A passion for La Femme Nikita coupled with a desire to provide fans with a place to continue their love of the show led Jason Manning to start La Femme Nikita Forever! in summer 2001.
"Season 5 was over, and I noticed a distressing trend. Some of the major LFN sites on the Web were becoming inactive (or disappearing outright). I thought, 'This isn't right.' The series may be over, but the Nikita phenomenon isn't. LFN was a cult hit, the No. 1 drama on cable TV, and it was bound to return to television eventually, which meant there would be a whole new crop of fans who would want information," he said.
"Then, too, LFN fans are diehard. Just because the series was over didn't mean they were going to forget all about it. So, to make a long story short, I decided I'd better create a site, basically as a repository for all the information I could accumulate about the show (and the movies, music, etc.)."
According to Jason, it took about two months to get the bare bones together before launching LFNForever, which culled its name from The Avengers Forever! Website.
"I'm not a huge fan of The Avengers but I AM a huge fan of that site, so that popped into my head when I was trying to come up with a title, imitation being the best kind of flattery. Also, considering my motivations for creating (the site) in the first place, 'Forever' seemed to be a very appropriate word to use in the title."
Jason, whose work as a security consultant often takes him overseas and occasionally causes long hiatuses in updating the site, said LFNForever is very much a work-in-progress.
"As you may have noticed, I'm still adding a lot of basic material. Until someone is kind enough to pay me a salary for doing this, I can only tend to it in my spare time," he said.
"I try to do SOMETHING every day, even if it's just adding a listing to The LFN Encyclopedia or working on a Mission Log (transcript). Some days I get to spend two or three hours, but that's certainly not every day."
Jason said the key to building traffic for the site is new material.
"The TV Schedule is a big draw (now that LFN is back on the tube).* Fans like to know what the stars are up to. I have no schedule for updating. I just do it when I've got some new intel or new material completed. That could be several times a week or several times a month."
In addition to new intel, older intel such as various articles about LFN are prevalent at LFNForever.
"It's taking a long time to archive the articles. I've got a dozen here on my desk I haven't had a chance to add yet. I'm doing it for the same reason I've added foreign links, to make LFNForever as thorough and complete as possible," Jason said.
"It will take me a while longer, still, as I'm determined to track down about two dozen articles that I've heard about but which are not accessible electronically."
Something else that Jason is working on is The LFN Encyclopedia.
"The jargon used in the series can be, I imagine, somewhat confusing for first-time viewers. To be of assistance in that respect is the primary reason for the encyclopedia. But it's also to assist future fanfic writers as well. And finally, it serves as a reference guide for myself."
....Jason shared a fanfic, "Forced Acquisition," ** as the first in a series of stories that will continue LFN for a sixth season online.
"I've gotten a lot of positive feedback about Season Six, and a lot of queries regarding when the next entry is coming. Since I launched LFNForever, I've been overseas or out of town for about eight months. That's half of LFNForever's young life! So I haven't been able to write Season Six as regularly as I would like. But I do intend to have the second entry done by the end of 2002 and should be home much more often next year, in which case I'll be able to write a good many more in 2003. I've got ideas for the next two or three percolating in my mind right now," he said.
"As for why I wrote "Forced Acquisition" in the first place, I guess it's because I wanted to present my take on what happens next (after S5), with Nikita in the perch and Michael out in the cold. There are so many great scenarios. I wanted to explore what Section One would be like with Nikita at the helm. Would her basic decency affect Section's efficiency? Would she be significantly changed by the experience? And would it be for better or for worse? And there were other available subplots, one of which, involving Walter and Jason (Birkoff's twin), I hope to explore in the next entry."
Jason is not only into sharing his own fanfic. He also is trying to let fans know about great places to find other LFN-related stories.
"(Fanfic) gives (fans) an opportunity to do what I'm doing with S6 -- to express their commitment, their affection, for the concept in a creative, palpable way. There is so much LFN fan fic out there. You may have noticed I've started creating a directory of LFN fanfic (again in my never-ending quest to make LFNForever as comprehensive as possible), but I must confess it's a daunting task, and one that will take a very long time to complete, for the simple fact that there is just so much LFN fan fic on the Web." ***
LFNForever tends to draw hits from throughout the world, likely because it features an international flavor that includes foreign titles for some of the LFN episodes.
"From the start, my goal was to be as thorough as possible. I am, after all, trying to create a one-stop resource here. That meant including foreign links. As for the foreign titles, I think that's fascinating, and not altogether trivial, as I get a good many visitors from other countries. LFN is an international phenomenon," Jason said, adding that the show is soon to debut in China.
