Thursday, July 24, 2008

Burnin' down the house

So it's been a shamefully long-ass time since I bothered to blog anything. I'm here to rectify that indignity thanks to getting a fire lit under my butt by the good people at, who have chosen me to write the occasional TV and movie review for them. Unless they scold me and say otherwise, I'll post here as well (I might just post the link whenever they actually publish me). My first assignment from them is to throw down weekly recaps of USA's Burn Notice, so here for your pleasure is the first of many new writings from an exciting new venture!

Burn Notice Season 2 Ep3 “Trust Me”

There are plenty of reasons to watch USA’s sophomore season summer hit Burn Notice. My personal fave? Bruce Campbell. Yes, the god of B-Movie fandom, star of the hallowed Evil Dead trilogy and maker of delightful cameos in the Spider Man trilogy, has returned to the role of wisecracking TV sidekick that he played so well on Hercules and Xena. But Bruce’s delightfully hammy antics are more of a side dish at this luau. Burn Notice is the story of Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) a spy who, having crossed the wrong people, gets “burned”. In the words of the show’s intro, “When you're burned, you've got nothing - no cash, no credit, no job history. You're stuck in whatever city they decide to dump you in.” For Mike, that city is Miami-- home to partners Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and Sam (Cambell!), his femme fatale ex and a slacker buddy who’s often harboring his own intentions. Also in the mix is Maddy (Sharon Gless), Mike’s hyper-neurotic meddling control freak of a mom who frets over his every move and chain smokes enough to make the cast of Mad Men blush. The show works around the central concept of Mike’s quest to discover who burned him. However, the hunt quite often takes a back seat to his adventures in low end mercenary & PI work. It’s essentially The A-Team meets Alias, but the season 2 cast addition of Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer as Carla, an operative for Michael’s burn-ees, promises to hopefully take things a bit deeper.
This week, things get very Matchstick Men with Mike playing two unrelated but equally delightful shell games: a charity case helping an acquaintance recoup losses from a nightclub financing scam, and a personal errand practicing some friendly extortion on a Pakistani spy (Entourage’s Assaf Cohen) for intel on Carla’s past. The club scam gives Donovan a fun chance to flex his acting chops as he takes on the role of a spoiled oil heir, and the show’s oft-used technique of giving helpful espionage tips via voiceover provide some delightful insights on the art of double crossing a con man. The Pakistani errand provides a lighthearted chance for Mike to make a new friend in Miami cloak and dagger circles, and I personally hope to see Cohen show up as an ally in future episodes. Per the show’s usual, Maddy is given a cloying “C” plot, an attempt to discern why Mike & Fiona broke up. It’s all slightly formulaic, but like so much other summer entertainment, it’s also quite snappy and satisfying. In short, Burn Notice remains an enjoyably harmless summer treat with enough explosions and babes to keep half the population happy, and enough romantic tension and family drama to satisfy the fairer sex. Check it out.

Episode: B-
Show: B

This article first appeared on Poptimal and can be found at The article was reprinted with permission.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Excellent review! Very clever turns of phrase! :-) I went to their website and they appear to still be looking for writing talent... Wish me luck!