Friday, November 9, 2012

Burn Notice Season Seven

So, Burn Notice is back with new episodes. Now, I'll admit I'm a bit on the obsessed side when it comes to Burn Notice (on the off chance the scads of fan fic didn't tip you off to that fact.)

It's true the actors are pretty, the characters are great, and the dialog is sharp, but the reason I love Burn Notice is that Matt Nix has the best story arc on TV.

Most TV seems to work on the theory that some sort of overarching story is superfluous. And if you've seen how popular the CSIs and Law and Orders are, let alone the slew of sitcoms where every plot point is wrapped up in twenty-two minutes, or the dramedys with no plot beyond who is hooking up with whom this season, and you can understand why the idea that you'd want your TV show to tell a greater story is sort of moot.

Add onto that the fluid nature of TV (one season, three, seven? Who knows?) and telling a greater story is difficult.

But Burn Notice has, at least as of this point, managed to do it, and do it well. So far each episode, and each season has advanced a nuanced, delicate, and twisted plot line. Seasons five and six, which were renewed together, have acted as one long chapter (as of this point) which each episode flowing beautifully into the next while pushing the greater story forward. For that, I'm in love.

With a side of dread. We just got the news there will be a Burn Notice season seven.

I know a lot of Burners are dancing for joy at this news. But, for viewers like me, ones who are really enjoying this whole meta plot thing, the idea that there might be a season seven is a bit scary. Right now, if things end with season six, Burn Notice should finish at a nicely rational point. The last two season especially have been moving us toward an endpoint. And, while it's true that when you love a story, you don't want it to end, it's also true that if you take a beloved story and keep stringing it along, it stops being a beloved story.

Going onto season seven means either yet another layer of conspiracy has to be there (and I think at this point another layer would be jumping the shark, and that shark would be Jaws, and they'd be jumping it on a moped.) or season seven would just be the adventure of the week.

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of seeing a bunch more adventures of the week, but still, the idea that each episode moved the greater story forward is something that's both great and unique about Burn Notice, and losing that would be a disservice to the story.

And a handsome leading man in suit.
Some of you might remember a show called the X-Files. (Of course you do, if you're on my blog you've seen the X-Files, and if you're too young to have done so, please don't tell me.)  Just like Burn Notice, X-Files had great characters, sharp writing, pretty actors, and witty dialog. It had a meta mystery (alien invasion conspiracy) a personal mystery (what happened to Samantha Mulder) and single episode plots (monster of the week.) What it didn't have was a finite endpoint.

So, as much as we all loved Mulder and Scully, by season six and seven we were flailing about in the wilderness of eaten mythos and forgotten plot. After all, there's only so long you can keep a mystery going and still tie it up again at the close. Now, as a grade A shipper, I was happy to spend less time dealing with conspiracies and black ooze and more time dealing with Mully (Sculder? Alas, X-Files predates the cute name mashups.) However, the people who actually liked the conspiracies felt betrayed when what had been a dark creepy show with plans within plans within plans turned into a shipping-fest and somewhat spooky comedy.

And let's not mention what happened after David Duchovny left. We'll just pretend the series ended at the end of season seven. It's better that way, really.

Burn Notice has been renewed for 13 episodes, which is five short of the last two seasons, so... Will we get Mike and Fi and a new life without a massive conspiracy? Will we get learning to deal with life without the conspiracy? Will we get stories of the week? Will they decide there has to be one more layer of conspiracy? 

My hope is that season seven will launch an entirely new overarching plot. Even if it's only a season long, that would do quite nicely. My dread is that they'll decide to bring out one more layer of conspiracy. 

So, yeah, I'm a little nervous looking at the future of Burn Notice. This is (though it pains my Browncoat-wearing soul to admit it) the best written show on TV, and I'm really hoping that Nix and Co. have the good sense to see the plot is running out and let the story end, gracefully.

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