parker! I see your smooth moves, dammit!

Mike Cane said...

>>>TV history question: What notable dramas/action-dramas before the '00s had coherent season-long story arcs?

The late lamented EZ Streets on CBS was in that vein. Catch it if you can.

Oh, also Millennium on Fox. And X-Files too, to a degree.

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The only way you could have put a bit more M:I icing on the cake would have been to rotate the image upside down as the team and kids drive away in the bus in the last scene. Well done!

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