Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Converting Bad Cons to Good

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!  Today, Amber West and I continue reviewing the hit programs on TNT and USA.  Each network has a con and a medical story to tell, and we break them down in today’s special quadruple edition.   

Can a con-man change to good? 

TNT and USA think so!  Both networks have hit summer programs featuring some of the most likable con-men on television.  While each con might have to resort to their old ways in order to bring down an even worse foe, they all fight the good cause and do what’s best for mankind and to uphold the law. 

 Leverage – Sunday nights on TNT

The Leverage team consists of a group of criminals turned do-gooders that utilize their specialized skills to avenge those harmed by the wealthy and/or powerful.  Each character has his or her own flaw which helps the viewers understand their passion behind the individual cases they accept. 

Nate Ford (Academy Award winner, Timothy Hutton), “The Mastermind” – Nate leads this team of otherwise misfits.  He battles alcoholism trying to recover from the death of his son, which in turn cost him his marriage and his job as an insurance investigator.  Nate selects the team’s clients, and he uses his skills to anticipate the movement of the con’s marks while the rest of his team is in play.

Sophie (Gina Bellman, Coupling), “The Grifter” – Sophie is Nate’s right hand.  She has secrets that even the audience is still trying to figure out: is she royalty? Is she married? Or is she just a great actress? Well, maybe she’s not as great on stage as she is at playing the marks of the con.  And, what is her real name for crying out loud?

Now to the “side-kicks”, without whom, the show would not be the same.

Eliot (Christian Kane, Angel), “The Hitter” – Eliot has a bit of an anger-management problem: he loves to punch and kick, but he refrains from using guns as much as possible.  Eliot’s number one job is to protect the team; but, sometimes he takes on a character role that showcases his intelligence, and not just his muscle, in order to complete the con.

Hardison (Aldis Hodge, Friday Night Lights), “The Hacker” – Like one might assume, Hardison loves his computers, technology, and “Lucille,” his thoroughly pimped out techie van.  He has designed the team’s headquarters twice now (they had to blow the first office up to hide their identities), and the specialized equipment the team uses on each case. 

Parker (Beth Reisgraf, multiple TV appearances in shows like How I Met Your Mother and My Name is Earl), “The Thief” – Moving from foster home to foster home, Parker lacks many social skills, but might just have the biggest heart of all the cons.  One might think that Parker lacks empathy, but when she’s emotionally involved in a case, she’ll stop at nothing to take down the bad guys.  Parker is one of the best thieves around, and her supreme safe cracking skills and her extreme acrobatics make her crucial to every case.

The Leverage team gets it done, and I grant my second GTV (Gourmet TV) rating of the season: Leverage gives us everything we want and more.

White Collar – Tuesday nights on USA

Meet Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer, from Chuck and Tru Calling), a suave and sexy professional con-artist captured by FBI agent, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). 

Season one opens with Peter releasing Neal from prison under the strict supervision of an ankle monitor, AND one condition: Neal must use his criminal expertise to assist the White Collar division of the FBI in capturing bad guys. 

Neal enlists the help of his fellow con-man, Mozzie (Willie Garson, aka Stanford Blatch from Sex and the City), who despite his distrust of the government, stands by his friend’s side and builds his own relationship with Peter and Peter’s wife, Elizabeth (played by Tiffani Theissen, Saved by the Bell and the real 90210). 

In addition to solving a new FBI case each week, Neal focuses on discovering the truth behind his girlfriend Kate’s disappearance.  Neal continues his search while everyone, including Peter and his FBI right-hand Diana (Marsha Thomason from Vegas), investigates Kate’s story on their own, each hoping to bring closure to Neal’s heartache. 

White Collar builds fun and heartfelt character relationships: Peter/Neal, Peter/Elizabeth, Elizabeth/Neal, Elizabeth/Mozzie, Neal/Alex (another of Neal’s con-buddies played by Gloria Votsis), and Neal/Sara (insurance investigator/Neal’s current love interest played by Hilarie Burton). 

Season 2 ends with Neal’s previous mentor turned nemesis, Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy best known from his 80’s hits Pretty in Pink, and St. Elmo’s Fire) escaping once again after the U-Boat treasure that Neal and Peter helped reveal, goes up in flames. 

Or does it? Neal is a con, remember. 

Will Neal flee with Mozzie and claim their fortune? Or will he stay and continue his new life helping the FBI catch other cons?  He is a great asset for the Feds…and our television screens!

This has never been done before, but I grant White Collar another GTV (Gourmet TV) rating of the season: it has everything we want and more. 

That’s two in one post!

Did I mention that Neal is sexy?  Neal’s piercing baby blues and charming smile illuminate in combination with his dapper tailored suits and his Fedora hat. 

Do you agree with my double GTV ratings this week?  Are you a Leverage or White Collar fan?  Would Leverage be worthy of a GTV rating without Eliot, Hardison, and Parker?  Will Neal stay or will Peter have to arrest him yet again?  I’d love to hear from you!

Did someone call a doctor?

Now click over to Amber’s review of this summer’s medical programs: TNT’s HawthoRNe and USA’s Royal Pains.  What will she rate two of the networks biggest hits?

