The CW’s “Nikita” Starring Maggie Q

by HM

Nikita Maggie Q on The CW 3 350x161 The CWs Nikita Starring Maggie QI normally don’t discuss mainstream movies or TV shows on this site.  Hollywood productions involving action and female lead characters are usually pretty boring to me.  I can’t think of one off the top of my head that I’ve actually enjoyed watching.  And yet I love independently produced action/adventure/fantasy films available on the internet, typically produced on shoe-string budget and designed to appeal to somewhat specialized audiences.  But I’m not opposed to mainstream “action heroine” entertainment, especially when it features a very sexy lead actress like Maggie Q.  So tonight I watched the premiere episode of The CW’s Nikita.  Here are my initial impressions:

First, a little background.  Nikita is the latest remake of Luc Besson’s 1990 French film La Femme Nikita, which was remade in 1993 as Point of No Return starring Bridget Fonda.  Already, you can begin to see the problem.  When Hollywood acquires a property, it has a tendency to squeeze everything edgy and interesting out of it; hence, the very boring and generic title, “Point of No Return.”  And Bridget Fonda is nice looking, but she doesn’t have the raw sex appeal of the original Nikita, Anne Parillaud (or the new Nikita, Maggie Q).

Nikita Maggie Q on The CW 5 350x262 The CWs Nikita Starring Maggie QThe next version of the property was the successful Canadian-produced TV series “La Femme Nikita” starring Peta Wilson, which ran from 1997 to 2001.  All of this Nikita-related activity begs the question: Why do film and TV producers keep tapping into this particular property?  There must be some reason people crave entertainment involving gorgeous heroines in dangerous situations.  (Of course I think so… just look at this blog for heaven’s sake :) ).

So, the latest version of “Nikita” is this CW series starring Maggie Q.  First of all, Maggie Q is extremely gorgeous as the main character.  I’ve always been an admirer of her and think she’s an excellent heroine.  She has the acting chops to pull of the role, not to mention she’s simply dazzling to look at.  A few of the action scenes are pretty well done, and the premiere episode promises more drama and intrigue as the series develops.  It also features some incredibly boring supporting actors like Shane West and Xander Berkeley.  But all in all, it seems like a fairly entertaining show, mostly because of the charisma and beauty of its lead actress.

Nikita Maggie Q on The CW 1 350x525 The CWs Nikita Starring Maggie QHowever, as a fan of such admittedly bizarre fare as Zen Pictures’ Smart 109, RingDivas’ Sayuri Blood Chronicles and many other low budget heroine-oriented productions, I can’t help but feel that several elements are missing here.  The convoluted story involves Nikita’s attempts to dismantle the organization that trained her to be a lethal assassin, killed her boyfriend, and made her life a living hell.  There’s a lot of melodrama, a ton of dialogue, and a few plot twists, but there’s relatively little action.  And just about all of the action involves Nikita taking on several henchmen at a time and emerging for the most part unscathed.  There’s never really a sense that she’s in any danger, and we’re always pretty sure she’s going to be okay.  Aside from that, the vast majority of the premiere episode features extended dialogue sequences.

Doesn’t this get rather boring after a while?  I can understand the need to create drama to hook viewers throughout the show’s running time, but so many of us just want to see fighting, sexy outfits, peril, and all of the elements that make up most of the films you’ll find reviewed on this site.  “Nikita” asks you to invest emotionally in the characters and story.  Smart 109 just gives you a hot, sexy girl in a skimpy outfit who fights bad guys, gets tied up, escapes, and fights some more.

Nikita Maggie Q on The CW 4 The CWs Nikita Starring Maggie QMainstream entertainment seems hindered by the need to appeal to a vast audience in order to justify the large budgets required to produce it.  Production costs are very high, and so a show like “Nikita” can’t spend a significant amount of time appealing to any particular subset of the audience.  Every episode must appeal to as many people as possible.  And so you’ll never see an episode of “Nikita” that involves a long, drawn-out fight scene in which Maggie Q torturously dominates and destroys her male opponent.  And yet I’ve seen more than enough of this kind of material on the internet to know there’s a big audience for it.  The audience just simply isn’t big enough to justify a production the size of “Nikita.”

Similarly, there will never be a Zen Pictures-style, graphic, several-minute whipping or belly punching scene of Maggie Q in “Nikita” (something you’ll find in any Zen production).  Although I guarantee you that many, many male (and female) viewers would love nothing more, it simply won’t happen for the reason noted above.

This is the advantage that independent, internet-based producers have.  They can produce basically whatever they want, no matter how obscure, and no matter how “obscene” (in some people’s eyes), and thanks to the internet, the audience will find it.  So, a three-part video from RingDivas focusing almost exclusively on the torture of the main heroine becomes a successful franchise.  Similarly, a video in which a Supergirl-like character humiliates her male opponent for almost the entire running time can also find a grateful audience.

