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Friday, February 27, 2009

Stars But Hollow - Guys and Dolls - Musical Review

Guys and Dolls - Nederlander Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - *** (out of 5 stars)
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser, Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, Directed by Des McAnuff, Choreographed by Sergio Trujillo
Currently in Previews, Opens March 1st 2009
Note: Review is based on an earlier preview. Performance may have changed since.

Now, I'm going to fess up right away and probably admit that the new revival for Guys and Dolls probably doesn't deserve the stars I've given it, but it's amazing what my devotion to Lauren Graham for being in Gilmore Girls can do to my logical mind. It's also amazing what one bring-down-the-house number ("Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat") and one scene stealing performance from Mary Testa (Xanadu) can almost make up for the rest of the underwhelming show. This new Broadway revival isn't terrible, but it's not fantastic and for a classic musical like Guys and Dolls, it should be fantastic.

Granted, it has the unlucky position of following the now legendary mid 90's revival starring Nathan Lane, Faith Prince and Peter Galagher. Luckily, I've never seen it (though I have the Cast Recording and is the version I know this show by) so I can't really compare. I did see the recent London revival from the Donmar Warehouse that starred Ewan McGregor (as Sky) and Jane Krakowski (as Adelaide) but I didn't love that darkened revival (directed by Michael Grandage) that much either (though the stars, which also included Jenna Russell (the recent revival of Sunday in the Park with George) were awesome). In fact, I have yet to see a great version of the show to make me truly love it as much as the cast recording has.

Canada's Stratford Festival Artistic Director Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Caesar and Cleopatra) directs this unnecessary revival that manages to stay afloat due to our innate fascination of watching TV star Lauren Graham sing on stage (and to realize that she can, and well, may I add).

While the other two "stars" are less exciting, Oliver Platt and Craig Bierko (above) do fine as Nathan Detroit and Sky Masterson (respectively). It's newcomer (at least to fame) Kate Jennings Grant (below) as Sarah Brown who really shines and along with Graham, gives the dolls an edge over the guys.

The show itself seems hollow somehow. It seems very plainly directed and while that's not a particularly bad thing, it lacks the sparkly needed. The new Broadway production feels like a very big community theatre production that just happens to have some superb performers that luckily buoy the whole show.

I usually love the choreography from Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Saved) but even with hot chorus boys Nick Adams (he of the larger biceps than Mario Lopez in A Chorus Line) and John Selya (last summer's Encore's Damn Yankees), it felt messy. However, I realized there were some fantastic and clever moves in the choreography, but the large cast had to dance on a cramped stage that was crowded out by an overdesigned (yet simplistic looking, and not in a good way) set.

The set, designed by Robert Brill (The Story of My Life, Cabaret) manages to make the stage seem really cramped with large industrial beams flanking the sides, making a smaller stage frame to use. This would be a great idea if the musical had 4 people in it, but it doesn't, and with his generic V shaped stage design, it allows a small usable space in the front centre. Granted, my seats were partial view at the side of the orchestra with horrible sightlines, but since the "beams" and two side platforms that come out into the boxes are barely used or needed, a lot of it seemed superfluous. The rear video screen with animated (trying to be realistic) backdrops becomes a crutch for actual "scenery".

McAnuff does at least centralize and centre all the action towards the front of the stage (the London version had quite a deep stage and a lot of it was at the back and felt distant, both physically and psychologically) but with all the small set pieces rolling in and out, the musical felt like a series of best-of scenes instead of flowing from one to the next song.

But let's get back to the stars!

While Lauren Graham's Adelaide still felt a little like Lauren Graham (especially if you've seen her in interviews) PLAYING Adelaide, at least it was nice to see her become the anti-Lorelai Gilmore, a silly naive and ditzy blonde who works as a showgirl as she awaits for a marriage proposal from the lying Nathan Detroit. It's not a perfect performance but there's a relief and joy of watching Graham's Adelaide, knowing that the TV star could do it, and do it quite well. Graham milked all the comedy she could and her singing was surprisingly taut. I could totally see her repeat Matthew Broderick's career trajectory and find new life as a musical theatre star (not that I wouldn't want to see her back on TV, and in fact, already has a new pilot Let It Go in development).

