Burn Notice: Season Two (2008) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Crime / Drama / Mystery
Fox || NR - 684 minutes - $59.99 || June 16, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-06-23


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Matt Nix (created by)
Cast: Jeffrey Donovan, Gabriel Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Glass


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Select Episode Commentaries
  • Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Spies don’t get fired. They get burned.

Plot: After being mysteriously blacklisted from the intelligence community, former CIA operative Michael Westen must rely on his extraordinary set of skills to survive the hard-boiled streets of Miami and somehow recover his stolen identity. With the help of his sultry ex-girlfriend, Fiona—a former IRA affiliate every bit as deadly as she is gorgeous—Michael must track down his elusive nemesis and get to the bottom of his burn...before it’s too late.

USA’s “Burn Notice” isn’t an entirely innovative show (think “MacGyver” meets “The A-Team”) but between the brilliant casting of the main cast Jeffrey Donovan, Gabriel Anwar and the previously underappreciated Bruce Campbell and some sharp writing, the show never falters even when every episode entails Michael, often “reluctantly” (not much arm twisting needed though), helping some poor schmo out of a jam. When the series first began, he did for the money and as it progressed it became about helping the innocent that sometimes led to getting closer to who burned him.

What I like about the show – entering into its third season – is how creator Matt Nix and the other “Burn Notice” writers don’t remain complacent, which is easy to do especially with the success the show has had on the USA Network. Of course, it is still a fairly new show but I hope it doesn’t go the same route as “Monk” and sort of stall the audience from answering the series’ overall goal: who burned Michael? In the case of “Monk”, it’s coming into season nine, and the last, with the past few not really touching upon who killed Monk’s wife.

In the case of the second season of “Burn Notice”, it turns things upside down for Michael and his crew with the introduction of Carla (Tricia Helfer) who is basically Michael’s handler, representing the organization that burned him. Michael must take on a variety of jobs for this faceless association when they threaten his friends and family. What they want him for, he doesn’t know, though it does come to a head in the season finale, including another piece of brilliant (cameo) casting on par with Richard Schiff in season one.

I don’t watch a lot of shows on a week-to-week basis anymore but as long as the quality remains steady, “Burn Notice” will be on my DVR schedule for some time. It has a great mixture of witty dry humor, comedy and spy mystery along with a fun supporting cast.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:
01. Breaking and Entering
02. Turn and Burn
03. Trust Me
04. Comrades
05. Scatter Point
06. Bad Blood
07. Rough Seas
08. Double Booked
09. Good Soldier
10. Do No Harm
11. Hot Spot
12. Seek and Destroy
13. Bad Breaks
14. Truth and Reconciliation
15. Sins and Omission
16. Lesser Evil




.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The Blu-ray debut for “Burn Notice” comes in a standard BD case with a 3-disc hub.

First up are commentaries for three episodes (one per disc):

‘Bad Blood’ – episode director Bronwen Hughes, story editor/actor Ben Watkins (Ricky Watkins), co-writer Rashad Raisani, co-writer/creator Matt Nix and actors Rob Benedict (Eddie Ash) and Method Man (Valentine)

‘Double Booked’ – episode director Tim Matheson, co-writer Jason Tracey, co-writer Craig O’Neill and creator Matt Nix

‘Lesser Evil’ – writer/creator Matt Nix and actor Bruce Campbell (Sam) & Michael Shanks (Victor)

Nixin’ It Up on Burn Notice (13:57) – Go behind-the-scenes with creator Mike Nix as he makes his directorial debut on the episode, ‘Do No Ham’. Nix takes the viewer through the process of bringing together an episode from casting to storyboards and locations.

Deleted Scenes (~11:00) – Some minor scenes are included for 7 episodes most of which were no doubt tossed due to time constraints, though one where Michael needs to scare away a couple gals who had hit his car (before a cop comes) was pretty funny.

Last up is a somewhat funny (though overly long) gag reel (10:22) and an easter egg of sorts called “Boom Notice” (8:38), a spoof of the show with the boom operator in place of Michael Westen.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

“Burn Notice” is presented with a 1.78 aspect ratio and now in 1080p high-definition. By comparison with other Blu-ray releases, this is probably one of the most grainy and/or noisy high-def transfers I have ever seen. Since I watch the show every week on USA HD, I never noticed this much before but man oh man, is it intense. Now, good news is the colors do sometimes pop out given the bright Miami fluorescents and all, but at the same time, the noise cannot be ignored.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track decent but not outstanding... Although the dialogue levels are clear and understandable, I wasn’t all that impressed with the music or sound effects. Sure, they sound alright just nothing that will make your room shake, and speaking of which, my bass rarely got used despite it turning on. So, this is not a very aggressive audio experience.



.::OVERALL::.

“Burn Notice: Season Two” on Blu-ray features OK audio and, well, less than impressive video with major amount of noise and grain throughout. I’m not sure how exactly it compares to the USA HD broadcast as I don’t remember it being quite that bad (perhaps how it was mastered brought the noise level up). In any case, the features are good and the show is fantastic but I’m not sure if it is worth the price for an HD upgrade over its DVD counterpart.