gwyn: (nikita fatale sinecure)
Day 7

In your own space, share a favorite piece of original canon (a TV episode, a song, a favorite interview, a book, a scene from a movie, etc) and explain why you love it so much. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

So behind!

I couldn't decide here what I wanted to share, but I remembered looking for this scene from La Femme Nikita a while ago for a friend who was working on a book. She is a good writer, solid and workmanlike, but because she's super analytical and has an engineer's brain, everything is kind of flat, and her characters don't seem to have a lot of interior life or express any intense emotions. She'll describe them that way, but it often doesn't come to life on the page in our critique group readings until she gets feedback from us. I was telling her about this scene because she had a section where her protagonists in a thriller romance were in a horrible situation, and how this show was such a perfect series to rip off for fiction.

La Femme Nikita, War )
gwyn: (MDs icon)
I nominated a bunch of things for Festivids; this pretty much means I'm participating, which could be really bad because things are not going well with my dad at all and I'm drowning in work, plus there's Yuletide, but I'm going to give it the old college try anyway.

I nommed:

Miami Vice
The Middleman
Catch and Release
Charlie Jade
La Femme Nikita (USA series)
Prison Break
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension
The Jacket

I was genuinely surprised that Prison Break had not been on the list before. And some of those... well, I'm fairly certain I will be the only one offering or asking, just as I often am in Yuletide. Especially MDs -- my slashtastic show that only seems to encompass about three people in the whole world, and only one other person who seems to know the show as well as I do (looks wistfully at [personal profile] trelkez, the only person I think who has ever made a vid for it). I did post the only episodes that seem to be out there in this post and you can DL them and get caught up in the William Fichtner/John Hannah slashy goodness (PLUS bonus Jane Lynch pre-Glee). What are you waiting for? Go. Download. I'll wait.

I would love to make or receive a really creepy sicko vid of The Jacket, too. I have an idea but haven't been able to motivate myself yet to vid it because it's so wonderfully disturbing, so this might be good for me. And oh man, if I could make or get a Prison Break vid for Lang and Mahone, I would possibly perish of happiness. I love thinking of all these things. I have been watching the movie Catch and Release a bit lately -- Tim Olyphant has never looked more beautiful. Anyway. Lots to think about.

I have this big "Fuck you you fucking fucks" TV post boiling inside me but I have to go take care of a bunch of stuff. Related to some of my shows, or shows that will never be my shows because of the fucking fuckballs who run them. Maybe later. Every time I think about these things, I get so worked up. I need to go look at shoes and post shoe pics at my Tumblr.
gwyn: (nikita fights like girl)
I shouldn't be doing this, because I'm drowning in work, but I just have to take a mental break from the work and the people being wrong on the Internet. And I miss talking about TV.

So, new series I have checked out, let me tell you about them.

Covert Affairs )

Rizzoli and Isles )

Haven )

I haven't seen Glades yet, but I'm going to try to catch up on at least the first few eps at some point... if I ever have TV time again.
gwyn: (nik mikey isabellecs)
Day 21 - Favorite ship

I actually wrote a Ship Manifesto entry for this one, many years ago. I had to think about this one a lot, because there are many great 'ships, for me, but rarely have any 'ships given me as much joy and heartache as Nikita and Michael on LFN. The show's producer's were basically on crack the entire time they worked on the series, which is evident in the course the relationship tracked over the four and a half seasons of the series. (Anyone who watches 24 knows what kind of crack Surnow and Cochran smoked; they didn't change their stripes much after they went on to do 24 from LFN.)Continuity of story was pretty much unheard of, and when we finally got a real relationship and some sexin' up after three seasons of keeping them apart, we only got to see it afterwards, not when it actually happened.

But still, I think we were pretty much happy fans -- I don't believe you could really like that relationship without being the kind of person who likes thwarted love and suffering and angst and sacrifice. Nikita was Michael's polar opposite, which is why it worked so well and was so grandly operatic in the scheme of things. He was stoic to the point of seeming robotic, she wore her bleeding heart all over her. But we knew they were hopelessly in love, no matter what they showed on the outside.

When Nikita was brainwashed into believing she didn't love Michael, he was completely lost, and had this attitude of "if I can't bring her back, I'd rather die" and that was pretty much heaven to me. I also loved the fact that Roy Dupuis and Peta Wilson were both willing to get nekkid and had no problem with the intense love scenes they often did. (This deleted scene from S5, when Michael comes back at the very end of the series, is a good example. Apparently, they spent an entire day on a closed set filming this, but USA cut out the longer shot of the two of them in that "graphic" position and on airing all we got was the clutching from the shoulders up.)

