Sometimes it feels like I’m always somehow discovering, falling in love with, and championing those shows that just don’t get the ratings they deserve. Though most of the time my attempts at saving a thing are futile (I’m sorry, I really tried, Nine Lives of Chloe King, but ABC Family clearly hates me and I’m probably never getting this invested in one of their shows ever again), I refuse to turn my back on Nikita because this show… You don’t understand. This. Show.
To be honest, I didn’t watch Nikita since the beginning. I was intrigued because it was on right after The Vampire Diaries, I’d heard it had gotten media attention because Maggie Q was the first Asian lead role on… American television ever (is it Western television in general?), and I’d heard from several friends and lots of critics (IGN, the Huffington Post) that this was a show more than worth watching (and probably one that really didn’t belong on the CW because it was quality in writing, acting, and action, and the audience was older than the teens who flock to Gossip Girl, 90210, and even The Vampire Diaries). But I was swamped with work, I barely had time for the shows I already watched, so I let it fall by the wayside.
Last year, at a moment when I was bored with everything and all my shows were on hiatus, my cousin forced me to watch Nikita, which was now on Netflix. I watched the first episode, vaguely intrigued, but didn’t really think much of it. (Of course, I was impressed by Maggie Q because how could you not be? And I was amazed by how different Shane West looked from his A Walk to Remember days.) But I watched the next episode, and then the next. Somewhere early on in the season, during one of Nikita and Michael’s “I HAVE TO KILL YOU AND I PROBABLY SHOULD BECAUSE YOU’RE MAKING MY JOB DIFFICULT FOR ME, BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE FIGHTING WITH YOU IS RIDICULOUS
LY HOT, AND I THINK IT’S OBVIOUS THAT I’M REALLY IN LOVE WITH YOU, BUT BY GOD, WE CAN’T BE TOGETHER BECAUSE YOU ARE THE ENEMY — EVEN THOUGH I KNOW YOU’RE NOT , AND UGH, KISS ME ALREADY PLEASE!” fights, I realized I was addicted. (For the record, they never actually say those things — it would be awful writing if they did — but it’s what you see during every scene they share, reading in between the lines.) And then I zoomed through season one, laughing (Birkhoff is the most hilarious character ever) and crying (So many tears!) and flailing (Micheal/Nikita forever!) along the way. And I finished half of season two in one day, until I was caught up and could enjoy the show (and contribute to episode premiere ratings) on its network every Friday. Season three has now begun and I couldn’t be more excited for Fridays on the CW, 8 PM (currently — I’m pretty sure it’ll go back to 9 p.m. in January when the second half of the season airs).
So the point of this post?
It doesn’t seem like it when you first hear about it, but Nikita is a gem of a television show and more people, especially people who don’t normally watch the CW, should be giving it a chance. It’s brilliant, and there’s a reason why critics can never get enough of it, why the fans are so dedicated to supporting it even when we all thought it would get canceled last season, especially on a Friday in the death slot. There’s little promotion for anything not-The Vampire Diaries (or not a new show) on the CW (though kudos to the CW for attempting to remedy that now with new promos, and this new 8 PM time slot, even if it’s only temporary), and with the Cablevision debacle earlier this season and the fact that a lot of people didn’t even realize the new season had begun, the ratings in the season premiere episode (which was absolutely fantastic) were abysmal. I’m not sure these things matter anymore because every episode seems to be more kickass — in content, reviews, and even (slightly) in ratings — than the last, and I honestly don’t even want a season four (I think the way they’re headed could lead to a proper, amazing conclusion by the end of the season, and all I really want for Nikita is to end brilliantly and completely), but I want this show to succeed. Numerically, I suppose, since it’s already succeeding in every other way possible. Because maybe then, people would realize what a freaking wonderful thing it is and understand why it has the loyal following it does, and why we were all at the edge of our seats back in May, waiting to hear if the CW would finally let it go. (Thank goodness they didn’t.)
If you’re new to the series and haven’t given much thought to it or even checked it out for yourself yet…
Nikita is the story of a girl who was recruited from Death Row to be trained as an agent for a secret organization of the government called Division. She was told that she was doing an honorable thing, using her skills to help the United States, but as she advanced in missions and in the system, she began to notice things that made her cautious, missions where innocents got hurt, secrets she didn’t understand, things Division didn’t want her to know about what she was actually doing for them. She investigates, tests the limits, and when her “job” results in Division killing her fiance, a civilian she had fallen in love with outside of her missions, she finally makes the move to leave Division. Years later, she returns to seek revenge and stop them from hurting more people (new recruits and innocents targeted on their missions). And she does this by planting her own “agent” inside Division as a new recruit.
So why should you watch this freaking awesome, brilliant show?
1. Maggie Q (and all the action scenes).
If you can’t tell, I ship them. A lot. I won’t tell you why because it’s one of my favorite aspects of the first season, but they have a lot of history and all their fight scenes are full of sexual tension, and there’s all this chemistry and relationship development and character development, and I love the way the writers write them and explore them. They’ve quickly become one of my most favorite ships ever (which is probably why they show up frequently in my Fantastic Five Friday posts). (You don’t have to ship them, of course, but they’re an enjoyable aspect of this show for me, so I had to list them.)
3. Brilliant, consistent, well-constructed storylines.
I think this one speaks for itself, but you’ll have to watch to see what I mean. It’s part of what makes this such a good show, and entirely why I can’t even mention examples. The suspense and the surprises are the best part.
4. Secondary characters (who keep recurring enough to become regulars in season 3).
I’m not going to tell you their stories, but Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean) and Owen Elliott (Devon Sawa) are amazing. Trust me.
5. Seymour Birkhoff.
I always have the most trouble deciding if he or Michael are my favorite characters, but then Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) says something hilarious or makes a brilliant pop culture reference, and the choice is easy.
Though I do also really really enjoy Shane West’s scruffy face.
The CW is actually pretty awesome with setting great music to scenes, but it’s exceptional in Nikita. I can’t get over how perfect some of the songs are (my favorite is Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine, which plays at the end of episode 17, season one, and god, that scene is brilliant), and I love that they continue to do this even now, in the third season (there’s this scene at the end of the first episode in season 3 where a song plays and fangirls flail).
Basically, Nikita is one of the best shows you’ve probably overlooked (either because you don’t know about it because it’s not often advertised and it airs on a Friday, or because you don’t watch the CW), but really should be watching. It’ll surprise you how fantastic it is, and you’ll be left wondering why you never thought to view it before. If it sounds even half as kickass as it truly is, then please check it out Fridays on the CW, currently 8 PM, though probably 9 PM soon (and on Netflix for seasons one and two). Because it’s awesome, and more awesome people should see it.