The irony, I wrote the below, then went to Netflix… and found out the license for this show expired today on Netflix. Which pretty much cancels out all of the fun. Way to go content licensing, way to go being stuck in the middle of a season.
So doing the Netflix shuffle on what’s good and fun to watch, and last year saw a fun series called Leverage, staring Timothy Hutton. My first exposure to him was his role in a television version of several of the Nero Wolfe books, for which he does an excellent Archie Goodwin. Leverage had him rounding up a gang of thieves in the Ocean’s Eleven style and helping people out.
White Collar has been in my current Netflix list, and it’s been some rather fun watching. It’s marked as similar to Leverage, but there are a couple parts to it that I’d like to point out as why it’s different, and why it’s a fun show.
First instead of having a full team of assorted talents, there’s really just the two main characters, the con-man and the FBI agent. They each have a surrounding team of various sizes, but that’s unimportant. It’s really more buddy cop, just one person is a criminal. They play off each other very well.
The con-man, forger, Neal, gives a reminiscence of Timothy Hutton’s character in Leverage, but with the charm and youth and looks of Hutton in his younger Archie Goodwin role. Neal’s actor is one of those guys who is ridiculously “symmetrical” as one person in the show puts it, but the act he puts on let’s you forgive that detail. And his interactions with the FBI agent, Peter, tend to be refreshing.
The show itself has a couple elements in the writing that I enjoy. They are a “weekly” show instead of a continuous one, so they have some standalone episodes. That’s not something I normally care for, however there is an underlying developing plot that keeps the story moving in the background through the episodes and seasons. Again, since it’s a weekly that doesn’t necessarily move quickly, but they do sprinkle enough in the non-dedicated episodes that there’s no need to skip over any “filler” content. That and each episode’s story will stand alone well enough. And then every so often you do get a dedicated episode to the plot, so the pacing is rather decent for a cable weekly.
It’s a USA Network show, and those have always been somewhat fun, like Monk and Psych. I never really cared for Burn Notice, but all the USA Network stuff has a common theme in general, and their focus on Police Procedural with a “twist” has usually made for some good watching.
I’m still running through what’s online and haven’t finished, but apparently the fifth season ended earlier, but they have now planned a 6-episode season 6.
It’s been fun enough to come here and write a small update, so I’d consider this a recommendation of what to watch when you’re looking for a fun Police Procedural that still has a plot, and the entire family can watch it.