Like a lot of Michael/Nikita fans, I hated the ending of S4, when the show was originally canceled. The last thing we see of the two of them is a completely different Nikita cruelly telling Michael she never loved him, and it was such a lame conclusion to something we'd invested our hearts and souls in. They were trying, I think, to make us believe that she did it out of love, to let him go, but it was handled unbelievably badly and didn't work at all. Fortunately, at the time, USA was failing, and so they brought the show back after a fan campaign, and the eight episodes they did to wrap it up were cheesy but much, much better in terms of how the relationship ended. It felt right, and hopeful, and incredibly bittersweet, with an emphasis on bitter, just the way it should have been for those two.

The CW is going to remake Nikita this fall, which I'm not especially happy about, but I'll reserve judgment. I think 'ships like Mikey and Nik's comes along very, very rarely on TV, and you can't buy that kind of chemistry, so they have a long way to go in that regard.

This is making me so nostalgic. I really should remaster some of those old LFN vids, even if there are only two people I know who'd enjoy them.
gwyn: (nikita fatale sinecure)
Wow, feeling really crappy lately, and today was really, really bad. Trying to focus on other stuff. Like!

Day 10 - A show you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving

I could actually say this about at least 60 percent of the shows I watch -- I go through all the sources for fall/spring/summer previews, whatever, and make notes about which shows sound like possibilities for me. I usually give them two to three episodes to grab me. Only a few I hate so much I can't watch more than one of. But when both La Femme Nikita and Buffy came on the air at the same time, I expected the worst. I'd loved both the movies they were based on, and so my dismay at what they sounded like as TV programs was pretty high. But Buffy had Anthony Stewart Head in it -- whereas LFN had nothing I knew of going for it. I watched the first couple episodes, found it lacking, didn't like the idea of Nikita as a big blond innocent Amazon type, and Bob had been changed into a Michael, though I did think he was pretty hot (just not Tcheky Karyo). Then [personal profile] talking_sock posted about it, and I thought, wow, I should give it a second chance because it sounds better than I remembered, the way she described it. And late at night they showed the episode "War," which just... someone wrote to my kinks in that one. Oh, they so wrote to my kinks, with Nikita besting bad guys in her birthday suit, torture and getting shot, double crosses and lies, and a hugely emotional scene when Michael and Nikita are being held captive in cages and he confesses feelings for her, and then there was the ending, with poor tortured Michael whispering to unconscious shot and tortured Nikita that not everything was a lie, and I died. Died, I tell you. I have made... how many vids in it? I don't think I can even count. I never get tired of it. Some of the technology in real life is catching up to the madeup stuff in the show. And Roy Dupuis still has the best man pain of anyone out there. I don't love the idea of the new show they're doing for it this fall on CW. But hey, you never know.

(I tried to find a clip online of the cage scene that made me fall so hard, but apparently LFN fans, true to their feral natures, don't have many clips on YouTube at all. They were always the least media-savvy fans I've ever known. But you can watch full episodes at the WB's web site.)

Day 11 - A show that disappointed you

I'm one of those idiots who will stick with a show no matter how much it disappoints me. I've abandoned only a few shows in my time -- it's just really hard for me to stop watching something if I've ever been invested in it at some point. Walk away and cut my losses? So not me. But I did with Heroes. I don't know anything that's ever come out of the starting gate so strong, and failed so badly by the second furlong. And weirdly, it wasn't the second season where it started; for me, it was the first season finale, when they clearly let Sylar go so they could use him again, despite the fact that he'd become such a joke villain by then. And there were other failings in that episode (a lot centered around Ali Larter), but the penultimate episode was fabulous. If they could have left it there, or kept that style of storytelling, maybe they could have kept it together. I think Kring was a lot like Chris Carter, in that he didn't understand what it was he'd done right in the first season, so he could never replicate it. Bringing Bryan Fuller back didn't help, and I abandoned it by the end of second season. There were some fine moments in season 2, but when they killed Nathan and replaced him with the pointless Sylar, I was gone. And now it's gone, because apparently a lot of people are like me, and were disappointed too.
gwyn: (sonny crockett)
Here's a couple of top fives that people asked for -- it really does help the day go by faster when you can try to think of these things! More to come as I can think of them.

Top 5 sucker punches/cold-cocks for kadymae )

Top 5 Nikita moments for kirbyfest )

Top 5 moments of Sonny Crockett awesome for cereta )
gwyn: (painscary  impetus_icons)
Ooo, [ profile] sdwolfpup had a great TV meme today that I am gakking and filling out, because I don't want to think about things like impending joblessness and etc. I'm sure it will contain spoilers because so many people think even your opinion is a spoiler, so you are warned.