While their love chemistry doesn't sizzle, Graham and Oliver Platt seem to really be getting their comedic timing to gel (especially after early buzz that Platt seemed totally miscast) and Platt's performance was far better than I anticipated. Again, I'm not sure it was anywhere as close to Nathan Lane's but Platt manages to hold his own and his quirky turn as Detroit managed to amuse me and keep the plot going.

Craig Bierko does a decent job with Sky Masterson but as a non-fan, he didn't sway me to become one, but at least I didn't dislike his performance. His pairing with Kate Jennings Grant though at least had more chemistry than Graham and Platt, so their quick love affair is a bit more believable. Her drunken behavior in Havana was cute and hilarious and turned that whole scene (usually not my favorite part of the show) into a great trip.

The show also luckily has a strong ensemble with Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid) as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Steve Rosen (Spamalot) as Benny Southstreet and Spencer Moses as Rusty Charlie. While Burgess gets to steal the show later with "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat", I really found myself loving Steve Rosen's Benny Southstreet. He plays it perfectly and has a great voice, and perfectly balances it all without stealing attention away from others, while never getting lost in the shuffle.

Jim Ortlieb (above with Grant, Roswell) as Arvide Abernathy, Glenn Fleshler (Spring Awakening) as Big Jule, Jim Walton as Harry the Horse, and Adam LeFevre (Recount) as Lt. Brannigan are notable in the male ensemble, but it's Mary Testa who takes the small role of General Cartwright (I think she's in maybe 3 scenes at most) and STEALS THE SHOW. I know it's an overused expression, but she takes "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" away from Burgess (who is already doing a pretty good job with it) and makes the show, for a brief moment, into a must see musical.

Alas, while the song leaves the musical on a supremely high note, the quick tie-it-all-up-in-a-happy-ending resolution (which has always been a problem in the book, imho) that actually ends the shows, deflates a lot of the energy Testa manages to pump up.

Alas, while any fan of Gilmore Girls will want to see Lauren Graham's terrific Broadway Musical debut, and Mary Testa and Kate Jennings Grant totally shine, the overall show seems very pedestrian and average and missing some internal soul. The new Guys & Dolls is watchable and enjoyable enough, but not a must see.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Let's Play Ball With Jake Gyllenhaal: The Musical!

OMG. And the musical news keeps coming. Now THIS!

I hope this isn't just rumours because that would be cruel. Variety is claiming that Jake Gyllenhaal will play Boyd in a new musical movie version of Damn Yankees. I think I would have preferred gay stage hottie Cheyenne Jackson who commanded the stage with his Boyd in last summer's Encores revival, but Gyllenhaal will do!

Apparently, Jim Carrey will also make his musical debut playing the Devil. No word on who will be Lola but considering Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Hairspray, Chicago) are producing, I see Catherine Zeta Jones as a possibility. Who else would be good?

New Line will produce the film. I wonder if they are going to shoot in Toronto (like they did Chicago and Hairspray)? OH PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! (And hey, it's Jim Carrey's hometown!).

Here's some photos of Jake Gyllenhaal. Just because:

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Broadway, Snap Snap

Apparently 2010 is going to be the year of the cartoon comic strip on Broadway. From page to stage but in a whole new way.

First Spider-Man: The Musical Turn Off the Lights Dark was officially confirmed on Tuesday.

Now this has been confirmed. What's next? The Watchmen The Musical? (Plus there still are the rumours about Batman The Musical under development).

Dun dah duh dun, Snap Snap!

Yet another FOR REAL? Musical will begin previews on Broadway on March 5th 2010, with an official opening for April 8th 2010 after a pre-Broadway tryout from Nov. 13, 2009 to Jan. 10, 2010 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre in Chicago.

I knew they were doing The Addams Family Musical, based on Charles Addams' cartoons he did for The New Yorker. Apparently the musical will be based on these original stories and not the TV series or movies. So no word if the snap snap song (that is now running in your head I'm sure) will be in the show, but I think I read somewhere that it will not be.

I'm quite intrigued. Especially since they are throwing in tons of talent behind this. (Then again, Dreamworks did that with Shrek and that turned out to be complete dreck). But I appreciate the effort to copy the artistic and commercial success of The Lion King after Disney struck gold with the very artsy Julie Taymor (who will be looking for the same brilliancy for Spider-Man).

