BURN NOTICE: SEASON FOUR
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Ex-spy Michael Westen continues his efforts to discover who burned him. By now, his team of Sam and Fiona works perfectly, but now a new element is added to the mix. Jesse is an operative that Michael accidentally burns in order to get a piece of the bigger puzzle. Because Michael feels bad for burning Jesse, he takes him under his wing, getting his help in private missions and teaching him the spy ropes.
WHAT I LIKED
I have been a surprised fan of “Burn Notice” ever since I watched the first season on DVD a few years ago. I continue to like the relationship between Michael, Fiona and Sam, and by this season, things have gelled far beyond their tenuous structure in the earlier seasons. I continue to enjoy the spy elements and the “MacGyver” style of problem solving the crew uses.
For summertime cable shows, “Burn Notice” has been one of my favorites for the past few years, and it continues to help USA Networks rule the summer season on television. Sure, it still has the look of television, but the cast and crew manage to deliver a fun time with plenty of explosions, gunplay and hot ladies in bikinis walking around.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I can sum this up in three words: Jesse, Jesse and Jesse. The character of Jesse Porter reeks of a mid-series change to help keep the show fresh. But like Cousin Oliver on “The Brady Bunch,” Sam on “Diff’rent Strokes” or yet another little kid on “The Cosby Show,” Jesse brings the show down and gives it the feeling that it’s in the middle of jumping the shark. He doesn’t quite have a full Ted McGinley vibe to him, but it’s close.
Still, even with the annoying Jesse in the show, season four comes to an end with a great twist that opens things up for a potentially awesome season five. Is it too much to ask that Jesse take a shot between the eyes next season as well?
Other elements that still don’t quite work on the show are Jeffrey Donovan’s godawful accents and the character of Fiona getting triggered too easily by danger to kids. At least Michael’s mother has been toned down a bit, letting things get funny again.
One of the more impressive things about the “Burn Notice: Season Four” DVD is the fact that there are still some great special features. In addition to deleted scenes and audio commentaries on select episodes, there are several fun featurettes. “Best-Laid Plans” looks at the stunts in the series. “Sam Axe’s Guide to Ladies and Libations” puts a spotlight on Sam Axe (presumably for the upcoming DVD release of his stand-alone film).
However, the best element on this DVD set is the reciprocal roasting that the writers of “Burn Notice” and “White Collar” give each other. Because both shows air on USA Networks and the creators are friends, this offers some fun commentary on the two shows, both of which I thoroughly enjoy.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
TV watchers who like to live vicariously through on-air spies.