Also, there is still time to send me anonymous comments in her vidding truth meme -- you can say nice things or tan my hide, or both, and stay hidden!

TV watching memes are always fun )
gwyn: (nikita fatale sinecure)
I love my new LFN mood theme!! I can't even decide which mood to use, I like them all! I captured a bunch of stills after I finished working on the La Femme Nikita vid for club Vivid this year, and [ profile] mlyn used her Photoshop wizardry to make the theme for me and put them in the slots since I'm kind of a moron about this. Even with all the problems of my stupid computer randomly converting things to all caps, which we can't figure out, I just renamed them all and now I have Nik, Mikey, Walter, Birky, and company all over my Lj from now on. Whee!

Thank you, darlin'!
gwyn: charlie on blue background (CJ sad charlie)
Flummery once called me that because I made so many vids one year, and I feel that way with these four Vividcon premieres. Making the vids themselves, I think, is easy, but the capturing and encoding and crap... that's the hard part. All these links go to the same place right now, my main vids site page.

From the premieres show
I Remember
streaming here
Fandom: Charlie Jade
Artist: REM (I Remember California)
File: QT Divx 38MB
Three worlds, one hope... except he can't get there from here.

From the challenge show for the theme: faith
Well Well Well
Fandom: Firefly
Artist: Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama
File: QT Divx 20MB
Faith isn't always belief.

From Club Vivid, the dance vids show
Ready Steady Go
streaming here
Fandom: Multimedia
Artist: Paul Oakenfold
File: QT Divx 36MB
Street legal.

Flash Dance
streaming here
Fandom: La Femme Nikita
Artist: Deep Dish
File: QT Divx 33MB
He's the kind of guy who thinks he's smart.

The site is still password protected. User: gwyn PW: cymru

It should go without saying, but somehow vidders still need to say it: ANY kind of feedback gratefully received.

I sincerely doubt anyone's interested in exposition on the Charlie Jade vid (two years in the making! sort of!), but if you are, I can write up a bit about it than is in my previous posts about the series.
gwyn: (nik mikey isabellecs)
Hey, all my ... five Charlie Jade friends... Something to amuse you. I've been capturing screen grabs from La Femme Nikita for a mood theme that [ profile] mlyn is going to help me make, and I discovered two young, sweet things in the background.

I knew 01's actor was in an episode in a decent role, but I was surprised to see Reena's actor in the background of a fight that Michael has with ... the Groosalugg! I swear, LFN is a wingding of spot the actorness. First there are all the Due South and other refugees, and pretty much all the eastern side Canuck actors, but then all these other folks pop up from other series you never expect to see. Like Groo.

Pics - I wonder who else is in the background? )

LFN news

Jul. 13th, 2006 11:06 am
gwyn: (nikita fatale sinecure)
Behind a bit in the LFN news dept., sorry. It looks like S4 is still on schedule for the 25th of this month, though I'm not holding my breath, considering the even more significant amount of music they used on the series that season, not to mention some of the unpublished music used exclusively on the show, like Unglued. But I will hope, anyway.

And there's news about S5 -- at least they're not going to yank our chain and make us wait another year and a half for the final 8 eps:


Available on DVD October 17, 2006

BURBANK, CA. (June 19, 2006) - The October 17 release of La Femme Nikita: The Complete Fifth Season from Warner Home Video marks the final DVD set of this popular action TV series. In this final season, beautiful and deadly Nikita - wrongly accused of murder and sentenced to life in prison only to be enlisted as a top secret agent by a clandestine government organization known as Section One - uncovers the mole inside Section One and also discovers why she was enlisted as an assassin. The three-disc collector's set contains all final eight episodes from the fifth season of this cult hit TV show plus never-before-seen a bonus featurette and unaired scenes. . La Femme Nikita: The Complete Fifth Season DVD is priced at $39.98 SRP and has an order due date of September 12, 2006.

"The successful action franchise La Femme Nikita concludes with the DVD release of its fifth and final season," says Rosemary Markson, WHV Vice President, TV Marketing. "We believe that this DVD release has an immense appeal to fans of action series as it was produced and written by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, the creators of the highly popular TV show 24.

Based on the characters created for Luc Besson's film of the same name, La Femme Nikita was rated as the number-one drama for adults on USA network during its five year run. From acclaimed producers/writers Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran (currently working on TV's hit action drama 24), the sleek, chic and powerful adventures of the agent codenamed Josephine conclude in this fifth and final season of the intrigued-filled series La Femme Nikita that stars Peta Wilson (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) in the provocative title role.

