meganbmoore: (parker and sophie)
Last weekend I watched all the available episodes of Lookout, and this weekend I’ve watched 7 episodes of Bad Thief, Good Thief (I had already seen and enjoyed the first 3 episodes well enough, but wasn’t invested yet.) For other kdrama fen who got over-invested in Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People, both of these series are pretty good followup series, though neither is a sageuk.



Neither series is perfect, but qualify for “Korean Leverage of my heart and soul” status. Bad Thief, God Thief, IMO, should have held off on various revelations until later on, and Lookout is...very clearly by a newbie writer at times-the male lead is over-complicated ( as opposed to complex) in that way where “morally ambiguous” becomes “convoluted and will anyone buy redemption at this point?” (the right actor could pull it off, but while this actor does smarmy well, he doesn’t have the screen presence and charisma to quit pull it off) and things don’t always come together the way the writer thinks they do. Bad Thief Good Thief has the more expansive and complicated plot tied to current and past politics (and almost 4 times as many episodes) but takes a few episodes to get going. It has a lot of narrative similarities to Rebel, and a few spoilery things actually had me looking to see if the two shows shared and production members or writers, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. They do share several actors, though. Lookout is much more fast paced with action scenes and a heroine who regularly is a gallant knight in shining armor rescuing other women.



They both get the “It” that Leverage had* but most shows of the type miss. That “It” is that it isn’t just cool people being attractive and witty and competent. It’s a wish fulfillment fantasy that there is someone who will see to it that the people who the law can’t or won’t punish will still be punished, an justice will be met. This is also the general “Robin Hood” fantasy, though the dynamics play out differently when it’s in a historical setting than when it’s in modern times.



Unsurprisingly, both shows, like Rebel before them, are from MBC. While SBS is floundering all over the place to figure out how to still mostly depend on an international audience when they’ve lost their biggest outlet (China) and KBS is...doing something (Like, I dunno. They aren’t the mess that SBS is, but they seem trying really hard to make their mark different kinds of dramas this year more than usual, with mixed results.) MBC is pretty much running around yelling “VIVE LA REVOLUTION” at the top of its lungs. (Ruler: Master of the Mask is also pretty heavy on the political commentary, but it’s much more focused on “Puppet ruler under the control of unseen master, BAD IDEA” while Rebel, Lookout and Bad Thief Good Thief focus more on widespread corruption and abuse of power and social standing.)



As an aside, Lookout might require trigger/upsetting stuff warnings beyond what you’d expect for these kinds of political thrillers.



*ok, Leverage had several “It”s that other similar shows lack, but I’m talking about a specific “It” here.

TeeVee

Aug. 26th, 2012 10:41 pm
meganbmoore: (covert affairs: gimme tv)

Continuum 1.10: Pretty good finale, lots of reveals and twists, but largely ones most of us guessed. I largely liked them? The most interesting stuff in the episode was probably Sonya's stuff. Between the developments and the improved wardrobe, hopefully Lexa Doig will have a larger role next season. Which has been confirmed for 13 episodes, so YAY.

Covert Affairs 3.5-3.6: I think these were probably my favorite episodes so far this season, because they focused on the parto f the show that's one of the main draws for me: that Annie isn't a good spy because she can fight or does dangerous things, but because she has good instincts and is good at reading people and finding the right kind of communication for individuals. I don't have any deep thoughts, though I'm glad we have a woman of color around now (no idea how long she'll be there) and am always happy when Oded Fehr shows up (which I wish would be more often).

Political Animals 1.4-1.6: Uhm...given the ending and the fact that the finale's recap referred to "the season" as opposed to "the series," I am going to assume that a second season is in the works. This series got its fair share of things wrong, but I love it deeply for what it wanted and tried to be.

spoilers )OK USA, if nothing else, you should renew just because Ciaran Hinds clearly adores hamming it up here. And, you know, for a lot of other reasons too. I need AU!Hillary Clinton/Murphy Brown dramatized fanfic in my life!

Sinbad 1.5-1.7: Did anyone else spend most of ep 7 thinking it was the season finale, and then...it wasn't?

spoilers )(And there's a new episode tonight, but I forgot to post this esrlier this week when I watched everything.)

White Collar 4.5-4.6:

spoilers )
I also watched season 4 of Leverage. Surrising no one, my favorite epiosde was The Girls Night Out Job, but it was pretty closely followed by the episode with Sterling (because Evil Nate is always fun, and I'm a sucker for his motivations in that one) and the season finale, for the guest stars (Though I wish there had been more girls. But I guess Tara was probably out because she might be known as one of their associates, and The Italian probably isn't quite trusted enough. Or at all. And there's the muscle lady from Chaos's old team, but that would be doubling up and I think Chaos is actually the only one who could fill that particular slot. I can still be sad, though.)

Meanwhile, over in doramaland, I watched episode 3 of Arang and the Magistrate today. This one had a lot of angst, and while technically it was good angst, I think there might have been too abrupt a transition between the humor and the angstfest? Still a pretty fun episode.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (leverage: glomp)
...and not once did Maggie, Tara or Evil Nate show up, or even get mentioned.  I find this to be completly unacceptable and will not forget it no matter how many times you throw a hot, morally ambiguous italian woman blackmailing Our Heroes into helping her destroy an evil empire at me.

(I have decided that The Italian and Moreau are likethe evil version of Sophie/Nate and she's Nate and there's less potential romance/shipping and ruthlessly plotting destruction.  And I'm a bit annoyed that we don't learn what her deal with Moreau is beyond wanting him taken down.)

Also, that was a hilariously OTT gunfight in the nextto last episode and I loved it for its ridiculousness.
meganbmoore: (parker and sophie)

An important question!  Who else spent the second season of Leverage consistently distracted by the fact that Gina Bellman cut her hair?  Because I'm halfway through the season (I think I just watched the last episode before her hiatus) and keep getting sidetracked from actual plot and character development because Sophie's hair is wrong different.
meganbmoore: (beat the devil)
A fun Leverage vid. there are a few seconds of season 2, but it's mostly season one, and unspoilery. At roughly 0:04 and 2:12 you have bits of my favorite scene in the whole season

meganbmoore: (donna/maddie)
This is a caper-of-the-week show about a drunk former insurance investigator who teams up with a bunch of criminals he used to hunt all over the world to help people by committing crime. No, really. But it’s the good kind of “No, really.”

Nate Ford used to fight crime be an insurance fraud investigator until the insurance company he worked for refused to cover his son’s treatment, and the kid died. He drunk himself into unemployment, divorce, and homelessness and now plays modern-day Robin Hood with four of the criminals he used to hunt. Sophie is a grifter who wants to act on stage, but despite being an amaszing actress while breaking the law, she can’t act to save her life otherwise. Parker is a borderline-sociopathic thief in love with money and allergic to feelings and people. Hardison is an uber geek (if geekitude exists for it, he geeks over it) and computer genius. Eliot is a “retrieval expert” who thinks they’re all insane (Ok, mostly Parker. I think she scares him.) and likes to beat people up.

The characters are universally awesome, though I’m not thrilled with all aspects of how Nate’s alcoholism is handled and how his angst revolves around the dead kid being brought up every chance the show gets (ok, I’m just not big on dead kids in fiction) or how Nate and Sophie’s not-exactly-romance goes from “you should ship them because they shot each other when they met and he’s in love with her bad acting” to “Sophie wants Nate to face his problems and he just drinks more” throughout the season, though the final arc got that back on the right fitting somewhat, and hopefully resolved a lot of Nate’s problems.

While I love Sophie and Nate (actually, Sophie is probably my favorite, if I must choose) I do agree with what seems to be the general fandom consensus that the sub-team of Parker, Hardison and Eliot is more fun, and probably fit the often-light-hearted tone of the show better than the Nate and Sophie angst, though everyone seems to have their fare share of angst. In fact, much of Parker and Hardison’s slow-moving-but-adorable-probable-future-romance is rooted in that time they bonded about being children in foster care. (Incidentally, while Parker has the requisite Terribly Terrible Foster Care Experience, it’s balanced by Hardison being raised by an apparently awesome foster mother, making this one of the few times I’ve seen the foster system acknowledged as not being inherently evil on US TV.)

The show also plays with some standards role assignations in capers, too. The two characters who would normally be the fandom heartthrobs-the smooth operator and “pointman” who the con revolves around and who must have something up a sleave, and the near-sociopathic, amoral thief with an angsty past who can barely interact with people in social situations (and doesn’t care to anyway)-are women, something I suspect is very much deliberate on the part of the writers (they also frequently pass the Bechdel Test, and if they fail due to talking about a guy, it’s not in the context of having to talk about romantic relationships or how amazing/awesome he is) and the cute geeky guy who would usually be assigned the entry/POV role (I’d say this designation fluctuates on a near-episodic basis, though it does still default back to Nate) is black.

While Hardison is the only on-screen POC, gueststars of both the good guy and bad guy variety are frequently POC. Christian Kane (Eliot) is of mixed Anglo/Cherokee descent and I believe he identifies as Cherokee, but I have no idea what Eliot’s intended ethnicity is. Based on what I’ve seen, I suspect it will either never be addressed at all, or he’ll be biracial. Gina Bellman, I believe, is also Jewish, though I doubt that will ever be a part of the show. I feel I should warn, though, about one episode where Sophie impersonates an Indian woman.

Also, the showe needs more Kari Matchett. But I’m biased that way.

Spoilers for season 2 will result in Hardison deleting entire harddrives.

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