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Burn Notice: Season Two - television series DVD / drama DVD / suspense DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless, Tricia Helfer, Paul Tei
  Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
DVD release: 16 June 2009   Runtime: 684 minutes
(4 discs)
Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Features: Aspect ratio 16x9, Audio tracks (5.1 Dolby Surround - English, Spanish), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese), Sixteen Season Two episodes, Select episode audio commentary (cast and crew), "NIXin' it up on Burn Notice," Deleted scenes, Gag reel, Boom Notice easter egg

I have to be honest up front: I rarely watch episode TV anymore. It has become too much of a sensory stew of bad reality TV (put Jon and Kate on my TV, and I run from the room screaming), sitcoms that haven't improved since the '90s, and way too many CSIs and Law and Orders (I can't wait until next year when CSI Centerpoint, AL and Law and Order: Mall Security debut).

One show that I watch regularly, however, is Burn Notice. I was lucky enough to take a chance on the first episode and have been hooked since. What hooked me? It is probably the best action show on TV besides 24 and, unlike the deadly serious 24, there his an element of humor thrown in Burn Notice. Besides, how much can you really dislike a show that has Bruce Campbell in it?

Though each episode has its own self-contained plot, there is a primary plot that undercurrents the entire series: Michael Westen (a terrific Jeffrey Donovan) is a master spy who suddenly got "burned" (or fired) and forced into exile in his hometown of Miami without a penny to his name. He relies on the help of former FBI buddy Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) and his ex-girlfriend, a former gun smuggler named Fiona (Gabriella Anwar), to try to clear his name and find out who burned him. Michael is also trying to rebuild his relationship with his mother (Sharon Gless). The third part of his juggling act is taking jobs for hire, where his street smarts and expertise as a spy give him a distinct advantage over run-of-the mill crooks and mobsters.

While Season One established the show's basic premise, Season Two actually kicks it up a notch with even more action, particularly in an exciting season finale that features a terrific car chase. In Season Two, Michael encounters Carla (Tricia Helfer), a sinister representative of whoever burned him. Because she has the information he needs (not to mention being willing and able to harm Michael's family), he finds himself forced to do her bidding - while trying at the same time to uncover what information he can about Carla and the people she works for.

The self-contained stories are just as involving and complicated, if not more so, than those seen in Season One. One of the best: Michael accidentally finds himself in the middle of a hostage situation at an exclusive bank and uses both his improvisational skills (he fools the bank robbers into thinking he is a doctor) as well as a strong set of MacGyver skills (he freezes the gun of one robber, causing it to explode in the robber's hand, and rigs a broken cell phone to the main communication motherboard in the bank to signal Sam for help).

In other episodes this season, Michael uses his elite set of skills to help
  • An ex-fiancÚ whose son has been kidnapped by a slimy but brilliant high-tech weapons smuggler.
  • An ex-con being forced back into crime.
  • A man who, searching for treatment for his dying son, lost everything to medical scam artists.
  • A football coach (ex-Cowboy and Miami Hurricane great Michael Irvin) harassed by a car thieving ring.
  • A father whose daughter was murdered by a wealthy Haitian fugitive.
The self-contained episode plots are artfully woven into the underlying main plot (indeed, Carla often seems to show up at the worst possible times). The main part of the fun is seeing how Michael is continually able to work his way out of seemingly impossible situations. There is also a "teaser" near the end, as Michael either uncovers some new nugget of information on Carla (or receives a new threat from Carla) that will make you want to tune into the next episode.

The best word to describe this show is cool. The show reminds me of Miami Vice in the masterful way it blends its Miami location into each episode. There is plenty of action mixed in with the humor. Last but not least, it is perfectly cast. Jeffery Donovan is almost the perfect choice to play Michael - very much an American version of Bond. He also has great chemistry with Campbell, Anwar and Gless. They make a great team.

Burn Notice is one of the best, most entertaining shows on TV right now. I was recommending it to friends and family even before I got this DVD. It's a fun show to watch just about anytime. Those who want to escape Jon and Kate hell on TV now have their alternative.

  • Audio commentaries for 3 episodes
  • Deleted scenes
  • A gag reel (funny)
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reviewed by Trent Daniel
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