Summer is in full effect, and—with the new little one in our house—we've been spending a lot of nights in, watching, swaddling, feeding and diapering. We've also been subjected to a lot of crap (read:“Reality”) TV, which is all that the networks seem interested in pumping out for these long hot months. So it's been a pleasant surprise to find USA's new summer series Burn Notice, an hour-long dramedy that's right up our alley. LeeAnn and I have really been enjoying it.
The premise is pretty simple: Michael Westen is a spy who's been “burned” (basically, fired, but... international spies don't just get their walking papers and 2 months severance.) He's cut loose in Miami, being tailed by the FBI, and—perhaps worst of all—has to reconnect with his mother.
It's a really fun show, and has elements that will remind you of more classic spy series. One part Bourne-ian “Man against the machine”, with a dash of MacGyver thrown in—Michael's improvised weaponry and his surveillance-on-a-shoestring budget gimmicks are a real hoot. But the comparison I keep making is that parts of the show are like the very best parts of the Ocean's 11 films.
Westen is capable to the point of being cocky, usually three steps ahead of everyone else, and you get that satisfying 'aha' moment, week after week, where his plan comes together, his tormentors become the tormented and comeuppance is dealt out in spades. Really smart series and Jeffrey Donovan, who plays Westen, is awesome. He emits unflappability—the guy's most disarming weapon is his hundred-watt smile. It's really refreshing to see a character played so loose and easy. (Here are some Spy Tips delivered in-character by Donovan that should give you a good sense of just how much fun he's having with this role.)
Anyway—Burn Notice is highly recommended. If you, too, are tired of the summer-dreck that the Big 3 + Fox are pushing down our throats, may I suggest that you meander over to USA? (Characters welcome.)