Friday, June 4, 2010

TV & Movies: The Return of Burn Notice

Yes, I know, Burn Notice is not really science fiction, but I am a somewhat rabid fan, and since last night was the season premiere, I am going to talk about it, dag-nabbit!

Last season left us with Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) in a super-secret prison, captured by the people who burned him, and totally without resources or allies to hand.  Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and Sam (Bruce Campbell) spent a great deal of time hunting down Michael to no avail, while Michael's mom Madeline (Sharon Gless) was being interrogated by the FBI.  The season's summer premiere manages to pick up the threads pretty much where we left off.

Our first move is to meet a new recurring character, Vaughn (Robert Wisdom), who takes the position as Michael's handler for this season.  Vaughn has tried convince Michael that the folks who burned him, while they are a morally bankrupt band of thugs, are not the really big enemy.  Who is?  Well, the evil villains who sprung Simon of course!  So what is an ex-spy cum vigilante to do?  Why, team up with the backstabbing sociopaths who burned him to get rid of the ruthless sociopaths who are using vicious psychopaths as a route to fortune.

OK, so things seem to be on a pretty even keel, with Michael tilting at windmills in the name of morality to ensure that nobody gets caught in the crossfire, working with people he does not like to accomplish goals for the greater good.  Amazingly, though, when he finally gets to return home, things are... well, pretty much business as usual.  Sam and Fiona have taken on a client, whose situation has gone from bad to horrifyingly terrible in regards to an Outlaw Biker Gang, Maddy is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and Miami seems to have become a far more dangerous place almost overnight!

While this first episode had the feeling of resetting to zero with new characters replacing old favorites, such as Vaughn replacing Tricia Helfer's Carla, there is definitely a ratcheting of the tension going on.  While things were somewhat back to normal in the premiere, the fact that the reality of her son's profession has finally hit home with Maddy, the fact that Fiona finally seems back to normal, and the fact that Sam seems downright somber, show that there is a lot going on that will be explored this season.  In addition, the episode ends with Michael accidentally burning a spy!

Tune in, because this season looks to be an awesome thrill ride!

In other news: what was up with Royal Pains?  I really like this show, but for some reason it was like the director was barely present to make things work.  All of the scenes were horrifyingly over-light, most of the dialog seemed stilted and designed to remind us of what went on last season, and the acting was not up to the standards of this great cast.  It got better as the episode went on, but this was a much touted season premiere, and should be an excuse to use the best of everything to hook folks.