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Old September 12 2010, 11:36 PM   #31
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Pilot Ace wrote: View Post
All I'm saying is that it was a a notable, visible change this time around. It's like when everyone was complaining about the casting for The Last Airbender. I think I remember you responding quite negatively to it.
I did when I thought the casting process was unfairly biased in favor of white actors. I later learned those fears were unfounded, that actors of all ethnicities were fairly considered for all roles, and accepted the rationale that casting the right actor regardless of ethnicity was the most important thing. After all, it wasn't trying to be the same reality, but a different interpretation of the premise. This show is the same way.

And I'd say the changes from Anne Parillaud to Bridget Fonda to Peta Wilson are considerable. It's not like they were all alike by any means. One was Francophone, the others Anglophone. One was black-haired, one red-haired, one blonde. Parillaud and Fonda are 5'6", Wilson is 5'10". Parillaud has a slim figure, Wilson is rather curvaceous, Fonda is in between. Three very different women.

As for Maggie Q, she's the same height as Parillaud and Fonda, has black hair like Parillaud, has long hair like Wilson did as Nikita, is Anglophone like Fonda and Wilson, and has a slim figure like Parillaud. She's worked as a model like Wilson and (recently) Fonda. She even has the same first name as Fonda's character in Point of No Return. So she has similarities to all the others, just as all the others have differences from one another. Ethnicity is just one ingredient in the mix, and I don't think it outweighs the rest.
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Old September 13 2010, 12:25 AM   #32
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Christopher wrote: View Post
I did when I thought the casting process was unfairly biased in favor of white actors. I later learned those fears were unfounded, that actors of all ethnicities were fairly considered for all roles, and accepted the rationale that casting the right actor regardless of ethnicity was the most important thing. After all, it wasn't trying to be the same reality, but a different interpretation of the premise. This show is the same way.

And I'd say the changes from Anne Parillaud to Bridget Fonda to Peta Wilson are considerable. It's not like they were all alike by any means. One was Francophone, the others Anglophone. One was black-haired, one red-haired, one blonde. Parillaud and Fonda are 5'6", Wilson is 5'10". Parillaud has a slim figure, Wilson is rather curvaceous, Fonda is in between. Three very different women.

As for Maggie Q, she's the same height as Parillaud and Fonda, has black hair like Parillaud, has long hair like Wilson did as Nikita, is Anglophone like Fonda and Wilson, and has a slim figure like Parillaud. She's worked as a model like Wilson and (recently) Fonda. She even has the same first name as Fonda's character in Point of No Return. So she has similarities to all the others, just as all the others have differences from one another. Ethnicity is just one ingredient in the mix, and I don't think it outweighs the rest.
I just calls 'em how I sees 'em.

Going from Caucasian to Asian is more of a visual jump than the three previous actors. I think most without an over-the-top PC agenda would agree.

Did the three women before Maggie Q look like triplets? No, I'm not making that argument. If someone lined them up and told me to pick the most visually distinct form the others? I'd pick Maggie Q.

I don't discriminate based on ethnicities, but I also don't ignore the differences. That's silly.

A couple of the visual factors you've brought up are effectively non-issues.

  • For one, height doesn't come across on TV or film very well and I might barely notice 4 inches in real life especially considering how much footwear can factor into it.
  • Hair and hairstyles are variable for everyone, people constantly cut and dye them all the time. In the original television show Nikita even wore wigs from time to time.
  • The way figures look are impacted by clothes people wear and food intake. A person's figure can change throughout their life.

