Burn Notice S6
The penultimate season of Burn
Notice, season six, has been
released on DVD to coincide with the start of the final set of shows
airing on the USA Network.
A big fan of the spy show from the beginning, I was looking
forward to this season, but it left me cold. With
too much angst,
not enough humor, and some huge plot holes that make it hard to suspend
disbelief, ending the show after the current season feels like the
As with every season, the fifth one ended in a
cliffhanger. A nogoodnick, Anson, had
been blackmailing Michael into take more and more dangerous assignments
of the evidence he had on Mike's girlfriend, Fiona.
To remove Anson's leverage, Fiona turned
herself in and confessed to blowing up a building and killing some
crime for which she's innocent, of course).
As this season starts, Michael turns into a rage
monster. With Fiona in jail, almost
certainly for life, and Anson on the loose, he can't control himself. He wants to get Anson, and will stop at
nothing to accomplish his goal. He's
also trying to pull strings to get his girlfriend out, but the CIA,
just about every other agency wants her locked up.
Fiona has her own problems too. There's
someone in jail who is trying to kill
her. She's not sure who or even
why. She's being held without visitation
rights, so she can't even tell Michael what's going on.
With no friends and fewer resources, things
look dire for the Irish waif.
It's no surprise that Michael starts looking for Anson.
He teams up with a CIA manager, Card, who was
the agent that trained Michael and taught him everything he knows. Even working with Card for every step forward
he takes there's a step back too. And,
as desperate as things look, they get worse, much worse, quickly. The closer Mike and his group get to Anson
and the figure behind him, the higher the stakes and the more people
going after them.
The show was always best when Mike, Fiona, Sam, and later
Jesse were on a mission to help some innocent person who couldn't help
themselves. They get away from that
almost totally this season. It's all
about the big picture this time around, and that has always been the
aspect of the show by far. If you take a
couple of steps back and think about the show, it doesn't make much
sense: there's an evil organization that
spy so they could hire him and when he bring them down there's another
that was really running the first one, and then another running the
one. Yeah, right. It
was okay when the show only devoted a
couple of minutes in each show to that story line.
It's easy to suspend your disbelief for that
long. But when the whole season is
focusing on the story, it's gets a bit too much to take.
There were times that my family literally
laughed out loud at some of the plot twists that were supposed to be
suspenseful and surprising.
The show also lost a lot of its humor. There
were some great characters in past
seasons that were funny because they were flamboyant oddballs, like
underworld accountant. He makes an
appearance in this season, but instead of being amusing he's whiny and
pathetic. The CIA agents that the group
has to work with in one episode are supposed to be comic relief
they're not funny, just terribly incompetent, which is odd because
CIA field agent in the show is an efficient, calculating killer. It was just painful to watch the pair when
they were on screen.
Michael, who was never the most fleshed out character,
becomes a one-dimensional caricature of his former self.
He's basically filled with rage the whole
season and goes around throwing fits when he's not glowering. This season he's basically shows two
emotions: mad and angry.
That's not to say the show is all bad. There
were some pretty good episodes, but
just not that many. The show where Jesse
has to pull a con by himself with Mike and Card as backup was enjoyable. It was nice to see that character take center
stage, if only for a short while. Some
of the sequences with Fiona in prison worked well too.
They were suspenseful and not too
outrageous. It's just too bad that so
much of the rest of season was so terribly mediocre.
Oh yeah, and I can't review Burn Notice without
mentioning Bruce Campbell (who plays Mike's
friend Sam Axe). He's still the best
thing in the show and whenever he's on camera the program is
entertaining. After the program wraps at
the end of season
seven, I hope he gets tagged for another series quickly.
I'll sure tune in.
The 16 episodes that make up season three arrive on 4 DVDs
that are housed in a space saving single-width keepcase.
The show's DD 5.1 soundtrack fits it well, though with a
little tweaking the show could have a more engulfing feel.
The whole soundstage is used to good effect
in the action sequences with exploding buildings and crashes filling
with noise. Unfortunately when these are
over, the audio collapses for the most part into a stereo mix. When the main characters are sitting at a
table in a bar, boosting the ambient sound effects going to the rears
bit would have improved things a lot.
Aside from that the show sounds good with strong dialog and a
The 1.78:1 anamorphic image reproduces the show very well,
but the look of the show may cause some viewers to think the disc was
mastered. This isn't the case. The show itself is soft and grainy, and some
scenes are overblown with washed out colors and white that overpower
details (these are usually exterior shots during the day, to simulate
bright Miami sun). That was the look the
creators were going for, and while it's not my favorite style, it does
to create an atmosphere.
They included a single commentary track on this set (to the episode
Shock Wave) which is nice. There's
also a fun short, Matt Nix Gets Burned, which has the
show's creator getting his budget slashed and having to cobble together
episode with no money. The set is
rounded off with a slightly amusing gag reel and a series of deleted
Michael goes for mad to irate to angry and back again in
this season of Burn Notice. With the
star becoming one dimensional (and a bit boring) and with the plot
and more absurd, it's hard to suspend your disbelief while watching it. Still, there are some good moments and fans
should check it out. Just make it a rental.