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La Femme Nikita - The Complete 1st Season Review




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Rating
Video:   7/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   4/10

Nikita = Hot!!
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
7/21/2003

Accused of a crime she didn't commit, Nikita finds herself in "Section One," a secretive organization created to combat terrorists and other groups. Her mentor is Michael (Roy Dupuis), a man of few words, but lots of action. Birkoff (Matthew Ferguson), a computer genius is often behind-the-scenes working his geeky magic while Walter (Don Francks) provides the team with the firepower they need to get the job done. When someone's not cooperating it's a trip to the white room for them where they meet Madeline (Alberta Watson), a motherly figure you just don't want to tick off. Behind every secret organization is a top man; in this case he's known as "Operations" (Eugene Robert Glazer) - a no-nonsense kinda guy.

Emails are sent back and forth and a group is mobilized. All over the world, "warriors" are being brought on board with one goal.

Missed that episode? Truth is, it isn't one. The "warriors" are fans of La Femme Nikita and take direction from "First Team." These fans were responsible for getting a short 5th season of the show, and are largely responsible for the DVD set sitting on the table beside me. It was because of their dedication to the show (and thousands of letters, emails and phone calls) that prompted Warner Bros to release the series on DVD. This set is a bit personal for me because I've been to their message board and I've seen their dedication. When I had a meeting at Warner Bros last year and mentioned the show, everyone in the room knew the push by the fans to have it released. Good work!

Video

I found the video on this release a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the episodes were really good and contained some slight grain while others appeared very grainy. Light greys, like overcast skies, or other light backgrounds provided problems and resulted in the worst looking picture. Colors are bright, causing some fans to complain that they are too bright when compared to the original airings. There are a few specs of dust in the episodes, but not enough that it becomes distracting. Overall I found this to be decent quality. If each episode had looked like the good episodes, the score would have been 8/10. Chapters are set at appropriate places in the episodes, including right after the opening to allow skipping of the intro.

Audio

The music used in the series played an important role in the show, so it's nice to hear a solid soundtrack. This Dolby Surround track gave my system a nice workout, especially with some of the bass heard during explosions and some of the heavier songs used on the show. The show sounds a lot better than it ever did on TV, and it was fun to rock to the groovy tunes used in the show. There are English, French and Spanish subtitles included for the episodes.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commentary on "Nikita" and "Mercy"
Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran and Director Jon Cassar provided the commentary on the first episode, "Nikita." The three play off each other well and give quite a few details on the production of the series. On "Mercy" it's just Surnow speaking and although I expected the track to be boring (since it was only one person speaking) I found this commentary to be very good. Surnow talks a lot about the actors and the characters in the show. After listening to these two tracks my only wish was that there were more.

Cancelled Scenes (12:08)
Warner Bros did an interesting thing with this set. There are deleted scenes on discs 1, 2 and 3, and disc 6 contains the same scenes on one disc; a great idea. Each "cancelled scene" can be played with, or without commentary from Joel Surnow.
Disc 1 - 7:18 4 scenes
Disc 2 - 2:40 3 scenes
Disc 3 - 2:10 2 scenes
Disc 6 - all the cancelled scenes

Section One Declassified: The Making of La Femme Nikita (12:22)
A very nice look back at the show and the characters. This featurette includes interviews with most of the cast members and production crew. Good stuff!

Easter Egg (0:58)
Peta Wilson looking very sexy while sitting in a chair. You'll get a big kiss if you can find this on disc 6.

Summary

I rarely talk about the shows that I want to see out on DVD, but this is one of them. I really enjoyed the show when it was on the air, but due to scheduling changes on the network that aired it in Canada I never saw the complete series. It's wonderful to have this show on DVD, and it's nice to know that Warner Bros. listens to their customers. Hopefully they can sell enough sets to warrant releasing the second season, and beyond. If you're a fan of Alias, or other spy shows, you'll love La Femme Nikita. Pick it up.


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