The book will be by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party). It's being designed and directed by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch who did the very strange Shockheaded Peter (and both from London's Improbable Theatre).

Canadian Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Guys & Dolls will choreograph, Natasha Katz will do the lighting design (The Coast of Utopia, Aida) and Mary-Mitchell Campbell will musical direct (the incredibly complicated Company, Road Show).

The now infamous Jan. 27th workshop had Nathan Lane as Gomez, Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia, Kevin Chamberlin as Fester, Zachary James as Lurch, Marylouise Burke as Grandmama, and Terrence Mann and Jan Maxwell. If even half that cast returns for the actual run, it would be AMAZING.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Lost - Mental BLocke

Lost - The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham - Eps. 507

What.

The.

!@?#&!*%$?#&^*#&%?!!!!!!??????????????

I'm going to have to watch this again in the morning.

And how did I not hear about Walt's reappearance this week? As Locke goes visits him as his New York. Loved when undead Locke went to visit Hurley at the funny farm and Hurley thinks he's talking to a ghost and then freaks out when he realizes Locke's for real!

Alas, so Locke was going to kill himself? Then Ben talks him out of it? Then Ben kills him at the mention of Eloise Hawking. I'm intrigued. Shocked. But intrigued.

Loved that the show started with Locke having been amongst the survivors Ilana and Ceasar, who later reveals they remembered seeing a fat curly haired guy and others disappear just before the crash.

Meanwhile, Locke falling from the well just as the white timetravel flash appears, then wakes up to see Charles Widmore? Man I'm confused.

But loving every moment of it.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

American Idol - Group 2 B Or Not Better Than A C

American Idol - Top 36 - Group 2 - Performance Night

Just like Group 1, Group 2 held a lot of high expectations which sadly started deflating as the night kept going on. I hope this season doesn't become Danny Gokey's to lose.

Jasmine Murray
16 years old
Home: Starkville, MS
Audition: Jacksonville, FL
Song: "Love Song" (by Stephen Innes, Sara Bareilles, made famous by Sara Bareilles)

Grade: C

That was kind of weird. Moments I loved her voice. Moments I cringed. Was it just me or was it the feed? Or does she have a nice natural voice that just doesn't really know how to manipulate itself to get to some of the higher or low notes? She seems not to know how to control her breathing.
Listen to mp3 here.


Matt Giraud
23 years old
Home: Kalamazoo, MI
Audition: Louisville, KY
Song: "Viva La Vida" (by Coldplay)

Grade: C+

He has a nice raspy yet smooth voice but I half loved his rendition and half was bored by it (basically like how Kara felt). He couldn't quite hit all the notes but when he did, it sounded great, but overall it felt wrong somehow.
Listen to mp3 here.


Jeanine Vailes
27 years old
Home: Sherman Oaks, CA
Audition: San Francisco, CA
Song: "This Love" (by Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, made famous by Maroon 5)

Grade: D

Ouch, in the first two seconds as Jeanine started singing, I could tell it was going to go all wrong, and she briefly for a split second had my hopes high (I was pulling for the unknown) but it was yet another typical wailing/screaming performance. You could even tell in her friends looks that they were disappointed. Kara put it right on the money. "It was overdone".
Listen to mp3 here.


Nick Mitchell
27 years old
Home: Brookfield, CT
Audition: New York, NY
Song: "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (by Tom Eyen, Henry Krieger, made famous by Jennifer Holiday in the musical Dreamgirls)

Grade: B-

You have got to be kidding me right? At least in his interview, he knows that he's not going for the Justin Timberlake role. That being said, I had to admit, I laughed along with him as he sang the Dreamgirls song. And he didn't to that bad of a job. It wasn't amazing enough to make up for his act, but it wasn't cringeworthy (his singing, his act was). He just might actually get the crazy slot we all thought Tatiana might have gotten. Oh lord help us all. (And yet I say that while I'm still chuckling and shaking my head all at the same time).
Listen to mp3 here.


