Burn Notice kicks off its sixth season tomorrow night. How is Michael Westen holding up? SPOILER ALERT!
While Burn Notice is still a juicy piece of entertainment (one wonders how expensive all these explosions and shootouts must be!), in terms of its mythology and storytelling, the sixth season premiere leaves something to be desired. A few things, actually.
First, the good news: Jeffrey Donovan is on target in his portrayal of Michael as a man who has almost nothing left to lose and is on his last nerve. Michael is snappish, paranoid and irrational - it's rare to see a show's protagonist come really off his or her hinges, and that happens here. I still wonder why Donovan hasn't gotten more recognition for his acting in this role, rather than just his action chops.
And even in the sixth season this show still feels human, rather than superhuman. I'm still learning things from Michael's various voiceovers, and wondering how he'll MacGyver his way out of the next situation. He doesn't have all the answers or a big room full of gadgets, and that's part of what keeps him relatable and Burn Notice watchable.
Unfortunately - and perhaps I'm spoiled by the stellar Suits premiere, which I screened before this episode - the Burn Notice opener didn't really move or surprise me. It goes to some places you've seen before (how many times can the show put one of Michael's loved ones in mortal danger?) and others that strain plausibility, such as Fiona being told something during her interrogation by Jason Bly (returning guest star Alex Carter) that she should have been able to figure out fairly quickly.
The biggest issue with the premiere is that, unlike the Suits debut, it feels more like it's resolving the end of season five than moving forward into season six - and I'm not sure how much it really wraps up. By episode's end, I thought, "So we're still going to be going with that, huh?" rather than "I want to see where this goes next." It made me reiterate a point I made throughout the end of last season: the show has stretched its mythology about Michael, The Organization and his burn notice about as far as it can go, and it's in the series' best interest to wrap it up. Burn Notice can still be a viable show without it, but the continual ends-that-aren't-quite are getting tiresome.
Six years is a long time in television today, when most shows are blessed if they get past a second season. This is usually the time when veteran series start to slow down, and Burn Notice is starting to show its age. After how well it revamped itself just two seasons ago, however, I'm not giving up on Michael Westen and Co. at all. I'm just hoping they get their groove back.
Burn Notice premieres tomorrow at 9 PM ET/PT on USA.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.