Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pilot Script Review - Nikita

In an effort to decrease the length (and thus, hopefully, increase the frequency) of these script reviews, I'm not going to be writing the reviews as I go along and then editing after I'm done.

Network: CW
Written By: Craig Silverstein
Draft Date: January 8, 2010
Pages: 61

First, let me say that while I may have seen bits of the original La Femme Nikita series, I've never seen a full episode. I also haven't seen the movie. In an effort to see where this reboot differentiates from those two incarnations, I used Wikipedia (oh, substitute for actual research, I love you).

I liked Nikita, but I didn't love it the way I loved Nomads. Nikita is simply more standard spyfare, and more standard CW-fare. Meaning I'm much more certain of its pickup than I am of un-CW Nomads.

Nikita is sexy. It's actiony. It's got a TON of characters to the point that the pilot feels sprawling (but not in a bad way). It's got pathos.

But I didn't love it. Why? Well, just because something has the above doesn't mean I have to like it let alone love it... but the reason reason?

I loved Alias. And Nikita feels like Alias-light.

The key difference between CW's Nikita and the ones that came before? The Nikita in the CW version has gone rogue. She is out to take down Division (oh, ominous and nondescriptive names for government agencies... I missed you). You see... Division is now corrupt because it takes it orders from corrupt / unscrupulous bankers. Gotta have financiers to run the place... I do love how bankers are the villain du jour.

Unlike Sydney Bristow, she's not taking Division down from within with the help of the CIA (as far as we know, anyway) giving us one and a half seasons of double agent tension. Nikita's basically doing it herself. And not from within... since they know she's rogue.

LIKE Sydney Bristow, Nikita has gone rogue because Division killed her boyfriend Daniel when she got too close / told him about what she does (okay, it's been a couple days since I read the script, I know we don't see her tell him, but I think it's implied elsewhere that's why he had to die). I mean... come on. Many names in the English language. Doesn't even need to be an English name. WHY CHOOSE DANIEL? For those who don't recall, Sydney's fiance was named Daniel and SD-6 killed him when it got wind that Sydney had told him what she really did.

So... Alias-light. My opinion? Alias is one of the most perfectly crafted pilots ever. You can't touch it. Ever. And Nikita doesn't come close (even though, again, it's not bad... I did like it).

We're also introduced to a new recruit in Division whose story plays more like the "traditional" Nikita backstory of a girl involved in a bank robbery, but that plot seemed tangential for much of the pilot (though I am interested to see where it's going given the twist that I won't reveal).

My hope is that CW doesn't see Nikita and Nomads and say "well, we can only have one spy show." Though it's in the realm of probability.


Anonymous said...

So it's a copy of Alias?Or nikita and show has it's own personality and strong story??

leah said...

Alias Is actually a copy of the original Nikita know as La Femme Nikita. As a person who has seen every episode of both shows They were both similar but Alias went down a mystical path and La Femme Nikita went down many different paths. I love them both but La Femme Nikita wins my heart.

Dan said...

Ditto, leah. If the reviewer loved "Alias", he should spend some time watching the Joel Surnow and Robert Cochrane's version of "La Femme Nikita". Surnow and Cochrane developed "24" so the writing level was incredibly high, sophisticated, and so many plot twists. For the new "Nikita", they simply will need to reach that level set by this great team of visionary writers. I say good luck to the series, but again, Maggie Q has a lot to live up to Peta Wilson treatment of Nikita.

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