Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Burn Notice formula

Though you shouldn't expect too much from a cable series, it happens. Unfortunately, one show in particular that really pulled us in fell into a stable format in its 3rd season:
  1. Recap of the current situation in the form of one of the characters explaining to one of the other characters already knows, but needs to have reinforced.
  2. Distant, overconfident spy entity contacts Michael and spars a little. Overall story of spy contact / big brother-ish observation furthered slightly
  3. A "job" comes up that either is or becomes a charity case
  4. Job has some kind of unexpected turn or difficulty. Never something that can't be handled.
  5. Takes on a new secret identity or "cover" in almost every episode. Not always necessary.
  6. Either juggle job with spy entity or wait until the end of the episode to 'top off' the episode with a little intrigue.
Each episode must contain:
  • Sexual tension and/or sparring with with female lead (Fiona)
  • Emotional situation or character-building moment thrown in there somewhere.
  • Banter. Lots of banter. This is all old hat for these veterans, of course.
  • Explosions, fights, car chases, etc. This isn't the show's fault. Anything on cable like this MUST contain this.
It isn't all bad:
  • The show doesn't focus on the sweet ingenue or lush, sensual daredevil. The women in the show are almost always in their 30s, self-confident and hot. This is sort of refreshing considering everything else on TV.
  • The format may be the same but the means to do so change almost every episode. You never get the sense that this is a "filler" episode.
  • The main character's mother character (Sharon Gless) has genuinely changed and progressed over the course of the series. I always love seeing this -- something that even multi-part movies can't do.


Mark said...

Sadness. You speak the truth.

Kimberly said...

Sounds like they have Michael Bay directing that show....YACK!