Thursday, 9 September 2010


Unlike NBC, which spared us temporarily another pathetic remake of a television classic when it passed (for now) a new Rockford Files, CBS and the CW stick to their new takes on Hawaii Five-O and Nikita. Tonight premieres the latter, starring Maggie Q (Mission Impossible III) in the title role.

Nikita began as a 1990 movie directed by Luc Besson, with Anne Parillaud as a young criminal woman trained to be an assassin by a top-secret government agency. The story (written by Besson) was remade three years later in the US as Point of No Return, with Bridget Fonda. In 1997 the movie(s) became a television series called La Femme Nikita and produced in Toronto for USA Network, with Peta Wilson as Nikita. Quebecer superstar Roy Dupuis played Michael, Eugene Robert Glazer was "Operations" - ruthless head of Section One, Alberta Watson (The Sweet Hereafter) was his right-hand woman Madeline, etc.

Cancelled in 2001, the show still has a strong cult following and influenced series like Alias (2001), 24 (2001), or Spooks (2002). The 2010 Nikita is co-exec produced by McG (Charlie's Angels, Chuck) and its pilot is directed by Danny Cannon. The premise: Nikita, the best assassin of an undercover agency called The Division, goes rogue and her former employers want her back at any price before she destroys them. Meanwhile, young Alex (Lindsy Fonseca) becomes the Division's newest recruit after her death is faked by the agency.

Among the other cast members, Shane West is the new Michael, Xander Berkeley is Percy, boss of The Division, and Melinda Clarke is Amanda. The new Nikita is already known for its racy ad campaign and the stir caused across America by the billboards featuring Maggie Q. "Looks do kill" tells the slogan, and the trailers stake all on the show's most valuable visual assets.

La Femme Nikita was a dark sophisticated spy thriller with great dialogues and deep characterization. If Nikita misses her target maybe they could call Peta Wilson... The CW tried that with Heather Locklear on the 2009 version of Melrose Place.

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