But, again, it's not a detractor from the show. I think the person chosen to play the character is the detractor at least as far as I've seen her work so far--her lack of ability to keep my attention was the reason for all of this.
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Old September 13 2010, 01:30 AM   #33
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

I don't have any "agenda." And I never said I "ignored" the ethnic difference, I just don't see it as overwhelmingly more significant than the other differences I mentioned. For instance, in college I knew two really gorgeous young women, both around the same height, both with huge smiles, high foreheads and cheekbones, and sleek, leggy figures, and I thought of them as looking a lot alike, even though one was a green-eyed strawberry blonde and the other was a fairly dark-complexioned African-American. To me, that difference was outweighed by all the similarities. Conversely, the way I perceive a given woman's appearance can be radically altered just by a change in her hairstyle. In high school, I had a hopeless crush on a girl for two years, knowing it was hopeless but unable to move on because I just found her so beautiful, but then she got a perm and I lost interest. In other cases, I've had trouble recognizing actresses when they change the style or color of their hair.

So ethnicity is simply not the overriding factor in the way I perceive people or the differences between people. It's just one element in the mix and not always the one that looms largest in my perceptions. That's not a political agenda, it's simply the way my brain processes the appearance of other people. All I was doing was offering an alternative perspective on the question under discussion. Discussion means exploring an issue from multiple angles, examining all its possible facets. If you feel threatened by the existence of alternative points of view, that says more about your "agendas" than mine.
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Old September 13 2010, 02:22 AM   #34
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't have any "agenda."
Your previously vocal negative reaction to the casting of The Last Airbender led me to believe otherwise. You do seem to care very deeply about casting in film and television in regard to ethnicity.

The fact that you took one to two sentences out of my entire reaction to the show and responded with a hefty paragraph only about that tiny note of pause also makes me believe otherwise.

Christopher wrote: View Post
And I never said I "ignored" the ethnic difference, I just don't see it as overwhelmingly more significant than the other differences I mentioned. For instance, in college I knew two really gorgeous young women, both around the same height, both with huge smiles, high foreheads and cheekbones, and sleek, leggy figures, and I thought of them as looking a lot alike, even though one was a green-eyed strawberry blonde and the other was a fairly dark-complexioned African-American. To me, that difference was outweighed by all the similarities. Conversely, the way I perceive a given woman's appearance can be radically altered just by a change in her hairstyle. In high school, I had a hopeless crush on a girl for two years, knowing it was hopeless but unable to move on because I just found her so beautiful, but then she got a perm and I lost interest. In other cases, I've had trouble recognizing actresses when they change the style or color of their hair.

So ethnicity is simply not the overriding factor in the way I perceive people or the differences between people. It's just one element in the mix and not always the one that looms largest in my perceptions. That's not a political agenda, it's simply the way my brain processes the appearance of other people. All I was doing was offering an alternative perspective on the question under discussion. Discussion means exploring an issue from multiple angles, examining all its possible facets. If you feel threatened by the existence of alternative points of view, that says more about your "agendas" than mine.
I certainly respect your personal reaction to people's physical characteristics and their impact on perception.

However, I don't think yours is the majority reaction. It's possible I'm wrong.

I, personally, do not hold as much weight to hair and the like because they can change so readily. They are fleeting characteristics. People grow their hair out, get it cut, put on some pounds, work out, all the time. I've seen people go through dramatic changes in relatively short times. You say you've experienced the same thing.

Skin color, ethnicity, and an outgrowth of those two, facial structure, seem to be much more constant to an extent as a decent way to form a snapshot of a person and differentiate them from others. I certainly don't put the effort into differentiating between specific, drilled down groups... I don't have the eye for detail to tell what portion of Europe or Africa a person's lineage hails from... But, I know people who can and are relatively good at it. The wider net I cast works for the snapshots I need.

Maybe because I come from largely Caucasian communities across the board (neighborhoods, schools, work place, etc.) that's how I've come to be. However, given how often race and ethnicity are brought up in media and the like I tend to think that the majority reaction is similar or has at least been crafted in a similar way.

I felt threatened because I've seen you hone in on ethnic discussions in the past and it was the only criticism you had about my large reaction... And I only wrote one sentence about it (two if you stretch it out).

Ethnicity is a touchy subject in America and it doesn't take much for someone to label you as discriminatory. Which I am not.

