For a First-Timer, Burn Notice is Painful to Watch

Time for another installment of "TV Virgin"! This time: Burn Notice—you know, that other Miami-based show where the lead character wears sunglasses. Anyway, here's my take on "Noble Causes," Thursday's episode of Burn Notice—and remember, be gentle. It's my first time, guys.

0:04 I definitely didn't expect Jeffrey Donovan's voice to sound like that. I thought it'd be deeper?
0:15 But it's really nice that they give this little synopsis thing at the beginning. For Burn Notice virgins like myself.
1:35 I'm not sure I'm okay with Donovan's acting. He looks at the camera way too much. And he smiles like Jerry Seinfeld did when he couldn't keep a straight face.
2:35 The British psychopath is creepy! And so is Claude! This is so bad! I thought it was a good show! Why am I using so many exclamation marks?
3:46 Such uncreative quips! Such obvious sentence-finishing! So much exposition! So many emotionally-charged head-cocks! What kind of script is this?
6:32 I seriously can't think of anything else to say besides "I wish Burn Notice would give me a second to guess what the character is thinking." The characters keep on blabbing about what they're about to do.
7:50 These scene transitions are so cheesy, too. The music. The fade-ins.
9:03 This show would have made great fodder for I Love the 80s, if it had been made in the 80s. I think Hal Sparks would have a great time making fun of all the synth.
9:43 The guy who plays Sugar is really over-acting his part.
11:05 A split screen? What is this, a Bond spoof?
13:18 Explosions! Woooo!
13:33 And Sugar goes downnnnnnnnnnnnn.
14:55 Did he just teach us how to make a bomb? Is that legal?
15:09 All this stylization is really distracting. The black-and-white fades, especially.
15:49 Lynch? Dougie?
16:01 Gilroy? Claude? Seriously, is anyone listening to these names?
16:43 Awww, Gilroy matches Michael. Too bad Michael looks infinitely better in those sunglasses.
17:20 I hate it when people say "Ta-ta!"
17:56 Gratuitous boat porn!
18:39 Dougie. I've seen that guy before. Aha! Damian from Mean Girls.
20:19 Gratuitous shots of women in bikinis!
22:43 I like the font they use to identify each character on the screen. See, I can give a compliment.
25:23 I might like this part of the show. Westen's placebo-effect idea was pretty badass. And watching him go undercover is rather exciting. I just can't stand Donovan's voice! He speaks so slowly and deliberately. Hurry up!
26:41 See, this is what I meant before. That one announces that he's going to go get the schedule, then the other two map out the rest of the investigation out loud right there at the table. Where's the spontaneity? Will they let us viewers figure out anything on our own?
26:52 Why does Fiona wear those stupid onesies?
27:55 "I can't. It's complicated. People could get hurt." Could he have said that with any less enthusiasm?
30:10 Donovan is way better at playing this hick delivery dude than he is playing Westen.
31:19 Gabrielle Anwar's accent keeps slipping. Where is she from?
33:51 Poor Dougie. Something bad is going to happen to him, in case you couldn't tell from the mean guy's sarcasm and the mysterious music playing in the background.
34:38 Explosion! Loud guitars! Guns!
35:11 Split screens!
36:21 Sentimental moment.
36:45 There's still 6 minutes left in the episode. That means something bad is still going to happen! Even if it's not to Dougie anymore.
38:20 I have never been so bored during a covert operation.
39:29 Of course he shows up to his mother's event. That's what a good sonny-boy does.

Okay, obviously I'm missing something. Isn't this show supposed to be good? Isn't this Westen fellow supposed to be some sort of kick-ass smooth operator? I found myself not caring about a nerdy guy with a monotone voice and no sense of humor dolled up in nice clothes and driving a sexy car. It didn't fit. And even after that episode-opening backstory, I still feel like I knew nothing. The script used too much insider-lingo at one time, and then too much unnecessary information about the case at others. And none of these actors have any chemistry whatsoever! Call me crazy, but this show should have been burned a long time ago.


Follow TV.com writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

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Burn Notice is terrible...just because a show is popular doesn't make it good. Jeffrey Donovan's acting is stiff and awkward jumping with both feet over the border into total embarrassment. His emotions are stymied and unbelievable and this is not just my OPINION as others have mentioned...it is a fact and reality. He sucks as a actor...period! On the other hand, if what you require is an hour of pointless bubblegum for the mine....then by all means gi ahead and kill some time but you would have more fun watching an egg boil... ;oP
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Do yourself a favor and buy Season 1 on iTunes. Don't judge by an episode in Season 3 when you don't even know anything about the show other than it's location.
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How on earth did you become a writer?
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I find it strange Stephanie that you call yourself a "TV-Virgin" ... virgins cannot compare!
Anyways, everything that you've written here is your opinion.
I for one also started watching the show from somewhere in the middle ... don't even remember the first episode I saw, but I must have watched that episode without any negativeness or critisizm in my mind.