"I get visitors from all over the world, somewhere in the vicinity of 70 different countries now. **** That's one reason why my first message board was multilingual. Unfortunately, the company that provided it decided to charge an exorbitant fee, so I dropped it."
While LFNForever, which averages 4,000 to 5,000 unique visitors per month, has received correspondence from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Estonia, etc., Jason noted that about 80 percent of the site's visitors are from the United States and a large percentage of the remainder hail from Canada.
Other features that might attract visitors to the site include LFN greeting cards, which Jason said has been receiving "a good response," and a classifieds section to help fans find episodes on tape or get other help from fellow LFN fans. *****
Jason, always a fan of spy stories, became an LFN fan early in the first season.
"Right away, I realized it fit my ideal of the perfect spy series. All the others I'd watched in the past had been flawed. I appreciated the intelligence of the scripts, the moral ambiguity of the war Section wages. I've always thought that you have to fight fire with fire, and it's a pretty grim and dirty business sometimes. If, like Nikita, you can fight that kind of war and maintain your integrity, then you are, indeed, approaching hero status."
And it's "the relationships between the major characters and the convoluted office politics of Section One" which has kept Jason so into the show.
"I read somewhere that the relationship between Nikita and Michael was the most complicated in TV history. I agree wholeheartedly. Complicated and endlessly fascinating, I never seem to tire of it, and that's saying something as I'm easily bored and constantly looking for new experiences."
Jason's favorite actor from the show is Roy Dupuis.
"I think he created in Michael a very unique character, and remained steadfastly true to it throughout the series. And from what I've read, Michael was largely his creation. Here's an op who really is the best in the business, hands down. But his stoic, ruthless exterior is his armor. It protects a man who, if he slips up, could be extremely vulnerable," he said.
"Gene Glazer comes in a close second. It wasn't easy creating an Operations who was so ruthless, so menacing, and yet still one of the good guys -- a good guy because he was clearly focused on his task, totally committed to defeating terrorism, and so was the perfect man for a very difficult job."
While the male actors might have captured Jason's admiration, it's Nikita who is his favorite character.
"I particularly like her chameleon-like ability to switch from sultry femme fatale to coldly efficient operative to vulnerable young woman. It really is a remarkable character, and we have Luc Besson and Anne Parillaud to thank for that, I think. Not to denigrate Peta Wilson's contributions, but Parillaud really set the bar very high and Wilson reached it."
Just looking at what Jason has to say about LFN reveals how much he really enjoys this show and hopes to bring enjoyment to fellow fans.
"I hope that, in some way, the site has kept the fire alive, so to speak. I suspect for many fans the past year and a half has been a pretty bleak time, with USA (Network) yanking the repeats (which now air on Oxygen in the United States) and Warner Bros. (initially) getting cold feed regarding the DVDs, etc. But mark my words, LFN is a cult classic, and will live a long and fruitful life. Just look at the impact it's had on movies and on other series. Would there be an Alias if there hadn't been an LFN? Of course not. And doesn't everyone wear black leather now? You bet!"
Running LFNForever doesn't come without some challenges such as dealing with other Web entities like webhosts, stat providers and service providers.
"I started out using a particular sitebuilding software. Suddenly, it no longer works. I can no longer publish. What's wrong? Turns out the software was sold. Now I have to purchase it from a new company, get a new registration number, etc.," Jason said.
"Working on the Web is like trying to survive in the Wild West. It's often harrowing. I've known other webmasters who've had their sites -- months, if not years of work -- suddenly vanish from the Internet due to some technical foul-up at the webhost. And just try to communicate in a timely manner with any of those entities!"
Despite the rough patches, Jason says he enjoys running LFNForever because of "the contact with other LFN fans and the feeling, or maybe it's just a hope, that I'm contributing something and giving something back to the series that has provided me with so many hours of entertainment. …
"I hope that, in a year or two, LFNForever will be such that when a fan wants to find out something about this, that or the other, he or she will feel confident they can go there and get what they're after."
And while Jason is trying to collect as much intel as possible for his LFN site, he doesn't discourage others from starting their own sites dedicated to the show.
"The more, the merrier. The greater the LFN presence on the Internet, the more we can influence the future of the Nikita concept, and the more new fans we can generate. LFN fandom is very 'connected.' "
* This was in 2003, when LFN repeats were airing on Oxygen.
** Now entitled "The End of the Beginning".
*** In fact, it proved too daunting a task, and I gave up.
**** Nearly 150 countries, at last count.
***** I intend to bring the ecards and the classifieds back in '07.