a spy forced out of the spy business turns private eye
Type of Pilot: Action; Comedy-Drama
Similar Shows: The Rockford Files (he's sometimes beaten up, he's funny and he's got a parent nagging him all the time), Raven (he's got a background as a spy and he's got a cool and funny side-kick), The Equalizer (he used to be a spy and now he helps ordinary people), Hack (uses his previous skills to help ordinary people), MacGyver (builds things and uses gadgets a lot to trap the bad-guys).
Strengths: Sense of humour, fast pace, Bruce Campbell, visual style
Weaknesses: The cases Westen takes are ordinary. The sort of stuff we've seen on loads of shows before. But, to be honest, I don't think that matters. There is so much else to like, what does it matter if the stories are familiar. It's the way they are told that matters here.
Impressive Characters: Michael Westen, the spy who is burned, is a great central character. He's cool, cynical about the world around him, dangerous when he has to be, lacks some pretty fundamental people skills, and has a fair bit of pain in his past. He's a great TV character.
Impressive Actors: Bruce Campbell is perfect as the side-kick, the guy Michael turns to when he needs help on his cases. Jeffrey Donovan makes a likable lead, and Sharon Gless steals scenes as his mum.
Less-Than-Impressive Actors: Gabrielle Anwar's accent was dreadful. Anwar stars at Westen's ex-girlfriend. She's Irish. So Anwar spent the pilot speaking like a leprecaun. It was awful. And, thankfully, it has been dropped for the regular series. Apart from that Anwar's pretty good.
Continuity: A certain amount, yes. While each and every case Michael tackles will be resolved within the run-time of one episode, Michael is on a quest to find out who burned him, and why. Each episode will bring him a tiny bit closer to that piece of information.
Rewatchability: Not a lot. It's a fun ride, yes, but at the end of each episode you want to move on the next one, not relive the funny/cool bits of the previous one.
Other Info: Burn Notice airs Thursdays at 10 on USA.
Three Things I Really Like About This Pilot:
It makes you laugh out loud.
One Thing I Really Don't Like About This Pilot:
Gabrielle Anwar's accent.
This is a fun, cool show. Westen narrates everything that happens, and tells us gleefully about all the little tricks he is using. The show has a great visual style: lots of freeze frame shots when you least expect them.