Nikita Episode 1 Review
Nikita should have sucked. That’s the conclusion I came to. A TV show on The CW based on a 1997 television show based on a 1993 remake of a 1990 movie. From what I’d read, the original TV show didn’t have a large budget, forcing it to keep the action light and the story strong–very strong, based on reviews–to keep the audience returning every week. The new show’s budget? Much higher. Meaning increased action scenes and decreased plot. The new station? The CW, meaning it probably would be more focused on looks and frequent cheap plot twists.
I am glad to say I was pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, the title character is pretty weak. Played by Mission Impossible alum (aka actress not good enough for sequels) Maggie Q, Nikita is an expressionless toothpick who has just come out of hiding to take down the organization Division that she escaped three years previous. She just doesn’t have the badass cool about her that Uma Thurman had in Kill Bill, though that has to–absolutely has to be what she was going for. Because there was no emotion to be accounted for during the episode.
It’s not really her fault. The series starts with a GREAT hook, introducing Alex (played by Kick-Ass love interest and How I Met Your Mother daughter Lyndsy Fonseca) in what is essentially Nikita’s origin. It’s a very clever technique. These kinds of productions are often weighed down by an overabundance of flashbacks without which would leave the audience at least slightly confused as to what happened before. Alex is busted for armed robbery and murder (her teammate escaped) and is looking at a life behind bars when Division fakes her death and recruits her to be a part of their shadowy organization. It’s not implied that she has much of a choice in the matter.
Lyndsy Fonseca is frankly one of the most talented young actresses in the business, and she gets to show it when Division saves her from life in prison or worse to become yet another of their operatives (read: assassin). As soon as I saw this talented actress was part of the show, I did two things: I immediately wished this wasn’t Nikita when she was younger, thus eliminating the use of the actress once we see her all grown up, and then I went on Wikipedia to see how many episodes she was in. And I immediately sighed with relief to see that she has stayed to be in every single episode. Mark my words, this will basically guarantee I see every episode. This actress–as well as the other actors in her pool of fellow recruits–are quite talented. Honestly, they could have done the whole show from the perspective of the recruits and cut out Nikita as nothing more than a mark to put in their crosshairs and it would have been 3 times as interesting.
What we get instead is not boring, you just know it could have been better if they’d gotten an actress that didn’t make you cringe from the amount of ribs you can see jutting from her when she wears a bikini or underwear (and there are a lot of scenes like this). While Nikita is on the outside toying with Division and saving their assassination targets and playing a cat and mouse with former handler Michael (Shane West, E.R.), Alex is having a tough time inside, being less than appreciative with people like Amanda (Melinda Clarke, The O.C.), whose job it is to teach her how to be a lady–so that she can manipulate others, of course.
It all comes to a head rather anti-climactically, actually. After having played a wonderful game of cat and mouse, Nikita decides to just strut out in front of her former and Michael’s current boss, the corrupt boss of Division (think Morgan Freeman in Wanted) and then runs away when he says he wants to kill her. But when Michael gives her a head start we are promised complicated things to come, and are also revealed who Nikita has on the inside.
Personally, I hope the further seasons of Nikita find their way to Netflix, because this is a show I’ll be watching.
If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is definitely one to run your fingers through. Good for us it hasn’t been cancelled yet, so one way or another you won’t have a Firefly situation on your hands.
And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.
If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below.
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For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are some helpful links to physical copies Nikita and the it’s previous incarnations: