USA Networks

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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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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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 no slouch when it comes to the summer fun. And the networks newest series, the Doug Liman produced Covert Affairs, has officially been green-lit for a second season. This comes after six straight weeks of increasing ratings with the latest episode pulling in 5.36 million viewers. By comparison, the show’s lead in, White Collar, now in its second season, pulled in a smaller but still respectable 4.48 million viewers on its most recent episode. Covert Affairs follows the life of CIA rookie agent Annie Walker played by Piper Perabo. Think ALIAS the beginning, minus the sci-fi elements. Every week is an hour of pure escapist entertainment with some heart. If you haven’t seen the show yet, they you have no idea what you’re missing.

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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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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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We catch up on three weeks of Burn Notice and talk about how it all comes together in Season 3.

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We check in again for our weekly status update with super-spy Michael Weston.

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An old face from seasons past returns with a job for Michael, disrupting his quest to find out what Gilroy is up to, and undoubtedly take him out.

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Burn Notice returns to form, then excels right past it in one of the best, most action packed episodes of the series three year run.

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Adrian Monk, neurotic detective extraordinaire is leaving the airwaves, so we thought we’d give you a little preview of the series finale and share some of our favorite Monk moments.

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Robert Fure finally escapes the underground cage he’s been cooped up in to deliver a Burn Notice Season 2 Finale review a week late.

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