Good Summer TV:
I recommend Burn Notice on USA. It is a surprising reprise of The Equalizer from the 1980s. The Equalizer, Robert McCall (played by Edward Woodward ["Breaker Morant"]), was a former spy for the CIA who quit in disgust and used violence, technology and his clandestine talents, along with a motley assortment of free lance spooks to help ordinary folks in New York City who were being victimized by the evil and powerful. Two subplots concerned the extent to which McCall kept getting pulled back into his espionage past, and his conflicts with his son, Scott. Watching the Equalizer now (it is being rerun on Universal HD) is also like a time capsule of what New York City used to be like before Rudy.

Burn Notice is about Micheal Weston, a spy who is kicked out of the CIA (for reasons we don't yet know), deprived of all his assets, and forced to eke out a living in Miami. He does this by using violence, technology and his clandestine talents, along with a motley assortment of free lance spooks to help ordinary folks in Miami who are being victimized by the evil and powerful. Two subplots concern his effort to find out who "burned" him so he can get back into the spy game, and his conflicts with his cigarette smoking mother (played by Sharon Gless who obviously does not smoke) and his former ex-IRA terrorist girlfriend. Like Miami Vice in the 1980s, Burn Notice also showcases modern Miami.

Both shows are violent for the TV of their times. But while The Equalizer adopted an edgy and dark mood (though in reruns 20 yeas later it comes across a bit cartoonish), Burn Notice is more light-hearted--a teeny bit like the pre-Daniel Craig James Bond films, though not offensively unfunny and silly as Bond films became so maybe I should not have offered that comparison; after all, I am recommending Burn Notice. The USA Network is rerunning the first 3 episodes of Burn Notice the morning of March July 21 @ 9:00am-12:30am, so set your DVRs to catch up with this engaging new series. (You will also need to record the fourth Episode now playing.)

BTW have I mentioned how much I love the new Casino Royale, the best Bond film since Goldfinger? (Better than Thunderball.) Daniel Craig is now the second best Bond, maybe even (gasp) tying with Sean Connery in his own gritty take on the character. But more importantly, Casino Royale abandons most all of the Bond films' insufferable cliches, and returns the series, not to the Sean Connery films, but to the Ian Fleming novel. Kudos to the producers and very highly recommended in hi def DVD. But I digress.

For those who remember The Prisoner with Patrick McGoohan--I watched it in first run as a summer replacement series broadcast here after it had been canceled in the UK, having previously loved Secret Agent--Showtime offers the British-made Meadowlands. The Prisoner concerned a bunch of political prisoners held in "The Village" on an island (but really filmed in a manicured resort on the English coast of Wales). The prisoners were all electronically monitored 24/7 by technical means that were science fiction in the 1960s, and cannot escape. Meadowlands concerns a bunch of former criminals in a witness relocation program that houses them in a clean manicured suburban English village and who are all electronically monitored 24/7 by the same sorts of means used today to monitor ordinary British citizens. Of the episodes I Tivo'd, I have only watched the premiere, so I cannot be sure where this is going yet and if I will stick with it. I am unsure of the writing and whether the plot will be of lasting interest, but it is very nicely photographed and worth a shot, if only for the sake of old times.

Finally, on FX, the fourth season of Rescue Me-- which for my money ties with The Wire on HBO for best TV drama still in first run--is awesome. Get the DVDs of seasons 1-3 if you have not watched this series from its inception. In season 4, the writing and performances remain superb. VERY highly recommended.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More Good Summer TV:
  2. Good Summer TV: