By Chris Rebholz

Jan 03, 2014 03:16 PM EST


Burn Notice: Season Seven DVD Review

I'll be honest, when Burn Notice first came to the airwaves, I liked it. I enjoyed the spy angle mixed with the everyday nuances of a guy who clearly is unable to form attachments to those around him. It made me really wonder if this is what it took to work for the C.I.A. After about 2 seasons of the show, I stopped watching. Not because I felt it had gotten worse, simply I just wasn't that compelled by it to return to watching it. However, I always knew it was still on the air and it made me happy to learn that it had gone all the way to a final season, closing out the storyline for Michael West (Jeffrey Donovan), Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) and Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar). Now being able to watch the final season AND review has given me a wider view of the series overall, while I may not have been up to date when I started, a quick glance at Wikipedia solved that problem.
In its early days, "Burn Notice" reminded me of the old series from the 80s called "The Fall Guy." We had an expert at something (for "Burn Notice," it was spying; for "The Fall Guy," it was stunts). In order to make ends meet, the main character would work for people on the side, helping out where he was needed.

This premise was great for "Burn Notice." If you could get past the cheesy narration that seemed to get more matter-of-fact and annoying each year, these one-off episodes were a lot of fun. This worked because the characters had less at stake. There's a safety in a series drama that allows its principle cast members to be in ultimate danger each week but always persevere.
This is why over the years, I have been more and more annoyed at what I refer to as "shit gets real" storylines. These involve a more personal connection to the main characters, whether it be deaths in Michael's family, the incarceration of Fiona or the overall need to find out why Michael was burned in the first place.

Also, recently bringing Coby Bell into the fray was tiresome. He bothered me less over the last few years, but he has always felt like the Cousin Oliver of the series. At the very least, he found his true purpose in this final season, which was to provide a foil for Sam (Bruce Campbell) while Michael and Fiona were off doing their thing.

The real sticking point with this final season is that the entire thing was a "shit gets real" storyline. This would have been great if it were really getting to the meat of who burned Michael, but after years of misdirection, I really didn't care anymore. Moreover, the final bad guys the show gives us are too wimpy and corny to really hold up to the meatier earlier seasons.

Ultimately, it feels like this final season was made for the die-hard fans as well as the actors themselves. By watching the behind-the-scenes interviews on the bonus menu, it's clear that the actors had more control and input into their character arcs as the series wrapped up. This is a great thing for an actor, but it doesn't always work best for the audience. Demanding a meaningful end to your storyline or a big acting moment in the final season looks great on an acting reel, but it tends to result in overwritten scripts and corny (and sometimes illogical) moments.

Visually there isn't much to say here, my copy of Season 7 was a standard DVD. With all the Blu-ray I've watched these past years, the occasional glimpse of standard DVD feels like a trip to the 70's. Blacks looked grainy, colors didn't saturate well and many of the scenes had a "fuzz" to them. The same can be said for the audio, Season 7 featured some high octane moments (big explosions, gunfire, people yelling etc.) but for all it was worth, it only came through one channel, and what good does that do me, or you?

Special Features:
  • 100th episode Audi Commentary
  • Final Mission: Ending the Series– An overview of the final season.
  • Gag reel
  • Deleted Scenes
In the end, I'm glad I got to see the final season. Being an overly curious person, especially when it comes to film and TV, I was eager to see how they went about concluding this series. I suppose some of the more die-hard fans will be fine with this, but the final season demonstrates to me what a lot of shows can suffer from, franchise fatigue. It's a shame they didn't have a long view for the show when it started, perhaps keeping it to 5 seasons would have worked better. 

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