Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BURN NOTICE - SEASON THREE

The third season of the USA Network action series, BURN NOTICE is new on DVD, once again delivering for series fans and collectors sixteen hours of some of the best escapism on television.

In the third season, "burned" ex-spy Michael Weston (Jefferey Donovan, BLAIR WITCH 2) finds himself still stuck in Miami, but now completely unprotected. He and his "team" - gunrunning lover Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar, BODY SNATCHERS), ex-SEAL Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell, EVIL DEAD) and his mom, Madeline (Sharon Gless, CAGNEY & LACEY) - are soon under scrutiny by a tenacious Miami police detective and fending off attacks by a slew of Weston's old enemies, all while continuing to help the helpless and trying to get his old government job back.

As with the previous seasons, exceptionally fine casting and engaging performances make a potentially routine premise into something both highly entertaining and smarter than most of what's on TV these days. Bright South Florida locations, lots of Miami Beach glamour (including seemingly endless, tanned and toned background beauties in bikinis), exciting car stunts, fiery explosions, convincing fights and intriguing, witty scripts blend smoothly into a tasty spy-crime-action-adventure jambalaya.

The characters are the key, though, and the third season does a great job of keeping them fresh and the viewer genuinely interested in what happens to them. In this third year, Weston really pushes his friends to the limits of their loyalty, and has to involve his mother in his schemes to a much greater extent than before. There are a number of great guest stars this year, as well, including Tim Matheson (ANIMAL HOUSE) making a return appearance as one of Weston's old adversaries, and Tyne Daly (THE ENFORCER), who shows up for a cute CAGNEY & LACEY reunion with Gless.

The four-disc set from Fox Home Entertainment includes all 16 Season Three episodes in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers and Dolby 5.1 Digital audio. Image quality is bright and sharp, and the audio is robust. This set is slim on bonus features - unlike the previous seasons - containing only a short documentary on the series' stunts and video of the cast & crew's appearance at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. All of this is tucked into a nice, compact case sporting some hideously Photoshopped cover art.

I follow this series exclusively on DVD (Season 4 is just starting on USA now), and I always burn through the season sets in just a couple of days. The year-long waits between sets can be rough, but by the time a new season hits DVD, I'm really missing the characters and am eager to jump back into their world.

BURN NOTICE is smart, fast-paced television and is highly recommended.

BUY: Burn Notice: Season Three