Comic-Con 2010: Maggie Q makes “Nikita” worth watching

Do we need another take on the La Femme Nikita story, which started out as a 1990 French film, was remade for American audiences in 1993 as Point of No Return, and then was the subject of a long-running series on the USA Network? Absolutely not. But if we must have one, this Maggie Q-led version — in which Nikita has gone rogue and is setting out to destroy the top-secret government organization that turned her into an assassin — is easy enough to accommodate.

The action and plot won’t wow anyone who lapped up Alias or Buffy, but Maggie Q shines in her first shot at a lead role, enough so that she  — and a really nifty plot twist at the end — will help set Nikita apart from the bevy of other tough-girl shows that have come and gone over the years. Even in the obligatory scenes when she’s kicking butt while clad only in the skimpiest of bikinis, she’s able to maintain a bit of dignity. It’s a good thing, too, because she has to compensate for the miscast Shane West, who looks like a low-rent Leonardo DiCaprio playing Nikita’s former lover-turned-adversary. His tragic attempt at a beard completes the picture of a kid trying to wear big-boy clothes and play with the grown-ups.

Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass) is another reason to watch, as she plays a woman who looks to be the government’s latest Nikita, having been picked up from an attempted robbery and enrolled into the assassination academy. She seems to have a bit of trouble with her line delivery at times, but not to the point where it brings things to a screeching halt. The pilot excels at setting up the show’s main themes and conflicts, as well it should, seeing as this story has been told several times already. Time will tell if this becomes the definitive Nikita. Its chances for renewal do have history in their corner, seeing as all previous series that have been shown at Comic-Con’s Preview Night (Fringe, V, Human Target, The Vampire Diaries) are still on the air.

You can weigh in yourself Thursdays at 9pm on The CW beginning Sept. 9.