The Dog Days Of Summer (Or Shows You May Not Watch But Should) : BURN NOTICE

It’s one of cable’s most popular shows so maybe you are watching it.  However it doesn’t have the numbers of a decent Network show so, obviously not enough people are watching it.  In my opinion it’s just about the best show on the air right now.  BURN NOTICE is just entering its 3rd season, and season 3 so far has been top notch, with the last episode showing that they’re taking the quality further.

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The Chin Himself:  Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Donavon on BURN NOTICE

The basic idea of the show is that Michael Westen is a spy who gets “burned.”  Which basically means that his agency believes he has done something wrong and they’re cutting all ties to him.  So his bank accounts, everything get whiped.  He is basically stuck in the place where he was, when he was burned.  In this case it’s his home town of Miami.  Westen was framed and set up for the burn.  So he has decided to track down the people that burned him and get himself un-burned.

The problem is he’s stuck in Miami with nothing.  So he turns to a “friend,” in Sam Axe (portrayed by B Movie legend Bruce Campbell), an ex-FBI man who used to inform to the FBI on Westen’s activities.  He quickly finds out that as long as he remains in Miami, the agencies will leave him alone.  If he leaves Miami, they’ll pick him up.  The first season deals a lot with Michael trying to find out what happened to him and why.

The series uses Voice Overs to let you into Westen’s head.  These initially make absolutely no sense what so ever.  I doubt a spy really thinks like an instructor on “how to be a spy,” when he does everything.  So this is obviously some sort of memoir/voice over work being done telling the tale of the time he got burned.  A definite story is being told from season to season.  Season 1 was finding out who or why.  Season 2 was trying to get inside the organization that burned him and finding out why.  Season 3 is trying to handle the authorities who do to his actions in Season 2 are now free to pursue him.

When Michael got burned he was in Nigeria, he woke up in Miami with his ex-girlfriend Fiona an explosions expert.  So a good deal of the show is about his relationship with his friends and family (remember this is his home town, so his mother is never far away).  At the same time what is an ex spy to do while bored in Miami?  In this case it’s a bit of “Spy for Hire,” much in the same way as THE EQUALIZER did in the 80s.  Westen helps people deal with different problems using his spy background to get the job done.

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Gabrielle Anwar and Jeffrey Donovan on BURN NOTICE

This is where the show takes on a life of its own and enters a level of “cool,” that really only could have been placed in Miami.  Westen blows things up with house hold appliances.  He makes bugs out of household appliances.  He makes long range microphones out of house hold appliances.  He’s MacGyver with a gun.  Plus, he is often in a situation where he has to take on an undercover role.  Jeffrey Donovan the actor portraying Westen excels in these situations and has created some really different and fun characters.  Bruce Campbell’s Sam Axe character is also required to play different roles and his Chuck Finley persona is really starting to show just how detailed these spies can be.

Plus Fiona blows something up almost every episode and looks hot doing it.  The show though relies heavily on the 3 leads:  Gabrielle Anwar, Jeffrey Donovan, and Bruce Campbell and their interactions.  All 3 have top notch acting chops and they show it off on a regular basis.  This is easily the first project of Campbell’s that shows his range.  A shame it took so damn long.

thecrewThe Team

I can’t suggest his show enough.  If you like spies, explosions, girls in bikinis, hot leading men, hot leading women, and “cool,” oozing out of nearly every scene… give this show a shot.

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9 responses to “The Dog Days Of Summer (Or Shows You May Not Watch But Should) : BURN NOTICE

  1. I’m “all over” Burn Notice – thanks to you. Watching Season 3 while catching up with the Season 2 DVDs which just arrived. It’s a keeper! Thanks, buddy!

  2. Now that I’ve finally zipped through Season Two, I have to say the three main actors really make the show. The Westen/Fiona relationship is great and Campbell as Sam Axe is better than ever, in fact he’s probably my favorite character. Campbell just fits the role perfectly.

    I actually enjoy all the voice overs too, its very MacGuyver-esque, kind of helps you to understand what they’re doing while the scenes cut from one make-shift project to another.

    One thing I learned though, on the S2 DVD, the commentary–they had some product placement, a call into On-Star from the Saab during one episode. The show runner said that one thing made that episode possible (lots of explosions, cars blowing up, etc.). It was an interesting discussion.

  3. I Started Watching this show because i had seen you mention it a few times, i am now half way through season 2 and i am loving it more and more as it goes on.

  4. You used my suggestion of Burn Notice – yeah! Not to nitpick but this is the second time that you spelled wiped as whiped which I think is a gentler whipped.

  5. Yeah, the new site can’t get here fast enough. We need an editor.

  6. I love Burn Notice, very good call! Highly recommend!

  7. I’ll put up my hand for the editor job!

  8. Been downloading and watching season one the past week. Show has got it all – babes, spies, action, great dialog, great scripts. You can’t lose.

    They even brought back Audrey Landers! Haven’t seen her since Dallas was on! And she still looks good.

    BTW, Fiona (Gabrielle’s character) isn’t just an explosives expert – she’s ex-IRA. She can do it all like Mike can: shoot, blow stuff up, etc. And she’s incredibly hot in the outfits they put her in.

    Bruce Campbell really is a good actor, despite all the B movies. He’s part of the Triumvirate of “The Tao of Bruce”: Whenever you are in doubt, ask what Bruce would do – Bruce Lee, Bruce Wayne, Bruce Campbell.. In other words, beat the crap out of it, use some gadget – or use a chainsaw. LOL!

  9. I’ve enjoyed this show too, but found the plots a bit contrived. Usually the A plot is the case of the week, usually criminal, and the B plot relates to espionage, trying to track down who burned him and why. And a few times he’s had literally millions of dollars in cash on hand, but unaccountably lost it by the next episode, as otherwise he’d have no incentive to to these detective jobs. Obviously if he put his mind to it he could just steal as much as he needed, from “bad guys” so his conscience remains clear. Or do a Banacek and be an insurance investigator for the 10%. But instead he’s always doing pro bono or getting stiffed. As for Bruce, for a truly great performance, see “Bubba Ho-tep”, in which he does an excellent elderly Elvis, up against a mummy. Very B-movie plot, but great characterisation.