At least not based on ethnicity. I like to think there are more important things about people to like and dislike and act accordingly in how you interact with them.

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Old September 13 2010, 03:08 AM   #35
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Pilot Ace wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't have any "agenda."
Your previously vocal negative reaction to the casting of The Last Airbender led me to believe otherwise. You do seem to care very deeply about casting in film and television in regard to ethnicity.
That was a different conversation about a different topic. I'm referring to my posts on this topic. As I said, my problem with TLA was not that the characters' ethnicities had been changed, but that it seemed as though the process was discriminatory in favor of white actors. I'm opposed to job discrimination in any context. But clearly that's not an issue here, so it doesn't come into play in this thread. I'm simply offering an alternative point of view from your own. If you see a political issue here, that's coming from you, not me.


The fact that you took one to two sentences out of my entire reaction to the show and responded with a hefty paragraph only about that tiny note of pause also makes me believe otherwise.
I get that reaction a lot. I'm a curious person and a compulsive researcher. When I start thinking about a topic, I want to get my facts straight so I research it, and since I'm a research junkie, I gather a bunch of information and include it in my comments. Sometimes that seems to people as though I'm piling on them or arguing with a passion. But it's just my own intense curiosity, my compulsion to gather as much information as I can find about the topic that's on my mind at the moment, combined with my academic training to back up my positions with evidence and to show my work. I apologize for giving the wrong impression.


I certainly respect your personal reaction to people's physical characteristics and their impact on perception.

However, I don't think yours is the majority reaction. It's possible I'm wrong.
Does that matter? My intent was simply to illustrate that there was an alternative way of looking at the issue. Discussion doesn't have to be about winning or showing up the other guy. It should be about comparing and considering different points of view.


Maybe because I come from largely Caucasian communities across the board (neighborhoods, schools, work place, etc.) that's how I've come to be. However, given how often race and ethnicity are brought up in media and the like I tend to think that the majority reaction is similar or has at least been crafted in a similar way.
I still don't see how it matters whether it's the "majority" reaction or not. We're just different, that's all. I went to a racially integrated high school and spent a total of 11 non-consecutive years in a university with students from all over the world. I've lived for nearly seven years in an apartment building near that university, and a great many of my neighbors over the years, even the majority of them at times, have been of various nonwhite ethnicities. And that was after maybe nine years in a neighborhood that was largely African-American. That's my experience.


Anyway, the bottom line that I think we need to take away from this discussion, the one overriding message that I feel it necessary to promote, is that Maggie Q is hot. Ultimately that's my agenda: to defend the casting of Maggie Q because she's hot.
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Old September 13 2010, 11:25 PM   #36
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Christopher wrote: View Post
That was a different conversation about a different topic. I'm referring to my posts on this topic. As I said, my problem with TLA was not that the characters' ethnicities had been changed, but that it seemed as though the process was discriminatory in favor of white actors. I'm opposed to job discrimination in any context. But clearly that's not an issue here, so it doesn't come into play in this thread. I'm simply offering an alternative point of view from your own. If you see a political issue here, that's coming from you, not me.
I understand that. I was only giving you an example of the sort of post from you that I've noticed in the past which informed my feelings while posting now.

Christopher wrote: View Post
I get that reaction a lot. I'm a curious person and a compulsive researcher. When I start thinking about a topic, I want to get my facts straight so I research it, and since I'm a research junkie, I gather a bunch of information and include it in my comments. Sometimes that seems to people as though I'm piling on them or arguing with a passion. But it's just my own intense curiosity, my compulsion to gather as much information as I can find about the topic that's on my mind at the moment, combined with my academic training to back up my positions with evidence and to show my work. I apologize for giving the wrong impression.
Fair enough.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Does that matter? My intent was simply to illustrate that there was an alternative way of looking at the issue. Discussion doesn't have to be about winning or showing up the other guy. It should be about comparing and considering different points of view.

