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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

‘Burn Notice’ returns tonight

Just a heads-up that Burn Notice, USA Network’s fluffily delightful comedy, returns to the tube tonight at 10pm Eastern. This really is the perfect summer show: it’s funny and light but still smart and snarky; it takes itself seriously enough to be believable — which is important when you’re dealing with fantasy spy stuff like this show is — but not so seriously that we can’t have as much with it as you can tell everyone involved in making it is.
I’ve seen the first two episodes of the new season, and lemme tell ya: if this keeps up, Season Two’s gonna be even better than Season One was. In “Breaking and Entering,” which debuts tonight, blacklisted spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan, who manages to look cool, not just in the spiritual sense but in the weather sense, even when it’s clear how fuck-it’s-hot-out Miami is) discovers that if he wants to find out who made him persona non grata at whatever secret agency he once worked for, he’s gonna have to do the bidding of the mysterious woman on the other end of the mysterious phone calls he’s getting. Of course, we already now she’s Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer, but Michael doesn’t quite learn that until “Turn and Burn,” which’ll debut on Thursday, July 17, and nor do we or he learn yet what she’s up to, except being unbelievable hot (and also cool-looking, despite the heat) and pretty evil, too.

There’s lots of MacGyverish juryrigging in both episodes — what with motion sensors in high-security places to be defeated, and check forgery to be committed, and more — as well as fun role-playing for everyone, like when Michael has to put on a Cockney accent, and when Fi (Gabrielle Anwar) and Sam (Bruce Campbell) have to pretend to want to kill Michael, using real bullets and everything. It’s all good fun.

(In case you missed my report on a press conference with Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell, it’s here. And you can buy the Season One DVD here.)

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