Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall TV: Nikita

The CW's Nikita is actually just the latest entry in movies and TV series about this character. I think the first was a French film and then there was a TV series back in the 90s called La Femme Nikita. I haven't seen any of those so I'm can't comment on how this new series compares. But I have watched plenty of these female spy/action type series so obviously I'm a fan of the genre, and I have to say that I rather enjoyed the pilot.

Maggie Q is Nikita, a former spy and assassin for Division, a shadowy government organization whose recruits appear to be taken involuntarily, mostly from the streets. When the series begins, Nikita has already escaped and is working to bring down the organization from the outside. I have to say that it's kind of nice to see an Asian (well, half Asian anyway) woman as the lead of a network series, and Maggie Q brings a certain exotic glamour and a good dose of maturity to the role. She's definitely not your girl next door like Sydney (Alias) or Annie (Covert Affairs) and makes the show feel much less "CW." Maggie Q has a martial arts background and is apparently doing her own stunts too.

Even though Nikita is the lead, the rest of the characters are inside Division, so we get to see both sides. We're introduced to the world through Alex (played by Lyndsy Fonseca, also known as Ted's future daughter on How I Met Your Mother), a brand-new recruit. The head of Division is Percy (played by Xander Berkeley of 24 season 1), and his number-two is Michael (Shane West, questionable casting but I'm willing to give him a chance). There's also a requisite computer nerd, Birkhoff, and the always fabulous Melinda Clarke as Amanda, who I guess trains the recruits in manipulation and seduction and stuff like that. There are also two other recruits (I'm not sure what else to call them) that may end up friends or enemies, not sure.

The pilot doesn't necessarily offer anything new, but there's plenty of style and action here, and as Nikita has no personal connections (all of the recruits are officially "dead") it didn't have any of that cheesy stuff that seems to be standard with spies trying to lead double lives. It also ended with a nice twist that sets up a formula for future episodes. I think it might fill the girl-power-action hole left by Dollhouse's cancellation and not much satisfied by Covert Affairs (whose season is ending next week anyway). Thursday is a crowded night for TV, but I think this has potential. It's on my schedule for now!

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Covert Affairs: no. Nikita: yes!