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October 4, 2015

Burn Notice Season One - DVD Review

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 20th 2008 2:27PM
DVD BurnI'd like to think that I'm the kind of person that gets in on cool things at the start, you know? There's just something about jumping on the bandwagon that's less attractive than being able to say, "Oh, yes. I was into that from day one." So, while I can proudly declare that I was a charter member of the Mad Men audience, I was late to Burn Notice. I missed the boat on Burn Notice, okay! There, I said it.

Fortunately for me, I've had the chance to catch up. I even got to visit the set. The USA Network rebroadcasts and occasional marathons have helped -- hooray for DVRs -- but I really think it was the Burn Notice Season One DVD set that filled in all the blanks. Reasonably priced and recently released, the set has become one of my favorites, as had the tale of Michael Westen, professional spy who has been inexplicably fired -- burned -- and dumped in Miami. There's a lot to like in this show, and in this DVD set.

There are two plastic DVD sleeves that open to reveal four disks, all snuggly packed in the Burn Notice package. There's not a lot of nonsense on the cover, just a killer pic of Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar, as Michael and his ex-lover/invaluable asset Fiona. They're both packing, which alludes to a kind of Mr. & Mrs. Smith vibe. That's a misconception. While I like the photo, a picture including Bruce Campbell as Sam, ex-FBI operative, and Michael's other key asset, would have been a more honest representation of the show.

Inside, the sleeves hold the disks in place -- no sliding around -- and the back of each sleeve offers a nice synopsis of the episodes included therein. There was also an ad sleeve promoting other 20th Century Fox DVDs -- Prison Break, 24, Boston Legal, The Unit, et. al -- plus a book based on Michael Westen's adventures called The FIx by Tod Goldberg. That's coming out from Penguin in August 2008.

There's excellent audio and video quality across the board in the DVD set. The sound is 5.1 Dolby Surround, and the widescreen is 1.78:1. There are subtitles in English, Spanish and French.

There are some very nice features in the Burn Notice set, including the original audition footage done by Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar. I'm thinking that Bruce Campbell and Sharon Gless didn't have to audition -- I mean, really, they're so accomplished, would you ask them to do a reading? Too bad, because you just know that a Bruce Campbell audition would be riotous. And, for Sharon, she was fooling around with a funky wig for Madaline. The wig, in fact, is on her head in the pilot -- then gone forever! Matt Nix, creator of Burn Notice, nixed it.

The extras include some very casual -- but enjoyable -- episode commentaries that include all the principals, i.e. Nix, Donovan, Anwar, Campbell and Gless. There's a gag reel, a character montage, and a Girls Gone Burn Notice feature. The latter is clearly there to pump up the Miami/skin factor.

The real joy of the DVD set is actually all 11 episodes, starting with one of the best pilots I've seen in a long time. What made it so good is that all the elements of the show were laid out, starting with how Michael got burned and left in Miami, how Fi and Sam figure into his life, why he's stuck in South Florida, the complication with his loving, but annoying mother, and how Michael is going to survive. By the end of the pilot, in a very concise and unforced way, Matt Nix has set it all up perfectly, right down to the yogurt in Michael's industrial loft over a nightclub.

Every episode includes formula elements -- which I think is a good thing in this genre -- like Michael's voiceover information, the tongue-in-cheek titles ("Barry - Money Launderer"), and the transition images that include attractive use of the Florida locale, like those girls in the bikinis (which do nothing for me, but I'm sure are eye-candy to the guys).

Many times you might buy a DVD set to catch up on a show, to fill in a season you've missed. Burn Notice is the kind that you'll watch and more than likely re-watch. It's not gut-wrenching drama but neither is it so light as to be unworthy of your time. It's fun and just filling enought, kind of like a refreshing cup of yogurt -- maybe black cherry.

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Ron Ozer

Bought the set, loved the series, though the season finale and the Sharon Gless stuff wears thin very fast (as does his brother who is a trial to watch). Gless did much the same bit on Queer as Folk, it's tiresome. Still, I am now going to watch season 2 (have the DVR set to catch me up). I would never watch it again though, be real, there is too much to see to watch much twice (Sopranos is one I am re-watching, I would do it for Mad Men, but few others)

July 21 2008 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I recently became a fan of this series, I caught the episodes on USA's website. Amazing series, can't get enough of it! Haven't decided yet, if I want to make the purchase or not.

July 20 2008 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you guys pumped up this show between its seaon one finale and season two premire I probobly would have rented the set from Netflix. I honestly don't remember reading anything on here prior to a week before season two started. Not enough to time to catch up on season one. So while I probobly don't need to see season one to enjoy season 2, it would have been nice. Not saying I won't rent season 1 eventually, but obviously seeing it before season 2 starts is no longer an option.

July 20 2008 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

I hope they decide to release this set on Blu-Ray soon

July 20 2008 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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