I still don't see how it matters whether it's the "majority" reaction or not. We're just different, that's all. I went to a racially integrated high school and spent a total of 11 non-consecutive years in a university with students from all over the world. I've lived for nearly seven years in an apartment building near that university, and a great many of my neighbors over the years, even the majority of them at times, have been of various nonwhite ethnicities. And that was after maybe nine years in a neighborhood that was largely African-American. That's my experience.
I think it matters a lot, given your alternative is rarely adopted for good reason... At least from my perspective in both regards. It seems people naturally gravitate the other way or have adopted it readily.

I also pointed out how the characteristics you're using are generally more fleeting and unreliable in comparison to recognition using more lasting ethnic features.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Anyway, the bottom line that I think we need to take away from this discussion, the one overriding message that I feel it necessary to promote, is that Maggie Q is hot. Ultimately that's my agenda: to defend the casting of Maggie Q because she's hot.
We are different in many ways. This is going to have to be another one. She does not do it for me whatsoever.

Lyndsy Fonseca, on the other hand, is lovely.
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Old September 13 2010, 11:40 PM   #37
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Enjoyed the music; I think it's paced pretty well; agree that the exposition was a little heavy but it is the first episode so I'm sure that will fade with time; the action scenes are hit and miss for me, but OK so far. I'm a little worried that the makeup/wardrobe character isn't going to have much to do, but I enjoyed the other characters so far. I'm looking forward to watching the series.
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Old September 14 2010, 12:52 AM   #38
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Pilot Ace wrote: View Post
I think it matters a lot, given your alternative is rarely adopted for good reason... At least from my perspective in both regards.
I disagree profoundly that there is any "good" reason for defining a person's ethnicity as overwhelmingly more important than anything else about them. And I find it rather sad that you feel the need to assert that your perspective is somehow more correct than mine. It makes you come off as rather defensive.


It seems people naturally gravitate the other way or have adopted it readily.
In earlier generations, yes. Not so much now -- for good reason. Insular life experiences like yours are becoming less common. Whole generations are growing up in more multicultural, multiracial environments. We have a lot more bi- or multiracial role models on our TV and movie screens, Maggie Q being just one example, the current President of the United States being another. Not as many people, at least not in the US, are growing up in the kind of single-race environment that you were limited to. Americans today are increasingly experiencing diversity as a routine part of their lives, as I did. So it's not realistic to assume they'd end up perceiving ethnicity the way you do.


I also pointed out how the characteristics you're using are generally more fleeting and unreliable in comparison to recognition using more lasting ethnic features.
The characteristics I'm using include a person's height and build. How are those any more "fleeting" (assuming we're talking about an adult) than the shape of their eyes or the tint of their complexion? It's not like a grown woman's height changes with the seasons while her skin tone remains constant. Quite the opposite, in fact.

And yes, people can change their hair color and length, but they can also get cosmetic surgery to change their features or skin tone. The features you ascribe disproportionate importance to are not really more fundamental than the features I've listed; it's just that your own personal life experience has conditioned you to react more strongly to them.

I know it's not easy to look beyond one's own lifelong assumptions and accept the validity of other ways of looking at the world. But really, you don't have to see this as a contest where you need to "win." The real way to "win" a discussion is to learn something from it.
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Old September 14 2010, 06:04 AM   #39
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

I don't know if this show warrants a grading thread each episode, but if you want it, the job is yours. I'm done watching after one episode.
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Old September 14 2010, 06:33 PM   #40
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Christopher wrote: View Post
I disagree profoundly that there is any "good" reason for defining a person's ethnicity as overwhelmingly more important than anything else about them. And I find it rather sad that you feel the need to assert that your perspective is somehow more correct than mine. It makes you come off as rather defensive.
Well, you seem to be insinuating that I'm attributing more than a dominant physical characteristic to the ethnicity. There is no inherent judgment or assumption in using ethnicity as a way to physically distinguish between people. It has the same bearing on a person as hair color, it's just a trait that is more static.