Kindly be a little open to new things in future!. .... you will make us feel better than what we BN lovers feel right now after reading this! :(
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I probably agree with most of other comments below, except the painful to watch part. I understand where Stefanie comes from, trying to be in the shoes of those tv viewers that just want to be entertained on that day. Having said that, i think u were concentrating too much on the writing and finding something to write abt the episode that u missed some part. first, everyone else in the show apart from Michael, the mom, Fiona and Sam are extras, brilliant put jst so to annoy the audience or arise sympathy and also the reason that we get told wat he is going to do is cause more often than not things dont go accordingly, besides i think knowing the plan makes it exciting in that u think hw ingenious it is and also desperately root for it to go right. and btw, season 3 isnt burn notice at its best, see 1
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I probably agree with most of other comments below, except the painful to watch part. I understand where Stefanie comes from, trying to be in the shoes of those tv viewers that just want to be entertained on that day. Having said that, i think u were concentrating too much on the writing and finding something to write abt the episode that u missed some part. first, everyone else in the show apart from Michael, the mom, Fiona and Sam are extras, brilliant put jst so to annoy the audience or arise sympathy and also the reason that we get told wat he is going to do is cause more often than not things dont go accordingly, besides i think knowing the plan makes it exciting in that u think hw ingenious it is and also desperately root for it to go right. and btw, season 3 isnt burn notice at its best, see 1
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When Stefanie states that Anwar's "accent is slipping" she loses all credibility. That's where she's from moron!
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You should watch "Pilot" when you get the chance. The show is built entirely on the first episode, which drives the entire show.
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@ bellagirl_008
"i have always found this show awful and deiffernatly painful to watch"

Why on earth do you watch it, then? Move on!
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You review Burn Notice like a nutritionist critiquing a double-meat cheeseburger and fries. You say, "Okay, obviously I'm missing something. Isn't this show supposed to be good?" And I say, "Don't know, don't care. It's supposed to be enjoyable. And, for millions of us, it is"
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Stefanie, I'm wondering if maybe your friends have been raving about Burn Notice, so you watched, determined to dislike it. Newsflash! Those of us who are die-hard fans don't care what you think. You are not to be taken seriously and your attempts at humor are, in my opinion, pretty pathetic. As for the responder who wrote that the scripts are awful and that there is zero chemistry. . .I guess we haven't been watching the same show. Bottom line, it's a matter of opinion, not gospel. As for, Stepfanie, go away. You're boring.
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Maybe you have a supervisor I could contact? You know, just to suggest a few tweaks to this "TV Virgin" article. They could start with a new writer. Perhaps someone a bit more open to new shows?
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I've never watched burn notice, but I agree with everyone here. You can't watch an episode randomly and expect to enjoy it. I watched an episode of the big bang theory randomly and couldn't stand Sheldon, but when I watched it from the beginning I liked him.
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Look chic, don't decide to watch 1 episode of a series that's been on for more than 3 years and talk crap about said series without knowing everything about it. Watch the past seasons first then form an opinion. How are you supposed to be taken seriously when people have watched this from the begining and know where these characters started from, the plot of the show ect. You may not have understood or liked this episode, but this show and the main characters are AWESOME!!! Again I say, watch from the begining first then share your opinion. I wouldn't follow your advise if my life depended on it!!
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How can you call yourself a "TV.com writer" when you take a random episode and start snarking about it--without even having a clue what the the entire show is about? This is what you refer to as writing? As far as calling you crazy--yeah, your less than stellar quip about the show being burned a long time ago is crazy--crazy bad. Please don't try for humor unless you can recognize it first. Perhaps, you should also stop trying to review shows until you have a little more experience at it. I have seen the entire show from the beginning and it deserves a review from an adult--please go find one.
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I hate the gratuitous bikini shots too, but as a show, Burn Notice is awesome. Sugar is a bad actor, but for faithful viewers it was sweet to see a minor early character get a redemptive return. If I watched any show for the first time while analyzing every 30 seconds, I'd hate it too. And I'd hate Supernatural if the first episode I'd seen had been the recent "Sam, Interrupted" or "Meat Swap."

