BURN NOTICE: SEASON SEVEN
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Jeffrey Donovan as MICHAEL WESTEN
Gabrielle Anwar as FIONA GLENANNE
Bruce Campbell as SAM AXE
Sharon Gless as MADELINE WESTEN
Coby Bell as JESSE PORTER
Created by: Matt Nix
BY KEVIN CARR
Watching “Burn Notice” over the years has been a real emotional up-and-down for me. At first, I really enjoyed the show. Sure, Jeffrey Donovan had some really terrible accents on parade (and that hasn’t really changed, just been downplayed a bit in the recent seasons). However, I found it to be a really fun show at times.
In its early days, “Burn Notice” reminded me of the old series from the 80s called “The Fall Guy.” We had an expert at something (for “Burn Notice,” it was spying; for “The Fall Guy,” it was stunts). In order to make ends meet, the main character would work for people on the side, helping out where he was needed.
This premise was great for “Burn Notice.” If you could get past the cheesy narration that seemed to get more matter-of-fact and annoying each year, these one-off episodes were a lot of fun. This worked because the characters had less at stake. There’s a safety in a series drama that allows its principle cast members to be in ultimate danger each week but always persevere.
This is why over the years, I have been more and more annoyed at what I refer to as “shit gets real” storylines. These involve a more personal connection to the main characters, whether it be deaths in Michael’s family, the incarceration of Fiona or the overall need to find out why Michael was burned in the first place.
Also, recently bringing Coby Bell into the fray was tiresome. He bothered me less over the last few years, but he has always felt like the Cousin Oliver of the series. At the very least, he found his true purpose in this final season, which was to provide a foil for Sam (Bruce Campbell) while Michael and Fiona were off doing their thing.
The real sticking point with this final season is that the entire thing was a “shit gets real” storyline. This would have been great if it were really getting to the meat of who burned Michael, but after years of misdirection, I really didn’t care any more. More over, the final bad guys the show gives us are too wimpy and corny to really hold up to the meatier earlier seasons.
Ultimately, it feels like this final season was made for the die-hard fans as well as the actors themselves. By watching the behind-the-scenes interviews on the bonus menu, it’s clear that the actors had more control and input into their character arcs as the series wrapped up. This is a great thing for an actor, but it doesn’t always work best for the audience. Demanding a meaningful end to your storyline or a big acting moment in the final season looks great on an acting reel, but it tends to result in overwritten scripts and corny (and sometimes illogical) moments.
In the end, I’m glad I pushed through the end of the series, but that comes more from my desire to finish what I start. I suppose fans will be fine with this, but the final season demonstrates why I find a lot of these final seasons to be tedious and beyond the jumping point past the shark.
The Season Seven DVD set includes all 13 episodes of the final season. It includes deleted scenes on each disc, as well as an audio commentary for the 100th episode. There’s also a gag reel and a final behind-the-scenes look at the season in “Final Mission: Ending the Series.”