Christopher wrote: View Post
The characteristics I'm using include a person's height and build. How are those any more "fleeting" (assuming we're talking about an adult) than the shape of their eyes or the tint of their complexion? It's not like a grown woman's height changes with the seasons while her skin tone remains constant. Quite the opposite, in fact.

And yes, people can change their hair color and length, but they can also get cosmetic surgery to change their features or skin tone. The features you ascribe disproportionate importance to are not really more fundamental than the features I've listed; it's just that your own personal life experience has conditioned you to react more strongly to them.
Height can be very fleeting when it comes to women because footwear designed for women can appear to extend the length of legs and whatnot. In general though, I don't think height is a very distinguishing characteristic. The best it can really do is narrow it down somewhat. I can say that if I someone lined up people that dressed similarly in silhouette... I'd probably be stumped at picking them out.

Build changes depending on diet, exercise, and clothing. It's trivial to mask a person's build unless they fall into extremes. Push up bras, sweaters, jackets, baggy jeans, etc.

Yes, skin tone can very depending upon seasons and general lifestyle. However, skin tone is only a portion of an ethnic differentiation. It is difficult to change the shape of a person's eyes and general makeup of their face. You can enhance and hide qualities with make-up, but the recognizable structure underneath remains recognizable in most cases...

Though, I'll admit, I've seen some before/after makeup shots of some models and the effect can be dramatic. Given the field I think I can place that in an 'exception to the rule' category.

Yes, people can get cosmetic surgery and change their appearance. But, the point is you then associate that person with the new facial features. It's not as if then you ignore their face and color because it has changed. You associate the new features to them and while their general sense of their base ethnicity is then blurred, you still associate the shape and color of their face with the person and modify the snapshot in your head.


I think there is a major disconnect between what we're discussing here. It's not as if I'm walking around going "Black, Asian, Latina, Caucasian, etc." all day. It's much more general than that.

The process is matching up the image you have of a person you recognize with the person you see in front of you. Because hair and body structure are less static or prominent as the case may be, the color of their skin and shape of their face become the most prominent way to match that image. The concept of ethnicity happens to be a catch all for these characteristics. There is probably a better word for it that isn't coming to mind.


Anyway, because I do feel like I am being put on the defensive here and that you are insinuating more than I mean in the negative direction, I will have to bow out of the discussion. I'm just not comfortable with this anymore.



Now to get back on topic...

Aragorn wrote: View Post
I don't know if this show warrants a grading thread each episode, but if you want it, the job is yours. I'm done watching after one episode.
I think I may give it one or two more episodes to see if they're going to bring any complexity back to 'Division' as there was in Section One. But, because I don't really like the way Michael is or the new Operations are portrayed... I doubt it'll go in a direction I like.
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Old September 16 2010, 06:30 PM   #41
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Gave it an Average

The show hasn't much going for it.. yes, Maggie Q is hot as hell, we get it. No need to hit us over the head each time you get the chance to show her half-naked

So far i'm unimpressed.. we've all seen the elements of the show a thousand times and we've all seen the characters elsewhere (the nerd, the field leader who's got a secret crush on the main character, the "inhumane" henchman etc) and the show doesn't introduce anything new or even interesting to begin with.

It's nice that they want to explore what happens after Nikita leaves the company and the twist at the end was ok but i'll give them another 2 or 3 episodes before bailing if they don't improve fast.
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Old September 17 2010, 10:21 AM   #42
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

I didn't see a thread for the second episode, so I decided to post my review here. I didn't see the end but from what I saw of the show I thought it was all right. The action was fluid without being graphic/gory, the story and villains were interesting enough.

