This seems to be a transition period for many stations. There are still loyal fans of major shows, however most of those seem to be ending, such as Lost and Dollhouse. While those are dying out, shows like Burn Notice are making a strong appearance. If you haven’t heard of the show, it is an action series created by Matt Nix and airs on USA. Burn Notice stars Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, and Bruce Campbell.
The whole premise of the show revolves around Donovan’s character, Michael Westen. Westen is an ex-spy who had a burn notice issued against him. A burn notice is a technical term that implies that he should be killed since the spy has become unreliable. Basically, it means that Westen’s character has no identity, money, or history. A unique feature of the show is that it is a first-person narrative so it brings a more natural, stream of thought feeling.
Westen only has three other people he can trust. Anwar’s character Fiona is Michael’s ex-girlfriend who is trying to help him find out who put the notice out on him. She’s an explosives expert but more importantly, each show makes it seem like she has an ulterior motive. They mesh and are perfect for each other because they have no one else. There is a mutual trust, the only trust that is on the show. The other side kick of Michael’s is Sam, an aging ex-spy who romances older women by night. If Mike needs something, Sam is the guy who can get stuff. He still has contacts in the field and his altercations and trademark “I know a guy” moments always bring a laugh to the hour.
The irony of the show is that in every episode Michael puts the needs of others before himself. While his life is still in disarray, he fills the voids in his life by providing his expertise. He makes some sidecash when resolving problems which goes to fund his continuing search for the person who burned him. The show features the chaotic life of a spy/ex-spy but each hour has some sort of theme and value behind it. Police have tried to reign him in but he always manages to outsmart them by deception. Ultimately he is his own man and always will be. But he is figuring out over each season that you need to trust some people in order to get what he wants.
On a side note, the show always features classic cars some of which unfortunately get blown up. The series has cultivated a fan base, one that is different from the normal spy genre. The storylines are wittier and more sarcastic, which is enhanced from the first-person narration. The second half of the 3rd season is set to premiere on Jan. 21st. If you’re a fan, you’d be happy to know that a fourth season has been approved. USA will milk the show for all its worth and while I’d like to think that they will finally find out who burned him, some little part of me also thinks that we will never really find out.
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