Most of the television shows that I watched last season (i.e everything except Heroes) is returning this season, so I didn’t have a need to fill empty gaps in my weekly TV schedule. With that being said, I didn’t really research any new shows. It wasn’t until just a few days before Nikita premiered that I even heard about it. I had never seen the original Nikita film, or the La Femme Nikita television series, and everything that I’ve seen the main cast (Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonesca) in, I didn’t feel compelled to go out and watch more of their work, so I can’t really tell you why I started watching the show. I can tell you, however, why I will keep watching.
To me, Nikita is very reminiscent of 2002’s Dark Angel. Both shows are centered around a strong, female lead who escapes a government program and then tries to destroy it. I was actually a pretty big fan of Dark Angel back in the day, though probably because I was 14 and really liked Jessica Alba in a motorcycle jacket. Either way, whatever piqued my interest then has piqued it now.
One thing I like in my television shows is a long, preferably season-wide story arc. Whenever a show is gradually building towards something, it gets you engaged more because you want to see what happens. If you read my review of the first season of Glee, you’ll remember that I disliked the second half because it didn’t seem like it had any sort of direction. With Nikita, you get to see in each episode the steps that Nikita (Maggie Q) and Alex (Lyndsy Fonesca) are taking to try and shut down Division, the government agency Nikita is trying to stop. And while doing this, they create small stories for each episode, which keeps the show fresh and exciting each week.
For the most part, the characters are pretty well done. All the main roles were cast really well, and the actors do a really good job as well. The only problems acting-wise that I have are with a couple of the minor roles, Thom (Ashton Holmes) and Jade (Tiffany Hines). To me, they seem to just be trying too hard. I get that Jade is supposed to be intense and constantly in Alex’s face, but it’s just too much at times. And Thom tries his best to come off as a badass, but falls really short. This may not be a reflection of the actors’ skills (I haven’t seen any of their other work, so I can’t judge), and it may just be ho the direction chose for the characters to be portrayed, but either way I would like it to stop. Lyndsy Fonesca has her moments of overacting as well, but then she gets to her quite and serious moments and you forget all about it. Not that she’s so exceptional that it makes up for everything else, just that her character has more range than the other trainees.
The only problem that I see with this show in the long-run is where to go after Nikita inevitably destroys Division. To use Dark Angel as an example, once Max was able to stop Manticore and Lydecker, the show got really weird with animal people and other ridiculous experiments. What ultimately led to Heroes‘ demise was that they kept coming up with those ridiculous ideas and never went anywhere with them. I’ve never watched 24, but I hear similar things regarding its direction as well.
I’ll keep up with Nikita. We’re now three episodes in, and I’ve got enough faith in the show to keep with it the rest of the season, assuming The CW picks it up for a full order. After that, we’ll have to wait and see.