La Femme Nikita:The Complete Fifth Season includes the following DVD special features:

*Unaired scenes from select episodes
*Season 5 Internet teaser
*Declassified" -- a lowdown on Season 5 as the creative minds behind the series and select cast members discuss the show's last 8 episodes

Priced: $39.98 SRP
Street Date: October 17, 2006
Language: English
Subtitles: English (CC), French, Spanish
Running time: 352 Minutes

I miss this show so much. I miss Angel, and Buffy, and Firefly. I feel like I'm stuck in the past, but nothing has the same zing for me as my older fandoms. I fear becoming this tiresome person who keeps vidding and writing dead shows and dried-up old fandoms forever, but... it was the older things on my list of Gone, but not forgotten on the sidebar that really made me happy.

I think I need some serious remember whening... preferably with a drink in hand. Remember when me, people!
gwyn: (nikita fatale sinecure)
It is hard not to get my hopes up, but I'm trying to remain distanced from this news that La Femme Nikita season 4 will finally arrive at the end of July.

Because, dude, it's the end of freaking July, well over a year since S3 came out, and because it's nearly a year since Warner promised us that we'd see S4, and because S4 has my most favoritist Michael and Nikita moments ever, and because some of the music in it is not available on any recordings so whether they include some of those gorgeous songs is questionable. And god only knows what that means for the release of S5, which was an 8-episode coda season after the series had been cancelled at the end of S4.

I will believe it when I see it. Warner has jerked us around so much over the course of four years (and that's not even counting the fan campaigns before that) that I can't get too hopeful.
gwyn: (nik mikey isabellecs)
Unbelievably disappointing news for La Femme Nikita fans (this is from the LFN Haven message board):
Today we received a call from a representative at Warners Home Video and were told that the release of LFN Season 4 DVDs has been delayed until the third quarter of 2006, which is July, August and September.

This, of course, means that Season 5 will also be delayed. We were told that a three month delay had been anticipated between the release of Season 4 and Season 5, and with the new schedule, Season 5 may still possibly be released very late in 2006 if time allows. Otherwise, we can expect Season 5 in early 2007.

This is disappointing news, but we are encouraged that LFN is still on the active DVD release schedule. Perhaps you have been following recent news stories of the industry's overall disappointment in DVD sales this past year and of the layoffs and reorganization in this particular division of Warners. All of this has been a concern to us, so it was a relief to know that WHV is still interested in LFN and sufficiently that they will keep us advised of the status of the DVDs as it changes.

I just can't believe this. It will make it more than a year since third season came out, four years since the first season was released on DVD. The way Warner's has treated this series is unreal. And I have a hard time believing that thing about layoffs and reorgs based on sales, when DVD sales have been the one shining star in the declining entertainment money figures for the past few years. Selfishly, it totally hampers my vidding ability for the show (I have one vid idea that I can make with S1-3, but that's about it). Recently someone rec'd one of my LFN vids on the_reel, which was really nice, but they made this unnecessary comment about the quality of the source, because I had to use my tapes for the vid, since that's all that's extant for the entire series. And that's the thing -- there's this sense of entitlement in fandom, that everything's digital and downloadable and all that. I'm in a small minority of fans who had the whole thing archived from the beginning. And now what it sounds like is that we'll have to still rely on old source if we want anything comprehensive. I have grave doubts about whether we'll even see this fourth season; I don't trust Warner at all.

And also, more important, S4 has some of my favorite eps, including the love slinky and the spit kiss and the most romantic things Michael ever said. It has some dogs, true, but... that opening arc of four eps is stellar. To not have that now for almost a whole year, after waiting all this time and being told first quarter... arg.
gwyn: (nik mikey isabellecs)
My shipper manifesto for La Femme Nikita's Michael and Nikita is up now over at [ profile] ship_manifesto, . I don't really think it's any good, and certainly not something that would draw anyone into the fandom, but I think the fact that I don't get that kind of thing -- luring others into you fandom -- has a lot to do with it. I just did the best I could within my limitations.

I know that sounds weird -- why write a manifesto to pimp a fandom if you don't pimp? Well, generally I don't, but lately I've had unexpected luck with it in The Fast and the Furious, so I figured, since I was asked, why not? A couple people asked me why I was doing it if I didn't believe I could lure people in. The truth is, it's really simple -- I was asked to write something, and I almost never get asked to contribute to anything fannish, so I said yes. I'm a whore, basically. The weird thing is, I never get into fandoms because of something another fan wrote or vidded. If I don't find it on my own, in my own time, I will never get into it. Which is something I'm starting to understand is quite unusual -- almost everyone I know says they love things like the ship-manifesto site to help them find new things to watch and enjoy. And I would just never click on those cut tags to investigate a piece someone wrote about a show or movie I'm not into, so this is all very peculiar to me!

