It's not just Sam that keeps me coming back for more from this show, or the tense but compelling subtext between Fiona and Michael's "is it love?" relationship. By and large, Burn Notice is smart TV. It shows me scenes I haven't seen before on other shows or on the big screen. More on the specifics after the jump, so if you don't want to know because you haven't watched yet, be warned.
(S03E01) You knew from last season's finale that Michael taking the plunge into the Atlantic from a helicopter, thus turning down an offer to work with Management in some organized ops position, he was taking a big chance. The leap was a metaphor and the danger for Michael Westen was about to increase exponentially.
Well, in this opening episode, it's clear that creator Matt Nix has upped the volume for Burn Notice. In Spinal Tap terms, we're at eleven, and that's more than ten. For Michael, a five-mile ocean swim in suit pants was just the kind of discomfort trained operatives have to learn to endure. When he landed on Miami Beach, one of the busy, bikini-clad girls and kids making sand castle types, he was all in. But no rest for the weary. In short order, Michael was on the run and in a world of trouble.
Burn Notice is the only Miami set TV show that actually is filmed in Miami. CSI: Miami and Dexter, for example, fake it with Los Angeles locations. When you see South Beach on Burn Notice, you're seeing the real thing, same with Coral Gables, Boca Raton and every other recognizable SoFla locale. So it's become an important element in the show.
In Miami, Nigel and Mary were joined by Tice DiOrio while it was Lil' C that offered wisdom in Memphis. The show kept moving at a nice clip, quickly burning through two hours. In fact, it wasn't until my recording stopped that I realized the show had gone over. And it's not even a live show!
Michael Westen with money troubles? Boy, now you really know how bad the economy is when a burned super spy has to dig up a job to keep himself in Armani suits. Actually, I thought it was a refreshing change of pace that Michael actively pursued an assignment rather than just wait for somebody to come along -- to Sam or Madeline or Fiona -- who needs help that seemingly only Michael can provide.
What was weird is that for much of the episode, the case was much less important than the subtext between Fiona and Michael. This is an interesting development and so different from other classic TV pairings. Watching Fiona and Michael you don't wonder if they'll ever do it, because they've done it. No, you wonder what the heck does it mean and how do they deal with the emotions stirred up by Fiona's near death and Michael's reaction to possibly losing her?
(S02E11) "The one who burned you is closer than you think." -- Fiona
A year ago, the idea of anybody doing anything for a pair of 50-yard line tickets to watch the Miami Dolphins play football would have been a joke. Fortunately for Burn Notice, the Fins won the AFC East and are relevant again. Therefore, Sam's Good Samaritan act -- which got a major boost when Fiona got involved -- had a decent payoff, beyond the idea of them doing something nice for a friend.
Were you thinking Men in Black when you saw Fiona, Sam and Michael in their uniform black suits complete with sunglasses and heavy weaponry? They really do find a way to make the three of them seem like a much more formidable force. Even more than the old Mission: Impossible team, Michael, Fiona and Sam are like the IMF trio deluxe, with each of them more than able to handle adversity. More on that adversity after the jump.
Well, if you think Michael was ticked off about being burned, you should take his temperature after there's an attempt on his life. This episode, which picked up right after a bomb went off in Michael's loft doorway, had a little bit of everything that makes Burn Notice one of the best shows on TV. In short, it was great to have it back on the schedule. And yes, there was little doubt that Michael would survive the blast. It's good to see the Charger and the loft did, too.
Michael has a lot of reasons to be bent out of shape. Carla's still yanking him around and now she's involved his family by having Nate arrested. In one of the few times I can remember on the show, he really lost his cool when he screamed at her, "I want my brother out of jail. I want my life back!" Carla got the message.
That's just one of the many celeb ways you can toast to 2009. You could also party with Lindsay Lohan at Mansion night club in Miami for $200. Her
You could also ring in 2009 at my house. You won't have to spend the above amounts, though I might ask you to pitch in for some bags of Doritos (Nacho Cheese flavor). I'll have Dick Clark, Anderson Cooper, and Kathy Griffin at my house.* Happy New Year!
Giveaways are one way to drive awareness -- and sample the product -- but another is with a print ad campaign. Recently, Gossip Girl came up with a savvy set of posters and advertisements to call attention to the naughtiness of the show.
Now comes a new, original campaign for Showtime's Dexter in which the Michael C. Hall's character is imagined on the cover of magazines. Dexter on Esquire, The New Yorker, GQ, Wired; high-profile magazines that have a distinctive look, reconfigured for serial killer hiding in plain sight, Dexter Morgan. The ads look amazing and will be seen in all variety of magazines and plastered up as posters all over the place.
Luckily none of those things are a problem in the first Burn Notice tie-in novel, The Fix. It's written by Tod Goldberg, author the the novels Fake Liar Cheat, Living Dead Girl, and the short story collection Simplify, and it's his first journey into the world of TV show tie-ins. It's quite good. Fans will be pleased and it works as a separate little adventure as well.
Nobody's handed anything to Jeffrey Donovan. He's been at it for a while, doing notable turns in CSI: Miami and Monk, playing recurring characters in The Pretender and Touching Evil, and practically stealing Hitch from Kevin James and Will Smith by playing a nasty S.O.B.
Like his alter ego, Jeffrey Donovan is a very cool customer. He never lets you see him sweat, even when he's got ever right to in the glare of the spotlight, the heat of the Miami sun, and the hardball questions of the media roundtable he was facing. Okay, we weren't all throwing hardballs, but as this Q&A shows, Jeffrey D. can handle himself in any and all situations.
Just in time for tonight's second season premiere of Burn Notice comes this little piece of news from the studios at NBC.
Two guys on the staff of Late Night with Conan O'Brien are so ticked off at the ads for the USA show (USA is part of the NBC Universal family) that appear in the building that they decided to deface them. The insults range from dialogue bubbles that say "It 'Burns' when I pee" and "Thanks for the 'Notice' " to this entry on the Late Night blog where the staffers complain about the ads and explain their actions. It is kinda funny how many of these ads NBC puts in their own building.
Of course, the blog entry isn't all bad and acts as a nudge-nudge wink-wink push for the show. Despite the graffiti, the Late Night guys do say that the show is "awesome," "smart," and "funny," and they even want to make sure you watch the show tonight. (And I'd like to repeat that too - watch Burn Notice tonight at 10 on USA!)
Just to recap, Top Chef has already spent seasons in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. They've also had special episodes and finales in Napa Valley, Las Vegas, Hawaii and Aspen and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Traveling to interesting and even exotic locales is part of the fun, giving the contestants a chance to incorporate the regional foods and the style of that part of the world.
Okay, if the suspense is getting to you -- I know it is -- go to the jump and see where season five of Top Chef is going to be...
I discovered that as brilliant as she is a performer, Sharon Gless is also a class act with the media. She talked about another Cagney & Lacey, Tyne Daly, acting, playing villains, Kim Cattrall and much more. Read on and you'll see -- as I did -- why you'd gush to if you were face-to-face with Sharon Gless.