As audiences prepare for the third season of The CW's Nikita, Warner Home Video has released Nikita: The Complete Second Season on DVD and Blu-Ray. Look no further for an examination of the four-disc Blu-Ray edition.
The second season of Nikita itself was a mixed bag. After a surprising and incredibly strong first run, the show took some major leaps and bounds with season two, some of which worked and some of which didn't. To the delight of the fans, an emphasis was placed on the evolving relationship between Nikita (Maggie Q) and Michael (Shane West), and the actors were strong throughout the season - certainly one of the more underrated pairs on television. However, the second season also wisely made better use of Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford), allowing him to become more of a presence, and brought back Peter Outerbridge as Ari Tasarov, a perfect teammate for the villainous Amanda (Melinda Clarke) and adversary for Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca).
Conversely, the pair of episodes focusing on Michael's previously unknown family were - despite the usual strong acting from West, who remains one of TV's best kept secrets - two of the worst installments in the entire series. There was a heavy dependence on flashbacks that became tiresome early on. The addition or reintroduction of a number of characters, including but not limited to Owen (Devon Sawa), Ryan (Noah Bean), Sean (Dillon Casey) and Carla (Erica Gimpel), for multiple episodes also made the show feel crowded for large parts of the season, something which creator Craig Silverstein recognized and tried to rectify by the end. As a whole, the writing left much to be desired in season two - but it's still worth watching for the first-rate cast and top-notch action sequences.
The presentation of Nikita on Blu-Ray is superb, in high definition 16:9 widescreen with DTS-HD audio. There's a scene at the beginning of the episode "Wrath" where it's possible to see all the individual ripples in the ocean waters behind Nikita and Alex, and that's typical of the level of detail in the episodes. Blacks are strong but dark scenes are not hard to make out, and dialogue is very clear. For the hard of hearing, the set comes with subtitles in English, French and Spanish, but only for the episodes. As with most TV season sets, the subtitles aren't carried over to the special features, and the presentation on those is not as sharp as the episodes themselves.
As far as extra content, fans will enjoy the special features that are included on disc four of the set, but there's still room for a whole lot more. There's a twenty-five minute featurette called "What If? Writing the Fate of Division" which is interesting but contains spoilers and should not be watched if you haven't seen the whole season. The seven-minute "Living the Life: Maggie Q" gives us a look into the actress's fitness and nutrition regimen, as well as her trailer. In the five and a half minute gag reel, everyone screws up, from the regular cast to guest stars including Peter Outerbridge and Alberta Watson. There are also deleted scenes from throughout the season.
If anything, watching the Maggie Q featurette and the gag reel makes it apparent that the actors should do episode commentaries, because they'd be entertaining and likely very informative as well. Unfortunately, there's only one commentary track on this set - for the season finale "Homecoming" - and it's with Silverstein and producer Carlos Coto. It does the job, but Nikita deserves a few more.
Nikita: The Complete Second Season is an obvious purchase for fans of the series - you're not going to get a better transfer of the episodes than this and the special features are good for at least one viewing. If you haven't seen the show before, it's best that you start with the first season before proceeding to this set, as the episodes are stronger there and many plot points from season one carry over into season two.
You can purchase Nikita Season 2 on Blu-Ray at your local retailer or by clicking here. Nikita season 3 begins tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on The CW.