The request was pretty generic, and it looked like any pairings I wanted to say something about were already taken -- Chris and Vin in Mag 7, Bodie and Doyle in Professionals, Buffy and Spike had been done already, and someone far more qualified than I to talk about Dom and Brian in F&F had signed on for that. I thought about going back to X-Files, but I didn't, at the time, really still feel the burning passion for Mulder and Skinner and Scully I used to, so I settled on Nikita and Michael, because dude, no one pays any attention to LFN at all. And then I struggled with what to write, because I knew I'd have to intro the show to people since so few have seen it. Apparently I'm missing the pimp gene.

Also, I am so rarely (well, once, actually) ever asked to contribute to anything that when someone asks me, I say yes. I'm never going to be one of those popular fan writers everyone nominates for all the awards and Better Buffy fic weekends and blah blah blah, so if someone thinks I can contribute to their benefit zine or write a manifesto about a relationship, I'll probably say yes because I'm all Sally Field and going "someone likes me! someone thinks I have something to say!" There you have it -- big ol' ho. Now I'm actually thinking about signing up for something XFian or maybe even Miami Vice, except that I could not remember to post this LFN thing, so I have no faith I'll be able to remember to do it on a real timeline. I'm hopeless about remembering what I wrote even a few days ago.

So anyway, if you want to see what it is about poor old LFN that I love, there you are.
gwyn: (Default)
Wheee! I have some of the loveliest friends -- I made this LFN vid over the holiday months that I was uncharacteristically proud of, and I mentioned it to both [ profile] barkley and [ profile] morgandawn, and they both offered me space on their vid web sites to host it for a bit, so that I could share it with friends and get feedback. Morgan's ended up putting it at her site in the group of LFN vids she's made with GF, and so now I have my first ever online vid up.

It's kind of strange because a) I can't actually watch vids online, and b) I don't much mind not being able to watch them online because I find them so unappealing at postage stamp size with terrible sound. They give me headaches, actually. And I really hate watching a vid with stuttering feeds, or where the transitions stall and the song goes on, etc. Online is a most unappealing way to watch a piece of art, but it's where most of the efforts are going these days. A very kind person made me a collection of all her favorite online vids she's downloaded over the past few years, because she knows I can't watch them due to my terrible and slow dialup connection, and it's been both great catching up on what's out there, but also headache-inducing. I learned quickly I have to space them out, but there's some very cool vids in there that I'm hoping will come out in a full-screen way, like some of them were once they ended up on the Vividcon and Escapade discs.

I wish more vidders would make high quality full screen copies of their vids for future use, and make them available on discs, so that people could grab collections and have a more appealing way to watch them. In the olden days (taps cane on floor and turns up hearing aids) that was pretty much the only way you had of sharing vids (tape to tape, and mailed or bought at cons), and many of us still provide collections for watching on a TV at home, as opposed to squinting at a postage stamp on a computer screen. But I *do* get the immediacy, and the joy of being able to share something with people in other countries, or who might not have the ability to pick up a disc easily, or even play it. That's the promise of the net, really -- making things available to the widest possible audience, sharing with even larger groups. And it's a good way, if you have the space and the speed, to get feedback from fellow vidders, if you have a group that's inclined to do that. I think the sad part of the online thing, though, is that vids used to be this sort of treasured, rarified fan art form -- few people could afford the editing decks to make them, and had the inclination to do the hard work, so there was a more valued quality to them. Now they've become more like fanfic -- there are thousands of vidders out there, churning out a lot of crap vids in a matter of hours, and it seems like the sheer disposability of having them online where you can watch them once and move on, has changed the value of fan vids as an art form. Sorry, I'm waxing philosophical while I wait for a proof to check so I can get out of work and have something vaguely resembling a weekend.

So this online sharing thing is very cool for me right now, and I'm giddy at having something up to see what happens firsthand. I'm hoping that before I leave work tonight I might be able to sneak a peek at this, though mostly I want out of here, so I may not. And since it's LFN, I don't expect many people will want to watch it, but if you're inclined, it's at Morgan's site here -- and if you have already visited her vid site and have the password, use that; if you don't, e-mail me privately at and I can give you the info, as long as you agree to Morgan's terms. It's QuickTime, about 20 MB, and a little over four min. long.

