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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like the TV and movie versions of the story that came before it (both called La Femme Nikita), this action series about a former assassin who's vowed to bring down the shadowy government agency that trained her to kill includes plenty of highly efficient action sequences as these human fighting machines go to work on each other with guns, knives, and sometimes their bare hands. Women sometimes go on missions in skimpy attire and are sometimes shown in their underwear for no obvious reason. Parents can also expect mild swearing (like "bitch") -- but the fighting, sometimes to the death, is the biggest red flag here.
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What's the story?
NIKITA is on the run and looking for revenge. Once a top agent for the shadowy government agency Division, she eventually grew weary of being an assassin and wanted to get out. But Division puts a lot of work into finding and training its operatives to become ultra-lethal killing machines and doesn’t like to let them go. Still, Nikita managed to escape -- but hiding in fear isn’t this lady’s style. Now she’s back on the radar, ready to bring the agency down before her former colleagues can take her out.
Is it any good?
This CW series is at least the third remake of Luc Besson’s stylish 1980 French film La Femme Nikita. The basic concept is the same -- a secret government unit takes tough punks off the street, fakes their deaths, and then forces them to become assassins. But the new version smartly departs from the "origin story," starting not with Nikita’s recruitment and training but after she's escaped from Division and is taking aim at her former employers. This sets up a long-running war between highly trained killers and promises plenty of exciting action sequences.
Still, we've seen much of this high-octane spy action before, from James Bond to Mission: Impossible to Alias. The missions are different, but the taut sequences with ultra-competent agents seem familiar. What sets this show apart is Nikita, whose thirst for vengeance combined with her strong sense of humanity creates a complex character that is both empowered and likable. It also allows room for some quiet reflection, as Nikita begins to acknowledge the dangerous impact her personal mission will have on the people who she begins to care for the most.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about revenge. Do you agree with Nikita’s goal? Do you think accomplishing it would make her happy? It’s often quite satisfying to fantasize about revenge -- but do you think it’s just as fulfilling in reality?
How would you characterize the show's violence? Does it have as much impact as what you've seen in other TV shows or movies? Why or why not?
Action series frequently used to portray women as weak and helpless, but in recent years there have been many shows in which the female characters are as tough as any guy. What do you think of this shift? How does the female characters' sexuality factor into these shows?