Recommendation: Nikita [TV]


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 RIDICULOUSLY 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).

maggie q - nikita nikita - maggie q

2. Michael/Nikita.

michael/nikita nikita/michael

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).

ryan fletcher owen eliott

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.

michael - shane west shane west - michael

6. Music.

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.



Aimee

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. unblogpourvous
    Dec 07, 2012 @ 16:51:30

    omg i agree SO much to this entire post. nikita is such an amazing show that is SO underappreciated! it makes me sad😦 but then there are awesome people like you who can express so eloquently what i can’t so i start believing in humanity again, haha. but YES😀

    Reply

    • aimee
      Dec 08, 2012 @ 15:08:34

      Awww, thank you so much! And yes, I completely agree. It bothers me so much that Nikita is so underrated. People don’t understand how freaking awesome it is because of its network or because they think it’s just some crazy spy show (which it is, but it’s so much more than that). I had no idea if it would be for me when I first watched it, but it surprised me how much I loved it. Which is why I’ve been making it one of my goals this year to introduce as many people to it as possible. (I made some of my friends watch it, and they’re just as obsessed as I am now, but unfortunately, they don’t live in the US or Canada and can’t contribute to ratings.:/ ) I just don’t understand how a show that consistently gets phenomenal reviews continues to do abysmally with ratings. I think people are right when they say on another network with an audience that would enjoy action-y, well written shows about something other than high school drama, it would succeed, but I think it just comes down to the fact that people don’t know about it. Sure, they might have heard of it, but promos and summaries don’t do the show justice. I think it was Maggie Q who said in an interview that the Nikita fanbase is spectacular because people don’t normally hear about the show in the usual ways – it’s like this underground, amazing thing, like television’s best-kept secret. But when they discover it, they become addicted, and then they’re fans forever.

      Reply

  2. she who was not here (@paisleyblu)
    Dec 08, 2012 @ 02:17:41

    If I wasn’t gonna watch it for Shane West, then totally for CASPER! <333

    Um. This show is on my long 'to watch' list, and when I get some free time, I'll definitely catch up.

    Reply

    • aimee
      Dec 08, 2012 @ 15:01:20

      YOU’RE THE FIRST PERSON I’VE ENCOUNTERED WHO RECOGNIZED DEVON SAWA AS CASPER! I mentioned it to a few people after forcing them to watch introducing them to the show, but they either couldn’t remember human!Casper from the film, or didn’t notice. I got a kick out of the fact that Casper was in this show, and then… wow, he grew up nicely. (But also, Owen is one of my favorite characters and I’m so glad he’s finally a season regular this year.)

      Lol, Shane West is my favorite part of this show. Which is probably why his face is all over this post. Multiple times.😄 (I also love how he’s always promoting it too. He’s the cast member who tweets the most, he’s always supporting insane fannish concepts, he ships Mikita along with the rest of us. And he contributes to the twitter promotions and whatever else people tweet at him to promote the show. I can’t think of an actor who cares THAT much about his show. But this entire cast is perfect, actually.)

      And yayyyyyy! I can’t wait until you watch it!😀 (Definitely let me know though because I love seeing people watching this show for the first time because it’s so awesome and it makes me happy seeing people revel in its awesomeness. :DDD )

      (You watch Once Upon a Time, right? Ryan Fletcher in Nikita (Noah Bean) is actually Regina’s love, Daniel. I get so confused every time I see him in OUaT.😄 I don’t think you watch How I Met Your Mother, but Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) is Ted’s daughter. Which I actually just discovered… three days ago and it blew my mind. She doesn’t look at all like she did when they filmed for HIMYM, but I suppose that’s because she was younger. Or maybe I can’t connect Ted’s daughter with Russian assassin. And it took me ages to see Amanda (Melinda Clark) as the crazy, evil, amazing, ruthless woman that she is in Nikita and not… rich, suburban housewife, Julie Copper from the O.C. Basically, Nikita taught me that I watch too much TV. XDDD

      Reply

  3. ChristasBooks
    Dec 08, 2012 @ 17:43:51

    I’ve always seen the previews for this show and been intrigued but honestly haven’t known anything about it. Now, having read your post, I’m realizing this is definitely my kind of show. I need to watch this!

    Reply

    • aimee
      Dec 08, 2012 @ 21:22:04

      Your comment just made my day. (: I was the same way before I started watching – there is something about the promos that are intriguing, but they fail to actually tell you anything about the show. It’s seriously one of my favorites, and one of those shows I really look forward to watching every week, so I can’t wait for you to check it out! (Definitely let me know what you think when you finally see it!)

      Reply

  4. LillyLilac
    Dec 09, 2012 @ 16:56:15

    I started watching Nikita after the last time you told me to watch and your completely right about how brilliant the show is. I’ve only watched the first 6 episodes so far but I love everything about the show so far and I love all the characters as well. I also agree that this show is too good for the CW but isn’t it better for the show to be too good for it’s network than to get unfairly cancelled on a major network. I’m also really glad that your posting things again since I always love reading your posts.

    Reply

    • aimee
      Dec 09, 2012 @ 23:13:49

      Aww, thank you! I’m glad to be posting again too!