She's also offered to put up the Miracles vid to Darkness, Darkness that [ profile] feochadn and I showed at Vividcon. So whee! Even with no money and no high speed access and no skill whatsoever, I have an online vid for a little while because of the kindness of friends. This LFN vid has no story, btw, if you're looking for that. Unlike most of my vids, this one is just for fun, nothing more than a dance vid, about a hot chick with guns and things that go boom.

And [ profile] corngirl_jo, I haven't forgotten about you or the LFN tapes. I'm just having time hell now, and taping 70+ hours of tv hasn't been an option, but I do still plan to talk to you!
gwyn: (nikita fatale sinecure)
Yay! Even though it's far too late to help me with the multimedia vid I want to make with friends, this is at least hope, and a few months ago we didn't have that. Once these come out, after such a lengthy delay, though, I'm curious (in a scaredy way) if Warner Home Video will commit to future releases of all five seasons. A year is a long time between disc releases, so it could have something of a chilling effect. Though, if Oxygen continues to show LFN, that could keep it alive a bit. From the LFN Haven board:

On Friday we spoke with representatives of WHV and have confirmed both with the marketing department and those actually working on production of the DVDs that WHV is now moving forward with DVDs of Season 2 of LFN. The project has once again been formally added to their release list for 2004, although they still are not ready to make an announcement to the "trades," such as the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

When the announcement is made, a projected release date will also be made public, but for now we are told that the DVDs will probably be available sometime at the end of the second quarter (June) or beginning of the third quarter (July) of 2004.

Once again, we were told that WHV knows that LFN has many fans who remain very loyal to the series and that they are aware of the advantages of keeping us apprised as the project moves along to completion.
gwyn: (mal gun)
At least there's one piece of good news for us LFN fans (this is off the LFN Haven message board, from the fan group calling themselves First Team):

Last week we spoke with two of our contacts at WHV, both of whom told us that our position had greatly improved since our last conversations in August, and although WHV is still watching sales figures, they are of the opinion that the S2 project is now feasible even with music clearance costs. No work has restarted on S2, and it's not on their offical release list yet--they aren't ready to officially "let the cat out of the bag"--but it does appear that S2 will be on the WHV release list before long.

We were asked to call back in a couple of weeks for another update.

I'm really going to keep my fingers crossed on this one. Having Hard Landing, where Michael beats Nikita to a pulp so he can bring her back to Section... oooohhhh, the lovely torture.
gwyn: (Default)
So today I found out that after taunting us, Fox has decided not to show the final four Keen Eddie eps after all. Last night I read that MI-5 has not performed well on A&E because the Brit-drama audience has sort of abandoned A&E after their crime-intensive reality/documentary shows. The only good news is that a friend is going to send me unaired Miracles eps... but then I managed to dim the glow by finally checking up on the La Femme Nikita message boards after a long time away, and found this from the group of fans who'd brought the series back from death on USA (WHV means Warner Home Video):

The purpose of our call to WHV was, of course, to ask about the official status of Season 2 DVDs and whether sales reports have improved over the past two or three weeks. Unfortunately, we were told that sales volume is still lower than expected and necessary before WHV can commit to continue with the series.

According to WHV, they spent a considerable amount of money on prerelease advertising which is their usual practice--they do not plan to spend more on promotion of Season 1.

Sales have not picked up as they had hoped as the summer is ending, and Season 2 has now been taken off of their release schedule. The representative assured us that this does not mean that the project cannot be added back to the release schedule if sales improve, but right now, that is the status.

Initially, we were told that a speedy decision was expected on whether Season 2 would go into production, but since the sales reports haven't been satisfactory to WHV, it is probably working to our advantage that a final decision has not been rushed. With more time, at least the likelihood remains that sales will increase.

We are deeply disappointed but will continue with our efforts to make others who may not be online aware that the DVDs are available, and we hope that you as individuals will continue to do the same.

I guess in a weird way I thought that there'd be interest, after all the buildup of the ass kicking chicks genre, the success of LFN's creators' new show 24, and Alias. WHV did a better job of advertising the discs than they ever did advertising the show (which I realize isn't saying much). And I know music licensing is an important issue -- all the fans who sent cards and letters and email and then didn't buy the discs are skewing the numbers, and a lot of LFN's fan base wasn't online (it's a weird fandom). So with lower numbers, the music licensing will be a big issue because sales won't make up for those fees.

This fan thing sucks sometimes, you know? Our hearts just get broken over and over again.
gwyn: (nikita fatale sinecure)
Of interest to probably only about two people on my friends list, but hey, reviews and essays.

