‘Burn Notice’ Premiere: The Spy Who Used to Love Me

ALTI have a confession to make. Actually two. OK, three. I have three confessions to make. 1. I haven’t watched USA’s summer spy drama Burn Notice in about three seasons. 2. I fell asleep while watching the season six premiere last night and had to watch the end of it this morning. 3. I find Jeffrey Donovan unbelievably attractive.

Now that you know all that, you know where I’m approaching this show from. Originally about CIA operative Michael Westen who gets “burned” and isn’t allowed to leave Miami for suspicious reasons he hopes to untangle, Burn Notice started out as a fun and flirty show. It was about Michael trying to deal with his kooky mother, sarcastic partner, and crazy ex-girlfriend while readjusting to life outside the CIA and using his Bond-like skills to solve little mysteries every week for people around town. It was cute. It was a bunch of easily digestible episodes with a theme running through them. It was the perfect show for summer, where you could miss an episode or two or doze off in the middle and it didn’t really matter.

Tuning in after six season, things have gotten considerably more complicated. Michael’s girlfriend Fiona turned herself in after being framed for blowing up the British consolate and Michael was forced to work by some guy named Anson whose chief crime seems to be wearing a rather unfortuate mustache. There’s also a bald CIA (FBI?) agent named Jesse who is running around saving Michael’s mom (Sharon Gless, who is always holding a cigarette and never taking a drag) and a lady fed who is wearing Kohl’s worst pantsuit.

There was no cute little case this week, no fun kvetching between Michael and his silly partner Sam, there was lots of running and standoffs and explosions. I do like explosions, but the rest seemed so upset. It’s like when your stoner friend finally gets upset about something and you kind of freak out because you don’t like all his nervous energy and he doesn’t quite know how to channel it. Oh, and there’s the voice over. Originally it was so Michael could explain his nifty spy tactics, now it’s just an annoying incursion to move the plot along.

Yes, Burn Notice is still an enjoyable hour, but it’s not what it used to be. It’s a show that’s gotten bogged down in its own mythology at the expense of the lightness that used to be what attracted so many people to it. Good thing Jeffrey Donovan is still so damn hot.

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan


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