Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Advent 2014: Favourite Characters of 2014 – Day #9: Nikita & Alex (Nikita)

For the ninth day of my (now reduced to 12) Advent column looking at my favourite characters of 2014, I turn my attention to the cancelled CW series Nikita’s two main characters, the titular star Nikita (Maggie Q) and Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca).

Once again, the rules for this column:

"As you’ve probably noticed from above, this is a new blog series dedicated to showcasing my favourite characters from 2014. I will draw from a wide variety of sources but the conditions are simple – I have to have either first encountered that character in 2014, (or a different iteration of that character in 2014, for example, If I were to use, Steven Moffat’s Sherlock Holmes, I would be allowed to as even though I discovered the character before the year of me writing the Advent list, I did not discover Moffat’s take on the character until 2014. Of course, I watched BBC’s Sherlock before 2014, but that’s just a standard example). I can also refer to groups of characters, for example, on a variation of a list last year, I used the Clone Club from Orphan Black, and the main cast from Stargate Atlantis. This will be used multiple times this year when talking about TV show characters – as they are generally better as an ensemble piece as opposed to an individual group.

And also, as is evident from the first character that I have used this year, Raylan Givens, I am allowed to pick characters from previous years as long as I have discovered them in this year. By discovered, that obviously means I have to have watched the first episode of the TV series in 2014, or alternatively, I am also allowed to include characters who I have become more attached to in this year that I weren’t necessarily so keen on before, for example, If a character did something awesome this year to raise their game and turn him or her into a new fan favourite than these characters would be allowed to be included."

The CW is a network with a bit of a reputation in America for being largely teen orientated and not much else, but over the past few years they have been stepping up both quality and talent and producing some excellent series that fail to disappoint. More recently we’ve had The Flash, Arrow, The 100 and The Originals, all of which have been awesome shows, but there’s also been the likes of Nikita and Supernatural going further back, and one of those two series I finally got around to checking out this year, and even though I am only six episodes in at this point, I’m in love with it. It doesn’t deal with the standard CW tropes of love triangles (although there was one previously hinted at and there could eventually be one – this is the CW after all), and focuses on the spy action making it perfect for fans of James Bond and Jason Bourne who perhaps want a female lead star in a spy thriller.

And the lead characters certainly don’t disappoint. Maggie Q’s Nikita is a fantastic lead and really delivers as the titular series star, as a renegade who has turned against a group called “Division”, an elite mercenary secret organization that previously worked for the Government before going rogue. Division now wants Nikita dead, but Nikita not only is doing her best to foil the operations of the organization, she also has a mole in the inside, in the form of a former drug-addict teenager named Alex. So far at least, Alex has successfully maintained her cover and both characters have been working together incredibly well, allowing us to explore the interior of Division through Alex’s fellow group of new recruits, as well as explore what life is like on the run from Division and follow Nikita’s quest to bring them down.

There hasn’t been a bad episode of Nikita so far out of the six I’ve seen. They’re all tense, action packed and incredibly strong. Standing at four seasons (three seasons at over 20 hour long episodes each and Season 4 at a reduced 6 episodes) the show itself is great. It’s well directed and has a fantastic high concept storyline. If you’re looking for a show with some good well developed female protagonists, then you can’t go far wrong with Nikita. The CW seems to be particularly good with this sort of thing as well – I’d also point you in the direction of The 100 as another good example of a show with some good female lead characters who continue to grow and develop over the course of the season.

Inspired by La Femme Nikita, the 1997 TV series, the show borrows the same characters’ names but you don’t have to be familiar with the original to enjoy what’s going on, because I certainly haven’t seen it. It’s just been great to see how newcomer friendly Nikita was, and with the past of the characters being explored in the flashbacks (something that is again, a CW trope – The Originals, Arrow and The Flash all use this method of narrative and I’m fairly sure that The Vampire Diaries does as well), it really fleshes it out well and provides some much needed depth. There’s a clear difference in the characters so you can see how much they have progressed over time as well, proving that Nikita can handle the action and character development pretty well indeed.

So yeah, basically, if you’re not familiar with this show already then I strongly encourage you to go and watch it ASAP. It’s smart, compelling, unpredictable and engaging. If you like a good spy drama then you won’t want to miss it.

·                   Day 1: Raylan Givens (Justified)
·                   Day 2: The Mikealson Family (The Originals)
·                   Day 3: Nolan and Irisa (Defiance)
·                   Day 4: Godzilla (Gareth Edwards' Godzilla)
·                   Day 5: The 99th Precinct (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
·                   Day 6: The All New X-Factor (Peter David’s All New X-Factor)
·                   Day 7: Bluebird & Spoiler (Batman Eternal)
·                   Day 8: Korra (The Legend of Korra)
·                   Day 9: Nikita & Alex (Nikita)

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