At almost the same time that Buffy the Vampire Slayer bowed on television, another chick action show had just started on USA cable network. Also based on a movie of the same name, La Femme Nikita started life an hour after Buffy did on Monday nights, and I remember a friend of mine saying “Suddenly, Monday nights rock.” Though radically different in concept, they were essentially about two women who’d been forced, through no choice in the matter, to descend into, and live in, hell. I remember that at about the time Buffy was breaking my heart by crying, “I’m only sixteen. I don’t want to die,” Nikita was being duped by her mentor and trainer, Michael, into falling even harder for him than she already had, only to have her heart ripped out when she found out he’d deliberately seduced and lied to her to circumvent her escape plan. Buffy had humor and romance and parody, while LFN did not, but they both also had about two tons of angst per episode, and I couldn’t have been happier.

LFN was made for the digital world — the cinematography was incredible, the colors richly saturated, the fashions totally boundary-pushing, the gadgets and spy toys bleeding edge. The music soundtrack was incredible, with little-known techno and ambient providing an even cooler feel to the show. But Warner Home Video has yanked the chains of the fans now for a couple years in terms of putting this most high-tech of shows on disc; they even had the nerve at one point to tell us that unless we bought the Columbia House tapes, we’d never get DVDs. Finally, last week, the first season set came out, and as much as I loathe the bastards for their treatment of this show, I have to give them props for the discs. The prints are fabulous, the sound is outstanding, the menus function just right (unlike Buffy’s, which I hate, because you have to keep going through menu after menu to get anywhere and listen to the same snatch of music over and over if you don’t menu jump fast enough), even their proprietary paperboard packaging isn’t as annoying as it usually is (WHV will never give that up, since they own the system and the plant). Though they spell Birkoff’s name three different ways, even the booklet isn’t half bad. I found only one technical error, where the (still just gut-wrenching use of) Love Thieves by Depeche Mode glitches out as the train comes through the tunnel in the final scene of the season, in Mercy.

I’ve been just boggled by some of the episodes. My first season tapes are all incredibly sharp and pristine (the show, after its second season, began filming in a more subdued style and went for less color saturation in the scene design, which I always thought was a mistake), but these just leap off the screen on a high-def TV. Even though they weren’t shot in hi-def and my DVD player isn’t progressive scan so I often get that digital dragging effect, there’s virtually no artifacting, no edge effects, and absolutely no bleed on colors, especially the blue they use so heavily. At times I just froze the screen to look at the incredible visual backgrounds they abandoned after S1, where they had high-tech maps and grids and information processing systems on full-wall screens throughout the Section One interior. Rocco Mateo’s set design was vastly superior to almost any other TV show at the time, and these discs highlight his work in a magnificent way. Being able to see all the details of a screen on the Section computers, too, is really cool — I can finally read Nikita’s dossier that comes up on the credits each ep.

The clothes were always cutting edge, but what’s interesting is being able to see the detail of Michael’s black jackets, for instance, or Madeline’s Armani suits, or Nikita’s incredible wardrobe. And there are other details I’ve never seen before, including one in the episode War, right after Nikita was tortured with rats (did I mention I love this show? When they tortured people, they did not screw around. Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, who went on to do 24, never pussy-footed around: if they threatened someone with cutting their finger off, and the person didn’t comply, they promptly cut the finger off) and Michael shows up and is thrown in the cage. Nikita can’t look at him, and she is crying. I never knew she was crying there as she huddled in the corner, as I have never been able to see the tears on her cheeks, even with my outstanding off-air copies.

But there’s more to the show than stunning visuals and cool clothes and music. What I responded to initially, somewhat negatively, was that they’d taken a story I loved — of this horrible, worthless, murdering girl who gained humanity by being made into an assassin — and changed it significantly. I had liked both the movie versions of LFN and Buffy, and was dubious about both of them being translated to weekly stories, and LFN especially seemed to have chosen a weird direction: Nikita was no longer subhuman, she was a street kid framed for murder, and put into this place that week after week intended to strip her of her humanity. Between that and Peta Wilson’s big, Amazonian blond gorgeousness, I thought it was going to be bad. But they were right in what they did, I realized quickly — it would be hard to want to watch this subhuman monster week after week, and there’d be little struggle for personal redemption in that. Once you’ve gained your humanity, where do you go in an organization that imprisons you and makes you its slave? And that was the core of the show — her constant struggle against becoming like the inhuman monsters who were her superiors as they fought terrorists with terrorist tactics. She’d never killed, but no one believed her, and they wanted to use her up and throw her away as long as it served their ends. Nikita’s struggle was the audience’s struggle, to find some kind of happiness or redemption or just make it through another day, and Peta was very touching in how she created that character. It is interesting, though, that they’ve completely dispensed with the voiceover intro that used to start each episode (“One night I was taken from my cell to a place called Section One, the most covert anti-terrorist organization on the planet... if I don’t play by their rules, I die”); I’d never noticed till now that the repeats on Oxygen running currently don’t use it either. I would have thought they might throw it on at least one ep, just for good measure, though I haven’t yet watched all the extras on the set (not many, sadly).

