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Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


September 16, 2010

Review: Nikita 1x1

Posted on September 16, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Maggie Q as Nikita

In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, The CW
In the UK: Living. Starts October. Available on iTunes

La Femme Nikita is probably one of the most influential French movies of the last couple of decades or so. It got remade in the US with Bridget Fonda, it span off a TV series with Peta Wilson and now The CW is spinning off another TV series called Nikita. But it's also influential in other terms: you can look to shows ranging from VR.5 to Covert Affairs to even Buffy to see the descendants of Nikita - the kick-ass heroine who has a potentially romantic relationship with her less action-packed but still strong, emotionally shut down male 'handler'.

The plot of the original movie, followed by all the other versions, is that a female junkie is arrested committing a robbery. She's sent to prison and while there is told that the government has taken an interest in her and want her to join their top-secret agency. She agrees and after faking her death, she's taught not only how to be a spy and fight the bad guys with potentially unethical techniques, she learns how to be a Lady rather than a common street thug. After a while, 'Nikita' as they call her decides she wants to leave 'Division' and has to escape from her new bosses, helped by the handler who's grown to love her ('Michael').

Now the last TV series, despite the escapism, was clearly for adults: it was masterminded by neo-con Joel Surnow before he went on to co-create 24 and enjoys many of the same attitudes, concepts of how terrorists operate and what our responses should be. There was frequent torture and murder. It was still obviously escapist, and made 24 look realistic in comparison, but it was clearly a show with some real guts.

But the new Nikita is on The CW, which is best known as the home of Smallville, America's Next Top Model, Gossip Girl, 90210, Privileged, Life Unexpected and a whole variety of teenage/young adult programming (Supernatural being the strange exception).

So how are we going to get teenagers into this? Well, the answer here is that this Nikita instead of recreating the movie carries on a few years later. Nikita, now played by Maggie Q, is still on the run but has now decided to get her revenge on Division. Meanwhile, Division is still recruiting - and guess what: it's got a whole bunch of new teenage girl recruits.

Continue reading "Review: Nikita 1x1"

September 16, 2010

Review: Lost Girl 1x1

Posted on September 16, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Lost Girl

In Canada: Sundays, 9pm ET/PT, Showcase

Fantasy books - don't you just love them? They're so deep.

Oh, follow me down to the land of Nerry-Nu,

Where the Bibbug Tree is to be found.

WIth a hey nonny nonny, the twiddle beast sings

And the fairies do dance in the round.

Actually, not that I'm biased, but "meaningless guff with sub-adult characterisation and obvious symbolism designed to tap into the ids of the repressed and introverted" would pretty much sum up 90% of it. I'm looking at you here Vampire Diaries and Twilight in particular. Yes, yes, I know Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Being Human, etc. But 90% of it.

Maybe that's why I can't take Lost Girl at all seriously. Obviously "young adult" fare that pretends to be for an older audience, this sees a young woman (she's really not a girl, despite the title) with strange powers discover that the reason her parents always told her sex was bad was because she's a succubus and her kiss can kill. So she goes wandering from place to place until she comes across a young street waif and a Chris Martin-alike vampire cop and discovers who she really is, that sex isn't all bad, she isn't really alone and that she's really, really important.

Are you spotting the sub-text yet?

Continue reading "Review: Lost Girl 1x1"

September 10, 2010

Review: Terriers 1x1

Posted on September 10, 2010 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Terriers

In the US: Wednesdays, 10pm, FX

You know, I can remember a time when practically every TV show was about private detectives. Riptide, Tucker's Witch, Simon and Simon, Magnum PI, The Rockford Files - no one did cops, it was always private detectives. Now they're rarer than an ice cream at the Arctic.

But look, here comes one! It's called Terriers and stars Donal Logue (Life, The Knights of Prosperity) as a shabby, unlicensed private detective who deals purely with the small-time - until an old friend asks him to find his daughter. Then things start to get big.

With Ted Griffin (Ocean's Eleven) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit) as exec producers, you'd presumably have high hopes for Terriers. Indeed, it has some fun dialogue, a decent plot and gritty edges. So why has it got the worst launch ratings of any FX show ever and why was I yawning all the way through it?

Continue reading "Review: Terriers 1x1"

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