Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

“Nikita” Premiere Review

Posted by CJ Cregg on September 9, 2010

Bring on the awesomely bad.  Except that I think this is just going to be bad.  Not awesome.  But we’ll see.

Swimsuit and booze? Must be a rogue secret agent.

And here we go with the voiceover.  “I was forced to be a covert assassin, escaped, and am being hunted.  Blah blah blah.”  So that’s our premise.  Nothing we haven’t heard before.  Neatly explained in the first 10 seconds. So apparently Nikita (Maggie Q) fell in love with a civilian.  But she wasn’t supposed to be attached to anyone, so it was kind of her bad.  (whoops)  Now she’s on the run and trying to take this covert agency, Division, down.  Agent Michael (Shane West) is assigned to hunt Nikita down and kill her.  But hey!  Turns out he and Nikita engaged in some questionable behavior (read: sex).  Throughout the episode, Nikita undertakes missions to ensure that Division fails.  Nikita’s story is spliced with shots of another young agent, Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), being inducted to the Division and beginning her training as an assassin.  She also has the makings of a rogue agent considering she IMs with Nikita at the end of the episode.  (It isn’t clear to me how or why this happens.)

Maggie Q is exotic and stunning as Nikita.  And there are plenty of gratuitous (in my opinion…the few men watching this show probably disagree) shots of her in skimpy, skimpy, skimpy clothing.  And frankly, the lingering shots of her face and poignant stares are beautiful.  But she’s the only good part of the show.  (And come on, how many people check their email in black silk lingerie?  Gratuitous.)  And I have to admit that I am impressed by her ability to make black leggings look sexy as well as her ability to sprint in stilettos.  But her sultry whispers to her former lover is the kind of thing bad chick flicks are made of.  “Promise me I’ll never wake up from this dream, blah blah blah.  Smooch smooch smooch.”

I don't think anyone's butt looks that good sitting in a chair

Which brings me to my next point.  The dialogue is horrendous.  It’s predictable and boring.  Delivered in monotone.  It’s bad.  For example, the scene where Nikita explains what happened to her to her foster father is forced.  We get it.  She was a troubled youth.

Other critics are celebrating this show for its feminist angle.  Nikita as a strong, fierce, ferocious woman.  But I just don’t see it.  Beautiful and independent for sure.  But vengeful does not a feminist make.  Even when she’s seeking revenge against men.  And can blow up bombs with lipstick canisters.  And especially when her moral convictions explicitly take a backseat to her desire for revenge.  She’s angry.  But not a feminist.

Either way, I think it’s a testament to the script and the acting that I care exactly not at all about what happens to these characters.  We don’t get enough of Nikita other than her 10 second blurb about her past (which is repeated several times throughout the pilot) to really understand her or even sympathize with her, and the other characters may as well not be here.  Despite all of the shoot-em-up action, I won’t be watching next week because they have not hooked me at all.

Grade: C-


One Response to ““Nikita” Premiere Review”

  1. Mr. Feeny said

    Well, I have to admit, I was disappointed by the premiere. Unlike you, CJ, I had high hopes for this. But you’re right, the writing was horrible. As I’ve mentioned before, anytime a character says “that went well” or “that could have gone better,” I cringe. It’s an immediate sign of lazy writing. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There was no creativity to telling Nikita’s story. “Let’s not give the viewer little bits of information about Nikita’s past throughout the season. Instead, let’s have her tell her whole life story to someone.” And she also seems too perfect. Jack Bauer always got the job done, but you felt like he made mistakes and struggled. It all seems so easy for Nikita. There are parts I like. The story is good. I loved the twist at the end. And the action sequences are fun to watch (as are the gratuitous body shots). It’s enough to make me watch again. This had the feel of a set-up episode. I think the rest will be different in terms of style and pace. If not, then I’ll probably stop watching.

    Grade: B-

    PS — Did you realize that Alex is Ted’s daughter on HIMYM?

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