The fall TV season has begun and, as with previous seasons, I’ll try to watch as many new and returning shows as possible and write about them. And if I happen to watch a film in between, comments about it will be made. I’ll try my best no to include spoilers, but I’ll most likely fail. You’ve been warned. Here we go:

Nikita – Pilot

When trying to analyze the new Nikita, the original film (great) and its film remake (total crap) should be left alone. However, comparisons to La Femme Nikita are unavoidable.

Section 1 is now called Division, the secret organization that trains troubled younglings into assassins with psychic powers… Oopsy! That was Push. Seriously, why are nefarious secret government organizations so often called Division on film and TV?

Based on previews, I feared Nikita would take on the more glamorized style and vibe of Alias. Fortunately it did not. It also didn’t borrow the gloom and doom vibe from La Femme Nikita, which is a step in the right direction if differentiation was the goal.

That being said, I’m glad to see that Division’s headquarters aren’t a completely redesigned, but are a modernized version of Section 1’s headquarters, maintaining the industrial/bunker look of the original TV series.

As for the cast, it’s always fun to see so many familiar faces, but the standouts are Xander Berkley and Melinda Clarke, who are a perfect fit for their respective roles. I was happy to see Ashton Holmes – who did a terrific job in A History of Violence – as one of the recruits. I was surprised to see Aaron Stanford as neoBirkoff and couldn’t get out of my head the fact that he was Pyro in X-men for some reason, but he did well. Despite much talk about terrible miscasting, I had no problem with Shane West as Michael.

As for Maggie Q and Lindsy Fonseca, they did a good job, but the new Nikita is, at this stage, simply a vengeful woman and Alex is a tool in Nikita’s ultimate plan; their characters need more time to develop and gain depth.

Because depth is what Peta Wilson’s Nikita had. She was an incredibly conflicted character whose innocence and youthful optimism where slowly shattered by a life she didn’t want. She didn’t just grow into a fully functional adult, but also transformed into a completely different person. Hopefully in the coming episodes, the new Nikita will grow as a character and not be limited to simply being Division’s pain in the ass.

Based on published announcements about the new Nikita being a continuation – not a reimagining – of La Femme Nikita, one thing that I found appalling was the character name recycling. Michael is a very common name so it wasn’t that strange to have the Division badass also be named Michael; the name Nikita had to appear on the show in some capacity; but then the tech ops guy ended up being named Birkoff? There were two Birkoffs in La Femme Nikita. If the new Madelaine and Operations where renamed in the new series, why not rename Birkoff and Michael and have Nikita be a code name? This bothered me, but maybe I’m just being nitpicky. Or maybe this is an actual reimagining of La Femme Nikita. I’m no longer sure.

In conclusion, I’m very cautiously optimistic. By this I mean that despite its potential, if by episode 5 Nikita doesn’t find its footing, I’m tossing it like a pile of stinky garbage. But I have hope.

The Vampire Diaries – Season 2 premier

Behold the cheesy promo!

I don’t have enough good things to say about The Vampire Diaries’ first season. Forget about the fact that this is a CW show and that most of the characters are teenagers. Completely disregard the existence of the Twilight saga. This show is, as I’ve mentioned before, a perfect example of proper pacing and efficient storytelling. And the season 2 premier proves that this show is once again on the right path.

The episode expertly tied some loose ends, expanded pending storyline and included some surprising turns that left me in a state of absolute shock.

Ian Somerhalder’s nuanced performance continues to be a standout. He and the writers have constructed in Damon an incredibly layered character that goes through almost the whole spectrum of emotions in a single episode.

Specificity has nothing to do with this little write-up, but I don’t want to spoil anything. My only hope is that any of my 3 readers give this show a chance. It’s worth your time, and if you get past the first three episodes, you’ll see it’s nothing like Twilight.

The new show I tried to watch but couldn’t force myself to:
Hellcats. Just…No.

And that’s all for now.

In the next Installment of Fall Teleshenanigans: Terriers, Outlaw (if it actually premiers next week), and maybe some Gossip Girl.