So this evening, the second season of "Burn Notice" had its premiere, and despite the limited presence of Tricia Helfer--who you may or may not already know, I loathe as an "actress" (read: model saying words on a screen), and intend to devote an entire entry in my BSG bashing series--it hit the ground running. The first season just got its release on DVD, and USA is putting all new episodes up on their website. That's my hint to you, reader. It's pretty easy to get caught up to speed. There are only 11 episodes in the first season. It's easy.
As for the show, it's really fun. You'll find yourself watching two or three more episodes than you planned on watching in a night, and before the week is over, you'll have finished the whole first season. Michael Westen, played by a cool and confident Jeffrey Donovan, is a spy who has been mysteriously blacklisted in the international espionage industry and is dead-set on finding out what happened. In the meantime, he puts his know-how to use as what essentially boils down to being a P.I., and often the show plays out as a marriage of all the best parts of "The Rockford Files" and "MacGyver" for a 21st Century audience.
In the interest of full disclosure, I watch more USA programming than I'd like to admit. I have seen more than my fair share of "Monk" and "Psych" (at least the latter can be kind of funny sometimes--"Monk" has become a show that pisses me off more often than not, but I still find myself watching Tony Shalhoub walking around being all OCD more often than I'd like to admit). Both of those shows are very PG, and "Burn Notice" is to a certain extent, as well*. But where the USA Friday night fare errs to the light detective comedy, "Burn Notice" has some edge and is genuinely cool. There's no grating psychobabble or retarded score. It's sleek and sexy and smart, something those other shows often fail to be.
*This actually kind of upsets me about USA as a network. I feel like they're missing out on a golden opportunity to air some shows that actually push some limits, but their slate could air very easily in the 8:00 PM ET timeslots on CBS, ABC, or NBC. Instead, the opportunity has been squandered, and they're essentially airing a new weirded up "Murder, She Wrote" for a new generation every Friday night.
So you can watch "Burn Notice" or blow it off. It won't change a thing in my life. I can tell you that I happened to watch it a few times because of Bruce Campbell's presence only and ended up rabidly devouring the entire series as they re-aired the first season over these past couple of months. I think you can, too.