Character Acting, USA Style USA shot out more fodder to reinforce its "Characters Welcome" tagline with the Thurs premiere of "Burn Notice," a sharp, fast-paced original series that’s long on action and eccentricity. The lethal and sardonic lead is an ostracized special agent, banished to the Miami he loathes, who’s burning to know why his identity has been effectively erased and his past exploits officially nullified. Add to the chaotic yet compelling mix a fight-happy and sexy ex-girlfriend, a besotted cohort that helps in myriad ways and an annoying mother, and the series fans the flames of USA’s recent programming success. "Burn Notice is as much fun as any show we’ve done," said evp, original programming Jeff Wachtel. "This one just came together, and we’re big fans." Crime procedurals and anything law-related seems to fare quite well these days across cable and the broadcast nets, but this show’s narrative and didactic thrust really handcuffs viewers to their sofas. Wachtel agrees, of course, yet is still measured when outlining his expectations. "Everybody’s really nervous around here," he said. "In cable, we assume success, but we need most of what we launch to work." Luckily for USA, much of what it produces works quite well, what with a lineup that includes "Monk," "Psyche" and this year’s "The Starter Wife." The net has a formula and has been sticking with it. "Our viewers have come to expect shows that are character-based, with aspiring sensibilities and a few quirks to the main characters," said Wachtel. True to this form, "Burn Notice" will continue this summer with a weekly case, dynamic interaction among all the aforementioned roles, and a hero who’s steered by mythological notions such as the reclamation of identity through seemingly endless tribulations. Scrape away all of this background—burn it, so to speak—and the series still remains stylish and sexy. Should anything less be expected from a spy show set in Miami? CH Highlights "Coma," Tues, 9pm, HBO. We recommend this doc with the caveat that it’s some of the most difficult footage ever seen. Filmmaker Diane Arbus follows four patients, all relatively young, who’ve emerged from comas. To the untrained, though, they barely seem to be alive. In fact ,they are minimally conscious. Euthanasia and other heavy questions fill one’s conscious after even a few minutes of this grave piece. SA Worth a Look "Styleyes Miami," season 3 premiere, Wed, 11pm ET, SiTV. "Queer Eye" alum Jai Rodriguez makes a pleasant host for this magazine show exploring Miami’s clubs, food, music and fashion. Wed’s premiere about Cuban Miami is a mix of hot and tamer elements. Clips of late salsa icon Celia Cruz sizzle, as do females from rapper Pitbull’s Miami-based video. Items on cigars and dominoes seem to have less appeal to the 18-34-year-old Latinos SiTV covets. Future eps about clubbing, music and gender issues (featuring Miami Dolphins cheerleaders) should grab more eyeballs. – "Gospel Music Atlanta," Sun, 4pm ET, Gospel Music Channel. Do viewers want to listen to gospel performers talk about their craft or listen to them belt out a tune? When it’s gospel’s Dorothy Norwood telling how she met Mick Jagger, we’re listening. [More reviews, including The N’s "Best Years" and GSN’s "Camouflage," at cable360.net] SA

The Daily

Subscribe

At the Commission

The FCC adopted a NPRM seeking comment on how to maximize efficient use of the 500MHz of mid-band spectrum available in the 12.2-12.7GHz band. The hope of the proceeding is to further a conversation as to

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up