September 10, 2010

Episode Review: NIKITA, "Pilot"

If Joss Whedon and J.J Abram's creativities hooked up and had a child, it would be Nikita. On the surface, the CW's 2010 version of Le Femme Nikita felt like a rehash of Alias and Dollhouse, but after the initially similarities wore off, Nikita established itself as a nice addition to the kick-ass chick genre.

For a spy drama, the plot of the pilot episode was pretty straightforward. Nikita's (Maggie Q) a former assassin who has left her top secret organization, Division, after they had her fiance killed. Of course, she's hell bent on revenge, but she's going to do it from the inside out by planting her own mole in the form of Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca).

Usually, I can anticipate plot twists, but I have to admit that I did not see Alex's alliance with Nikita coming, and it was a nice little surprise. Nikita's two-front approach toward taking Division down felt original, and it has the potential to set up some great drama (you can feel Alex's double cross coming). Having two assassins, a rogue veteran and a newbie in training, also gives Nikita a unique storytelling opportunity because it can be both a show with an established universe as well as an origin story. Essentially, we can see how Nikita became Nikita without seeing her become Nikita.

Based on one episode, it looks like the structure of the series is going to focus on Nikita saving future would be assassins while thwarting Division's plans by saving their targets with the help of Alex. Of course, we're probably going to get some serialized/mythology components, but a save-of-the week approach could work. I don't see the main arc of Nikita being as complex as Alias, but that's not a bad thing. If anything, I can see Nikita taking a page out of Chuck's playbook of having a good combination of mythology and stand alone episodes.

Maggie Q was believable as a bad-ass, which was one of the reasons why I was able to buy in to Nikita. People keep harping on how tiny she is, which I really don't understand. Her character doesn't solely rely on her ability to kick ass. We need to understand where she's at mentally and emotionally in order to get invested in the show, and Q was able to convey a range of emotions as well as hold her own in a fight. All I know is, after watching Nikita I felt that Maggie Q is better equipped to fill Sydney Bristow's boots than Piper Perabo could ever be.

The rest of the cast was decent, and I'm excited to see how the show runners utilize Fonseca and where they take her character. Alex did come off a little too street-wise at the beginning, which was a little off putting, but I became a lot more interested in her after the big twist at the end. Amanda, played by Melinda Clarke, also has the potential to be a break out character. As for Shane West, count me in the group who does not see him as a formidable Big Bad, although Michael could end up being more complex.

Since I haven't seen the previous incarnations of Nikita, I did not have any pre-conceived notions or expectation while watching the CW's interpretation, which made the experience more enjoyable. Yes, this version was cut from a similar cloth as its predecessors as well as other shows, but the CW's Nikita has the capability to stand on its own and be successful. I'll probably stick around unless we find out that Nikita's mom was also a rouge Division operative; then I'm out.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail