Jun 08 2010
Ever since Lost wrapped, I’ve been looking for a new show to review on a weekly basis. Really, the only things on this summer are True Blood, the World Cup and Burn Notice, and Maddy’s got the first one, we don’t do sports, and Burn Notice? Well, it’s not really a show you can review. Why?
I’ve long avoided procedural shows because I think they’re predictable and pretty often boring as shit. For those of you who don’t know the lingo, a procedural is a show that follows a set pattern every week, and each episode is a self-contained little box, with only a hint of a plot that stretches past one episode. Prime examples would be every CSI show and every Law and Order show, where someone commits a crime, a few suspects are rounded up, and it turns out to be one of them. Rinse. Repeat.
These shows are hugely popular, and last forever because they’re so easy to write, but the format is just so damn boring to me. It extends to other shows as well, and it’s the reason I couldn’t get into a show like The X-Files, where the entire first season was “something crazy happens, Mulder thinks it’s aliens, everyone else thinks there’s rational explanation, Mulder is right.”
But Burn Notice was the first show organized like this that I could actually tolerate watching regularly, just because each little escapade Michael got into every week, as a burned spy turned good Samaritan, was so much fun to watch.
However, here we are at the start of the fourth season, and it’s starting to wear a little thin. Again, Michael is now set off on a path to pursue some mysterious figure who has done something bad. He will do this in five minute snippets every week until the finale where there will be a lot of explosions. The rest of the time, he will take on cases for poor souls like he’s doing missions in some kind of bizarro world Grand Theft Auto. He will likely adopt a fake accent, trick some people, and save the day without so much as hurting a fly.
It’s not a bad format, but it’s nothing new either, and I really just wish that Burn Notice would kick into gear and try to spice things up a bit. Leaving Miami would be a great start, and possibly pitting Fiona or Sam against Michael could mix things up even further. I don’t know exactly what the show should do, but it just seems too comfortable with its format, and unwilling to move from its entrenched ways.
Burn Notice is a pretty good show, but it could be a great one if it exerted a little more effort. It just seems like the cast and writers are breezing through it at this point, and if things are just going to be more of exactly the same thing three years later, it’s hard to justify that it’s really worth watching. Then again, what choice do I have during this desert that is summer TV?
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