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Nikita: The Complete Second Season(TV) (2011-2012)
At the end of season one, Nikita and Alex's relationship had been shattered, while Nikita and Michael's relationship was restored. Now, Nikita and Michael are on the run with a hard drive called "the black box" containing the Division's darkest secrets and conspiracies which include 6 agents of the government dirty secrets. Together, they plan to right the wrongs that Division has committed over the years, one mission at a time. But leading the hunt for the black box this time is Alex who knows all of Nikita's tricks.
For more about Nikita: The Complete Second Season and the Nikita: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray release, see Nikita: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on October 9, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Maggie Q, Lyndsy Fonseca, Shane West, Xander Berkeley, Melinda Clarke, Aaron Stanford
Director: Nick Copus
» See full cast & crew
Nikita: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review
Looks do kill. As do waning ratings and slowly diminishing creative returns...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, October 9, 2012
Questions loom in Nikita's second intense, action-packed season. Will Nikita (Maggie Q) and Michael (Shane West) take down Division? Can Nikita and Michael take down Division? Are Nikita and Michael equipped to take down Division? Alright, so maybe there's really only one big question looming in the series 23-episode sophomore season, in many ways a step down from creator Craig Silverstein's well-received first season. Not that I'm the only one who noticed. When it first stormed The CW Thursday Night block, the show brought in solid ratings. But by the end of Season One, 3.5 million viewers had eroded to just under 2 million, leaving the little network that could with a tough choice: ax a semi-popular series primed for Comic-Con consumption or try it on another night. Fans rejoiced when the series was renewed, just not when it was announced that it would be moving to the dreaded Friday Night death slot. To no one's surprise, the second season opener dropped even farther, to 1.8 million, and the ensuing season finale drummed up a mere 1.4 million. Even with a third season currently inbound (a miracle by anyone's standards), Nikita's fanbase is fading fast. Having watched Season Two in its entirety now, though, I have to say it's no wonder viewers have begun spending their precious time elsewhere.
Picking up right where the first season left off -- with Nikita finally in possession of the black box, Michael squarely on her side and on the run as well, protégé and one-time ally Alex Udinov (Lyndsy Fonseca) working to bring them in (or down, you can never quite tell), master manipulator Amanda (Melinda Clarke) in the director's seat at Division, and former head of the serpent Percy Rose (Xander Berkeley) under Amanda's boot -- Season Two doesn't waste much time on formalities. The lay of the land is known, the players long since introduced, the pieces already in play. It doesn't deviate from the preset course either; not exactly becoming of a season opener titled "Game Change." Even so, Nikita and Michael continue to pick at the scab that is Division, racing to dismantle it from the outside and within. Amanda lords over Percy, who in turn plots his return to power. And Alex scores a love interest in Navy Seal-turned-Division hitter Sean Pierce (Dillon Casey) and a target in the form of the man who killed her father. Meanwhile, computer whiz Seymour Birkhoff (Aaron Standford) remains on the side of the angels, CIA analyst Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean) stays in the thick of things (somehow without getting his hands dirty), deadly cleaner Roan (Rob Stewart) is back with a vengeance (and a nasty acid scar), and Zetrov CEO Sergei Semak (Peter J. Lucas) and other would-be madmen step into view.
Shifting fog of war or no, Season Two can be best summed up in four words: more of the same. Oh, there are new characters, challenges, missions, spy-vs-spy rivalries, twists, turns, betrayals and double crosses aplenty. But don't be fooled. I couldn't shake the feeling that I had seen it all before for good reason. I had. On Nikita, sure, but elsewhere as well; wherever slick spies, assassins with hearts of gold, and heavy weaponry ripped out of a videogame tend to frequent, be it television or the big screen. For every seemingly unpredictable maneuver the series makes, there are at least a dozen maddeningly familiar moves, each one a bit more disheartening than the last. Death is rarely a real threat. Capture is merely a temporary setback. There's always a way out. Always one last play to be made. Always a way to spring that lock, disarm that baddie, or storm that impenetrable compound. Always someone ready to switch sides as soon as it looks as if all hope is lost, always someone with a hidden agenda waiting in the wings to introduce chaos the moment order is restored.
Then there's the once-elusive black box, which begins its second season life as a plot-of-the-week generator, spitting out prepackaged storylines with alarming regularity, only to devolve into an expositional MacGuffin tasked with luring otherwise intelligent spies into places and situations they'd otherwise avoid. When the writers' room senses its audience growing tired of that little trick, the box is supplanted by other sinister threats and gadgets of mass destruction, among them a nuclear device controlled and detonated -- I kid you not -- from space via a secret satellite, all of which comes complete with a Bond villain and a disfigured henchman, both of whom are self-righteous enough to use it. No, it isn't the first time Nikita has embraced comicbook sensibilities and dangerously silly genre convention. But it does further distance the series from the 1990 Luc Besson film that inspired it, making the second season, in large part, an adaptation in name only. It does boast a number of solid episodes (a select few being even stronger than those in Season One) and a killer finale (literally), though, so no matter how far down the ludicrous-action rabbit hole it scurries, it's never too far gone.
