Burn Notice

I remember really liking the late-2000s USA Network show Burn Notice. I’m rewatching it and taking notes for no good reason.

This seems like a sort of desperate mid-pandemic project, but no, I opened this particular cup of yogurt in Spring 2021.

Season 1

Episode 1

I remember Michael’s suits being better. I also have no memory of Lucy, was she only around for the pilot?

Episode 2

It’s fun to watch what changes when a series gets picked up. I hope they got an immediate note to tone down the freeze frames.

Episode 3

They’re trying so hard to do the expert-with-no-soft-skills thing but I don’t think it makes any sense!

Episode 4

The Brother, a classic complication

Episode 5

The procedural spycraft business will never get old I tell you what

Episode 6

I like when Michael does his innocent puppy thing, there’s a good moment at the end of this one where he gives the fed an innocent head shake

Episode 7

Aw they tried giving Michael a hat in this one and couldn’t even commit to it for a full episode!

Episode 8

The writers are pretty good at slowly weaving in obstacles over the course of an episode, and it’s really fun to watch the gang adapt. But also with this carousel of mysterious tough guys, the larger arc of understanding the Burn Notice feels like it’s either moving way too quickly or had made no progress it all.

Episode 9

This one was just okay!

Episode 10

Hey Lucy is back, and in a less nice office than I remember in the pilot? Also in Lucies is Lucy Lawless, bringing some welcome depth to the Character of the Week

Episode 11

Aww yeah a two-part season finale! I like the mounting paranoia, I wonder if they can keep it fresh and interesting

Episode 12

Daaaaamn this is a good show.

Season 2

Episode 1

And we are back in Miami! Kind of a disappointing non-resolution to the truck thing but still a fun heist. Also maybe fewer freeze frames at last?

Episode 2

Oh I don’t know, this one was fin

Episode 3

Good double con, good hijinx, good character work. This is a solid episode of Burn Notice

Episode 4

Ooh this one had some antics! A real meal of a Michael performance. Great job everyone

Episode 5

A heist and a subversion and some emotional stakes that complicate the bigger goal? Burn Notice, you shouldn’t have.

Episode 6

Method Man was pretty good, Michael’s tough Northeast accent remains very bad

Episode 7

The nerdy scientist role was truly inspired.

Episode 8

It’s Larry! I think I remember Larry? He probably comes back. An unfortunate series wrap for Zachery Ty Bryan, though.

Episode 9

I’m not sure but I THINK we got a little sneak peek of the guy that I think is the Big Bad in that roll of documents? Exciting!

Episode 10

Tensions are high! Mike and Sam do punches to each other! I thought this was the season finale but no, just a mid-season two-parter. What’s next‽

Episode 11

The phone book car! For some reason that was my strongest memory of this show but I had no idea when we’d see it. I guess at the time I didn’t know who Michael B. Jordan was though.

Episode 12

I like Seymour’s chaotic good energy. I wonder if we’ll see more of him.

Episode 13

Haha that bad guy’s plan got so messed up

Episode 14

I like that they’re gradually giving Madeline more depth

Episode 15

Another Sam! Sure!

Episode 16

Ooh they brought out the big stunts for this one! And multiple songs with lyrics! And ditched Michael’s sunglasses! We didn’t see the big bad I remember so I think from this point I just don’t know what happens. And that’s the real burn notice.

Season 3

Episode 1

Hey, a new friend for a new season! Oh wait no just kidding. Also I guess John Mahoney returned Michael’s glasses.

Episode 2

A detective!!! It makes sense that people would be investigating Michael’s antics. I wonder if the “we’ve been protecting you” thing was to cover the plot hole where this wasn’t already happening?

Episode 3

Hey a character callback, this is a move they can only make so many times but I bet by the end of the series they’ll have overextended it. Lots of risky improvisational tactics in this one, good Burn Noticing

Episode 4

We got a surprise double-cross and a bad guy redemption and a dog with a bandage, we got everything we need

Episode 5

Huh, Spencer was an interesting character. I like that the gang mostly took him seriously, I wish the show treated him better!

Episode 6

An unwilling accomplice, a Madeline hero moment, and most importantly: an episode-long sunglasses bit!!!

Episode 7

An extremely serious child actor oh no, an extremely ridiculous last-ditch scheme oh yes!

Episode 8

Great twist! That’s all bye

Episode 9

Oh no uh oh uh oh uh oh!!!!

Episode 10

Hey Madeline you did a great job, I’m sorry you couldn’t stay friends with Tyne Daly

Episode 11

OH the theatricality! But wot’s the deal with this British bloke

Episode 12

Hey Sugar’s back! But wot’s the deal with this Australian bloke oh never mind

Episode 13

The gag where someone describes a new character and then the freeze frame title for the character uses that same description has gotten pretty old. I don’t even remember if that happened in this episode, I’m just tired of it

Episode 14

I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that the end credits song always always makes me think of Elvis’s “Burning Love”

Episode 15

The carousel of Bad Powerful People who Know the Answers continues spinning. I am trying to remember how we got from the beginning of the series to here and I just can’t! Is it continuous? Are we getting closer to the center of the web? Who knows?

Episode 16

Oh I don’t know, I don’t really buy the stakes of this show anymore! But I’m going to keep watching because I am an intrepid TV blogger-journalist

Season 4

Episode 1

There was just a glimpse of a guy at the very very end of this episode and he looked so familiar to me. I was trying to remember why, and after some quick spy stuff (searching the web) I think it’s because I remember him from this show! But I don’t remember him from this show‽ We’ll see!

Alternate synopsis: Looks like Matt Nix found my short story, Harry and Bunny Share a Mojito

Episode 2

Hell yeah Jesse is bringing some new energy and new drama. Characters welcome!!!

Episode 3

Madeline’s evolution is a joy to behold

Episode 4

Maybe Michael isn’t the leader anymore! Oh wait no don’t worry he totally is

Episode 5

Guess who’s back / Back again / Sugar’s back / Also another tiny example of Mike not being the ringleader

Episode 6

Buddy seems like a fun new contact for future shenanigans. I knew the thief was a smoke screen, it’s a shame the gang can’t see how their lives are presented on TV to better predict when things are going too easily

Episode 7

Look at all these big names! Must have been sweeps week!!!! Michael’s credibility keeps diminishing though uh oh

Episode 8

I was not prepared for this love triangle subplot and I do not buy it even a little bit

Episode 9

A hurricane is a fun set piece, good job

Episode 10

A prison is another fun set piece! Also we have yet another name of a Powerful and Dangerous Man

Episode 11

Uh oh more contrived love triangle nonsense!!

Episode 12

God I hope we see that submarine again

Episode 13

Michael’s got his sunglasses back baybee

Episode 14

A good old twisty callback, that’s the Burn Notice specialty

Episode 15

Oooh family dynamics all over the place! Also a cool team maneuver which is kind of a family dynamic if you think about it

Episode 16

I was worried we would lose Richard Kind soon, what a delight, thank you for your service

Episode 17

Aw shit we’ve reached the endgame people!! Except there are three more seasons after whatever happens next so stakes don’t feel so high honestly

Episode 18

Deus Ex Sam bayBEEEEE I’m getting tired of this show uh oh

Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe

Not an episode, just a feature-length made-for-TV movie

Not awful*!

* Assuming you ignore all the dialog with the two people from the clinic. An intensive study in the “So that just happened” tone of 2000s televsion.


That’s all for now. I make no promises that this retrospective will ever be complete!