Friday, May 1, 2009


I've been looking forward to seeing the USA Network series Burn Notice since I first heard about it. Aside from the fact that it was ostensibly a spy show, it co-starred Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead and Bubba Ho-Tep fame. But, I don't have cable, and had to wait for the series to come out on DVD.

Well, the first season (a paltry eleven episodes!) is now available on digital disc, and I persuaded the wife, on the basis of our shared enthusiasm for Campbell, to let me pick it up. I've only watched four episodes so far (but, I guess that's nearly half of them, isn't it?), and I like it a lot.

Jeffery Donovan plays secret agent Michael Westen who – while in the middle of a sensitive mission in Nigeria – finds himself suddenly cut loose by his employers – "burned." He soon finds himself dumped in Miami with no job, lots of enemies, all of his assets frozen and no idea why he was burned, nor who's responsible. With very few other options, he finds himself taking on odd jobs for people that need help, jobs where he can employ his years of espionage tradecraft and combat training. With the help of trigger-happy former flame (and ex-IRA terrorist) Fiona (played by the always lovely Gabrielle Anwar, who looks particularly hot now that's she's got some maturity on her) and a burnt-out, boozing ex-agent (Campbell), Westen ekes out a living helping the helpless while trying to uncover the person behind having him burned, and why it was done.

It's kind of a hipper, younger take on The Equalizer, but instead of a middle-aged ex-spy and gritty New York locale, you've got a hunky ex-spy and lots of sunbathed Miami vistas.

And girls in bikinis.

The stories are good, but the dialogue – and Westen's voice-overs – really shine. The writing is smart, sarcastic and funny. The action is well-staged, and the stories move along briskly. It's good stuff.

The DVD set is fine. Picture quality is quite nice, considering that the show is shot on 16mm film ( a rarity these days), sound is strong, and there are a few decent bonus features. There are a couple of lame ones, too, but that's the way it goes.

The second season hits DVD in June.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the first series too, but one thing that has always bothered me is the "former IRA terrorist turned hero" cliche - you don't get that sort of thing with the ETA or Taliban (and quite rightfullys so) and I always felt it's some sort of side effect of the romanticized view Americans seem to have of the Irish.
Maybe it's just me, but I always find it hard to root for someone who used to work for a terrorist group (and whose background is often used to make him/her look hard).