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Archive for Thursday, August 23, 2012

Burn Notice’ is burning out

August 23, 2012

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Season finales are a great chance to catch up with shows and take stock. Now ending its sixth season, “Burn Notice” (9 p.m., USA) remains popular. It was the most watched cable show last Thursday and the third most popular in the 18-49 audience. It’s broadcast all over the world, and repeats frequently air on USA and in syndication.

All things being equal, I can see “Burn Notice” continuing to run for some time. And that could be a shame, because in spite of its popularity, this show seems to have run out of gas — except the kind used to fuel its many special-effects explosions.

When “Burn Notice” began, it had some of the whimsy pioneered by USA shows “Psych” and “Monk.” It was more tongue-in-cheek than cloak-and-dagger. Tonight’s finale has plenty of shootouts and explosions, but it’s not that much fun. Michael’s (Jeffrey Donovan) relationship with Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) has always been over-the-top, but now it’s merely brittle and dreary. But you have to half-laugh tonight when they’re both seen (in all-white outfits) hashing out their future together while assembling homemade hand grenades.

Michael’s mother (Sharon Gless), always combustible and passive-aggressive, is now just angry because she’s consumed with grief over Michael’s brother’s death. And when you can’t get a laugh out of a show starring Bruce Campbell and featuring guest-star John C. McGinley (“Scrubs”), it’s time to hang it up.

Bottom line: This show is too preposterous to take seriously, but pointless when it’s played straight. In a perfect world, “Burn Notice” would go out on top.

• “Suits” (9 p.m., USA) ends its second season with Mike dropping out of sight on the eve of a battle to take over Pearson Hardman.

Tonight’s other highlights

• The Tennessee Titans host the Arizona Cardinals in preseason NFL action (7 p.m., ESPN).

• Kinney thinks a trip home will help Joel on “Saving Hope” (8 p.m., NBC).

• Intimacy, therapy and romance get confused on the season finale of “Anger Management” (9:30 p.m., FX).

• “Crime Inc.” (8 p.m., CNBC) looks at losses from corporate and industrial espionage.

• A drug dealer targets a priest on “Rookie Blue” (9 p.m., ABC).

• While searching for a lost love, Louie loses something closer to his heart on “Louie” (9:30 p.m., FX).

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