February 15th sees the departure of Burn Notice from Netflix. Who cares, right? You should. Burn Notice is a show that will appeal to this audience in a big way. With Jeffrey Donovan playing the burned spy Michael Westen the show is solid enough. Add a supporting cast of Bruce Campbell (yes, “Shop Smart, Shop S-Mart” Bruce Campbell), Coby Bell (one of the most underappreciated actors working) Gabrielle Anwar, and the legendary Sharon Gless in almost every episode, the show is chock full of talent. Guest stars are abundant, with one storyline following Patton Oswald through some of the best episodes of the series.
But what makes this show so great is the “design” of the show. The main characters, besides Sharon Gless (Madeline Westen) all come from backgrounds where killing an enemy was a necessity. Now, stuck in Miami, they constantly look for ways to complete tasks without falling back on the “kill the bad guy” tropes that could have killed the show. In addition, Michael Westen’s voice-overs throughout each episode, explaining what goes on in the mind of a spy are enlightening and at times darkly humorous. Those voiceovers are what captured Sharon Gless’s attention and brought her onto the show.
Fans of Bruce Campbell get plenty of meta-jokes throughout the series, none of which I will ruin here. Just know Campbell fans will be treated with some deep cuts while also seeing some of the best acting from the geek hero of his career. His acting is so spot on as Sam Axe that when he has to act poorly for a mission you can’t help but laugh due to his delivery. The character is so central to the story and to who Michael Westen is as a human that a mini-movie called “The Fall of Sam Axe” was placed in the middle of the series. That mini-movie explained his history and gave more insight into his character and how he and Mike work so well together.
The show is leaving Netflix on the 15th of February and it is one of the bigger losses for Netflix in my opinion. With the show gaining critical and commercial success through its run on the USA Network many of you may have watched it once already. It has been almost 5 years since it went off the air though, and now is the time to give it one last hoorah before it leaves Netflix. This is my third time watching the series in its entirety and I hope Netflix has it back by next year when I’m ready to go for number four.
One warning; the first episode (the pilot) is good, but not representative of what the show becomes. The pieces are all there, but things are changed up for the better by episode two, and the show addresses why. So, stop reading, get on Netflix and Binge away. Let us know what you think of the show in the comments, but leave spoilers out, please.