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original title: Nikita
tags: Looks do kill.
keywords: assassin, training, death, rogue, seriestitlespokenbycharacter, murderess, characternameinseriestitle, onewordseriestitle, weapon, danger, darkheroine, violence, femaleassassin, goodversusevil, girlpo
What is density? In science density is mass per volume. In the case of entertainment, volume can be measured as the budget and support given to create a show or movie. Mass would be the actors(acting ability), script, plot, dialog, special effects, etc. So density would be the quality of the show.
Let's compare this new Nikita against 1997's La Femme Nikita staring Peta Wilson.
Unlike Peta Wilson's Nikita, this new version tries to sell itself to the audience by exploiting the looks of it's title character. The new show also lacks the class and sophistication seen in LFN.
A few examples of why I enjoyed 1997's LFN. (and seems to be lacking in this new version of Nikita).
In S01E07, near the end Nikita (Peta Wilson) asks Madeline why they have to be ruthless. Madeline replies with something along the lines of "...because the terrorists are also ruthless, and if we (Section 1) isn't strong enough they (the terrorists) will win..." Throughout the series, Operations, Madeline, Michael, etc all kept their emotions in check because they knew and understood they were playing a deadly game of chess (metaphorically speaking) with enemies who played for keeps and any mistake (no matter how insignificant) on either side will cost lives and a lot more. Whenever Section 1 was able to capture an enemy operative alive their method of interrogation (mostly not shown on screen) seems to be able to break the spirit of the prisoner. In S03E13, after they have captured a mole inside Section 1, we are shown Michael questioning him after he has been 'tortured' and the mole just readily answers, his spirit and any will to resist broken beyond repair.
With new shows like Alias, 24, and now Nikita, one of the things that always make me laugh is the scenes where the bad-guy is tortured for information that is essential to save lives. Even more laughable is when characters debate the ethics of torturing a prisoner. Do they for one moment believe that if the roles were reversed the bad-guy wouldn't hesitate any bit to torture them. And a majority of the torture involves yelling, using brute force, violence etc. In LFN the tortures were cold, emotionless and much more sophisticated than just using brute force to inflict pain. LFN's tortures emphasized very much on psychologically breaking the prisoner, stripping away every ounce of dignity, will, spirit until nothing except a broken and frightened hollow shell was left. Just one emotionless glance or word from Madeline or Michael, or even seeing the torture specialist duo the prisoner would realize he/she had no chance at all.
In LFN the writers did a great job, in one episode we may come to like a good guy and hate a bad guy and in the next episode we may find ourselves hating that same good guy we liked previously and cheering for the bad guy that we hated the day before. Throughout the series Operations was actually one of my favorite characters and I was sad to see him killed in S05.
As Birkhoff taught his AI creation in the episode he died, Section 1 is a place that doesn't follow outside rules instead making its own rules and breaking them at the same time, the only importance is getting the job done, with politics, people, etc being unimportant, doing anything it takes to survive and win no matter the consequence. Doing all of this while always maintaining a sense of elegance and sophistication.
All of this was done on a limited budget by the way. Therefore though the series had a small budget or very few special effects, the show had high density.
With this new version of Nikita, the lines have been clearly drawn, we know who the good guy is and who the bad guy is. There hardly seems to be any surprises left for us to wonder and find out. The storyline basically follows an all too well often seen plot of good guy is recruited into evil organization, escapes from same organization and seeks to destroy it (sounds loosely similar to the first 2 seasons of Alias). Also what's up with Nikita's attitude towards this new version of Birkhoff, calling names like nerd or geek? Though both series states that Nikita was wrongfully accused and brought into Section 1/Division, LFN's Nikita shows more sympathy towards her fellow colleagues at S1 than it seems this new Nikita ever did in Division. Also I don't often recall characters resorting to the usage of swear words in LFN, where as in this new version every so often a character or two would resort to cursing each other. If I had to choose one word to describe this new version of Nikita, the word would be: CRASS. Yes 'crass' with capital letters.
In LFN all major characters, whether within Section 1 itself or members of Section 1 vs any outsider, were not only using their hands and any weapons they had but also using their minds, wits and words to duel each other. I applaud the people involved with the creation of LFN and boo those that created this new version. LFN was done in the 90s while this new version is created now when every show on TV must have the protagonist win every time and bad guys lose all the time. With LFN, it was unpredictable whether Nikita would survive to another episode or not. There were even times when I wished she'd die so that Operations and every one else could go on with their business. When I first started watching this show a few years ago it was not that bad.In fact S1 was actually good.BUT it has gone down hill since then.First of all the acting is REALLY bad,especially Shane West,who is the worst actor to ever play the role of Michael.S1 was only good because of the recruits.It was interesting to watch them be trained and go out on missions.Alex was also interesting because she played the same role Nikita played in the original series and that was interesting to watch.The problem with this show is it's two main characters (Michael & Nikita) are the most boring characters on the show because the actors playing them have NO chemistry at all.Then we get to S2 which was not that bad when it was about Alex but sadly it began to focus too much on Michael & Nikita and their "relationship".They did a story about Michael having a son,which the writers stole directly from the ORIGINAL show La Femme Nikita,because that was NOT part of the movie.The big difference is La Femme Nikita did it 10000 times better.It was the beginning of the writers from Nikita stealing s/l from the ORIGINAL show only not doing it as well.Then we move on the to HORRIBLE S3.The whole season just sucked ass and the few s/l they had that were somewhat interesting were s/l the writers stole from La Femme Nikita (the show,not the movie).Like the s/l about the little girl who was trained/brainwashed to be a terrorist.That came from the ORIGINAL show 15 yrs ago.The ONLY difference is it was a boy instead of a girl and like always La Femme Nikita did it better.When the writers did not steal from La Femme Nikita their s/l were complete crap (Michael's hand,Nikita being set up for killing The President,The Shop,Amanda).Thank God this crap is finally ending with NO syndication,which means NO MORE episodes! For a list of songs with scene descriptions, go here: http://tvshowmusic.com/shows/nikita-music-season-3
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