Any viable, self-sustaining show naturally requires an element of more of the same to thrive -- some more than others, see The Big Bang Theory and Breaking Bad for opposite extremes of the spectrum -- and Nikita at least avoids altering its most crucial fundamentals. Round after round after round of cat-n-mousing can get exceedingly tiresome, presumably more so when viewing 23-episodes back to back to back, but there's a lot of fun to be had in Season Two; so long as glossy action, thick melodrama, cleanly choreographed fights and tightly wound intrigue is your cup of girls-with-guns tea. Silverstein and company preserve much of what initially kept millions on board -- the sleek assassins, the fiery femmes, the pulpy spy fiction, the ever reliable shootouts, shoot-em-ups and 'splosions -- and tweak the formula in ways that should have, should have brought new viewers to the fold. It's a balancing act to be sure, one the writers never quite pull off, but the series doesn't descend into unwatchable territory, not even remotely. I'd wager those who abandoned ship did so because better shows were available, not because Nikita suddenly struck them as damaged goods. She's not, Q still delivers, the supporting cast still chomps down on every scene like a pit bull (even when dialogue is at its groan-inducing one-liner worst), and the rogue-spy-vs-the-world shtick still has traction. If anything, the series' fatal flaw is how easily it disappears into the genre crowd, which can spell doom with so many other choices just a click or a DVR-record away.
Nikita: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Like the series first season Blu-ray release, The Complete Second Season impresses with a striking, never-say-die 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation that steals the 4-disc set's spotlight. The palette is in a constant state of flux -- scenes are either bathed in warm ambers, steely blues, overcast grays or sterile greens -- but it's in keeping with the showrunners' intentions, established aesthetic and favored visual tricks of the genre trade. Colors are bold and satisfying even when desaturated or hotly contrasted, fleshtones are relatively natural and eye-catching, and black levels are dutiful and determined. Detail is easily the most notable aspect of the image, though, and every revealing closeup and remarkably resolved element lends itself to the first-rate quality of the presentation. Edges are razor-sharp and largely free of distressing halos, delineation is quite good, and skin, fabrics and other nuances exhibit wonderfully refined textures and at-times jaw-dropping clarity. For those scrutinizing every shot and scene in the second season's 23-episodes, there is some spiking noise and a bit of crush that creeps in here and there, but few other problems arise, none of which amount to anything resembling a full-blown issue.
Nikita: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track delivers plenty of killer blows, swift kicks to the gut and jabs to the ear, and every one of them is a welcome assault. That said, the rear speakers aren't nearly as active -- or rather as consistently active -- as the on-screen chaos demands, and most every neck-snapping directional effect is followed by a missed opportunity. It isn't much of a distraction at least, as the soundfield is quite busy and immersive on the whole. Pans are smooth, ambience is effective, acoustics are fairly convincing, and directionality is decent. Thankfully, there isn't a lot of room for disappointment elsewhere. The LFE channel doesn't reign itself to anything, leaping into the fray with carefully calculated and measured abandon. Explosions are jarring, gunshots hit hard, heavy weapons pack fantastic power, and every last disabling punch and body blow hurts, just like it should. Dialogue remains clean and clear through it all, without any serious prioritization mishaps to point to. Dynamics retain their high standing too, with nothing to point to as lacking or inadequate. When Nikita is at its best, its sonic prowess is frightening. It's only in those few moments when the rears could do more that it comes up short in any way. Even then, it's never a troubling issue or a deal breaker, not in the slightest.
Nikita: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Nikita: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Nikita could have gone in for the kill, immediately or eventually it doesn't really matter. It could have gone in for the kill. Instead, it churns out more of the same, even when it's doing its best to alter the deal or change the rules of the game. Still, what worked last season works again here, and action junkies will get their fill. Does Season Two justify The CW's decision to give the series a third shot this fall? Not by my estimation, especially considering its floundering ratings. But Season Three is inbound, so if you have any interest, it's a good time to brush up and prep for its arrival. Fortunately, Warner's Blu-ray release makes that a painless process with The Complete Second Season's outstanding video presentation and excellent DTS-HD Master Audio track. It's short on special features for a TV title -- with little more than a single audio commentary, twenty-five minutes of deleted scenes and a terrific writers' room doc -- but it's a solid 4-disc release nonetheless.
Nikita: Other Seasons
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Nikita: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Nikita: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray - June 14, 2012
Warner Home Entertainment will bring Nikita: The Complete Second Season to Blu-ray in the fall. This action-packed spy drama focuses on Nikita (Maggie Q, Mission: Impossible III), a rogue assassin trying to bring down the corrupt government agency that trained ...
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