This chaotic drama deserved a revival

Pictured: Burn Notice
// When you're a spy...
Fergus Halliday
Dec 19, 2023
Icon Time To Read3 min read
Published on December 18, 2023

There’s no shortage of new stuff to watch nowadays, but it’s always fascinating to see how the likes of Suits hold their own against the streaming originals like One Piece when it comes to popularity on Netflix.

For my money, network-era series don’t get any better than Burn Notice. Set in Miami during the early 2000s, the series is a charming and scrappy take on the procedural drama. 

Rather than follow a morally complicated anti-hero working with the gears of an imperfect justice system, Burn Notice centres on a spy with a heart of gold. It’s less case-of-the-week and more of a modern-day MacGyver meets Ocean’s Eleven.

After his cover is blown, Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donavan) is a spy left stranded amid the tropical tourist traps of Florida. To make ends meet and track down those responsible for putting an end to his espionage career, he’s forced to join forces with his former flame (Gabrielle Anwar) and coworker-turned-informant Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell). Each week brings with it new revelations about Michael’s fate, while still managing to satisfy as a more-or-less standalone adventure with its own stakes and subplots. 

Even if it tends to err beyond what its thrifty production budget can realistically deliver, you have to respect that Burn Notice is willing to take a stab at any possible caper that its limited setting and cast can allow. 

Burn Notice Watchlist

Every possible archetype or personality you can imagine Michael Westen running into in Miami? He’s either helped them out of a jam or harmed them in order to right a wrong. Not every episode is a banger, but what makes Burn Notice tick is that it’s always very likable. It never gets old to hear Michael Westen talk you through how to turn an everyday object into a deadly weapon.

Given that it only ended in 2013, the real tragedy here is that Burn Notice lived too late to take part in the golden era of network TV revivals. If it had ended only a few years earlier, it’s easy to imagine the likes of Amazon Prime Video or Netflix picking up the tab to bring Michael, Sam and Fiona back together for one last heist. 

Alas, “when you’re a spy,” you work with what you have. 

All seven seasons of Burn Notice are available to stream on Disney Plus in Australia.

Burn through these hot shows and movies
  • MacGyver (1985): Stream all 7 seasons for free on 9NOW
  • MacGyver (2016): Streaming on Apple TV and Paramount+
  • Ocean's Eleven (1960): Rent or purchase via Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Store, YouTube or Apple TV
  • Ocean's Eleven (2001): Stream it on Prime Video, Foxtel Now or Stan
  • Suits: Stream all nine seasons on Netflix or purchase via Apple TV
  • One Piece (2023): Streaming exclusively on Netflix

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What to expect from The Watchlist

The growing number of streaming video-on-demand services has unlocked a world of entertainment for everyday Australians. But what should be a dream come true has slowly turned into a living nightmare; an avalanche of content delivered direct to your screen with nobody sorting the rare gems from the rivers of cinematic sludge.

It's like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the Nazi opens the coveted ark. The thing we so desperately wanted in Australia, after decades of delayed movie and TV releases, has melted our face off and turned us into a puddle of quivering goop.

What The Watchlist offers is a return to simpler times. Like getting a recommendation from the cool Video Ezy clerk. We keep our recommendations simple and focused, typically in line with a common theme (actor, director, genre etc.,) or recent release. 

There are plenty of services and newsletters like The Watchlist around the world, but our recommendations are specific to an Australian audience. So if we recommend something, you can be sure we'll tell you where its streaming too. 

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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