Burn Notice

Boiling Point

Death is a funny thing. Or maybe it’s not. I guess it really depends on the circumstances. It could be hilarious, like Weekend at Bernie’s or it could be tragic, like some kid left in a hot car too long. Either way, I want to see more of it. Specifically, I want to see more of it on network television, but cable and premium channels can take notes too. Why do I want more death? Because sometimes a character or story calls for it. We like shows about ultimate badasses. USA’s Burn Notice is very popular and used to be amazing – now it’s just pretty good – and it’s about an ultimate badass. A superspy who used to be heartless and presumably handed out death like candy. He’s teamed up with an ex-Navy SEAL, world renowned for their killing progress, and his terrorist IRA girlfriend who has definitely blown people up. When you take three of the most dangerous people on Earth and set them against really bad men, you’d expect a lot of blood, right? Wrong. Michael Westen has killed maybe one person in five years. Not very badass. So come on, let’s kill more people.

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Last year, Coby Bell joined the cast of the hit series Burn Notice on USA as recently-burned spy Jesse to bring a fresh face to the senior series. Tonight, the summer finale of the most recent season airs on USA. I had the opportunity to sit down with Bell and pick his brain about what his experience has been like for him thus far. It’s always hard for any actor to figure out who a character is, and it’s even harder when that character is introduced at the peak of  a show’s popularity. Bell said in response to how he was received by his fellow cast mates that “they gave [him] such a warm welcome last year, everyone made [him] feel right at home.” He stated that it was his first time ever coming into an established show as opposed to being on from the ground floor. Stating that it took him about half way through the last season to truly figure out who Jesse was and how he fit into the series. He would have long discussions with show creator Matt Nix who according to Bell, originally wanted him to play a major role in the short lived FOX series The Good Guys, and when that didn’t work out, Bell was cast in Burn Notice. Nix told Bell that “[Nix wanted] Jesse to be just like [Bell] but more badass”

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Recently, Netflix struck major deals with some television networks to bring more programming to the instant streaming service. And while that’s all good and all, it’s not enough. While all the movies are great, the instant streaming service of Netflix was (intentional or not) built for television shows. Nothing beats being able to legally run through old episodes of a classic series at one’s pleasure. And with that I give you five shows that need to get on Netflix already.

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This past week, more importantly, this past Thursday saw the return of three summer shows that this reviewer has been waiting for since September. First up was the season five premiere of Burn Notice. When we last left Michael Westen he was free and clear of the organization that burned him, and was presented with an invitation back into the CIA. That was six months ago. Six months that Westen has spent dismantling the organization that took away the last four years of his life, one terrorist at a time. What makes the episode interesting is that it’s the first time we get to see what Michael can do when he has actual resources at his disposal. And the reason that’s a good thing is because we finally get to see why Michael is considered one of the best spies in the business. Despite having access to all his fancy equipment, at the end of the day all he needs are three grenades, a block of C4 and his two trusty comrades.

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Summer is a time for playing outside, sitting on the beach, going for a swim, taking a stroll in the park with a significant other while… oh, who am I kidding… Summer is for one thing: warm, entertaining television. And with the 2010-2011 television at an end this week, it’s time to look ahead to the wonderful crop that is set to begin at the top of next month. So with that, I present to you 10 Summer Shows Not To Miss! (But beware of some spoilers.)

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At last years Comic-Con, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix made a huge announcement. That a Burn Notice film was being put into motion starring everyone’s favorite alcoholic lady’s man, Bruce Campbell as the one and only Sam Axe. But I don’t think any of us expected it to be ready this soon. Nix said that the film was going to show how Sam was removed from the military and ended up in Miami. And boy did he… The first thing to take note of in this movie is that they kept Sam Axe well, Sam Axe. At no time was Sam given and overly serious story line to fill his back story. It was a simple, small group versus big army storyline. There’s no former lover who was killed. There was no family drama that led to Sam’s military removal. There was no dark crime that was covered up. Nix played it smart and gave us the Sam Axe we already know and love, and stuck him in Colombia.

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Last year at Comic-Con, a major announcement came that put every Burn Notice fan into a state of gleeful joy. Matt Nix and co. announced that a prequel movie starring Bruce Campbell as the beloved Sam Axe was in the works and that we would see it sooner rather than later. And after the amazing cliffhanger from this past winter, that sooner can’t come soon enough. Well it looks like our first taste is here because USA Network has released the first trailer (or TV spot rather) for the upcoming TV movie Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe. Check it out after the jump.

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Boiling Point

When not sitting in the cinema or the drunk tank, you can often find me claiming some couch space and settling in for some television, either live or on the DVR. It’s quite the life, let me tell you. During the down time of television seasons, you’re no doubt beside yourself with what to do. Go outside? No thanks, Mr. Sun. Hang out with friends? Who? No, it’s best to watch old seasons on DVD until the new episodes roll around. Then once they’re here, celebration! After a six or eight month hiatus, it’s time for a welcome reunion with favorite characters and engaging storylines. It’s time to settle in for a solid 12-22 weeks of brand new amazing adventures! Well, maybe a decade ago. Or even five years ago. But today it seems that whoever is in charge of the network schedule isn’t so much a fan of Connect Four as he is of Scattergories. If you’re not down with the game parlance, what I’m trying to say is almost no channel just runs a straight season anymore. Virtually every cable network runs a scatter shot program, three episodes here, a two week break there, a marathon on Saturday, and then another four episodes in a week.