Allison Iraheta
16 years old
Home: Los Angeles, CA
Audition: San Francisco, CA
Song: "Alone" (by Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly, made famous by Heart)

Grade: B

She's so weird in that awkward teenage kid way. In one sense, she's got a cute David Archuleta vibe underneath all that redhaired leather exterior, but her awkwardness doesn't have the same adorability Archie managed to milk. Allison's voice though was strong, but in that rocker at the bar kinda way. Apparently singing loud and raspy is great cause the judges loved but I didn't quite love her. She has potential to be better if she tones down the screeching.
Listen to mp3 here.


Kris Allen
23 years old
Home: Conway, AR
Audition: Louisville, KY
Song: "Man In The Mirror" (by Glen Ballard, Siedah Garrett, made famous by Michael Jackson)

Grade: B+

As soon as he started, I was afraid the cutiepie-boyband-looking-wannabe was going to be just as bad as the others, but while it started a little shaky, he surprisingly did really well in the main parts, especially considering it's Michael Jackson. Plus, you know, he's cute (hence why Paula loved him, even when Kara didn't quite think he lived up to his Hollywood weeks, which sadly we never really saw, and even Simon looked like he had a little crush on Kris) AND his Arkansas accent is ADORABLE. (I swear I need to find myself a farmboy from middle America).
Listen to mp3 here.


Megan Joy Corkrey
22 years old
Home: Sandy, UT
Audition: Salt Lake City, UT
Song: "Put Your Records On" (by Corinne Bailey Rae, John Beck, Steve Chrisanthou, made famous by Corinne Bailey Rae)

Grade: B-

Why does it seem like there are so many young parents on this show? 22 years old with a 2 year old? Do singers just tend to have babies early or is it just me? Anyways, Megan hit all the notes but she has this weird knack to pronounce every little thing and bounce every syllable. It was very odd. It was interesting but I don't know if I like her or not. All the judges seemed to fawn all over her. She's real purrrty. I'd like to see her sing another song just so I can figure her out but that's not an endorsement for a Top 12 slot. Yet.
Listen to mp3 here.


Matt Breitzke
27 years old
Home: Bixby, OK
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "If You Could Only See" (by Tonic)

Grade: B-

Matt had a decent voice but I'm glad Simon pointed out that it was a REALLY BORING SONG and that his performance was so boring. Vocally he's better than I thought he would be and on a night like tonight, it was one of the better singers, but yawn... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I kept looking at the beads of sweat on his bald head and amazed at my new HDTV.
Listen to mp3 here.


Jesse Langseth
26 years old
Home: Minneapolis, MN
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "Bette Davis Eyes" (by Donna Weiss, Jackie DeShannon, made famous by Kim Carnes)

Grade: C+

Another single mom? Seriously. Like Randy said, it was okay. I'm with Simon on this. It was forgettable and she was too cool for school, and her performance seemed off-putting and too cabaret to me. Like a younger Sandra Bernhard (I know, she's a gay icon but I just don't love her singing. Comedy yes, singing no). It was a very distant performance.
Listen to mp3 here.


Kai Kalama
26 years old
Home: San Clemente, CA
Audition: San Francisco, CA
Song: "What Becomes Of The Brokenheart" (by William Weatherspoon, Paul Riser, James Dean, made famous by Jimmy Ruffin)

Grade: B-

I'm totally shallow because while he had a decent voice, I just could not take that hair. I also didn't love the song choice. I loved Paul Young's version but I thought Kai's was kinda boring. For once, I'm glad the judges agreed. I thought they were totally going to love it since he mostly stayed on pitch. Glad I'm not the only shallow one.
Listen to mp3 here.


Mishavonna Henson
18 years old
Home: Irvine, CA
Audition: Phoenix, AZ
Song: "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)" (by Train)

Grade: B

See, Allison and Megan and Jesse had distinctive voices but Mishavonna has a distinctive voice that I really find myself liking. Bad song choice but she still made it pretty darn good with her voice. Simon really had a go at her but I thought Kara had it better, in that she just needs to loosen up a bit and less put together. Still, of all the girls tonight, she's my favorite.
Listen to mp3 here.


