Burn Notice: Season One

Burn Notice: Season One
A solid premise and an excellent leading man are what distinguish Burn Notice from a syndicated private investigator show you might find on a Saturday afternoon. That might seem overly harsh but Burn Notice, which concerns a spy who gets "burned” (i.e., fired), never takes advantage of its cable channel roots, staying strictly PG not just in its violence and language but the general tone of problems that Michael Westen solves to make some cash while trying to track down who’s responsible for his blacklist circumstances: stuck in Miami with no legal ID, job history or cash. The show tries to make the fact that his best friend (Bruce Campbell) is informing to the FBI about him or that his ex-girlfriend (Gabrielle Anwar) has a gun fetish into "edgy” elements but they needn’t bother. In leading man Jeffery Donovan, an actor who’s bounced around various TV gigs for ten years, they’ve found a great blend of sardonically intelligent and action capable, while Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey) continues her welcome return to TV (after a guest turn on Nip/Tuck) as Westen’s mom. The show has a couple of delightful recurring elements: Donovan’s spy knowledge narrations, which come with a hint of smirk; and some old fashioned MacGyver problem solving that prefers its hardware in duct tape, not calibre. The good stuff is enough to keep you watching through the cheap-seeming production values and occasionally rote case-of-the-week writing, but there’s always some hint of frustration that the show seems kind of dated, like Magnum is going to pop in on a crossover episode. The extras are only redeemed by some pretty lively select scene mini-commentaries. Otherwise, crap like "Girls Gone Burn Notice montage” or "action montage” are strictly filler. Plus: audition footage, gag real. (Fox)