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Old March 7th 09, 18:46   #1
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Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

Is anyone on this site watching this show? Its wrapping up its second season right now, albeit they are shortened cable seasons of about 15 episodes each, much like The Shield was. I started watching it at the start of Season 2, although I watched all of Season 1 via download rentals so I was caught up when it started. My brother turned me onto this show and I gotta say I really like it. I remember seeing advertisements for it when it first came out, and I never really got what the show was about watching those, so I never tuned in. Turns out this was a mistake because its a really fun and well put together show.

So, for anyone with a little time on their hands and a netflix account, I suggest it's something you should look into. Here is a rundown of the show, why I like it, and it will be spoiler free.

The Premise
The lead character is Michael Westen. He is a spy who works for the CIA. He is on a job when the CIA puts a "Burn Notice" out on him (hence the name of the show). Basically --- they cut him off. Cut all ties to him, remove his resources, bank accounts, the works. If you think its bad getting a pink slip from your job, try being a spy out in the field and getting let go and all your resources cut. He escapes, barely, and ends up dumped in Miami with literally nothing.

So he has no finances, no resume, no job history, nothing, since he was a spy, and is in Miami and has to figure out what to do. He hooks up with an old spy buddy of his (Bruce "The Chin" Campbell) and his ex-girlfriend Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar). They end up taking side jobs to help people who need help, to pay the bills --- sort of an A-Team feel to it in this respect --- all the while trying to figure out who "Burned" him and why.

The Format
This is one of those shows where the lead character is also a narrator at times throughout an episode. Sort of like "Verinca Mars" or many "Private Eye" shows. The neat part about it is, he pretty much explains how and why he does things from his past experience as a spy. For the most part a lot of these are done really well and are believable. Adds a bit of realism to the show and its fun how things are executed. He basically gets a standalone "Job of the week" to help someone with complex problems that involve any sorts of tasks. On the side there is the overall arc where he tries to find out why he was burned, and who is manipulating him.

Characters
First of all, I have this list of just a couple of actors out there who just be the mere fact they are in a show or movie --- they make it better just by their presense. Nathon Fillion is one such person to me. Put him in anything, and its better just because he is in it. Another person is Bruce Campbell. He has been in his share of B and C movies. He has done some of those REAL low-budget Sci-Fi channel shlock movies too. No matter how bad the movie, he makes it better and watchable. So the fact that Bruce is in Burn Notice was a big reason for me liking the show early on. His character does have some of his trademark charm and humor, but when the rubber meets the road, you do see his bad-ass spy background come out, which is excellent. I'm glad he isn't just a funny sidekick type. Bruce being in this show is AWESOME. Also, he will make you want to start drinking Mojitos.

Michael's ex-girlfriend is also in the show. Gabrielle Anwar. Her character in this show, Fiona, is great. Toted as "trigger happy" she has a background from the IRA and is quite the explosives expert. She is definitely a no-nonsense female spy and a good opposite to Michael. For the guys she's kind of hot but she is one of those real skinny model types and that doesnt really work for me.

Other people that make appearances that are noteworthy:

Sharon Gless (Cagney and Lacey) plays Michael's mom, who lives in Miami
Tricia Helfer from BSG appears in Season 2 and is a recurring character
Michael Shanks from Stargate SG1 also appears in Season 2 here and there as a recurring character

Other neat things
First off, the show takes place in Miami. So for the guys, like every other scene has hot women walking around with bakinis. Its like a rap video. Seriously. Plenty of eye-candy. And since the show is on location in Miami its not even forced eye-candy, its there because, well, its Miami!

While I initially thought the premise was a bit hoakey (the phrase Burn Notice, and a spy getting let go/released like that) I have come to find out that there IS such a thing. Whether or not its called a Burn Notice is immaterial, but, there was a person who was the equivalent of Michael Westen, and was cut off from his agency for a particualr reason. There was also a real-life Sam and Fiona (Bruce and Gabrielle's characters). So while Im sure the events of the series are completely fabricated, it is loosely based on something that did/has happened.

Mostly though, the show is just a fun to watch and well thought out show. The writers do a good job. The characters are entertaining, and watching all of the spy stuff and tricks as they are revealed in the show are interesting as well --- almost MacGyver like.

So if you have some time, put this on your Netflix list and check it out. Let me know what you think. It wasn't something I tuned into until someone told me to check it out, so I guess I'm doing the same.
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Old March 8th 09, 03:30   #2
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Re: Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll probably be looking for some new TV entertainment after BSG and Friday Night Lights end up, and I trust your taste since you often quote my posts and explain why you agree.

Also, the bikinis... man, 2 paragraphs in I'm thinking "but is there eye candy for me?" Sweet.

Since you say Bruce Campbell, here's my recommended costume for him for an episode or two:

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Old March 8th 09, 07:45   #3
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Re: Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

Funny thing about Bruce in this is that in the first season, he looked downright chubby. Definitely lost some weight for the season. No where near his Army of Darkness days though.
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Old March 9th 09, 03:51   #4
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Re: Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

I have to agree with Recoil, this is a great show. All the characters are believable and enjoyable to watch. Good storylines with a nice overall arch of who burned him and why (where they actually reveal answers unlike some shows) mixed with well written, intelligent, fun and funny side jobs or situations they find themselves in. The relationships between the characters are progressive so when something happens in one episode it has an affect in the others.

So I believe it has everything that makes Babylon 5 so great - aliens... um no wait a sec.... - great writing, great characters with great (mostly unknown) actors and a well defined (not half assed) story arch.
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Old March 9th 09, 03:53   #5
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Re: Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

Plus, they seem to have a fondness for classic cars. Every few episodes they find a way to work one into the show.

They also find a way to work a little Easter Egg into every episode.
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Old March 9th 09, 17:21   #6
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Re: Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

I agree. Caught it on a business trip in the first season, and been watching it since.

What drove me to it was charismatic characters, story of the week format with a underlining A plot, and just plain entertainment.

Oh, was it mentioned there are some really nice hot bodies in it?

Great summary above!
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Old March 9th 09, 18:33   #7
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Re: Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

Watch it too. Got a good over-arching premise, but in the end, the show's just a lot of fun.
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Old March 9th 09, 20:45   #8
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Re: Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazybillyo View Post
Got a good over-arching premise, but in the end, the show's just a lot of fun.
That's probably the best one-sentence summary of the show.

BTW - I thought the Season 2 Finale was AWESOME. Well written and very well acted.
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Old March 10th 09, 18:07   #9
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Re: Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

Indeed. Good setup for next season too. Should be interesting to see how it further develops in the summer.
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Old March 11th 09, 02:53   #10
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Re: Burn Notice: A show you aren't watching but should be.

Someone else recommended this to me today. Looks like this thing might have legs.
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