It is intriguing to watch 2 very different shows, both established, set themselves up to move to a new level, and achieve widely different results.
SuperNatural S4 has brought Armageddon to the table. This escalation is a logical extension of the show’s mythology. The expansion of the world from the Winchester family’s personal viewpoint to a global one is a bold move. Based on the first half dozen episodes this move has been brilliantly executed.
Burn Notice S3 took a risky step too and removed Michael Weston’s safety net. The blanket protection by the higher ups who have shielded him from the intelligence community and the authorities at home is gone. Michael is on his own and vulnerable. An exciting setup for the season, no? Well, one would think so but so far the show has really not stepped up to the plate and delivered on the potential of this new premise.
For the first 3 episodes Michael was being ‘hounded’ by a local cop. Problem was she only showed up at the beginning and end of each episode. Rarely did she walk into the middle of mission and raise new dramatic situations for Michael to deal with. By the third episode, Michael helped solve a case for her which then had her step back and stop bird dogging him. Oh-kay. That played like out like a wet fart.
The next episode had Michael captured by a Russian mercenary looking for revenge but the trained merecenaries came off no better than any of the previous thugs Michael has bested.
Back to SuperNatural – the world expansion that now includes appearances by the other ‘team.’ In the first three seasons all the unnatural appearance where from the bad side; demons, vampires, ghosts, tricksters, and shapeshifters. Now the other side has decided to enter the frey in a more visible way. ArchAngels are deftly interwoven into the Winchester’s personal dilemmas. Dean has been retrieved from hell by an angel for a higher purpose while Sam wrestles with not using his psychic abilities because they are fueled by the demon blood fed to him as a baby. Here we see the dynamics of the Armageddon theme pushing the characters to new areas.
Quite a contrast with Burn Notice, which is really treading the same water it has the previous seasons.
In Burn Notice’s favour the stories themselves are as tightly written and scripted as before with the requisite amount of humour. And who could help but laugh out loud at Michael’s mother, played to perfection by Sharon Gless, being the one to ‘torture’ the information out of the bad guy when Fie and Sam failed?
It comes down to follow through. SuperNatural is moving to new heights and/or depths out of the gate while Burn Notice seems to be sticking to previously explored ground.