Nikita Maggie Q on The CW 2 The CWs Nikita Starring Maggie QBut “Nikita” will continue to give us the kind of television drama we’ve become accustomed to for several decades, and will most certainly never venture into the kind of edgy, sexual, fetish-oriented content that defines so many low budget heroine films.  It’s like a tease—an interesting fight scene here, a little bit of peril there, Maggie Q fighting bad guys for three minutes in a skimpy bikini—but it can never go in the interesting directions so many fans really want it to.

On the other hand, it does have great production values, and Maggie Q is really lovely as Nikita.  So I suppose it’s just a matter of appealing to a large, multifaceted audience rather than focusing on the relatively tiny fraction of viewers that enjoy the specificity of a Zen Pictures or Giga Freeks.  I guess there’s room for all kinds of entertainment, from big-budget mainstream productions to low budget internet-distributed niche products.  But I definitely know which kind I prefer.

-

(I would like to know if you guys enjoy articles like this. I haven’t really covered “mainstream” films or TV shows before, so I’m curious if this is an area you would like to see explored further on the site. Feel free to leave comments or contact me to let me know what you think!)

{ 9 comments }

1 sh September 9, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Thanks for the review i had planed to watch this show and for got to set the DVR, but i’m not surprised they went main stream. I’m glad you review it i just recently found your blog and it has been a big help on picking out videos and there are a few that i would have not know about if you had not reviewed them. So i would like to see any reviews of tv shows or inernet videos that fall in this type of film. yes agree with you l prefer the internet videos as well.

SH

2 HM September 9, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Thanks for your comment, sh, and I’m glad you enjoy the site! I think “Nikita” is actually pretty entertaining. It’s just a completely different approach to the same kind of subject matter featured in many Zen Pictures films (and others), so I thought it might be interesting to discuss it. It just doesn’t have the “edge” that independent productions can have, but that’s to be expected, of course, from a big budget TV show.

3 MAV September 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I hope you’re wrong man. I think these types of shows always have the possibility of peril, and in spy situations, likely torture. I was in your boat about Dark Angel years ago and then just when I stopped watching since I couldnt stand Jessica Alba teasing me, she gets strung up AOH and electro-tortured. Keep hope alive!

4 DeathCake October 4, 2010 at 7:11 am

Well, I’ve watched the first 3 episodes of this, and I’m fairly happy. Maggie Q looks prettyhot in her outfits, mostly leggings and such, which is cool. Hopefully it’ll get a bit better though.

5 yak December 10, 2010 at 8:31 pm

there’s been 3 peril scenes i know of:

1. in “rough trade,” nikita is ambushed and speedily tazered unconscious by two men who carry her body away. the next time we see her, she’s handcuffed. she escapes easily.

2. in “phoenix,” nikita has a tough fight with two russians. she kills one; the other knocks her out by breaking a vase over her back. she awakes to find herself in a chair, hands bound behind her back.

3. in “all the way,” nikita is chained to the ceiling. still looking for a video clip of this one… if it’s anything like the caps, it’s dynamite: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Brvw1TxcQPg/TPa94PPJcrI/AAAAAAAACQA/ZRNF_EtwhgQ/s1600/NIKITA-All-the-Way-5.jpg

6 HM December 11, 2010 at 10:14 am

Thanks for the info, yak. I watched the recent episode “All the Way” a few days ago. I hadn’t seen an episode since the premiere. I think it’s a pretty entertaining show, but in terms of peril, it was a serious disappointment.

Basically, the producers go through all of this trouble to have Maggie Q chained up in a very dangerous situation, totally helpless and at the mercy of her enemies who hate her and believe that she betrayed them. They also have full knowledge that Nikita possesses a vital piece of information they desperately need. They have stated their intentions to kill her after the interrogation and have her isolated in a top-secret location where no one will ever know what happened. So, the interrogation begins, and the torturers…

…show Nikita embarrassing home videos from her past?! To hurt her feelings? As I watched this, I thought, “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me, CW.” After all of that, we get to watch Maggie Q subjected to glorified episodes of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Bob Saget or Tom Bergeron walk out and make a couple of wisecracks.

Aside from that, I thought the show was actually pretty entertaining, to be honest. But for peril, I think we’ll have to stick to independent productions for now. :)

7 NungarX April 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Sorry to tell you this but I don’t know who the hell made the casting of Maggie Q for Nikkita without a question is the worst ever Nikkita that ever exist. Is not sexy, is not that kind of beauty that leave you breathless like Peta Wilson. The production is OK, with the quality of a Warner Series, the guy that plays Michael its not so bad. But Nikkita its terrible. In my opinion The Femme Nikkita with Peta Wilson was a final period in the Nikkita franchise and Warner should leave it that way for a few years more.

8 Absstar April 29, 2011 at 3:02 am

NungarX, I really beg to differ, BIG TIME!! Maggie Q is amazingly hot/stunning! Peta Wilson? Just average. But then again, what’s that old saying? ” To each his own “

9 rica micaella suan January 19, 2012 at 4:35 am

ur one of the wonderful actress thats way im one of ur fans

Comments on this entry are closed.