La Femme Nikita: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Longtime La Femme Nikita
fans and newcomers alike will enjoy this six-disc boxed set, which compiles the syndicated television series' entire first season, and shows why it garnered a devoted audience throughout its five-season run (1997-2001): it's a fast-paced, action-packed mixture of sex appeal (thanks to the statuesque form of its star, Australian actress Peta Wilson) and intricately plotted espionage thrills. Producers Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran (who later created 24
) hewed the series' framework closely to its inspiration--Luc Besson's 1990 theatrical feature
of the same name--save for one change. Where the movie Nikita is a drug-addicted thug, Wilson's Nikita is a street-savvy homeless woman. The pilot, "Nikita" (on disc 1), details her introduction to the underground spy network known as Section One: facing a death sentence after a trumped-up murder charge, Nikita is approached by the mysterious Michael (Roy Dupuis), who offers her a new identity as an anti-terrorist operative. The subsequent 21 episodes in the set offer plenty of action and suspense, as well as a compelling character in Nikita, who struggles constantly with the deception and bloodshed that are unavoidable aspects of her assignments. The set concludes with a dramatic season finale, disc 6's "Mercy," which forces Nikita to deal with some hard truths about her future and her feelings for Michael.
If having the complete first season in one set doesn't please series fans, the supplemental features will surely satisfy even the iciest armchair operative. Disc 1 offers commentary by Surnow, Cochran, and director Jon Cassar on "Nikita" as well as commentary by Surnow for deleted scenes from several episodes (also on discs 2, 3, and 6); disc 6 features Surnow's comments on "Mercy," as well as "Section One Declassified: The Making of La Femme Nikita," which features interviews with the cast and creators. --Paul Gaita