It didn’t hurt, either, that her trainer was a super hottie. I fell in love at first sight with Roy Dupuis’s Michael, a duplicitous, wicked, wonderful, and sexy as hell super agent who we in the audience knew adored Nikita, but he wouldn’t admit to that for quite a few years. The discs here show something incredibly interesting — there is a deleted scene from the pilot where Michael begs Madeline, part of the operational leadership, to spare Nikita’s life from being cancelled (executed, Section’s parlance), because she messed up on her first mission. He is nearly in tears, and it’s quite clear right there that he loves her enough to risk his own life, something in his nature that was never explained to us — it was only shown, so that Nikita often misunderstood his motives for protecting her, while the audience knew what was happening. This scene, if it hadn’t been cut, would have changed the entire tenor of the show drastically. It’s fascinating that it was filmed at all, but I’m glad they cut it out, as it made his “does he or doesn’t he” feelings so much more iffy and cool.

Sometimes, too, the incredible cinematography added to the romantic storyline or as a way to punch up the emotions of the characters on screen. I was reminded of that in watching War, in one of my favorite scenes ever on the show. Michael and Nikita are prisoners of Red Cell, a terrorist group, and they’re being held in cages suspended from a ceiling in a vast warehouse type building. When Michael comes back from being interrogated and tortured, he’s thrown in the adjacent cage and curls up in a ball, while Nikita clings to the side of hers and tries to see if he’s all right. He slowly begins to rock his knees back and forth so that his cage will swing towards hers, then he grasps the sides together as they hit, and the two of them twist their fingers through the holes and talk to each other. Michael is bloody and battered, Nikita’s a mess from rat bites, and he tells her that she is the only one of them (in Section) who still has a soul, and that he is empty of feeling now — and what little is left inside him is her. It’s a gorgeous, beautiful, heartbreaking scene, and on the discs, with the background lighting making the two seem almost luminescent and the clarity now of their tear-filled eyes and the wounds, it becomes just ten times more powerful than it was even before.

Other scenes that I’ve always loved seem even more vibrant and alive: when Michael cauterizes his critical bullet wound by igniting gunpowder in Rescue (this show also has some of the most stealable plots, too — I can’t count how much I’ve ripped off from it because it makes such good fanficcy background), shirtless, you can now see every drop of sweat on his body; when Nikita wears outlandish makeup for missions, you can see every single false lash, the texture of her skin, count each individual spangle in her evening dress.

I always loved first season because the Section team worked together far more as a team — in subsequent years, there were no more scenes like in Gambit, where they sit together in the main area and throw out ideas of where and how to locate a faceless enemy, or later once they’ve found him, bring his daughter to the interrogation room to coerce his confession. I missed that in a lot of ways, as the focus of the show shifted away from Nikita trying to work within this system and still maintain her emotional core to more of a Michael and Nikita against Operations and Madeline romantic hugger-mugger. I can almost see that happening on Alias, as well, which has stolen about 99% of its style and feeling and story sense from LFN. I kind of hope they don’t make the same mistake, because the stories in S1 of LFN were probably the strongest they ever did, even if Michael and Nikita never actually consummated their relationship until the first ep of S2. It’s good to keep a focus on strong stories, even while developing the thwarted romance, I believe.

These discs are just a joy to have, but now I’m stuck about vidding. LFN is my perfect vidding fandom, you can do almost anything with it except maybe out and out comedy, but there’s no way I could mix up such fabulous visuals as we have on the discs with tapes, and there’s no clear word on when more discs will come out. I’ve waited to make some vids until I got a computer; now I have the computer but these discs make me feel spoiled for the visuals. I really hope that people who like Alias might buy or rent these discs and see what the show was like, because I really want Warner to make more available. I’ve always thought this show was a perfect companion to the two other concurrent ass-kicking chicks that were on at the time (Buffy and Scully on X-Files), and I hope that in this outstanding presentation, more people might give it a shot.

October 2017

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