Matheson was a one-note Rock look-alike, without Dwayne Johnson's charm. Mostly Matheson was a scumbag who deserved to be brought down.
Tommy, on the other hand, wasn't really a nasty moke. He was broadly hammed up by former NYPD Blue star Nick Turturro, and turned out to be Michael's way into Matheson's organization.
(S03E03) It seems as though everyone wants to be Michael's boss. Everyone but the CIA or the NSA or some other international spy agency, including whatever organization burned him in the first place. But characters like Carla last season or the rogue Management group at the start of this season, as well as Brennen, tonight's guest handler, they're all for Michael.
Seth Peterson was back as Nate, Michael's brother with a propensity for great-rich-quick schemes and getting into trouble. This time, though, he was a pawn in Brennen's game to get Michael to do his bidding.
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.
When I say that the Burn Notice finale last night made quite a splash, I'm not talking about the ratings. I'm talking about the show. Creator Matt Nix, who penned the Burn Notice Season Two finale, really knows how to write a cliffhanger. Actually, it's a cliffhanger with a hook, because in some ways we actually went over the cliff with Michael Westen. More on those specifics -- and spoilers if you haven't seen the show yet -- after the jump.
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?
How can we enter a new year without celebrating the last year's best and worst TV? Not a lot of the new shows were impressive, but I've been entertained for the last year, so I can't complain.
In making out my lists, I realized I must be a half-full type of gal, because even my worsts aren't that bad, and I had a heck of a time coming up with them.
So, here are my lovin'-life, lovin'-TV best and worst lists for 2008:
Best new show -- Leverage
Man, I love everything about this show -- the chemistry between the characters, the quotable quotes, the clever jobs, the flashbacks. It's the most entertaining hour on television right now. Thank you, TNT!
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.
Newark Star-Ledger columnist Alan Sepinwall (with Dan Feinberg) did an interview with David recently and found out some more information about the spinoff.
"We brought in a character, partway through the year, [actor] Michael Weston as this private investigator House goes to. The spinoff would be less of a spinoff, it would be more us using House to launch it. It would be an independent world. A character out of the House mold, but definitely different."
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.
When the new USA series Burn Notice debuts this Thursday at 10:00 p.m., it will air without commercials. The first episode will be presented in its entirety by DIRECTV, so while you won't be seeing any ads, expected to hear a few allusions to the digital satellite TV service during the first couple episodes.
Burn Notice stars Jeffrey Donovan as a CIA spook who is given his "burn notice," (meaning: he no longer works for the CIA) and uses his skills to help out people in need. The series also stars Bruce Campbell, Gabrielle Anwar and Sharon Gless.
After the premiere of Burn Notice, Donovan's character Michael Westen will appear to thank everyone for watching. In this segment, Westen will be seen de-activating a tracking bug he found in his apartment, and then tossing it into a frying pan.
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