Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fare Thee Well 'Burn Notice'

The American James Bond

I love James Bond. I remember watching 'From Russia with Love' on my father's BetaMax tapes in the early 80's. Sean Connery was so debonair, so intriguing, so handsome. I was too young to understand what sex appeal was, but Sean Connery was my first crush and the first James Bond I ever loved. Of course I quickly got over my crush when I saw him in 'The Untouchables.' 'The Untouchables' is a great movie, but as a little girl I didn't quite understand the passage of time or that 'From Russia with Love' was filmed in the early 1960s. Whereas I was watching a BetaMax tape in the mid-1980s. I certainly didn't understand why Sean Connery was suddenly bald, greying, and overweight. Needless to say, my crush ended there, but my love of spy films and shows did not.
Sean Connery in 'From Russia with Love' and 'The Untouchables'

Until the 90's, the spy genre was primarily dependent on Bond. The 90's brought the ultra hip Canadian show 'La Femme Nikita.' The early 2000's brought 'Alias' and the 'Bourne' films. Then we got 'Nikita' again, which is a surprisingly fantastic reimagining of the franchise. However, for reasons I cannot explain, 'Nikita' has extremely low ratings. The CW has mercifully given 'Nikita' six episodes to wrap up later this fall.

The spy genre may not be science fiction, but Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) is pretty close to immortal. He's not the 'The Highlander,' but he just won't die. It helps that the show is clever and well written. That's what makes the spy genre enjoyable. They always knows what to do, when to do it, what to say, how to fight, and they have the tinkering skills of MacGuyver. I'm sure it helps that the actor who plays Westen has a background in martial arts.

Coby Bell and Bruce Campbell
Now that 'Burn Notice' is going fare thee well after seven seasons, there will be a serious hole in the spy craft genre. For six seasons, 'Burn Notice' has been one of this scifi fan's favorite "non-scifi" show. And although 'Covert Affairs' is fun and shoots in amazing locations, it's not nearly as good. What I've enjoyed about 'Burn Notice' is its light-hearted, comedic tone, whilst dealing with serious issues. There is a 'Quantum Leap' aspect to the show. 'He awoke to find himself trapped in [Miami], leaping from [job to job] putting things right, that once went wrong and hoping each time, that his next [job] will [lead him back to the Central Intelligence Agency].

Mind you, 'Burn Notice' won't be winning any awards and it will probably look "really" cheesy in 20 years-- a la 'Miami Vice,' but I will miss the Michael Westen step-by-step narration, the merry band of highly trained and deadly Scoobies, scifi cult icon Bruce Campbell, and mama Cagney aka Madeline (Sharon Gless).

It's been a blast--until this season. Like most shows past their prime, 'Burn Notice' has jumped the shark into dark waters. I hate when that happens. I'm always sad to see a show end its run or get cancelled, but sometimes it's a good thing. Admittedly the show could be repetitive, but it's one of the few shows that my husband and I can watch together. It probably didn't help matters that the City of Miami wants to tear down the 'Burn Notice' studio so they could build a park. I'm all for parks, but the studio was already sandwiched between two parks. Alas, you can't fight City Hall. You can read more about that here.
Gabrielle Anwar and Sharon Gless

For those unfamiliar with 'Burn Notice,' Westen is a burned spy who was exposed and outed from the CIA for questionable reasons. He spends the better part of seven seasons obsessed with who burned him and why. That's the main story arch, but the stand alone episodes are what give the show its heart. Westen and his merry band help those who can't help themselves, typically with some sort of criminal element.

'Burn Notice' costars Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless (the Cagney of Cagney and Lacey), and the ever so handsome Coby Bell. 'Burn Notice' will conclude its 7th season on September 12th.

Anywhoo, this scifi fan will certainly miss this non-scifi show.


  1. It's one of my favorite shows and I'll miss it as well. Yes, it was Bruce Campbell who drew me to the show, but I stayed because of great acting and smart writing.

  2. Awh, thats a shame! I havn't even got that far through this series yet. Liking what I have seen so far though!

    +Followed. ;)

  3. I LOVED James Bond. LOVED. Netflix keeps recommending burn notice, but I haven't seen it yet. Perhaps this winter...

  4. This is an awesome show, that will be missed especially for Bruce Campbell Ms. Mariah.

  5. Alex-- I agree. I think we have similar taste. I also loved 'Eureka.'

    Bloggerage-- Thanks. You should definitely watch the series on Netflix. Following you too!

    Libby-- Hi Libby, you should definitely watch it. It's a great show.

    Maurice-- I agree. J'adore Bruce Campbell.

  6. I watched the first season of this on Netflix Instant (plus an episode or two from the next season to resolve the cliffhanger), but I've never sat down to watch any more of it. It's still in my Instant queue.

    I just watched the third season of Covert Affairs. I actually like that a little more than Burn Notice. That's probably a gender things, though. I like looking at Piper Perabo and you like looking at Jeffrey Donovan. :-)

  7. Chip-- I think you may be onto something there with that! There are lots of good looking men on 'Burn Notice.'

  8. I am going to miss it so much. Been watching since day one.


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