Adam Lambert
26 years old
Home: Los Angeles, CA
Audition: San Francisco, CA
Song: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, made famous by The Rolling Stones)

Grade: B

He's got the prima donna rocker performance down pat but I thought it was a bit self indulgent. I want to like this theatre dude but I didn't love it all (and he's been losing points every time I see him since debuting so well at the auditions). I was kinda with Simon who thought parts were "excruciatingly bad" and some were "brilliant". It was a bit too Kiss for me.
Listen to mp3 here.

Best of the Night: Kris Allen
Second Best Male of the Night: Adam Lambert
Best Female of the Night: Mishovonna Henson

Who will get voted in:
This is really hard because I thought pretty much everyone was kind of bleh and even judges "faves" were rockers who oversang it (Adam, Allison). Plus I think because we've barely seen Mishovonna and Kris before this week, the two Matt's and Kai might get more sympathy votes. Or will VFTW get Nick through?

Top Girl: Allison Iraheta
Top Guy: Adam Lambert
Third Pick: Kris Allen (I decided to be hopeful here and hope all the teen girls are voting for this cutie and enough to overcome those amused for Nick)

Will get asked back for Wild Card Week: Mishavonna Henson, Megan Corkrey.

For more on American Idol:
Click here for the most recent posts.
Season 8:
Top 2 Performance
Top 3 Performance, Top 3 Results
Top 4 Performance, Top 4 Results
Top 5 Performance, Top 5 Results
Top 6 + Matt (Top 7 Redux) Performance, Top 7 Redux Results
Top 7 Performance, Top 7 Results
Top 8 Performance, Top 8 Results
Top 9 Performance
Top 10 Performance
Top 12 Performance, Top 12 Results
Top 13 Performance, Top 13 Results
Top 36:
Group 1, Group 2, Group 3
Wild Card, Wild Card Results
Pre-Top 36:
Who Are You Going To Vote For?
Handicapping the Alleged American Idols

Thanks again to Rickey for the mp3's.
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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I'm Moving Into The Greek House or Melrose Place

Aw crap. I was going to totally ignore the new desperate plea Melrose Place remake for The CW, especially after this year's 90210 turned out so blah (then again, the original was too, but it is getting a leeeettle better).

But now they go and cast Michael Rady from Swingtown (with the original MP Jake, Grant Show) and more importantly, Greek!

AND, after JUST watching the promos (below) for the new season of Greek, Michael Rady WILL return as geeky Max, Casey's new boyfriend (still!) which of course puts a damper on things for Cappie! Awesome!

The new season of Greek will start Monday, March 30th at 8pm on abcFamily once The Secret Life of the American Teenager finishes its (AWESOME) season.

Plus, Jesse McCartney will join the cast for 6 episodes! Check out the new promo that uses his video "How Do You Sleep":



Here's another promo trailer for Season 3 (is it? Or is it S2 Part 2? I can never get it straight for this show):



As for the new Melrose Place being directed by Davis Guggenheim, "On the project, penned by "Smallville" exec producers/co-showrunners Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, Rady" (who was also the hot greek guy in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie series) "will play Jonah Miller, a cute and quirky 25-year-old aspiring filmmaker who makes his living as a videographer of weddings and bar mitzvahs for the rich and famous after moving to Los Angeles with his fiancee a year ago. Apparently it's the "Billy" (Andrew Shue) role.

I will say this about the new Melrose Place. I have been saying that there needs to be a show about 20somethings post-university trying to break out into the real world, cause there hasn't been something like that in a while now (the last show that really felt like that, Felicity, wasn't even about post-uni). I know Gossip Girl FEELS like it but if you remember, they're technically only in high school. The Secret Life of the American Teenager has the high school part pegged, Greek has the college part pegged, but now we need a dramatic soapier version of How I Met Your Mother and MP could fill the void.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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It's Been A Privilege To Watch - Privileged and Leverage

Barack was on TV but I didn't need to watch because a) I already believe, b) I'm already very smart with my money (aka, I'm cheap and a saver already and am very conscious about where I spend) and c) I think that the world is still going to implode economically some more before it's going to better so you better bunker down on your couch and ride it out in front of the TV to avoid going out for the next 2 years.

Now let's hope two terrific new shows this season, Privileged and Leverage will be back for more, because they are sure darned entertaining with a feelgood fantasy appeal that still hints of the hardships of realities. Just perfect for this economy! It's feelgood with intelligence!

