If you’re a Nikita fan, chances are you’ve already seen your Twitter blow up with the news that The CW has ordered the freshman spy series undergo some network retooling. There’s already a laundry list of requests, including more humor, new characters, and a new love interest for Nikita. I may not be the biggest fan of the series, but even I can see that this announcement has the potential for disaster. In an effort to support the show’s fanbase in preserving the show we’ve come to embrace, I present to you ten reasons that I appreciate Nikita the way it is, and believe The CW should not try and fix what isn’t broken.
10.) Network intervention usually doesn’t end well.
This one’s not so much about this particular case as it is speaking from experience. Lots of experience. Television history is filled with stories of networks making demands regarding shows, and those shows never being the same again. I’ve heard plenty of stories of series brass battling networks, but rarely do I hear one where the producers say, “We’re glad the network came in and told us what to do.” In some extreme cases, it’s practically blackmail. I’m thinking way, way back to the early days of Law & Order, where Dick Wolf was told after season two that either he added women to his cast or the show would be cancelled. One of television’s great drama series could have been cut short after two years just because the network thought it needed estrogen. No offense to the show’s female leads, but I just don’t like the idea that quality series can be forcibly tinkered with.
9.) Nikita is an actual strong female lead, and not just someone pretending to be one.
As far back as I can remember, the phrase “strong female lead” has been one of the most popular around television. Everyone wants one, and a fair amount of them aren’t very good. There’s a difference between what is a strong female lead character, and what people think is a strong female lead character. While a lot of female characters on TV have to show you that they’re tough, but inevitably aren’t, or get bogged down in cliche subplots that make them tiresome, Nikita (Maggie Q) is refreshingly a three-dimensional woman. She doesn’t need a man to get by or to be happy, yet that also doesn’t mean she can’t be in love. Yet at the same time we’re not subjected to her making obvious eyes at a one-dimensional love interest (more on that later). She can hold her own without the writers feeling the need to show you repeatedly how cool, violent or witty she is. The show is called Nikita because she is the center of the story, and she proves that she belongs there. Female protagonists, please take note.
8.) Xander Berkeley.
Words cannot express how awesome Xander Berkeley is. (For starters, he’s named Xander.) He is one of the best character actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, and I always get excited when he’s in something. I’ve followed his career ever since Terminator 2: Judgment Day (he was John Connor’s foster father), and seen him give great performances in 24, CSI, The X-Files, Gattaca, Standoff, Karen Sisco…it seems like he’s been in everything, and deservedly so. He’s amazing. While his Percy isn’t on the same level yet as Eugene Robert Glazer’s Operations, the writers finally let Berkeley cut loose in the most recent episode, “The Guardian.” We saw hints of true evil in his public argument with Michael (Shane West) and his attempt to kill Owen (Devon Sawa) and Nikita. He’s just now getting the chance to show what kind of a real villain he can be. He might not be Operations, but casting Berkeley in a regular role is a coup for any series.
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