Warner Bros.

$99.98, for fuck’s sake


975 Minutes


• Commentary on two episodes
• Deleted scenes w/ commentary
• Gag reel

The Pitch

Mission: Impossible meets Wonder Woman, but we couldn’t afford
to buy any Cool."

The Humans

Wilson, Roy Dupuis

The Nutshell

Once upon
a time, Luc Besson, he of Leon the Professional fame, made a
revelatory film — revelatory for his own sensibilities anyway. It concerned a
young heroin addict named Nikita who was captured by a quasi-legit agency. The
agency faked her death, and then gave her the choice of joining them or dying
for real. She chose to join them, and became one of their best operatives.

television picked up the rights to translate the film into a series starring
Peta Wilson as Nikita. The show limped along for five seasons as a flat spy
drama, and then was cancelled.

Slutty Suzy’s only concession to modesty was the fig leaf.

The Lowdown

ain’t a tale of success, my friend. Once in a while, a film can make a
successful transition to the airwaves — see: Buffy — but usually what
we get are abortions like Stargate: SG1. Count Nikita
in the latter group. The challenge that has to face the writers hired for these
projects is to take the purchased IP and stretch it like Silly Putty to cover a
completely different frame and format.

writers on Nikita seem to have run out of their elasticity. The
season-wide arc concerns a tired story of inter-office conspiracy and paranoia,
the spy genre equivalent of "The butler did it" in cozies. Not only
that, but it involves a plot device which requires Peta Wilson to blank out
most of her emotions. That’s just great, because the characters are all as
bland as politicians already, except for those off-the-shelf models included
for their wackiness and/or sympathy for Nikita.

Mmm. Time for my mullet break.

Don’t be
fooled by the marketing whiz-bang "from the producers of 24"
taglines, either. The action direction is plentiful and shoddy, despite the
usual heavy rotation of directors. None of them seem to be able to get a handle
on smooth editing, especially when multiple locations are involved. It’s sloppy
work for what is plainly meant to be a keystone element of the show.

La Femme Nikita looks as if it should be kitschy
fun. The title has an unwarranted connection to the term "femme
fatale," and we all know how much of a pleasure those folks are.
Unfortunately, the show is a stale, dragging beast having more in common with Farscape‘s
wretched plot development than with either its spy-heritage roots or the
fantastic No One Lives Forever games, which manage to muster a better
plot. (Though there is an episode in this season called "No One Lives Forever.") Peta Wilson is hot, in her own, angular way, but she can’t carry the show
on her lonely, shapely shoulders. Especially not when her character is as much
a source of the problem as anyone else.

I dare
you to remember the show after the credits roll.

"God damn it, ‘Kita, you’re not a chimpanzee! Section only programmed
you to think you were a chimpanzee to get at that banana shipment!"

The Package

plot-centric episodes have full commentary by co-stars (i.e., not the big
names,) writers, and directors. These commentaries do little more than
demonstrate that there was more going on in the crew’s head than actually
appeared on your television screens. They also provide a bit of nostalgia time
for those involved.

also a number of scenes cut from the episodes with optional commentary by the
assistant to one of the consultants. It may sound kinda like inviting the janitor in to do a commentary,
but Christopher Heyn pulls his weight, offering some businesslike information
about the life cycle of the show alongside the lost shots.

You also
get a gag reel, and you’ll be grateful for it, damn it.

4.6 out of 10