We watched USA's new show Burn Notice last night. It actually debuted on Thursday, but "Yay, TiVo!"
Really good show. Jeffrey Donovan has a ton of charisma and makes a fascinating lead as newly ex-CIA agent Mike Westin. He's a good-looking guy, but unconventional enough to be interesting. And he's got this smarmy kind of delivery that makes him funny and quickly likable. In that way, having Bruce Campbell in the supporting cast as another ex-CIA man is a great match. They play well together with neither upstaging the other.
It's also nice to see Gabrielle Anwar again. I had a crush on her back when she played Queen Anne in the Disney version of The Three Musketeers. Here, she's Mike's ex-girlfriend Fiona Glenanne, a former IRA member who's got a nasty violent streak, but also obviously cares about Mike. She'll be as fun to watch as Donovan and Campbell.
The only character I didn't care for was Mike's mom, played by Sharon Gless. We used to watch a lot of Cagney & Lacey when I was growing up, so it's great to see her again, but the character is a stereotypical, nagging mom. Maybe Gless can do something with her as we go along. This was just the pilot episode after all. And I do like what her character brings out in Mike. He tries hard not to have anything to do with her, but he can't help but worry about her. It adds a sweet element to him that makes him even more endearing.
The plot was good too. The meta plot involves Mike's trying to figure out why he's been blacklisted from the CIA and is now being followed around now by the FBI. There's some danger in a plot like that because it could take over the whole show, but the characters are all strong enough and -- if the pilot's a good example -- the weekly plots should be good enough to carry the show just fine whether or not Mike ever solves the larger mystery.
One of my favorite spooks is the Headless Horseman, so TiVo snagged an old episode of Murder, She Wrote that featured a Headless Horseman plot. Watched that last night too.
I was never a big fan of that show, but it was fun to watch and try to guess the murderer. I had it figured out about five minutes in, which reminded me why I was never a fan, but as a nostalgic experience, I had a good time. The nerdy dude from Riptide (now that was a good '80s show) played the Ichabod Crane character and Greg Brady played an unconvincing hoodlum/ladies' man a la Brom Van Brunt. Ubiquitous '80s TV guest-stars Doug McClure and Judy Landers played the sheriff and a tavern waitress. And Dr. Stanley Riverside II from Trapper John was the town dentist. Good times.