Sunday, June 10, 2012

Season 1: The Story Begins

Normally I am not a huge USA network fan.  I skim through it every so often for series in repeat or marathons on episodes I have missed and generally do not care for films that have been censored and neutered to make less offensive.   So in 2007, I heard on the IMDB grapevine that a new show is coming out I do a brief scan and it looks interesting, I watch the first 3 episodes and it becomes captivating so grab your cell phone, your Sig Sauer and prep your lies.  This is Burn Notice Season 1.

The review you are about to read may contain spoilers and above all else is "need to know" information that is classified…(okay I was having fun that last bit).

Series creator and head writer Matt Nix (Burn Notice and The Good Guys) devised a complex series of episodes outlining a spy’s life of point and counterpoint.  Who are enemies and who allies are and lastly who blurs in between those lines.  To cap off this series is one Michael Westen (Jeffery Donovan of Touching Evil, Hitch and The Pretender) who narrates throughout the chapter.  At first I feel like it was unnecessary and just let the show unfold as it is but after a few episodes I got the feeling that the narration is integral to the action and scenes.  While conducting a little hush money transaction to a ruthless warlord in order to smooth diplomacy to warring nations, Westen’s alias has be compromised and is cut loose from any back up.  The warlord’s men proceed to beat him and he comes up with a decent lie to formulate a plan of escape. 

 Making his way to the agency plane he passes out and wakes up in a cheap hotel in Miami where he is greeted awake (by a light boot in the bruised ribs) by former girlfriend and IRA terrorist Fiona Glenn Anne (Gabrielle Anwar of Scent of a Woman, The Three Musketeers, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead)   Given all his assets and money are frozen he has to seek operating funds elsewhere and speaks to former SEAL and friend Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Spiderman)   Michael has to figure out who set him up and who he can turn to for help.   Family is always a good choice unless you are a Westen.  Mother, Madeline Westen  (Sharon Gless of Cagney and Lacey) could teach the KGB a thing or two about manipulation but she has a good heart and should have blacken lungs from how often she chain smokes.

This show feels like an action movie.  The fight choreography is a very similar approach to the Bourne Trilogy.  Very fluid motion and it does not feel staged.   Car chases have such precision; it is mind boggling.  The gun fights are intense.   Which each new scene you get the sensation that this conspiracy against one capable man is very elaborate and a far bigger puzzle than Michael has put together thus far and it is only going to get worse before it gets better for him.   As for the viewer, if you appreciate a well rounded cast, good writing and impressive story telling then give this show more than the once over.  You just might be pleasantly surprised.