Thursday, September 9, 2010

Action Heroines Over-Exposed? (and will the CW's new show, "Nikita" survive?)

The reviews are coming in for the CW's new action-heroine based series, "Nikita" based on Luc Besson's original film, "La Femme Nikita". The reviews are essentially in agreement that the show doesn't offer us anything fresh and only delivers cliches. (This article just about sums it up.)

That got me thinking, are action heroines over-exposed right now? Did they become too popular, will there be a down shift in their appearances? (Was the cancellation of Joss Whedone's, "Dollhouse" last year the first sign of things to come?)

Probably. But believe it or not, that's good for the genre. Because that means someone, somewhere, will have to do something fresh with the action-heroine genre. Prepare yourselves fangirls, we may hit a lull.

Not just yet, but maybe sometime over the next five years or so. People may become so sick of seeing them that they disappear for a while, genres are known to ebb and flow like that. Before the success of Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy, you couldn't find a new fantasy movie that wasn't hilariously bad quality, no matter how hard you tried. The last time when that genre was popular was the 1980's with films like, "Willow". But then it hit a lull. Until Jackson reinvented the genre with his years-long, highly stylized, technically advanced version of fantasy.

But remember, TV shows, in particular, take time to develop. If you watch the first season of, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", it's a hollow shell of it's future self. And audiences have become far more fickle than they were when Buffy premiered in 1997. Networks also edit their schedules far more harshly and much more quickly.

So what do you think, will you give "Nikita" a chance? Will it survive? Is it a cultural harbinger of a near-future dry spell? Or will the newly intense emphasis of comic books in modern pop culture keep action heroines alive in strong numbers in film and television?

I may not even watch the show, just for reason of time constraints, as I pretty much have zero of that thing called time right now to watch any television while finishing my thesis, except the occasional rerun of, "The Office" at bedtime. But I'm curious to see how this all goes down...

1 comment:

  1. I've seen three episodes of Nikita so far and I have to say I'm both surprised and disappointed. As of yet, Nikita has been in a sexy and provocative swimsuit, there posing as eye candy to attract the attention of a mark...and then break his neck. But apart from that, Nikita wears jeans a long sleeve shirt more often than not (albeit fitted, but then again Maggie Q is rail-thin), once donning a sexy cocktail dress that's still demure compared to other things I've seen other women in similar shows wear. Apart from her style, Nikita has yet to engage in any sort of romantic relationship with a male counterpart. She did have a fiance, he was killed and she is avenging his death (and there have been flashbacks to intimate moments, but present time, there's nothing), and there have been hints that there was also an attraction between her and the male lead, the guy who trained her and is now after her head, but nothing has materialized and the show remains void of a typical sexual relationship. Nikita kicks ass, and is good at doing so. Not only does she kick ass physically, but she is as mentally astute as the main go-to-geek of the organization she's trying to bring down. Apart from Nikita, there's also a few other formidable women roles, which are very interesting. The Inquisitor, who happens to be someone who gets all kinds of info out of even the toughest cookies to crack happens to be none other than a very refined woman. And Nikita's protoge and man on the inside also happens to be a woman. The show also passes the Bechdel test many, many times over. There are two women, they have names, they talk to each other, and it's about bringing down an organization or facing the tragic childhood, or the like. Not about a man. Sure, the driving point of Nikitia is the death of her fiance, but she there is a lot more motivation than that. I like it when a woman can be fierce and strong and kick ass, even using her womanly whiles to do so, just because she can. Nikita is assertive and strong, and not overtly sexualized (being a higher paid escort/assassin like the likes of Whedon's Dollhouse). Also, there are hints that the girl on the inside will have an intimate moment with a fellow recruit, so I'm hoping that doesn't 'weaken' her resolve and make her drop the ball, as is the case a lot of times where the woman is weakened and dumbed down in her task because she falls in love. That being said, I'm actually almost rooting for someone to kiss because of the lack of kissing and romance involved. I wouldn't even mind if Nikita and her past handler get it on. Hell, I look forward to it, Shane West is sexy. Seriously, and I don't mind saying it. I don't see why a strong assertive woman can't have her cake and eat it too, as in be strong and have a love life. Nikita is NOT going to win the feminist tv show of the year award, but it's not as bad as it seems. And who knows, maybe like Buffy, it'll get better with time.