Thursdays at 9:00 on CW
(Encore of Pilot Saturday at 9)
I went over to el Norte (our family is split into two dwellings due to an intense dispute over what Rose's dream meant at the end of TITANIC) to watch the Series Premiere of Nikita with my mother, brother, and oldest sister. Nikita is on CW, and one day removed from Hellcats, my expectations were, shall we say, tempered at best. Much to my surprise, all four of us really enjoyed the show, including my mother, who is unable to remember that TV is not real and gets incredibly scared when there's conflict. I'm still not sure who exactly Nikita is made for, but with four completely different people all vibing on it, maybe it doesn't matter.
Nikita is based on the 1990 Luc Besson-directed French film of the same name (called La Femme Nikita in the U.S.),
which was remade, first in Hong Kong in 1991 (as Black Cat),
then in America as Point of No Return (starring Bridget Fonda and Gabriel Bryne),
and then turned into a TV Show a few years later also called La Femme Nikita.
I can't speak to the TV show or Hong Kong version, but the French and American films are (more or less) the same, and by the way: if you like action and violent women may I heartily recommend both.
I mention the pedigree because, well, there's no other way to put this - the CW version - at least the Pilot, borrows HEAVILY from the plot-lines of the movies.
I mean, a lot. A lot a lot.
Many of the scenes are almost shot-by-shot identical to the movies, even down to the dialogue. This made me think (initially) that - as the CW Network so aggressively targets the young audience - they figured no one under 21 has seen the movies so why not just follow the script? I'm sure this explains much of the thinking. However, I also think the show is cognizant of a built-in fan base and wanted to offer something for Nikitaphiles everywhere.
For those not familiar with the storyline - Nikita is a young girl in a bad situation, present when a murder takes place - during a robbery. Sentenced to lethal injection, her death is faked where she wakes up in some antiseptic subterranean lair, told she no longer exists. A super-secret government agency (aren't they all) called "Division" will give her a new life, and train her to kill as a sleeper agent. All does not go according to plan, as Nikita falls in love only to have her new fiance killed, causing her to question everything.
That's the gist.
if you're thinking it sounds a little like Dollhouse or (especially the fiance part) Alias, you're not alone. My mother pointed this out last night - Nikita's fiance even had the same name as Sidney in Alias - fair enough, but again, CW - whatever works, right?
I don't mean to sound negative, though. For all the similarities - in some cases direct copies - Nikita has more up its sleeve than just a rip-off concept. We're told in the opening scene all this happened to Nikita years ago, but after the fiance thing went down she escaped, and now she's come back to make war on her old Division buddies. She's takin' them down!
Or at least that's her plan.
Nikita is played by the incredibly beautiful and dangerous Maggie Q. The whole show I kept wondering where I'd seen her before, and after a quick scan at her IMDB page I realized that while I she was great in Die Hard 4 and okay in Mission Impossible III, where she won my heart was a movie called Naked Weapon.
Fellas, do you want 88 minutes of balls-to-the-wall Awesome, watching girls use their hands, knives, swords, guns and...sex to kill? Do you want a movie so hot it may get you divorced? Check out Naked Weapon.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Nikita.
So, Nikita is full of revenge. Complication is Michael, who looks for the world like a hotter skinnier Joshua Jackson (I called him Hot Pacey the whole night), but is, apparently, played by Shane West. (My sister insisted I call him "the delicious Shane West," but she can write her own column.)
Michael was Nikita's "Handler" when she was at Division, and there appears to have been more than that. Nikita seems to think Michael is not all bad, and is staying at Division to protect the people he trained from the boss - played by Xander Berkley - one of the top ten "oh, that A-hole!" actors ever, and I say that as a compliment.
Also rounding out the fun - Melinda Clarke as the woman who's job it is to teach the new recruits how to dress and act like a lady (at least until the killing starts). Another veteran, she seems to be half-channeling her Lady Heather character on C.S.I., and good for her. You can never have enough Melinda Clarke is what I always say.
Then there's Lyndsy Fonseca, as Alex, a new recruit to Division. Many of the scenes Nikita had in the movies we see Alex going through. I recently enjoyed seeing Lyndsy in KICK-ASS and HOT TUB TIME MACHINE, and I have decided not to talk about her story line, to keep it a mystery in case you're planning on catching the encore (Saturday at 9). I actually didn't need to mention Lyndsy at all, but it gave me an excuse to put up three hot pictures of her, and as the Naked Weapon explosion above proves, I'm not above that sort of thing.
Thursdays at 9 is a tough gig for Nikita, especially once the big waves of Fall start rolling back into the shore. And as I've stated before, I question the ability of the CW not to screw things up. That said, I found myself very much enjoying the first episode, and plan to watch the show in the future. If you like women who kill things, you might want to as well.
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