To couch it in terms of classic spy television, Burn Notice combines the charm, wit and "knight errant" premise of The Saint with the just-plausible and always impressive gimmickry and elaborate scheming of Mission: Impossible in an appealing blend that’s familiar and new at the same time. Every week, Michael takes on a new role as he and his friends mount grandiose cons to right some wrongs, and instructs viewers in the finer points of spycraft through deftly-written voice-over with just the right amount of charming sarcasm. Whether he’s posing as a glamorous playboy arms dealer or a dangerously unhinged street thug, Donovan continues to project an aloof likability that reassures audiences without quite winking at them. The show belongs to him outright, which really speaks to Donovan’s talent, as he’s working with an incredibly talented supporting cast.
Now, onto the eagerly-awaited DVD set, out today and packed with extras.
Donovan shares his acting secrets, such as surprising his co-stars whenever possible and catching them off-guard in order to create more conflict in their on-screen relationships. "That’s why everyone thinks I suck," he concludes, to which Anwar readily concurs. "But it’s all for your Emmy awards," he insists. "Hello!"
These are only a few highlights of some very entertaining commentary, and even if it seems somewhat truncated by focusing on only select scenes, they do at least cover most of the best scenes from each episode. Above all, what we learn from the commentary is how well this creative team works together, how fond they appear to be for each other, and how comfortable they all seem kidding one another.
Also included is some interesting audition footage of Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar. Sometimes in audition footage, even the best actors look awful, but Jeffrey Donovan was so good in the room that he even comes off good on the tape, so you can definitely see why he got the part. You can also see why Gabrielle Anwar got the part: as on the show, she clearly didn’t wear a bra to her audition! Now, granted, she does give a pretty amazing audition as well (especially when she asks, "Shall we shoot them?"), but the bra thing couldn’t hurt, could it?
A trio of montages rounds out the special features, and they’re actually not bad. The "Character Montage" doesn’t even sound worth watching, but it’s actually pretty fun, and well cut. "Girls Gone Burn Notice" is a montage of the show’s beautiful background bikini babes, cut to an annoying rap, but I won’t deny that it’s entertaining! (Hence the screencap.) The "Action Montage" is, well, what you’d expect. They’re all the sort of thing they usually show at wrap parties.