“Breaking and Entering”
July 9th, 2008
USA Today’s Robert Bianco, having seen the first two episodes of Burn Notice’s sophomore season, has fairly harsh words for what he views as the show’s shift in tone with the arrival of a more serialized plot development:
So what’s gone wrong? Like so many series today, Burn Notice has overburdened a fragile structure with a weighty continuing story…Unfortunately, the added depth has made the show less interesting, not more. And the time spent on the continuing story means the episodes’ capers are woefully underdeveloped.
However, after watching the premiere, I don’t really understand where he’s coming from here. He seems to argue that the tone of the series has been irrevocably changed from its previous standards, but the show was well within its comfort zone for the entire hour. Burn Notice is a show built on its clever set pieces, its charming interaction between Jeffrey Donovan and his wingpeople (Gabrielle Anwar and Bruce Campbell), and a tone that maintains humour while retaining consequence.
And if anything, the latest bump in the road for Michael Weston does all of these things – even if his trips to see his mother remain as pointless as they’ve ever been, Michael being held hostage by Tricia Helfer’s Carla is no more or less dramatic or grave than last season’s various individuals hired to kill our protagonist. For him to completely skirt the obvious danger that a burned agent as himself would be in would be much too unbelieveable.
The show has never been all about accuracy or tonal consistency, rarely proving a slave to what Bianco calls “comedy-tinged mystery.” And while I won’t argue the point that there are dangerous roads to be followed, I will argue that Burn Notice has not taken that exit: it’s still a fun and enjoyable summer series.