30th Dec2011

‘Burn Notice: Season 4’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf


Stars: Jeffrey Donovan, Bruce Campbell, Gabrielle Anwar, Sharon Gless, Burt Reynolds, Michael Ironside | Created by Matt Nix

As a newcomer to the Burn Notice series it may have been strange to start at season four but sometimes it’s a good way to start on shows like this. It allows people to see if it’s easy to get into and not too complicated, and also gives you a chance to start watching when a show should be in its stride and be confident in telling an enjoyable storyline with well-established characters.

Season four of Burn Notice starts off with Michael (the main character of the show) trying to uncover who helped some guy called Simon to escape at the end of season three. This is all you need to know really as in the first episode the action hits the ground running. From then on we are pulled into the world of the “burned” spy who is pretty much a spy who has been fired and reduced to nothing. He has no job, no money and he’s not even left with good credit. The only thing he does have is his friends, these being Michaels love interest Fiona and Sam Axe who is played by the much loved Bruce Campbell and for me steals every scene he is in. Along the way Michael manages to “burn” another agent Jesse who he takes under his wing. He allows Jesse to believe he’s helping him find out who burnt him while behind his back keeping the actual truth from him, something that will obviously blow up in the groups faces. So with the help of Jesse, the addition of a secret list and secret corrupt groups hell bent on stopping them from finding what they want we have the foundation of the season four storyline.

Part of the shows strength is the obvious chemistry between the main characters. Bruce Campbell’s laid back Sam and Gabrielle Anwar’s almost psychopathic Fiona really bounce off the intensity of Jeffrey Donovan’s portrayal of Michael. Along with Sharon Gless as Michael’s mother they are the stable core of the show. There are quite a few mentionable guest stars in the show with one of my favourites being Burt Reynolds as an old spy being hunted down by Russians trying to kill him and even a few minutes of cult favourite Michael Ironside to add to the mix. Sometimes shows like this rely on the guest star to add variety but with this show they are a nice addition but it’s still the main characters that hold it all together which is the hallmark of a quality cast.

Burn Notice centres on Michael finding out who ruined his career while helping poor innocents from around Miami who have been wronged in various ways. This almost has a modern day A-Team feel to it and even has that lightweight feel of an action show that’s made for entertainment rather than high drama. This is a show you can watch for an hour for its fun and light atmosphere and harkens back to other such shows as Alias but without Alias’ convoluted stories of red liquid and zombie like soldiers that it got lost in in the later seasons. It’s the type of show America does best really and it’s quite addictive. I did find this season quite long though and had a desire for them to get on with the main story instead of adding what felt like filler episodes that were simply there as “here is another helpless innocent, lets save the day”. I’d have preferred a cheat sheet saying which episodes to watch if you want to get on with the actual main storyline, however there are never really truly boring episodes, just ones that feel quite samey in tone.

Saying that, this is not a bad season at all and it’s one that allowed me easily to get into the show. It gave me a desire to actually watch the other seasons that are available even if it will be somewhat out of order. If they stick to this quality I’ll know it’ll be easy to get right into the story of the rag tag band of spies who just want to do a bit of good for the world. It’s a feel good action show that is easy to jump into and provides something to watch when you just want something that’s not too heavy.

Burn Notice: Season 4 is out now on DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.


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