The 1990 French cult movie “La Femme Nikita,” about a young criminal recruited to work for the government, had a particularly enduring premise. It’s even been rebooted before on TV, but that didn’t stop the CW from re-remaking it into a bore of a show that’s been seen a million times before.


Thursdays at 9 p.m.
The CW

The newest “Nikita” picks up where the movie left off, following a young government assassin who wants revenge as she tries to destroy the agency that made her the killing machine she is.

The CW’s latest attempt at an action show has led the network down the path so many other female-led action shows have strode down before. Nikita, played by Maggie Q (“Mission: Impossible III”), is the carbon copy of ‘U’ alum Lucy Liu and her cohorts in “Charlie’s Angels,” Angelina Jolie in “Tomb Raider” and Jennifer Garner in “Alias” ― female action leads who use their sex appeal and good looks to get what they want while kicking some overly stylized butt. Literally every time Nikita kills someone, she succeeds simply because she’s attractive. She gets into a party because she’s pretty; she gets close to her targets because she’s wearing skimpy clothing; her ex-boss refuses to kill her because she’s just so mesmerizing; and of course, she does it all in seven-inch hooker heels. In this supposed post-feminist era of TV, it just plain sucks that in order for a woman to be a leading action hero, she must become a sex object.

Besides the two steps back for women, the show also contains the corny factor that makes all other spy shows somewhat hard to watch. The agency Nikita once worked for is called “Division” and everyone works underground in super high-tech training facilities covered in chrome and steel. The overly dramatic music tries to help create action and suspense where there is none. And the overly elaborate fighting scenes are so staged that you might as well watch a WWE wrestling match.

And to top it all off, the show stars some once-upon-a-time celebrities who clearly had a rough fall from grace. Shane West (“A Walk to Remember”) plays Nikita’s ex-boss and lover. Also, Melinda Clarke (“The OC”) plays the Division’s resident psychologist. If these stars are looking to reboot their careers, they should definitely be looking elsewhere.

The only thing “Nikita” has going for it is the gripping plot twist at the end of the pilot. Through twists and turns it’s revealed that an unexpected figure is an integral part of Nikita’s Division take-down strategy. But while surprising, it’s hard to see how the show will last with only one interesting plot point per episode.

Alas, it seems the only reason Nikita survives the first episode is because everyone thinks she’s just too dang sexy to destroy. But once viewers see through the shrouds of sex and stylized violence, they will soon realize that “Nikita” just doesn’t have staying power.

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