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25 June 2011 @ 11:39 am
The Hoard Potato: Burn Notice vs. Leverage  
Ah, summertime. Warm weather, ice cream, barbecue, and big-screen blockbusters -- and, as the broadcast networks settle firmly into Mid-Season hiatus, cable TV brings us new episodes of shows far better than anything the mainstream offers.

Two of my favorite shows have their season premieres this week: Burn Notice returned on Thursday, and Leverage debuts tomorrow night. Both shows, of course, involve ensembles of quirky characters, experts in a variety of extralegal activities, who band together to help the Victim of the Week get revenge on the bad guys making their lives difficult, while pursuing the not-entirely-benevolent agendas of their nominal leaders.

The big difference is a matter of resources: the Burn Notice team tends to scrounge and improvise, and have to stay off the grid most of the time; they deal with gangs, drug dealers, and the occasional international terrorist. The Leverage crew, on the other claw, scored big on their first outing, and have huge wads of cash to finance bleeding-edge technology; their adversaries are unscrupulous corporations and con men who screw the little people in ways that make them hard to touch in a court of law..

They both fall into my favorite genre: cool, competent people being cool and competent.

When you have two shows that are so similar in so many ways, you just have to ask yourself ...

Who'd Win?

If the team from Burn Notice somehow wound up on opposite sides from the Leverage team, who'd wind up on top when the dust clears? Let's ignore all the logical reasons about why they wouldn't ever get in a head-to-head; maybe it's mistaken identity; maybe David Xanatos arranges it all; maybe Nate Ford and Sam Axe meet in a bar, get drunk, and make a really, really stupid bet ...

... you know, that last sounds the most plausible.

Poll #1755797 Who'd Win? Burn Notice vs. Leverage

Who'd Win?

Michael Westin and his Burn Notice buddies!
Nate Ford and his Leverage cronies!
The cast of some other show who aren't nearly as clever or interesting as these two!
AUGH! This is harder than Doctor Doom vs. Lex Luthor!

Please explain your answer in the comments!

Margarasmargaras on June 25th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Leverage, first. They'd utterly obliterate whatever scheme Burn Notice is doing, but then they'd lose one on one was Michael Westin takes personal revenge on each of the Leverage team members.
scarfman on June 25th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)

I'm forced to vote for Leverage as I don't watch Burn Notice. Or I coulda pulled the Doctor out of my hat and gone with your third option but I didn't think of that.

Your Obedient Serpentathelind on June 26th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
I think you would like Burn Notice.

and, you know, The Doctor is Almost Always Cheating.

Heck, these days, RORY is cheating.
Dendewhitton on June 26th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
Leverage doesn't air here, so I can't answer.

Just to give you an idea of how much I like Burn Notice, the season premier was last Friday. My DVR was out of action so I turned over halfway through Taggart (Gritty Police drama from Glasgow -- and since it's from Glasgow, the grit is very gritty) and voluntarily missed the first half of Hustle (Clever con-team take down deserving greedy bastards).

Once upon a time the mid-season break also had Life, but that show is no more and TV is a little poorer.
Araquan Skytraceraraquan on June 26th, 2011 12:32 am (UTC)
So... there are shows called "Leverage" and "Burn Notice," you say? Interesting. Very interesting.

Clearly, I don't watch TV much these days. }:>
(Deleted comment)
Your Obedient Serpent: ouroborosathelind on June 26th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
Thinking about it, we may have a clear winner.
You know, on the one claw, Michael's crew looks like they're outnumbered.

When you look closer, though, every one of Michael's crew combines the talents and skills of two or three of Nate's.

Nate has Parker for Crazy Awesome, and Eliot for Unstoppable Force of Nature.

Fiona fills both those roles, with a dash of Sophie for seasoning.

Sam's got a lot more Sophie, a dash of Eliot, and a fraction of Nate's "This is so crazy that it just might work!"

(He also holds his booze better than Nate.)

And Michael ... hoo boy. He can out-grift Sophie, out-plan Nate, probably monkey-wrench anything Hardison comes up with using duct tape and pocket lint, and, um, take enough abuse from Eliot that Fiona can get behind him and taser him or something while he's distracted.

Obligatory Michael Narration: "Sometimes, you have to take a few hits for the team. Just make sure that when the team hits back, they hit HARD."
ebony14 on June 27th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
I believe that, being that these are both groups of slightly tarnished heroes, you would end up with an impressive initial conflict that would ultimately be a stalemate. When confronted with said stalemate, both teams would actually bother to talk to each other and realize that they had been set at odds by a malicious third party (Kaos comes to mind, but only because Evil Wil Wheaton is highly entertaining). Thusly enlightened, both teams would join forces and layeth the smacketh down upon said malcontent. Afterwards, they would adjourn to local watering hole for mojitos (or Scotch, if they happen to be in Boston) and good-natured posturing.

Because that's How These Things Are Done.
Kymrikymri on June 27th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
I'm going to have to side with Michael and crew here, even leaving aside the implications of the most recent episode (to keep things spoiler-free).

I think mostly it's because the Leverage crew are very good at what they do, but for the most part what they do is run convincing cons as revenge.

There's not a lot else that the crew as a whole is good at (but that's not saying that it's not very effective by any means).

On the other hand, Michael, Sam and Fiona can run excellent cons when necessary (and prefer that route) but aren't above resourceful and inventive carnage as soon as it proves necessary.

Ultimately, I think Michael's crew being much more prone to use explosives and firearms when necessary and blow things up along with MUCH better honed skills when it comes to keeping a low profile and off the grid would find them edging ahead.

Either way it'd be bound to be spectactular.

[For the record, I sort of lost interest in Leverage some time after the first season and I can't really put my finger on when or why, as much as I love Timothy Hutton.]
Zrath-Smiley: Hello Kzintizrath on June 28th, 2011 10:09 pm (UTC)

Yeah, Mike and the crew.
As you mentioned, each member of Mike's crew is worth 2 or 3 of Nate's crew.
I love both shows equally.
I like shows about smart people. :)