Monday, July 25, 2011

Burn Notice vs Covert Affairs

Burn Notice
A former CIA agent is mysteriously dismissed from his job, burned, and suddenly finds himself on the run from enemies he didn't know he had, trying to uncover who burned him and why, with only the help of his extensive experience, a few old contacts, and a really cool car.

Covert Affairs
The girl next door with a knack for languages decides to serve her country by joining the CIA.  She quickly finds herself in over her head, but adapts quickly to the demands of the job with the help of a blind former field agent and her mysterious lover who vanished one day (and seems connected to the CIA in some fashion).

Both shows by USA, on USA right now, both solid shows about spies, and yet they have marked differences. The first is clearly meant for boys: It constantly shows flashes of hot chicks in bikinis, there's lots of explosions, the main character is a tough loner that doesn't need nobody (and yet has good friends, including the gorgeous girl who desperately wants into his pants and the drinking buddy), they drive a totally cool car, and Michael solves many of his problems with tactics, forethought, and sweet gadgets he invented himself by working in a garage.  The second is clearly meant forgirlss: It's about a babe-in-the-woods character who needs to learn to adapt quickly.  There's an interesting male character in every episode, and she tends to succeed by understanding the people involved and navigating a very tangled set of relationships in storylines that seem ripped from the pages of romance novels.

Bee and I enjoy both, and it certainly confirms my thoughts on spy series appealing both to men and women, since they contain elements that stereotypically fascinate both genders.  They also highlight, I think the difference between genders when it comes to roleplaying... and the common ground they usually find.  After all, everyone likes relationships, even if they approach them differently, and everyone likes totally sweet action, again, even if they approach it differently.  Mainly, the difference between the two comes down to angles and perspectives.

Personally, though, I'm hoping for an inevitable crossover ^_^


  1. I have seen covert affairs and that was good fun, the other series never herd of it, but reading your post, I don't think I would like it better then covert affairs :)

  2. Like I said, Bee really enjoys both, but when I asked her which she liked better, she said Covert Affairs.

    Though I can't really complain about Covert Affairs. Both Covert Affairs and Burn Notice tend to treat spies fairly realistically and explain how these things work (though Burn Notice does so explicitly). For example, in the first episode of Covert Affairs, this assassin blows away some guy and proceeds to dump 50 high powered rifle rounds into the room trying to kill her too. I watch the scene and I think "You know, if this was Burn Notice, that would be a faked assassination: A real assassin uses a single bullet to kill his target, but if he wants to be flashy, make an impression, he shoots the place up." But I sigh and dismiss the thought because I assume that Covert Affair simply wants to be dramatic.

    Then it turns out I was exactly right: the assassin was putting on a show to convince everyone that the "target" was dead when it was really just misdirection.

    There's more stuff like that in the series, which isn't surprising since both Burn Notice and Covert Affairs are made by people who do their homework.


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