Come back next week for a special recap edition as Amber and I revisit our earlier Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews. What are we still watching?  Have our opinions changed? 

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  We’re currently working on our August and September schedule and would love to chat with you!

Last, but certainly not least, did your favorite TV shows make the Emmy nomination categories?  Vote here for the 1st annual Tamberny awards.  Leave a comment by July 29th and you could win blog linkage on my special Tele-Tuesday Siskel and Ebert style Emmy breakdown where Amber and I promise to not agree!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

 A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more

MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies

JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds

SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out

NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer

LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

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30 Responses to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Converting Bad Cons to Good

  1. I’ve never seen White Collar, but I think Leverage is awesome! Of course, anything with Christian Kane in it is going to have a certain hotness factor. I loved him in Angel, and I was pleasantly surprised when I found him on Leverage. Leverage definitely earns a GTV rating.

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  3. Catie Rhodes says:

    I’ve never seen either of these. Where have I been? Probably watching Teen Wolf and True Blood and Vampire Diaries. LOL They both look good.

    My favorite con-turned-good TV is Breakout Kings. The first season aired this past winter.

    As always, thanks for the recommendations. I wouldn’t have known about these otherwise. 😀

    • Catie, there is nothing wrong with True Blood, Teen Wolf, and Vampire Diaries. 🙂

      I agree, season one of Breakout Kings was very enjoyable. I’m looking forward to seeing how they deal with the protection at the beginning of season 2.

  4. Stacy Green says:

    Matt Boehmer is so sexy. I watch the show just to look at him. And it’s a good show, lol. I need to watch Leverage. I always forget about it. And Breakout Kings is a good one, too!

    • Glad to see another Breakout Kings fan! Did you watch White Collar last night?

      I was so happy with Neals choice…I was actually teary-eyed. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Stacy!

  5. amyshojai says:

    I enjoy Leverage. Have only seen ads for White Collar. Great review.

    • Hey, Amy! White Collar is a lot of fun. If you like Leverage, you should check it out. There’s only 2 episodes left right now before their fall break, but it may be on Neflix so you could start from the beginning.

  6. EllieAnn says:

    Oh I adore Leverage! It’s just so much fun and the characters are interesting and funny. Great review!

    • Hey, Ellie! I have really enjoyed the episodes this season – particularly the murder-mystery dinner party where they all dressed up as their favorite literary detectives, and the WWII flashback story with Danny Glover. Each season, the stories get better – and the show really plays well to Parker, Hardison, and Eliot’s characters. I can’t express enough how I feel that the show wouldn’t be the same without them. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Donna says:

    I’ve missed both of these – but they definitely seem worth a watch. Thanks for the tip – and thanks for joining the Tuesday Train!

  8. wosushi says:

    I do really like Leverage. Christian Kane is my boyfriend, after all. He’ll deny it if you ask, but that’s just because we like our privacy.

    (ah, I so funny)

    And I love Parker’s character. I want to be her.

    I’ll have to add White Collar to my ever growing list of shows I need to watch 🙂

    • You so funny, girl!

      E LOVES Parker. LOVES her. She makes me crack up. Beth R’s comedic timing is great, I can’t believe she hasn’t had a bigger role than guest spots before this.

      And, YES! You need to add White Collar to your list….Bones, then White Collar. 🙂

      • wosushi says:

        I am funny. And have some really cute boyfriends. He might be the first that isn’t in the “old man” category.

        How has Beth R NOT been somewhere big before??? She is good in this.

        And I am 10 episodes in to Bones. Don’t think I ignore your suggestions, pal. 🙂

  9. K.B. Owen says:

    You Tamberny critics are SO hip and happ’nin! Great clip. Can’t wait to see your selections, and find out where you disagree! Ooh, the sniping and slams! Great stuff.

  10. Lynn Kelley says:

    I haven’t seen either of these shows, but Neal’s good eye candy. That alone is enough to make me watch White Collar. LOL! Love the JibJab!

  11. Gigi Salem says:

    You know what’s almost as good as watching Leverage and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next? Having a Leverage column on my Tweet Deck… Also? Having loved Christian Kane when he was on Angel and finding a fanfic that made Lindsey and Eliot twin brothers… the interwebs is my favorite place!

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  13. Lori Benton says:

    Two of our favorite shows! Chemistry between the leads on both shows is wonderful. By leads, in Leverage’s case, I mean all five of the team. I can’t imagine the show without a single one of them. Even when Sophie left for part of a season she wasn’t completely gone. “Don’t call Sophie!” 🙂 Leverage is my favorite of the two, but White Collar is a close second.

    • Hi, Lori! Leverage definitely wasn’t the same the season without Sophie! She seems to be the glue that holds the family together, a real mentor for Parker. Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Piper Bayard says:

    Few things hotter than a good bad guy. They don’t exist much in real life, but when you do find a man with a criminal mind and an ethical heart. Well, the word sizzle doesn’t even begin to describe. So I can certainly see the appeal of the noble con. Btw, I love y’all’s rating system.

    • Thanks, Piper. Us girls do love our “good bad guys” – don’t we? Thanks so much for stopping by! Did you see that Amber awarded the Liver and Onions award this week? It was pretty funny….

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