Privileged - All About a Brand New You! - Eps. 118 - Season Finale

How awesome was the season finale!? (And let's hope not the series finale). While the Keith (David Monahan) and Marco (Allan Louis) intro, break up, make up and now wedding in the finale seemed a bit rushed, I guess Rina Mimoun wanted to make sure it got into the series. And love her for that!

But not only that, loved that they brought in the whole gay marriage debate into the mix and it wasn't all just perfect and fairytale like (which is what this show does best). Sage (Ashley Newbrough, one of this seasons best new discoveries) discovers that boyfriend Louis (Ignacio Serricchio) is NOT okay with Marco and Keith's wedding. Luis bows out of attending while Sage is intent on discussing the issues at hand. It was smart, genuine and Louis didn't seem totally villainous (despite Sage being SO right!).

Sage: "Most of the country thinks it's okay to wear miniskirts with cowboy boots but they're wrong" in response to Luis who thinks most of the country are against gay marriage like he is.

Plus, LOVED that Kathy Griffin played the wedding coordinator and brought her usual sass and snide to the role. She may be a redhead that loves the gays but she was taking no bull from the two bickering soon-to-be-married couple.

Meanwhile, while it's seems WAY too convenient that Megan's hot neighbour and now boyfriend Will (Brian Hallisay who has totally grown on me through the season) is so hot, her best friend Charlie was so hot (Michael Cassidy, though sadly no longer on the show), and now Will's editor boss David (Robert Buckley, adorable here playing it slightly nerdy and square) is so hot, it sure does make for an entirely enjoyable show, smart script or not!

Of course, how convenient that just after Megan (JoAnna Garcia, the heart and soul of this or any show she's on) breaks up with Will (who is working way too hard under perfectionist David), she meets a way-too-cute British random boy at the wedding and hooks up with him? Are there ANY ugly people in Megan's life? Love the "oh crap" that ends the season (in a "to be continued" screenflash). Just the way Megan says it was hilarious and I can't wait for next season!

So while Sage is debating with Louis over gay rights and the right thing to do and Sage learns a thing or two about standing up for herself, Rose is going camping. Zach (Dave Franco, here in his first show where I didn't want to stab him, and in fact here I want to hug him) is supportive but going number 2 in the forest is just not his thing. Still, the changes Rose has made in the past weeks (and in this first season) has been huge and she recognizes the journey she needs to take for herself. Love the empowerment of it all!

Oh, and Megan shows Laurel the first 100 pages of her biography and Laurel loves it!

So the fairytale continues but I so want to see what happens next! PLEASE let there be a season 2.


Leverage - The First David Job, the Second David Job - Eps. 112, 113 - Season Finale

I haven't seen every episode since my new cable doesn't get TNT, but they've been kind enough to send me some screeners with a few episodes and I've loved every one of them. Luckily they sent it to me too because I totally dismissed this show at first, but when I finally bunkered down to watch a couple of eps, I was totally surprised at how smart and clever the show was and how joyous and fun the premise of theives, stealing from baddies for the good poor people (like a modern day Robin Hood where the corporate world is now the bad guys (hence, totally perfect feelgood fodder for this economy))

Again, the fantastic cast of Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People), Gina Bellman (UK Coupling), Christian Kane (Angel), Beth Riesgraf (Without a Trace) and Aldis Hodge (Friday Night Lights) play the ragtag team of theives and the two-part finale finishes up with the overarching story of Hutton's Nathan Ford and his long running alcoholism due to the insurance company (and former employer) that screwed him over which killed his son.

Kari Matchett (Invasion) guests as Ford's ex-wife and the entanglements between Bellman's Sophie and Ford's past (both sexually and thievery) all come to fruition when the Leverage gang decide it's finally time to pull the ultimate revenge on the evil insurance company and their minions and it was convoluted and fantastic, all using an art heist at its core. There are probably far too many contrivances and convenient coincidences but the show is so zippy that it's all quite believable and fun to watch.

Like early Alias without the darkness and a slightly clearer evil nemesis. Such a fun show but thankfully, it has been renewed for a 2nd season already (with an order of 15 more episodes) and I can't wait!

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


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International Jock Crocs, Inc. Bare Necessities>