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DVD Review: Burn Notice – Season Three

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While I was perfectly aware of the fact that Burn Notice was in existence, I never had the opportunity to check it out prior to plugging in Burn Notice: Season Three. And, having viewed only a couple of episodes, I can regretfully state that I have been missing out. Fortunately, though, USA’s Burn Notice is one of those “standalone” series that you can simply flip on any ol’ time and not have to worry about wondering who the hell these people are, or what they’re doing (the show’s regular prologue fills you in on what little you need to know).

Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) was once a spy for the US Government. But, following the untimely news of his own burn notice (wherein an intelligence agency deems one to be unreliable and drops them like a bad habit), Michael finds himself stuck in Miami with everything lost and seemingly nothing to gain. As if nothing wasn’t bad enough, Michael’s only true friends are his slightly loony ex-girlfriend (Gabrielle Anwar), his chain-smoking mother (Sharon Gless), and Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), a beer-loving ex-informant/Navy SEAL who redefines the term “American Gigolo.”

OK, you now have your backstory and your characters. The premise of the series is quite simple from there on in: Michael performs a number of “jobs” (sometimes unwillingly) for various victims and villains alike in the greater Miami metropolitan area. Many of these jobs require some assistance. Most of them require some sort of explosive finale to keep audiences entertained and coming back for more. Burn Notice: Season Three begins with Michael becoming the target of an indomitable detective (Moon Bloodgood), who is determined to find out why this “average” Miami resident is always around whenever something blows up.

From there on in, Michael attempts to get back into Intelligence (as he tried before) — something his former handlers aren’t too terribly keen on, and so they rack him through the coals once more via “bribe jobs.” Naturally, the outcome probably won’t work to Michael’s favor (this is the government, we’re talking about — and a weekly USA Network action/comedy/drama series to boot!), but it definitely works out to the favor of audiences.

I mean, really — a show that has some truly wonderfully wacko characters, things blowing up, conspiracies, murders, tanned and bikini-clad booties, and Bruce Campbell swiggin’ beer after beer while mackin’ on the ladies?

I’m sold.

Fox Home Entertainment brings Burn Notice: Season Three to DVD in a four-disc set; delivering all 16 episodes and the beautiful locales that embellish them in a 1.78:1 widescreen ratio. The presentation here is pretty average for the most part (this is a USA Network cable TV series, after all), but it has its share of grain — which isn‘t great, but it doesn’t put a major crimp on the entertainment factor. Accompanying the video presentation is a pretty darn decent 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack (all the booms go boom just right, so what more could you want?), with subtitles in English SDH, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

A couple of special features are also included here. The most interesting one of the lot is “2009 San Diego Comic-Con International,” a severely edited recap of a Q&A with select cast and crew. Bruce Campbell is basically the focus point here (whether he’s supposed to be or not — you know how those fans can be, particularly when they get to ask questions) — so much so, in fact, that they could’ve titled this featurette “Bruce Campbell and Co. at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International.” The other bonus feature is
“Smash, Crash Boom: Inside the Burn Notice Stunt Unit,” a look at some of the stuntwork that goes went into a particular scene (or two — maybe three).

While the extras are a bit disappointing (the aforementioned duo of featurettes is it, folks), Burn Notice: Season Three is still an amusing and highly entertaining series.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.