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Featured TV on DVD Review: Burn Notice: Season Four

June 5th, 2011

Burn Notice: Season Four - Buy from Amazon

Burn Notice is a widely successful show on the USA network that is entering its fifth season in a couple weeks. I've been able to review the previous two seasons and was very impressed both times. Can season four maintain this high quality level? Or has it peaked?

The Show

We'll start with a quick recap. Michael Westen is a former spy who was burned, that is to say he was accused of crimes and was fired as a result. Now he's stuck in Miami looking for the people who burned him with very few allies: ex-girlfriend, an ex-Navy seal, and his mom.

At the end the last season, Michael met Simon Escher, the man who actually committed all of the crimes Michael was framed for. He also meets the people who burned him. While these people are clearly not his friends, he's forced to work for them with Vaughn. Early in the season, Vaughn gets Michael to sneak into a government facility to get some information, and in the process accidentally burns a fellow spy, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell from Third Watch, The Game, etc.). Feeling guilty for what happens, he approaches Jesse and tries to help him out, and Jesse becomes the fourth member of the team. Of course, they don't tell him their role in him getting burned, especially after he makes it clear he's planning on killing anyone that was involved. With that complication, the team must try to find out who burned Michael, who they were fighting, and if that guy is a potential ally or just another villain, all while helping the usual group of down-on-their-luck Miami residents.

This season again exhibits an amazing balance between the one-off cases and the cases that move the main plot forward. (And then there are the cases that just bring back fun guest stars from the past.) Usually most episodes deal with a little bit of both, so every episode is important to watch, and fortunately, every episode is worth watching more than once. While this is great news for fans, it does make it much harder to pick out highlight episodes to talk about, especially if you want to avoid spoilers. Some of the highlights for me include Past & Future Tense, which includes a guest spot by Burt Reynolds, who plays a long burned spy who has since landed back on the Russian's radar. Another fun actor who many several guest shots this season is Richard Kind, who plays Marv, Jesse's old handler. Seth Peterson returns as Nate, Michael's brother. And there are some other, much more spoiler heavy guest shots.

It's arguably the best season in the show's run so far, and it feels like we are progressing in the main story and not just spinning our wheels.

The Extras

The extras this time around are better than last season and includes an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, outtakes, and featurettes. It's really all you want. Disc one has deleted scenes for the premiere, outtakes, and two featurettes. The first is a six-minute featurette on Sam Axe and his reputation with women and his ability to consume mass quantity of alcohol. Best-Laid Plans is a five-minute featurette on the stunts. Disc two only has deleted scenes for one episode, while disc three has deleted scenes for three more episodes. The fourth and final disc starts with an audio commentary track on the finale, which is a good episode to choose if you are only going to have one track, but I would have liked more. There are also deleted scenes for one episode. Finally, there are a few extras devoted to White Collar, which can be seen as Burn Notice's sisters shot on the USA Network. There are two featurettes with the writers of the two shows making fun of each other. Finally, there's the pilot episode of White Collar, which I don't really consider a special feature, but an ad for a (mostly) unrelated show.

The Verdict

Season Four of Burn Notice is arguably the best in the show's run so far, while the extras took a big jump up in quality and quantity. This lifts the overall value from an easy recommendation to contender for Pick of the Week

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