BURN NOTICE: SEASON SIX
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (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
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Created by: Matt Nix
BY KEVIN CARR
There were some signs that “Burn Notice” was in the midst of jumping the shark a few years ago. The biggest sign was the addition of a Ted McGinley character like Jesse Porter (Coby Bell). Generally when a series brings on a new regular to mix up the chemistry of the characters, it’s a sign that they’re trying to fix something.
For two years, Jesse fixed nothing and just got in the way of the triad of Michael, Fiona and Sam. By his third year, Jesse has found his place. I don’t love his character being a series regular, but he doesn’t irritate me as much as he initially did.
Still, that was warning #1 about shark-jumping for the burned spy in Miami. The second warning was too many “shit gets real” storylines. These tend to show that actors are becoming concerned with stagnation in their characters. While this is a good move for the actors, it can seriously mess up the timber of the show. We see a massive “shit gets real” storyline in the middle of “Burn Notice: Season Six,” and it’s something that becomes a driving force for the second half of the season, leading into Season Seven.
This wouldn’t be so bad if Season Six hadn’t started out already with shit getting real. Unfortunately, it does. Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) is in jail after being framed for blowing up a building. The driving force for the first half of this season is for Michael, Sam and Jesse to free her. This works with Michael being brought back into the good graces of the government to overcome his burning that started the show.
Unfortunately, this leaves less room for the procedural aspect of the series. What I always enjoyed about “Burn Notice” in its early seasons is that it was simply a modern version of “The Fall Guy.” Sure, there was the continuing storyline for Michael to discover layer upon layer of conspiracy to keep him silent (which over the years has turned in on itself like a snake eating its own tail). However, there was always the fun aspect of the show in which Michael and his rag-tag group of operatives help people in need.
Sadly, this week-to-week enjoyment has taken a back seat, particularly in this season. I suppose it’s to be expected since the seventh season is set up to be the last one. I can at least respect the series for trying to tie things up.
Though all is not lost in “Burn Notice: Season Six.” There’s still a level of fun entertainment, especially when it comes to Sam (Bruce Campbell). In fact, with Fiona dealing with the harsh realities of incarceration and Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) taking all this emotional weight on his shoulders, these storylines get too morose for my tastes. There’s no signs of this letting up, considering the shocking impact the mid-season finale has on Michael’s’ life.
Thus, Sam is often left to team up with Jesse, which makes the latter more tolerable this season. In fact, these two have less personal investment in the overall “shit gets real” events permeating this seasons. I never thought I’d say this, but the chemistry of these two is the saving grace of this year. (God in heaven, did I just throw some show-saving praise on Jesse? Egads!)
For the avid watcher of “Burn Notice,” it’s nice to check out this season. However, I wouldn’t recommend starting here if you want to capture the fun essence of the show.
Although the special features have been scaled back on this DVD release, they are still enough in here for a second look… especially for a show in its sixth season. Features include an audio commentary of the episode “Shock Wave” with creator Matt Nix, Renny Harlin (!), Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell. There’s also some deleted scenes scattered through the episodes.
The final bonus features include a run-of-the-mill gag reel and the featurette “Matt Nix Gets Burned,.” meant to show a tongue-in-cheek look at Nix’s fake cost overruns.