By Ken Tucker
Updated January 29, 2009 at 11:33 PM EST

There’s a new episode of Burn Notice on tonight, and since its 2007 premiere, I’ve been a big fan of Jeffrey Donovan’s burned-spy Michael Westin. But starting last season, with the increased use of Tricia Helfer as a meanie trying to control Michael’s life, Burn Notice hasn’t been as fast-paced and clever. I like Helfer in Battlestar Galactica, of course, but in Burn, she’s now the element that drags the action to a halt every time. (It’s not her fault, it’s the way the role is written.) The show’s gotten bogged down to the point where, last week, our usually-confident Michael was reduced to whining, “I want my life back!”

I agree with my colleague Alynda Wheat, who wrote that the show has become “laden with a frustrating mythology [and] soggy emotional ties.” There’s also, to my eye, even less chemistry this season between Michael and Gabrielle Anwar’s Fiona. (Still love Bruce Campbell, though–all he has to do is walk around being Bruce Campbell and it doesn’t matter what his lines or subplot is.)

But I want my original, spunky, stream-lined, full-of-secret-spy-tricks Burn Notice back. Do you agree? Are you still watching?

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