      SO GLAD you’re watching Nikita! I love introducing people to this show because it’s so underground, even though it’s fantastic. I used to feel that way about the show too – you would think that an amazing show on a network with not so many amazing shows would stand out more, but unfortunately, this isn’t the actual case. Nikita stands out in terms of reviews. Critics recognize that it’s amazing, but the ratings, the amount of people who are actually watching the show live, are incredibly low. They’re ace for a forgotten show on a Friday, but they’re still one of the lowest on the CW, and part of this is because, before a few weeks ago, the CW did nothing to advertise it, and even when they did, the majority of people who would see the promos and hear about the show would not find it appealing at all, because the audience that watches Nikita is, for the most part, not the audience that watched 90210, Gossip Girl, etc. It’s not set in high school, the characters aren’t teens, there is more to the show than the romance, even though the romance is there. Also the previews don’t really tell you anything about the show, so people who would love it end up staying away, thinking it’s another badly written teen show on the CW. But you’re also right – while it would be getting more viewers on a different network, it would also have higher ratings expectations, and would be in even greater danger of cancellation than it already is. At least right now, its ratings are stable, its reviews are still phenomenal, and if it gets another season, there’s value in syndication (Nikita also does incredibly well internationally and on Netflix). (Haha, sorry, I know way more about this than I should because I spent the month after falling in love with this show last year freaking out about the fact that it was most likely going to get canceled. Every article basically said it was a hopeless case, and even critics started lamenting the fact that people didn’t realize what they ere missing and by the time they did, the show would be gone. But the CW recognizes that it’s a great show, and the new president loves it, so I’m glad they renewed it anyway. It’s season three now, and it’s still fantastic.)

      Wait, if you’ve seen six episodes, then you’re ALMOST up to episode 9. Let me know when you watch that one. It’s a semi-turning point! The episode I REALLY can’t wait for you to watch is 17 (it’s kind of my favorite). The season one finale was epic too. Happy watching! (:

      Reply

      • LillyLilac
        Feb 26, 2013 @ 20:57:41

        Last night I watched episodes 7-11, I really loved all the episodes and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the episodes since you asked me to keep you updated on my progress with the show.

        While I loved episodes episodes 7 and 8 I felt that they had similar format to some of the past episodes which is in no way a bad thing but it made the episodes not stand out as much as the next three. Although I really love the thing with the Russian spies and Gooogle because that sounds like a possible start of a storyline that will be devolped much later. Otherwise my thoughts on this episodes were that there was a good amount of action, character and plot which kept me wanting more through out the episodes.

        Episode 9 was a really great episode as you already know and I really love how it broke the format of past episodes with having Nikita and Michael actually work together on a mission instead of against each other which was great for many reasons. First off I just really love the dynamic between the two of them with them I especially love that they flirt with each other quite a bit and I liked that in this episode they had each other’s backs, I also really loved Michael gave Nikita his knife. I also love that in this episode the mission wasn’t really about taking down Divison which is very different from past episodes. I also enjoyed finding out Michael’s backstory even though it was sad and I found it interesting that how he joined Divison was much different from all the other backstories of how other characters joined Divison. I was sad that Michael blames Nikita for not allowing him to get his vengance but I think that Nikita was right to stop him because he probably would have gotten himself killed if he suceed in the airport.

        Episode 10 I really liked because it set in place a new alliance between Nikita and Owen and I liked seeing that develop in this episode. I also liked how Nikita had to tell Owen the right way to go about destorying Divison and how they both had to adjust to working with each other since they don’t really know each other and don’t share a good history with eachother. I also really liked the character Ryan Fletcher I liked that he was able to find out that a group like Divison exists by picking up on little things even though he had no really proof of who they are or really anything about them, I’m also curious about whether or not he’s a recurring character.

        Episode 11 was actually probably my favorite of the ones I just watched. I really liked how this episode dealt with Alex having to do her first kill and how while she knows she has to do it in order to help with her and Nikita’s plan to take down Divison when she comes face to face with the reality of that situation she can’t bring herself to pull the trigger. I also really loved that Nikita was willing to do the hit for Alex because she knew how Alex froze up the first time she was put in that kind of situation. I was very nervous through out the episode that since they found the chat room that Alex and Nikita use that it would mean Alex would be found out as the mole. I thought it was pretty sad that Alex’s first kill was Tom who was someone she clearly thought of as a friend if not maybe more than that and that it was also an accidental kill as well. I also really loved that through out this episode there was quite a bit of the Nikita and Alex relationship because I love their relationship the most on the show so far.

        On a different note I was wondering if you have started reading or watching Game of Thrones yet since you mentioned that it was on your to read/watch list for awhile now and I would love to hear your thoughts on the series when you do get around to it. I also really miss your most, I’m looking forward to new ones.

    • aimee
      Mar 16, 2013 @ 22:03:24

      So glad you’re still watching Nikita! I actually just introduced my brother to the show, and he zoomed through the first two seasons and watches it with me on Fridays now. (:

      I agree about episodes 7 and 8. That was actually one of the most common criticisms about the first season of the show (the first season is the best one, in my opinion, though season 2 has many brilliant moments and season 3 is nearly as good as season one). Gogle is going to play a bigger role for sure, as you’ll see when the show progresses. Episode 9 is one of my favorites, which is why I really wanted to know when you reached it. The complexity of their relationship is one of my favorite things about this show and you see it best in season one. And YES, Ryan and Owen are brilliant side characters. They’re both really different and they develop too as the show goes on. They actually were promoted to season regulars in the current season, so I’m glad you like them because you’ll see more of them as well.

      I agree with everything you said about Alex/Thom and Alex/Nikita.

      And I actually just acquired the first season of Game of Thones, so I’ll definitely be starting that this week. (And I also want to see the new web series School of Thrones, so I figured I should get on reading/watching the source material first.)

      Aww, I miss conversing with you too! (and I’m so behind on blogs. I need to catch up with yours too!) I actually have a whole bunch of posts coming up next week, and a few blog projects planned for the next month! ^^

      Reply

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