Blu-Ray Review: CW Hits ‘Nikita,’ ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Now Available

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CHICAGO – The CW is an interesting story for a TV critic. If you just look at their numbers, they shouldn’t even be able to pay the electricity bill to transmit a signal. And yet numbers no longer tell the entire tale. The CW attracts loyal viewers through new delivery systems including On Demand, iTunes, and DVD/Blu-ray. Two of their most notable shows, “Nikita” and “The Vampire Diaries,” hit the market last week. Catch up before they return for new seasons. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0

Honestly, it’s not exactly fair to lump these programs together because “The Vampire Diaries” is the network’s most buzz-worthy programs and “Nikita” is, well, not. The Maggie Q action program started strong but limped through the season to the point that it was barely renewed for a second one. Watching multiple episodes on the season one Blu-ray sent by Warner Bros. for review, it’s easy to see why. The installments start to blend together with little to distinguish them and less to care about. Still, it’s a beautiful program to look at, especially in HD, and is well-produced enough to provide some escapist entertainment. It’s not a great show but there are much worse ones on TV, so why complain? And there’s reason to believe that the writing could be tightened and it could get better in season two. Catch up with season one.

It helps that “Nikita: The Complete First Season” was released by Warner Brothers, a close winner (over Universal) for the best at HD presentations of current programming. The show is mixed perfectly, looking even richer and more detailed than in its original HD broadcast. The special features are a bit thin but only because we’ve become accustomed to multiple commentary tracks and this one only has a couple. Still, the deleted scenes and featurettes should play well for hardcore “Nikita” fans, assuming there are any out there.

Nikita: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 30th, 2011
Nikita: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 30th, 2011
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

What about “The Vampire Diaries”? The show could be used as a major example of how CW is the canary in the coal mine for traditional ratings. If you look at actual viewers, the season finale of season two was down over half-a-million from season one and the overall rank was down dozens of spots on the year. However, if you look at Viewers Live+7, which includes DVR usage, the show was UP almost half a million on season one. Whatever way you look at it, the program is one of the few on The CW that people talk about. It will be on for years if the team behind it want to keep making it.

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 30th, 2011
The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 30th, 2011
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Personally, I’m not a big fan. There’s enough emo bloodsucker fiction out there that I don’t need another show in my arsenal. But, I can recognize why this show is a hit — it’s essentially a soap opera with beautiful people behaving badly or falling deeply in love. And, once again, it helps to have a studio like WB behind it. We couldn’t get our hands on the BD, so I can’t comment, but the DVD is well-transferred with an impressive collection of special features.

Special Features:

“Nikita: The Complete First Season”
o Division Tracker: Hack into division and uncover a global tracking device recording every character’s moves across the years. Can you predict Nikita’s future by discovering her past?
o Unaired Scenes
o Inside Division 2-Part Making-Of Documentary
o Creative Team Commentary on 2 Key Episodes
o Inside Division Profile Gallery of Nikita, Michael, Alex and Percy

“The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season”
o The Vampire Diaries: Pages Of The Wolf: 3 Featurettes
·The Myth And The Mystery
·Building The Beasts
·Howling At The Moon
o Her Own Worst Enemy … Elena, Katherine And Nina!: The Challenge of Playing Two Roles
o The Perfect Love Triangle: Vampires, Werewolves, Witches: Find Out Who’s Nibbling on Whom
o Commentary on Masquerade by Executive Producers Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec
o Unaired Scenes
o Second Bite: Gag Reel

“Nikita: The Complete First Season” and “The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season” were both released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 30th, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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