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Episode: Guilty as Charged (Season 4, Episode 12) Synopsis: Michael enacts a plan to rescue a kidnapped child, ensnare a major international power player, and strike a blow against those who burned him, all while avoiding a bullet from burned friend Jesse in the Summer Finale. Review: First allow me to apologize for the lapse in coverage over the last few episodes. The fault is 60% my own and 40% Time Warner Cable, who decided to apparently use Thursdays as the nights to randomly reset my cable box, blank my DVR, or otherwise screw up my recordings and time table for viewing. That said, Burn Notice has come to to an end for the summer with a suitably explosive finale that helped elevate the season to the level of those that came previously.

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USA Networks is not afraid to give out the freebies to reward fans for watching their shows or to get you interested in tuning into them. Their newest series, Covert Affairs, is doing well, probably because it features the smoking hot Piper Perabo has an ass-kicking female intelligence officer. Also on the docket is White Collar, which judging by its Comic Con response is doing quite well for the ladies, probably because it features the smoking hot (so I’ve been told) Tim DeKay. Word is Matthew Bomer isn’t a slouch either, with his model good looks. Pfft. So to celebrate the success of these shows, USA Networks have given us two prize packs for each show to pass on to you. Bust out your multiplication chart, put one finger on 2 and the other on 2, bring them together and that is four (4) prize packs that we’re going to pass on to you. Sound good? I know.

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Episode: Past & Future Tense (Season 4, Episode 7) Synopsis: A toasty but not quite burned Cold War era spy teams up with Michael to dodge a Russian hit squad looking for state sponsored vengeance. Review: Can any episode featuring Burt Reynolds as a cold war spy be a bad one? Of course not. Though, to be honest, it wasn’t as great as I expected. Reynolds seemed to phone it in at times, though he’s not the youngest chicken in the game anymore. It was fun to see Paul’s willingness to fire off rounds down range at the Russians.

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The San Diego Comic-Con is a strange thing. Leading up to it there’s anticipation, fear, excitement. Many of these emotions survive the first few days and you might even add a few: joy, rage, disappointment, wonderment. By the time you’re ready to leave, your body is aching and all you want to do is punch Jack Giroux in the face and sleep for 14 hours on the biggest, softest bed you can find. This year was no different. Going into Comic-Con there were certain things I was looking forward to – some of them hit the spot, others fell flat, one or two didn’t even end up being there. While I would classify the trip as a success that isn’t to say that each day didn’t bring a fair share of rage with it. So, I’ll cut to the chase and reveal the 10 Things I Liked about SDCC 2010, and 5 Things that left me cold.

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Burn Notice

Kicking off the gigantic Ballroom 20 at the San Diego Comic Con (one of the largest rooms available) was Burn Notice, a panel that gave us the exciting news that Bruce Campbell would be starring in a prequel film about Sam Axe’s Navy SEAL exploits. While that was certainly the most newsworthy bit to come out of the room, there was plenty of fun to be had and little lessons to be learned. The living legend himself Bruce Campbell was the main attraction here, though show creator Matt Nix was there too, offering up plenty of insight into the future of the series. Also on the panel was Tim Matheson (Dead Larry) who guests in a few episodes and has directed several. The moderator was Chris Vance, who played one of the shows more enigmatic villains who met an explosive end.

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In surprising and most excellent news, USA Networks honcho Jeff  Wachtel made a surprise announcement that brought the thousands of fans in Comic-Con’s Ballroom 20 to raucus applause. After explaining to fans that what the USA Networks had decided was that “we need more Bruce Campbell,” the decision was made to go forward with a Burn Notice prequel movie that will focus on Sam Axe, the lovable, womanizing, beer guzzling former Navy SEAL. The plot is said to revolve around Sam’s last mission as a SEAL, revealing just why he left the run and gun side of the business and become confidant to a spy.

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Burn Notice: Entry Point

Episode: Entry Point (Season 4, Episode 6) Synopsis: Jesse takes a turn at cracking the hard as nails female assassin Kendra while Sam and Fiona move to foil a dangerous antique thief who doesn’t hesitate to kill those who’d prevent the crime. Review: Season Four is officially in stride with a bunch of good episodes falling in a row. We’ll have to see how next week pans out as we ditch the uber hot Kendra and swap in – Burt Reynolds! So I think things are looking good, but anyway, more about this episode.

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To catch a drug dealer, you’ve got to have bait – and what do drug dealers go for? Drugs, of course! All that and Billy Walsh too.

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Fiona and Jesse get the long stick as they find themselves searching for information on an island paradise while Sam and Michael aim to help a friend bring a scam artist to justice. Things go south quickly when one team is stuck in a hostage situation and the other comes up against an especially nosy neighbor.

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Burn Notice: Made Men

Bruce Campbell gets to shine in the most recent episode of Burn Notice as his super-villain alter-ego Chuck Finley takes the Miami mob by storm.

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Burn Notice Fast Friends

Michael Westen finds himself partnered with the same spy he just inadvertently burned. This can’t end well, can it?

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Burn Notice

Those hip cats at USA Networks know you’ll be doing two things this summer: watching Burn Notice and heading to the beach. To help you catch up on the previous season of Michael Westen’s escapades and protect yourself while having fun in the sun, we’ve got the following prize packs to give to two lucky winners.

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