I love Weston because he's not as sexy or glamorized as other fictional spies. He's practical and seems like he could blend in like real spies should. It's also very heavily researched and realistic. The show is fun and never takes itself too seriously. It's a nice break from trendy faux-intellectual shows like Lost and Heroes.
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Well If your intention was to piss off a lot of people, you did it. Burn Notice is a great show, sit down and watched from the beginning and you will know.
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I would say that you are checking out an episode and not and entire show. These characters were not in these places at the start of the series. The show has progressed and does have season long story lines. Perhaps yo need to look a little deeper.
But I say to each their own, what programmes do you consider good Stefanie?
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Well I suppose that's her opinion. However I can't wait till she reviews Vamp. Diary. But this show ROCKS!
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You know I really tried to reserve judgment on your review of this show. So before I laid into you for being an idiot for criticizing a show in its third season (you didn't even try for the season premiere. You do realize that some shows work with a season long storyline, right?), I wanted to read some of your other articles. Maybe you weren't as shallow in them. But you were. Can I just point out your main quips have to do with the looks of the characters in the shows you review? How incredibly deep (Don't mind the sarcasm. Its my second nature). I thought about emailing someone in charge on this website and complaining, but then I got to looking and noticed that you're the sad chap who is forced to do the "What to watch tonight" recaps. I guess they punish you enough, huh?
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And I somehow understand, what you were trying to do. You've been trying to write about the feelings a random tv viewer tuning in the first time that far into the show might have and doing that might have been o.k., because maybe he/she could feel that way, but as been said before, "this show should have been burned a long time ago" was too much, that conclusion is just arrogant and ignorant and not worthy of a pro.
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I absolutely agree with PartrickWard0. You've just picked a random episode in season 3, not knowing what went on before that and how the stories and the characters have developed and in the end of it you come up with the suggestion, that this show should have been burned a long time ago? That's as far away from fair and good journalisms as things could possibly be.
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So, you thought you would enjoy watching a show by starting to watch it in the middle of the third season? Really? I understand that you write for a website and that you don't really have to turn in anything of real quality, but to bash an entire series with phrases such as "this show should have been burned a long time ago," is just shameful. Did you ever stop to think that perhaps the reason why you didn't understand any of the characters or the story was due to the fact that you're beginning your experience with the end of the third season? That is like me deciding I want to watch Lost, but instead of starting at the beginning, I just pick a random episode. Do you really get paid for this? Pretty good job I suppose, most likely comes with a large amount of self loathing, but a good job none the less.
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When you watch this show you must remember that it is essentially MacGyver meets James Bond. It's supposed to be kind of cheesy and lighthearted... and pretty to look at... and has the guy from the Evil Dead movies, which for some people is all they need to be won over. I'm not defending the episode itself; Noble Causes was not Burn Notice at its best. For that you would need to take a look at the season where Tricia Helfer was the main nemesis/please-un-burn-me-contact of Michael.
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I think you can't make a plausible review on the show by just watching one random episode of the series. Donovan has played british, irish and a bunch of cover IDs and this show is awesome at showing how versatile he is.
Sure, the show is lacking that mystery season 1 had and the danger of season 2. Writers need to be more creative. And everything points out to if Michael gets his burn notice cleared out, the show is over because he'd be sent to another country and that's it.. no more beach parties..
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I've watched it since the beginning and I agree with everything you say. There are some bad actors, there's ZERO chemistry and the scripts are poor. But it’s fun escapist television. It's basically like anything else on USA which shares those issues. But because there's fun explosions and actual blood when people get shot, I keep watching it. .
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I still love BURN NOTICE !!
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You asked for it - you're crazy. Burn Notice is an excellent show. And skimming through one useless review written by someone who gets paid to bash won't ruin my enjoyment either.
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Uh yeah, you definitely missed something. I love Donovan's voice and I have yet to see him look at the camera. Watch him in the series "Touching Evil" if you have any doubts about his acting prowess. He plays a different character every week. His undercovers personas are always fun and over the top. Anwar is English playing an Irish ex-IRA who has to fake an American accent to avoid drawing attention to herself in Miami-cut her some slack. The show is supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek action drama, an oxymoron to start with. Does the dialogue over-explain? Yes, but with two storylines crammed into 40 minutes and too many commercials, it helps. Westen's character is an extremely competent wise-ass spy, in large part, because he comes from a very dysfunctional background-it's meant to be funny and serious at the same time, and that's no small feat for the writers. If you watched the show, you'd know they play with the names (substituting those of actors and producers for the bad guys) all for the fun of the viewers. And if you'd been watching from season to season, you'd appreciate just how much history and chemistry these characters have and why those of us who are fans can't get enough. Save yourself the agony of watching again unless you're willing to open yourself to what makes this show different and just how good it really is.
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Burn Notice is one of the best shows on TV!
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Burn Notice is an excellent show. Obviously Stefanie Lee has NO TASTE - and probably ranks The Biggest Loser up there as one of her favourites! Maybe watch the first two seasons on DVD before making any judgements!
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Watching one episode then reviewing the show is dumb, it annoys me when other people on the site do this and this review only contributes to the problem.
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how could you hate Burn Notice. first jeffrey donovan is a pretty fit lookin 41 yr old and you just said you were a newbie to burn notice so you cant say anything because you saw a one-off episode. i hvae never noticed him lookin into the camera, i think is acting is actually quite good. so this episode wasnt the best so what you have to watch the other episodes before you can judge!
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I haven't seen this episode yet, but I think you're being pretty hard on it. I think Jeffrey Donovan is a really good actor. I love how he can play all the different characters that Michael slips into. In all this time I've never noticed him looking at the camera. Maybe you're being paranoid. Fiona is from Ireland. She does sound more American sometimes, but that's only because she lives here.
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i have always found this show awful and deiffernatly painful to watch
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"even after that episode-opening backstory, I still feel like I knew nothiing" you've missed 2 and a half series what do you expect? jeez
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Yeah, it used to be more fun.
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