I'm sorry to hear this. I only started watching the show when the stripped reruns began last year; the current season is the first (and I guess only) one I saw in first run. I was hoping for a longer run. Although it has been starting to show its age a bit, so maybe it's best to go out on a high note. (Plus I got to see my Star Trek
novelist colleague Andy Mangels's cameo at the beginning of the Inception
-ish dream episode they did a couple of weeks ago.)
Sort of a Mission: Impossible for the 21st century.
Yes, very much so. For all that Mission: Impossible
(the series) was presented as a spy show, it was really a heist show at heart, about a team of grifters pulling scams or committing intricate thefts week after week. It's just that the networks wouldn't have tolerated a show whose protagonists were criminals, so they had to make them off-book intelligence agents pulling scams on foreign spies and terrorists and mobsters with the unofficial support of the US government.
Other than that, the main difference was that most of M:I (except for the first half of the first season, the entire fifth season, and the '88 revival) was essentially devoid of any real characterization of its core cast. The producers wanted them to be ciphers who were defined entirely by the roles they played. And because of that, team members were often interchangeable and the cast went through many changes, whereas Leverage
has kept the same cast for its entire run (except during Gina Bellman's pregnancy when Jeri Ryan filled in) and focused heavily on the characters' personal lives. Which made for a much stronger, richer series.