Canasian & Friends v2.0

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Stuff you should watch: Burn Notice (USA)

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Feel the Burn...

Update: Season Two and the entire First season has been put online for your very own viewing pleasure. Check it out here.

I really didn’t pay it much heed last summer when it premiered, but it’s like an iPod; one of those things that nags at you until you finally jump in with the rest of the crowd, but when you’re in, it’s awesome. That’s how USA’s summer series Burn Notice rolls.

The Setup: I call it the every man’s Bond. The show follows Michael Westen (a swaggering Jeffrey Donovan), a disavowed spy (read: ‘Burned’) who has been dumped in his home town of Miami. He’s joined by his feisty IRA guerrilla ex-girlfriend Fiona (pretty Gabrielle Anwar, from some contact lens commercials) and an drunkard FBI buddy Sam, played by none other than the legendary Bruce Campbell (in every Sam Raimi movie ever made).

Bruce vs. The Ruben. Epic story arc, just epic.

The Good: One of the great and unique elements driving the show is a noir-ish narration given by Westen, which illustrates why spies do the things that they do, like how to best shoot a person who is standing behind a metal door, or how to make an inexpensive sticky bomb. It gives the viewer an inside edge on how much thought spies actually put into their craft and it’s truly compelling.

Argh. Stupid Human Torch.
Oh honey, you hit the Human Torch.’

The whole show is a good mix of spy coolness, quasi-intricate plots, and fun characters. Fiona, is crazy. She’ll blow up anything that Michael will ask her to (which occasionally happens) and Sam is constantly looking for a new sugar momma to buy him a Cadillac. They bicker and they fight, and it all ends up being funny. I guess that’s what I can really relate to seeing as that’s all I ever do everyday anyway. Oh yeah, and I blow stuff up too <shaking head>. In the end, the characters have integrity, and are loyal to one another like you wouldn’t expect. It’s a welcome change of pace in the quadruple-triple cross world of Pirates of the Caribbean lore.

It’s well acted and well paced and beautifully produced, and the premise offers enough flexibility that they really could do any type of story that they want. All that equals, more fun for us.

The Bad: As fun and faithful as the characters are, you really never get to see beyond Michael. Perhaps that’s the intention of the show, but it would be cool to be able to get more insight on why Fiona is as crazy as she is and why she likes Michael so much or what on earth Michael’s brother spends his time doing.

The Skinny: All in all, a very enjoyable ride. In the midst of combating Cuban extortionist gangs, senior citizen scammers, Lebanese intelligence officers, Haitian heroin smugglers and his own Handlers, Michael Westen, who used to be a spy, and his crew save the day, having fun every single week.


Watch it now: Here are some episodes that USA has so kindly put online so that you can get started. There’s three eps after the jump.


Written by canasian

January 11, 2008 at 3:19 pm

One Response

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  1. So here’s the deal: if you mean “everyman’s Bond” like even the no-child-left-behind-retards and people who don’t watch MTV because it’s “too fast and confusing,” and not because the programming requires a social lobotomy to relate, then you’re correct. If you’re new to the whole fiction genre of entertainment and storytelling, you might not see everything that’s coming like a bad Monk episode. Maybe you’ll be lulled in by it’s network omnipresence at certain hours, but that would be lie giving in to the temptation to smoke from anti-weed commercials. I found it initially interesting, and despite the trailers, it was because Bruce Campbell is a camp-classic god, and because I grew up on Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken and Scent of a Woman instead of Bo Derek posters. Gabrielle Anwar is sublime to look at. She should drop the inconsistent accent. They should hire a cool new writer who didn’t used to write comic strips. All due love to those who get caught up in these kind of shows (I’m friends with Gregory Scott Kelsch, self-described TV Slut), this show was fun to watch Fiona, good to see they all got jobs, and depressing that people watch it.


    February 14, 2008 at 5:56 pm

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