Burn Notice: 13 Reasons Why It’s One Of The Best Shows On Television
Burn Notice is back! One of the best shows on television returns to the USA Network Jan. 21 at 10pm.
Burn Notice was created by Matt Nix and it premiered June 28, 2007. The show revolves around burned spy Michael Westen. As Michael tries to figure out why and who “burned him” he and his friends help those who have fallen prey to big-time criminals.
The show is set in Miami and features a lot of elements from other action-dramas like the A-Team, The Equalizer, and MacGvyer. This slick, intelligent, and witty show is one of the highest rated programs on the USA Network and it has attracted a large and ardent following.
Below are 13 reasons why Burn Notice is one of the best shows on television…
Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen
Jeffrey Donovan is superb as super spy Michael Westen. Donovan not only pulls off the James Bond stuff (like acting suave, debonair, and composed), but he also pulls off the action. Michael is often forced to go undercover as some pretty unsavory characters (whining, unctuous, and dim witted). No worries though, Donovan can go from cool spy to creepy guy with ease.
Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona Glenanne
Gabrielle Anwar is both extremely sexy and extremely beautiful portraying the Irish gun-runner Fiona Glenanne. While Anwar oozes sex appeal, she’s never anything but dignified and elegant (in other words she never acts like a slut). Sure her Irish accent comes and goes, but Anwar does everything else so well you can forgive her. Land of Punt also enjoy Fiona’ s natural instinct to use explosives to solve all her problems.
Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe
It had to be hard for Bruce Campbell to make the transition from cult-hero to television star. We’re certainly glad he took the challenge because Campbell’s Sam Axe is the glue that holds the show together. He’s Burn Notice’s comic relief as well as Michael’s right-hand man. The fact that he always has a beer in his hand and a rich divorcee waiting for his company only makes him more adorable. By the way, Sam is ex-CIA .
Sharon Gless as Madeline Westen
Sharon Gless plays Michael’s mother Madeline Westen. While Michael can foil spies, assassins, drug smugglers, and gangsters he can’t fool his mother. Sometimes she’s helping him with a case. Other times she’s trying to hook him up with Fi. But most of the time she’s just making him feel guilty for not calling. Despite being a blue hair suburbanite, Madeline has a lot of the same characteristics as her son. She’s probably the most complex character on the show and a unique addition to the spy genre.
Just as much a part of Burn Notice as the characters is the show’s setting, Miami. And it’s not just because it’s fodder for a plethora of great establishing shots. Florida’s biggest city is an integral part of the show providing backdrops for the stories with it’s robust nightlife or its unique neighborhoods like Little Havana. Oh yes, and there’s plenty of tasteful, yet delightful, shots of bathing beauties.
The show uses ample voice-overs from Michael. This dramatic tool is used to either explain the ways of the spy or explain some jerry-rigged device he and his friends conjured up. Voice-overs can be problematic (and annoying) but Burn Notice uses them to move the show along not bog it down.
Every week Michael, Fiona, and Sam build something that governments of the world normally spend millions of dollars to acquire. One week they use phone books to bullet proof a car and the next they use a common cell phone to bug a drug dealer’s office. Is it farfetched? A little, but the show is so well done, and the characters so much fun, you’re happy to suspend your disbelief.
The bad guys in Burn Notice are quite evil even if a little sanitized for basic cable. The show’s producers employ some of the best characters actors around to play some of the worst criminals in Miami. Fortunately, Westen always makes sure they get what’s coming to them in the end and he does so without killing. That is left to the viewers’ imgainations.
Every week Michael, with the help of Sam and Fiona, helps someone get out of trouble and seldom do they ever charge a fee. These victims are never too maudlin or too innocent. Better yet, there’s never any orphans facing eviction or nuns in the crosshairs of an assassin’s gun. Michael helps decent-enough people that are usually highly flawed and/or criminals themselves. It’s very easy to root for the victims in Burn Notice.
A sign of any great show is great ancillary characters. Burn Notice has a slew of them. Nate Westen, Michael’s ne’er -do-well brother; Barry, the laid back money launderer (pictured, right); Seymour, the goofy arms dealer (pictured, right); and Brennen, a black market trader. Most of these recurring characters assist Michael in his charity work but others, like Brennen, are more foe than friend.
It’s a cheap plot device but Burn Notice uses it so often that it’s part of the show. Whenever Michael needs a particular item, or a piece of information, that is beyond the capabilities of him and his friends (or the time constraints of the show), Sam has a buddy that can help. Whether it’s a boat, an ambulance or vital intell, Sam’s buddies always come through.
Madeline’s Chain Smoking
Smoking is now as vilified as the criminals on Burn Notice. That’s why it’s so great to see Madeline chain smoking. She’s as comfortable with a cigarette as Michael is with a gun. Mad Men isn’t the only show on cable that allows smoking.
Michael’s ride may not have oil slicks, missiles, and an ejector seat, but it’s just as cool as any Bond car. Every time something happens to it, and something always does, LOP cringes. Don’t hurt the car! Thankfully, Michael always finds a way to repair it before the next episode. Land of Punt thinks it’s a ’71 Charger RT. Don’t quote us on that, we’re not car people.