USA’s popular spy series, Burn Notice, is returning this week [Thursday, 10/9C] and we had the opportunity to chat with Bruce Campbell [crusty, semi-retired spy Sam Axe] on what to expect in Season Three. Campbell didn’t dip into any classified intel, but it was definitely a fun interview…
Burn Notice’s first season concluded with former spy Michael Weston trapped inside the cargo trailer of an eighteen wheeler. When season two begins tomorrow [Thursday, USA, 10/9C], the little exercise in claustrophobia results in Weston [Jeffrey Donovan] being given an assignment – over the phone – by the mysterious Carla [Tricia Helfer] before the trailer is opened onto a scene of carnage. Spies. Whatcha gonna do?
Breaking and Entering, the second season premiere, deals with stealing information from a civilian military [mercenary] company. If it’s not done by a certain time, it will result in the death of the wife and child of the man who set up the firm’s security. The carnage that greets Michael when he clambers out of the trailer is what remains of the computer expert, Richie’s effort to flee. Plus, there’s always Michael’s manipulative mom [Sharon Gless], fellow ex-spy and buddy, Jack [Bruce Campbell] and ex-girlfriend/former IRA demolitions expert, Fiona [Gabrielle Anwar] to help and/or hinder. Topping that, Carla is one of the people who had Michael burned in the first place!
The follow-up ep, Turn and Burn, finds Michael helping a young woman with a stalker problem – by the number two man of the local drug kingpin! Even worse, he gets manipulated into attending a “counselling session” with his mom. [Oh, the humanity!] And these are just the side gigs! His assignment from Carla is to get a computer key card copied – and that requires a special kind of expert…
Burn Notice was probably the best series of last summer, in terms of pure entertainment value. It certainly filled the requirements of the USA “characters wanted” brand – though Michael is the most normal of the characters [it’s his mom and Jack who are the real characters!]. If anything, it seems that the series has gotten smarter, funnier and maybe even a bit edgier this season.
The first two scripts are killer and the ensemble certainly makes the most of that. Each ep is paced just quickly enough to maintain interest without trying to do too much too quickly [a real potential problem here]. Donovan has really done a nice job of keeping the balance between nice and twisted in Michael’s character. He gives the show its calm center in the eye of the hurricane that is his mom, Jack, and Fiona [though Fiona seems to have calmed down a bit from last season – let’s see how long that lasts]. Tricia Helfer nicely underplays Carla’s menace, thereby seeming even more dangerous, and she definitely adds a bit of spice to Michael’s life – which makes it even harder for Michael to find out who she really is – and who she works for.
If you liked Burn Notice last season, you’re going to love it this year.
Final Grade: A
Considering it was a one day junket with a nice dinner, I learned a lot during my weekend visit to the Miami Set of USA Network’s hit new show – Burn Notice. This trip came out of my own pocket so don’t worry about me being bought off. Although I am for sale and still dreaming of my first paid studio trip. First and foremost interviewing 10 people in one day could have been a chore, but we made an agreement amongst ourselves that each one of us editors (A shout out goes to IGN, Ramblings of a TV Whore, The TV Addict, TV Squad, and Fan Bolt) would do one transcript each. So for a change, it won’t take a month for you all to get full QAs from everyone. Another thing is, we got so much information and we’re going to have so many photos, that I think we’ll be launching a brand new special section devoted to Burn Notice. It’s a great show that deserves some love. In the meantime here’s part one of things that I learned attending the Burn Notice Junket.
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- Sharon Gless is a television legend and she doesn’t even know it. When I asked her "What’s it like to be a legend?" She blushed and doesn’t consider herself a trailblazer.
- She adores her co-star Jeffrey Donovan. When she talks about him, you can almost tell she would like to adopt him.
- The rumors that she and Tyne Daly don’t get along are false. Talks about Tyne with great reverence and love. They are actually flying to London together next week to do a talk show.
- There have been talks of a brand new Cagney and Lacey movie with them being somehow involved. Apparently there’s been a revival in it’s popularity overseas.
- She let slip a plot point about this season’s Burn Notice – Apparently Madeline and Michael are going to do some family counseling.