Once again, Maggie Q was hot, but I think she plays Nikita a bit too cool. I still don't quite 'get' her, perhaps I'm not supposed to. I didn't get why she rescued Alex only to put her in harm's way by having her infiltrate Division. Also, don't get why Alex would do that. I can see why Nikita wants them destroyed, but not Alex, it's not personal for her...from what I saw of the show. (I mean, its personal now, but before she was recruited, what's the reason to do this.) Also, the selection doesn't make Nikita sympathetic, it makes her appear a bit cold and manipulative, from what I saw. A show like this would work better if Nikita was sympathetic and empathetic. Sure she did wrong in the past and once she left Division she's going to do right. Perhaps its not realistic, but I don't see her recruitment of Alex as a 'right' decision. Does it make her better than Division? Not necessarily in my book now. Gray areas are fine, but this show didn't strike me as wanting to go that deep. Right now, I'm rooting for Nikita because I like Maggie Q, not because I like Nikita. I don't dislike her, I just haven't connected with her.

I also still am having trouble with how the show is structured. Nikita should be more front and center. Using Alex as a point-of-view character pretty much makes this Alex's story with Nikita as her kickass backup/savior. The comparisons to Spike's short-lived Blade the TV series are growing. Though I think Maggie's Nikita was far more kickass than Kirk Jones's Blade, at the start of his series. I also think that Nikita so far handles the mentor angle between Nikita and Alex better than Blade and Krista was depicted.
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Old September 17 2010, 03:13 PM   #43
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

I don't think I'll be watching anymore, despite how much I enjoy watching Maggie Q. A show whose protagonist is an assassin just offends my sensibilities too much. At least the pilot implied (or rather I inferred from it) that she'd somewhat renounced her old ways and was only using lethal force in self-defense, but here she was specifically targeting someone for assassination, and I can't accept that in a protagonist no matter how eeevilll the guy was.

Besides, we didn't get to see Maggie in red even once. The pilot really played up her glamour and sex appeal, which was nice compensation for the violent stuff I didn't like, but here they seem to have gone in the opposite direction. I mean, she still looks great in blue jeans, but it's not the same.

Also, yeah, the plots are pretty contrived, like the coincidence of Alex just happening to be the one picked to be the guy's "escort." Though on the other hand, she is just about the hottest one there, so maybe it's not so coincidental.

The main problem I'm seeing structurally is that Nikita is so much on her own. There are too many scenes where she's by herself and has nobody to play off of. That's awkward.

And could Division have been more of a cartoon-evil organization than it was here? Getting buddy-buddy with a war criminal, trying to obtain the wherewithal to build their own nuclear bomb, and casually forcing their recruits into prostitution while they're at it? I'm surprised we didn't see Percy taking time out to steal candy from a baby. I mean, what's the motivation to it all besides being evil for its own sake? It makes me think this show isn't going to have a lot of depth or complexity.

One thing in particular I found implausible was a fairly common trope of poorly done sniper scenes -- the sniper having a perfect shot and not taking it, delaying inexplicably. I mean, heck, she had a perfect shot lined up and then the guy closed a flimsy set of blinds behind which his silhouette was still clearly visible, and she didn't take the shot? She wasted time putting on an infrared scope that she shouldn't have needed at all? She had plenty of time to fire as he was closing the blinds, and I can't believe an assassin as skilled and experienced as she's supposed to be would be thrown off by something that minor. Totally unbelievable and contrived.

Heck, I'm even complaining about the execution of the parts of the show I don't want to see (such as, err, executions). Just as well I'm not going to watch anymore. Too bad -- I do like watching Maggie Q.
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Old April 27 2013, 08:25 AM   #44
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Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

Birkoff just out geeked everyone from everything ever.

To finish a very serious conversation about how they have to blow up their base of operation to mask all the out of control shit they've been up to for the last couple weeks, Seymour says "Nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
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Old April 27 2013, 02:44 PM   #45
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Location: I said out, dammit!
Re: Nikita: "Pilot" - Sept. 9 on The CW - Grading & Discussion

This is still on too?!!?
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