E: Why – why oh why – is everything I want to watch on at 9pm on Thursdays? I already have Grey’s Anatomy and Fringe. My DVR can only take so much. I’m going to have to record the late night repeat of Project Runway as it is. And along comes this new incarnation of one of my favorite action heroines, and damn it, she rocks. One episode in, the show gives us flashes of Dollhouse and maybe even The Hunger Games mixed into a sleek Alias format. Is that fair?
I’ll answer that one for you. No. No, it’s not.
M: For those of us who only watch Fringe out of the above shows, it’s perfectly fine. Monday’s at 10:00, however? Not cool.
E: Why do the networks do that, do you suppose? Are Grey’s Anatomy and Fringe and Nikita different enough that no one would expect them to fight for the same audience? Or is it weird that I like melodramas and science fiction and action/adventure? And, er, sewing competitions. That’s not weird, right? I mean, all three scripted dramas involve strong female protagonists.
M: Well, it’s only a little weird. I mean, Fringe is awesome and Grey’s is drivel, so that’s a bit odd.
E: I knew I could count on you to affirm me, bro.
M: Any time! However, Grey’s and Project Runway, which is, well, a bizarre yet at times entertaining train wreck of personalities, are aimed at fairly similar audiences. So are Fringe and Nikita, which definitely has a Dollhouse feel to it.
E: I’m not entirely sold on Shane West’s pseudo-sympathetic baddie, but at the very least, I was surprised to learn he was in love with Nikita and that he made a habit of protecting his recruits. Another critique? I know the entertainment world is enraptured by the hotness of lead actress Maggie Q.
M: Or as I refer to her, the girl from Balls of Fury.
E: Because that was so memorable? Anyway, she looks fantastic in black leather jackets and in that metal-accented dress she wore to the Congressional soiree. But the much vaunted red bathing suit? Am I the only person out that who finds it uncomfortable to see such a juvenile body shape so sexualized?
M: Nope, not the only one. I thought she looked like she weighed about as much as a piece of dental floss, and to me that’s not sexy.
E: Glad someone agrees! Sorry, I just had to get that out.
M: By all means.
E: I love the atmosphere at the dollhouse, or HQ, or whatever they’re calling it. Division’s headquarters, is that it?
M: Yep, the last one. I think their rival organization is “Subtraction”.
E: ‘They’re training us to kill, and they’ll kill us if we don’t perform.’ That’s definitely where I get The Hunger Games feeling – that sense of being thrown into a fight for your life, never knowing who to trust. That’s creepy and cool. (THG, by the way, is the first in a trilogy of books, and if you haven’t read them, you need to. Suzanne Collins. Completely great.)
M: Adding that to the list.
E: You so should. Now, the structure of the show surprises me; unlike the movies (and presumably the first series), we don’t start with Nikita being recruited out of prison. This strikes me as pretty smart, since anyone familiar with the character would already be familiar with her origin story. Instead we launch further into the story with only a few bits of flashback to flesh things out; after being neglected and possibly abused by her family, Nikita runs off with a bad crowd, gets involved with a drug fueled murder, sent to jail for a crime she didn’t commit, recruited by a nefarious pseudo-governmental agency which taught her how to be a high class spy and (largely) an assassin. She kills on command until she falls in love with a guy during a long term job; the Division kills him, and she goes rogue.
M: I agree, excellent choice to not rehash the origins plot, and go with something later on down the line. Even though what they are doing is rehashing many other things, it still feels more fresh.
E: I loved that we go through the episode thinking that new recruit Alex is there merely to show us what Nikita went through – when it turns out that she’s been planted by Nikita as a spy within Division. Amazing!
M: Another good twist, and departure from the origins.
E: I’m dubious about the shots of her already in a mission during next week’s episode, however. Didn’t Tom say he’d been training for a year?
M: Yes, yes he did. I’m also dubious of the “rival” girl that she sparred with verbally within Division. She was sooooooo forced. Other than that, I liked it.
E: I wasn’t offended by her, although I can see why you were. I generally like the actress, though, from her roles on Grey’s Anatomy and, so I wasn’t sorry to see her. And all in all, I really enjoyed the hour.
We’ll see if next week is a buzzkill that lessens my regret for a show I can’t really watch. Maybe it’ll go quickly downhill like Covert Affairs did. Because if it doesn’t, I’ll be forced to start watching it online once Fringe and Grey’s return!