I don’t know what to think about Nikita. I’m not hating the show at all and they haven’t lost me yet, but I’m not loving it. For me, a lot of what makes a TV show, even when the concept isn’t all that original, are the characters. I like characters that instantly connect, bring something powerful to the table the second you lay eyes on them. That first impression means so much. That’s what instantly hooked me to shows like The X-Files, The West Wing, Supernatural, Chuck and The Vampire Diaries. There is this dynamic between the main actors that just grabs you the second they are on the screen.
It isn’t just the main characters though. The supporting cast has to work. The strength of The Vampire Diaries this season has been how the secondary characters, a weak link of the first season, have been built up so well in the second. They become important to the story too and we care what happens with them. I can’t say the same for Nikita at this point.
I’ve been watching Nikita every week since the pilot and the action is strong, but I’m still not connecting with the characters. I have to admit though, I’m at a disadvantage. I never saw ANY of the previous Nikita films or TV shows. I’m not familiar with the story at all and really didn’t know what Nikita or Michael or Division were all about. Without that background, I’ve gone into this show getting to know everyone from scratch. Given the fact that the franchise is mainly from the 90’s, many younger viewers are in this position as well. It could be it’s viewers like us they aren’t hooking. Of course I’ve also heard that this reboot isn’t mirroring the previous work either so it could be that none of the backstory matters.
Nikita isn’t a bad show by any means for there’s strength in the stories being told, but for me there’s that certain something missing that’s keeping it off my must watch live list every week. There are three main characters, but they are three separate stories. The supporting cast really isn’t doing much to enhance the show either.
It’s obvious from what I’ve learned so far that Nikita is meant to kick ass. She does that well and Maggie Q does her action scenes superbly. It’s definitely her thing. The key though is there’s a vulnerability under that tough exterior. Her mission is redemption. She wants to fix things, make them right. She has many scars though so that takes the saccharine out of who she is. There’s that deep bitterness and need for revenge (Wow, it’s almost like I’m describing Sam Winchester here!) I’m not sure how Maggie Q’s Nikita compares to the others, but I adore her strength and her perspective. She’s smart, calm under pressure, really lethal yet she has a true moral center. There is a tender woman under there too. She’s everyone’s ideal heroine and looking great doing it.
One problem is the whole Division thing. I don’t like it. Division is meant to be a cold, hard place. I understand that. Tell me though, the very few of you that actually watched Dollhouse, a lot of what killed that series was the coldness of the Dollhouse, the main setting, wasn’t it? Who wants to be that uncomfortable each and every week?
It isn’t just the setting though. A lot of what makes a series work is the connection between the characters and so far there isn’t much in Nikita. Alex and Nikita are working together, but Division is the wall between them and it’s noticeable. Their interaction is mostly through computer and phone calls. Michael, an awesome badass character played by Shane West, is also off doing his own thing and isn’t in the mix. It was until this most recent episode, Covenant, where Michael and Nikita finally have some powerful scenes together is that I realized what’s missing about the show. The main characters must be interacting on a personal level. Frequently. I’m not even talking about the sex scene. Even if you take that out of the equation when these two are together on the screen, Wow.
Then there’s Alex (played by Lyndsy Fonseca) who is growing in her own right, but I’m still not sure how I feel about her. I know she’s a new character to the franchise so that puts me on a level playing field with everyone else in that regard. Her scenes with Jaden are awful (as is Jaden’s character) and I don’t care for her friction with Amanda either. Her relationship with Nikita is interesting but it still seems distant. They are hardly best buds. I certainly don’t care about her secret past, maybe because I haven’t fully connected with her character. Her growing backstory has potential but it’s lacking a wow factor with me right now. Maybe it’s her isolation that’s setting her up for a downfall. The question I have is if Alex does fall or turn to darkness, will we care? I’m not sure at this point.
Percy makes for the perfect bad guy, but he’s only ever seen interacting with Michael for the most part. Sure, he got to interrogate Nikita once and that was awesome, but that can’t happen every week. But that’s just another example of this show’s weakness. Each character has their own separate story and they aren’t blending together well. It’s gotten to the point that so much is going on that I’m not seeing where it’s all going. Either that or I don’t want to. I remember Percy interrogating Nikita but for the life of me I don’t remember why or what for. I also like the CIA agent that Nikita hooked up with, Ryan, but what’s his purpose? Why did Tom exist again? That lack of cohesion in plots is disrupting a lot of the time and making the show week to week rather inconsistent.
Overall though, the individuals don’t make a show, no matter how strong the lead character. It’s the interactions and chemistry between all the players. There is chemistry at times but we rarely get to see it in Nikita when everyone is off in their separate worlds. Maybe the episode we just saw is the “game changer” they say it is. Maybe now that Michael and Nikita are together the sparks will fly and what’s missing about the show will become less obvious. Maybe not.
So what do you think? How is Nikita working for you? What isn’t working? What would you like to see in upcoming episodes?