As I write this there is only one final episode left of one the greatest TV series ever! Yes, I said it and I stand by it. USA Network’s Burn Notice had it all — great storytelling, fantastic acting, mind-blowing action, and even bro & romance.
When it debuted on June 28, 2007, I checked it out because of lead actor Jeffery Donovan. I had seen him in a short-lived series on USA called Touching Evil and there was just something about him. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. I knew he had the “it” that is always talked about in Hollywood. Well, it wasn’t only about five minutes into the pilot of Burn Notice when I knew this show was something special and I’ve been hooked every since.
You have to give props to creator Matt Nix for coming up with this clever twist on the spy genre and it was so different from all the cop & crime investigation shows that were on other networks. In fact, I think it was a departure from any of the shows on USA Network at the time. I don’t think USA would have gone on to greenlight White Collar, Covert Affairs or even the god-awful Graceland if Burn Notice hadn’t paved the way.
Matt Nix and the writers of this show have taken us on an incredible journey. The strong stories and relationships just made the audience embrace Michael & Co and live every adventure with them. Of course it helps that all of the actors on the show are stellar! It’s a travesty that none of them have won Emmy’s for their work over the years, although, those academy people did give a nod to Sharon Gless with a nomination one year.
Anyway, Jeffery Donovan just has so much charisma and conviction as Michael Westen. It’s been great watching him struggle with his demons over the years and this last season has been particularly incredible. I also just love Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona Glenanne. The chemistry between her and Michael is palpable. I keep thinking of that sexy fight scene where they end up kissing! My favorite thing about her is how tough she is, but she also has the biggest heart. Yes, we have seen women that can and do kick-ass on TV before. I mean Jennifer Garner in Alias – wow! But Fiona took it one step farther and that combined with her relationship with Michael was just off the charts.
The other thing that Burn Notice does very well is humor. I found myself laughing harder at some of the one-liners and quips on this show than I ever had at any of the so-called “comedies” on broadcast television. Many of these zingers where delivered so cleverly by the incomparable Bruce Campbell, who plays the booze-loving former Navy Seal, Sam Axe. Bruce is well-known to the Sci-fi/horrors fans out there, but I knew him as the star of two TV show that I really liked when I was younger– “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” & “Jack Of All Trades.” However his role as Sam Axe is my favorite to date. He just knows how to find the funny in even the darkest situations. Kudos to all for just letting Bruce do what he’s good at. Although, I’m not saying that he can’t do the heavy drama scenes just as well as the fun ones.
Sharon Gless also brings humor to the show, but again she is also outstanding at the deep-felt emotions especially dealing with the ongoing plotline of domestic violence from an abusive husband. (OMG, the scene between her & Michael after Nate’s death, I tear up just thinking about it.) I’ve enjoyed it when the writers brought her character Maddie into some of the scenarios that Michael & Co found themselves in over the years. Lastly, but certainly not the least, is Coby Bell as Jesse Porter. When he first came into the show in the “Friend & Enemies” episode during the fourth season, I just thought it would be for a multi-arc storyline and that would be it. I’m so glad the writers had something more permanent in mind! It’s a testament to Coby that he was able to come into the series and fit right in with the team. Sometimes these types of characters never manage to really gel with the audience, but I for one love Jesse. I especially love the bromance that he has going with Sam. The two of them crack me up with their antics.
As I write this, I know it’s very unlikely it’s going to happen, but if the executives at USA Network had any sense at all they would do a Burn Notice spin-off featuring Sam & Jesse. I’ve read that Matt Nix would love to do it, as would Bruce & Coby. I think it would be a shame to let the magic that is Burn Notice completely die. At the very least, I think USA should do another Burn movie like they did with The Fall of Sam Axe and this one could be about Sam & Jesse perhaps called Burn Notice: After Burn or Burn Notice: Re-Ignited!
Anyway, the other reason this show has been so amazing over the years is due to the spectacular guest stars and recurring characters introduced. My favorite recurring characters were Barry (Paul Tei) and Seth Peterson as Michael’s brother Nate. There were also so many wonderful guest stars that I can’t include them all, but a few who were memorable to me are as follows: Jere Burns, Alona Tal, Tim Matheson, Grant Show and of course Tyne Daly teaming back up with her Cagney & Lacey partner. The nod to my inner Sci-fi geek also didn’t go unnoticed with incredible turns by Tricia Helfer, Lucy Lawless, Jack Coleman, Adrian Pasdar, Garret Dillahunt, John Pyper-Ferguson, and the brilliant Michael Shanks.
I think the other people that deserve big props for the overall greatness of Burn Notice is the stunt crew. Over the years the stunts performed on this show have put many big budget action movies to shame. I’m a girl that likes to see things blow-up and I love a good hand-to-hand fight scene. Every week this show “brought it” in that department. I can’t think of another show on TV that has done a better job with this type of action week after week. Maybe 24, but even then I don’t think they did it in every episode like Burn Notice.
Burn Notice has been an amazing adventure over the years. I do understand that all good things must come to an end, so I’m grateful to the powers that be at USA that they gave us one final season and didn’t leave us hanging wondering about the future. I can prepare myself to say good-bye if I know it’s the end. Some of my other favorite shows that also got a proper send off are The Closer, Fringe, 24, and even to some extent Leverage. Nothing pisses me off more than a show that is loved being given the boot without a chance to tie-up some of the loose ends. However, such is the life of a TV fan.
So final thank yous to USA Network for giving us this chance to say a proper so long and for this series in the first place also to Matt Nix, the writers, and all of the crew for making such an incredible show every week, and finally to the actors for bringing these characters to life. We wouldn’t love them and miss them so much without you!
I sincerely hope this is not entirely the end hint-hint “movie” or “spin-off” but if it is than I can’t be sorry! I will always remember this show fondly and it has set the bar very high for any other action-adventure series that might come after it.
Thank you all so much and I will be watching the finale tonight with a box of tissues right next to me!