The Leverage Binge Watch: A Table of Contents

leverageIf you want to know how to build a story community that’s also a team, the gold standard is Leverage.

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This binge watch began in February of 2014, but it was disorganized since I was going week by week. In 2016, after the blog was hacked and I had to go back into every post and reformat, I decided to look at the series as a whole, and at this binge watch as a way to look at the elements of fiction writing through the focus of community. For example, I’ve written a lot about conflict, but how does a community handle internal conflict? How does it work together or fall apart against external conflict? And how are the stakes raised and the conflict complicated because instead of one protagonist in conflict, you have five?

That means I have to go back through all of the posts, tweaking and in some cases flat out rewriting them, while adding new posts to cover the gaps in the general craft content. My plan is to make this series of posts a coherent whole, a textbook on writing community as a companion to a great television series. Every episode is not a winner, but the community never fails each other or its viewers, and in the end, Leverage delivers a great long-form story about the best family of morality-challenged misfits ever put on screen.

That means that Leverage posts are going to pop up randomly during the next year until I’ve made the series of posts a coherent whole. Here’s the TENTATIVE plan of topics:

COMMUNITY:
Creating a Community (1-1)
Internal Conflict Within the Community (1-10)
External Conflict and Its Impact on Community (1-12, 1-13)
Rebooting the Community (2-1)
Community as Competence Porn (2-14, 2-15)
Romance and Community (4-15)
Characterizing Community Through a Common Theme
Evolving Community (5-9, 5-10)

CHARACTER:
Point of View (3-11)
External/Internal Conflict (2-11)
Goals, Motivations, and Stakes (5-4)
Integrating a Single Character Subplot (1-11)
Completing Long Form Character Arc (5-8)
Foils and Doppelgangers (2-7)
Gender and Community

STRUCTURE:
Linear Structure (3-1)
Patterned Structure (3-11)
Turning Points (3-16)
Reversals
Integrating Back Story (3-3)
Endings (4-17, 4-18)
Schmuckbait and Chaos (5-15)

And here’s the TENTATIVE plan of episodes analyzed in the order they should have been aired:

SEASON ONE

1-1 “The Nigerian Job” by John Rogers & Chris Downey: Creating a Community

1-10 “The 12 Step Job” by Amy Berg & Chris Downey: Internal Conflict Within the Community

1-11 “The Juror #6 Job” by Rebecca Kirsch, Integrating a Single Character Subplot

1-12 and 1-13 “The First and Second David Jobs” by Chris Downey & John Rogers: External Conflict and Its Impact on Community

SEASON TWO:

2-1 The Beantown Bailout Job by John Rogers: Rebooting the Community

2-7 “The Two Live Crew Job” by Amy Berg & John Rogers: Foils and Doppelgangers

2-11 “The Bottle Job” by Christine Boylan: External/Internal Conflict

2-14 “The Three Strikes Job” and 2-15 “The Maltese Falcon Job”: Community and Competence Porn

SEASON THREE

3-1 “The Jailhouse Job” by John Rogers: Linear Structure

3-3 “The Inside Job” by John Rogers: Integrating Back Story

3-11 “The Rashomen Job” by John Rogers: Structure
3-11 “The Rashomen Job” by John Rogers: Point of View

3-16 “The San Lorenzo Job” by John Rogers & M. Scott Veach: Turning Points

SEASON FOUR

4-1 “The Long Way Down Job” by Joe Hortua & John Rogers: Characterizing Community Through a Common Theme

4-8 “The Boiler Room Job” by Paul Guyot: Reversals

4-13 “Girls’ Night Out” by Chris Downey & Jenn Kao, 4-14 “Boys’ Night Out” by John Rogers: Gender and Community

4-15 “The Lonely Hearts Job” by Kerry Glover: Romance and Community

4-17 “The Radio Job” by Chris Downey & Paul Guyot, and 4-18 “The Last Damn Job” by John Rogers: Endings

SEASON FIVE

5-4 “The French Connection Job” by Paul Guyot: Goals, Motivations, and Stakes in Community

5-8 “The Broken Wing Job” by ?: Completing Long Form Character Arc

5-9 & 5-10: “The Run-Down Job” and “The Frame-Up Job”: Evolving Community

5-15 “The Long Goodbye” by John Rogers & Chris Downey: Schmuckbait and Chaos

11 thoughts on “The Leverage Binge Watch: A Table of Contents

  1. When I graduated law school, I declared that I was done, that I was happy that I was done, and that I am never, ever going back to school again. I’d go back to school for this. Thanks, Jenny (said with some snark cause omg I don’t really want to go back to school).

    Reading your blog and being a part of this community has confirmed for me that I love analyzing and talking about story. I don’t like writing, I’ve never been a big fan of writing, but I love to discuss and analyze. I like editing. And having this outlet has led me to wonder on days that I’m hating my career if there’s enough there for me to contemplate a career change, or if that’s just crazy thinking. But those are deep musings that I’m not sure I’m really ready to face yet.

    But anyway, yay Leverage!

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  2. I’m really lucky, an independent channel plays Leverage on Sunday. All day.
    Now I have a guide for examining the episodes. Thanks

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  3. You got me started watching Leverage. I’m still way behind (season maybe?) but I absolutely love it. I keep forgetting to go to Netflix and watch it. Must be time to start up again.

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  4. Hmmm.

    I wonder. If I use these as a dedicated tutorial, would I eventually write something worth reading?! 😀

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  5. I love Leverage and am grateful to you for introducing me to it! I’ve watched all the episodes, many of them multiple times and am looking forward to this series of posts, even though I’m not a writer.

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    1. They’re mostly old posts I’m cleaning up. Trying to get all the Binge Watches organized here.
      Leverage really is the gold standard in writing teams, though. So worth the re-watch.

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      1. If I ever come across an episode being aired on regular tv, I stop and watch it, despite having Netflix & the ability to watch any episode commercial free at anytime.

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        1. They’re like peanuts, especially the ones I’ve watched multiple times. If Parker’s running toward Sophie on that roof, I cannot NOT watch that.

          I just finished the team analysis on Leverage and I really want to just binge watch the whole thing again.

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