'Burn Notice: Season Three'
(Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: The Miami crime scene continues heating up for Master spy-for-hire Michael Westen as the Third Season of USA Network original series “Burn Notice” arrives on to DVD.
DVD: So, as many people have asked, and I'm sure many more will continue to, why is this show soooooo great?! Well, the show's writing remains very sharp, even three seasons in, the main acting trio has superb chemistry, and getting weekly spy stories makes it easier to bear the surprising lack of good spy films coming out these days!
Sure, the Cold War is over, but spies are and will always be cool fodder for entertainment. Michael, Sam (Bruce Campbell), and Fi (Gabrielle Anwar) have the three essential parts of any crack team: the frontman to go undercover (Michael), the surveillance and heavy hitter (Sam), and the demolitionist with sex appeal (Fi).
It's the best of all the spy characters rolled into three leads tempered by a sort of A-Team mentality where the team takes on the problems of the everyman as they work out problems in the deeper, darker corners of the spy world.
The formula worked well for two seasons, the reason it falters in the third season is because they use the exact same stakes as in the previous season, the troublesome figure keeping tabs on Michael's team from season two, played by Tricia Helfer, gets replaced by the less threatening Moon Bloodgood whose methods aren't nearly as vindictive and who ultimately accepts Michael as a force for good.
The Spy vs. Spy plot, which was also taken up by Helfer in the second season, never fully materializes until the final episodes of this season and even then they're little more than a pretense to setup Michael's potential rejoining of the fold.
The evil spy of the third season comes in the form of Chris Vance who plays the British, sexually ambiguous Mason Gilroy and who runs Michael through the usual don't ask, don't tell missions where Michael undertakes seemingly unconnected missions towards some greater goal. Will he figure it out in time? Yes, yes he will. Because Michael Westen is awesome.
The cast's chemistry makes 'Burn Notice' what it is. Jeffrey Donovan, Bruce Campbell, and Gabrielle Anwar are hilarious in their quick-paced banter, and when Sharon Gless is added into the mix as Michael's increasingly jaded mother - every episode has at least 5 solid comedic bits. Additionally, the series boasts occasional appearances by the likes of Paul Tei, Tim Matheson (who also directs a few episodes), and Jay Karnes (Dutchboy of The Shield).
The visual aesthetic of the show uses Miami's perpetual sunshine to great effect and the show has retained its stunning look from its onset. [ML] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Smash, Crash, Boom: Inside the Burn Notice Stunt Unit
2009 San Diego Comic-Con International Panel