Created by: Matt Nix
Starring: Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless, Seth Peterson
- All eleven first season episodes
- Scene specific commentary on every episode by the cast and crew
- Character montage
- “Girls Gone Burn Notice”
- Action montage
- Gag reel
- Audition footage
- Saving Grace TV show music video
Released by: Fox
Rating: NR, probably safe for teens and up
My Advice: Rental.
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This show is not going to change television as a medium–but that’s okay, because it was never designed to do so. Instead, it’s an entertaining diversion that’s basically any P.I. show you’ve seen amped up a bit to include more thrills and a bit of MacGyver thrown in, as Michael is brilliant with improvising solutions to things. He’s not A-Teaming a tank out of some heads of lettuce and a rusty mattress, but he does all right. The overall setup works for three reasons. One, Donovan makes for a likable guy. Granted, he’s a likeable guy who could kill you with a used napkin, but likable all the same. If Donovan doesn’t work, the show sucks. It’s that simple. Two, the writing. They’ve created the characters and they do things that make sense for the characters. They also give enough twisty-turny stuff where you can be engaged and not bored by seeing things coming from a mile off. Three, the rest of the cast.
Gabrielle Anwar is playing the female badass and she’s quite good at being both sexy and dangerous, which most males will read as “sexy and sexy.” Sharon Gless is excellent and it’s great to see her in a series again. But that standout who lights up the screen is our man Bruce. The Bruce is good in anything. But here he’s truly given some great material and a great character in Sam, the washed out operative who’s not only old school but mooching from wealthy older women in order to make ends meet. His work in this is priceless and even if everything else were meh, it would be worth watching for him. Also, I’d like to mention Lucy Lawless’ guest appearance in an episode. Xenaheads will probably know it’s her straightaway but I didn’t catch it. She’s quite good. Also of note is the fact that actor Tim Matheson (West Wing) directed two episodes.
The overall arc of the season is a good one and they manage to keep that going strong while dealing with other plotlines as well. It’s a nice change to see plotlines overlapping. So often in shows it’s like…well, Wolverine in Marvel Comics. How can the same character be in so many books each month? Just like in most television, Plot A, B and C could well be happening to completely different characters who just happen to look alike, so little do they interact or affect each other.
The scene specific commentaries are quite entertaining and easy to breeze through, since they’re not the whole episode. Nix, Anwar, Campbell and Donovan get off the best lines, with Bruce’s comments being flat out hilarious about 105% of the time. It’s a nice way to get what you want to know without perhaps all of the dead time that comes from having people faced with giving steady commentary for twelve episodes’ worth of footage.
Unfortunately, this is so good that the “special features” on the fourth disc are just shockingly…bleh. You get three montages: one with the characters saying each other’s names or common phrases, one with a bunch of women in bikinis, and one with action sequences. Useless. The gag reel is interesting, especially when you see Bruce improv-ing, but it’s very short. The audition footage is Donovan and Anwar, and that’s good to have for posterity. The only other thing is a music video, and it’s just as bad as you imagine.
This is a tough call as to whether or not you need to own this. On one hand, it’s a good show and anything that cuts The Bruce a check is gold in our books. But on the other hand, you can plow through the special features in a couple of hours. I would say if you’re a big fan of Bruce or the show, then go for it. If you want to test drive it, rent it, because then at least you’re getting to see it–and it’s worth watching.