DVD Review: Burn Notice – Season One

23 Feb

Burn Notice Season One

I heart the 80s. More specifically I heart 80s TV and those US action/adventure series where the sun always shines, the bad guys never shoot straight and where the good guys are framed for a crime they didn’t commit and can make flamethrowers out of a couple of paperclips once a week. Burn Notice updates the 1980s action series to present day Miami in style.

Season One introduces us to Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan), a spy who is served a burn notice (the equivalent of his P45) by his bosses in the middle of a covert operation.

With help from old school spy Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), ex-IRA member and ex-girlfriend Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and his mom (Cagney and Lacey’s Sharon Gless), Weston’s main mission throughout these 12 episodes is simply to find out why he was burned…though simple isn’t a word in his vocabulary.

Each episode contains a mention of the main season arc, its prominence varying depending on the other story being told. Weston becomes something of a “gun for hire”, taking on cases that his mother, brother or other associates send his way.

Drug smuggling, kidnapping, gang-led extortion and other seemingly workaday plots are dusted off and given a lick of shiny paint by the writers, outrageous plots, smart dialogue and gorgeous locations being the series key features. The show also has a directorial style which keeps episodes speeding along: things move so fast in Burn Notice that they make Spooks look like an episode of Heartbeat.

B-movie legend Bruce Campbell gives the programme a nice line in humour, his character a throwback to the larger than life characters so familiar from Stephen J Cannell series such as The A-Team or Hardcastle and McCormick. Campbell seems to be loving his second fiddle status, getting many of the best one-liners.

There’s also a strong female angle here, with Gabrielle Anwar giving the sex appeal and Sharon Gless giving the emotion that the series needs. Anwar is strong enough to give the baddies a sound kicking each week while Gless is perfect in every scene, enough elements of her old Cagney character present to ensure her motherly side doesn’t smother her screen son.

For sheer entertainment value, Burn Notice is hard to beat and if you’re looking for escapist fun after a hard days work this does the job nicely. Roll on Season Two.

DVD Special Features

The main extras on these four discs are scene specific commentary on each episode. All the main cast and creator/writer Matt Nix offer their thoughts on both character and series development.

A gag reel, audition tapes for Donovan and Anwar and various scene montages add to the package.

DVD Specifications

  • Release date: 2 May 2009
  • Certificate: 15
  • Discs: 4
  • RRP: £19.99

Read about Bruce Campbell’s live appearance in Edinburgh in February 2009.

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One Response to “DVD Review: Burn Notice – Season One”

  1. JaneBGoode 9 March, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

    Watch the first season then get the second as soon as you can as it gets even better, I only watch it for Bruce Campbell..

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