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September 15, 2010 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-09-15

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 7A

'Nikita' is full of stale,
stereotyped sexuality

So You Think You Can Save The Last Bring It On? You Got Served!... Step Up! ... Road House-
No cheers for 'Helicats'

The CW's human
pyramid topples over
in campy new series
For the Daily
"Where there's football, could
cheerleading be far behind?" asks
brand new Hellcat Marti Perkins.
As fall sweeps
students into the
crowded bleach-
ers for football Heilcats
season, televi-
sion screens are Wednesdays
locked on - no, at 9 p.m.
not hours of The CW
ing football footage - but on the
cheerleaders. More specifically,
the Lancer University cheerlead-
ers, tumbling and fumbling around
on the CW's new series "Hellcats."
"Mean Girls" minus the wit and
"Bring it On" without the spirit,
"Hellcats" is a tedious hour of
everything but the "meow" its
name implies.
Marti "The Martyr" Perkins
(Alyson Michalka, "Phil of the
Future") is a pre-law blonde bomb-
shell forced to endure the Ijellpat
regime for the sake of securing a
scholarship. An ex-gymnast, Marti
is driven back to the mat by her
costly education and irresponsible

mother, a woman whose "soul-
sucking presence" and drunken
antics triggered Marti's decision
to depart from gymnastics in the
beginning. Gail O'Grady ("Ameri-
can Dreams") is the tight-lipped
and plastic-surgery prone Wanda
Perkins, bumbling around with her
daughter's best interests in mind,
wanted or not. But her mother's
behavior should be the last thing on
Marti's mind.
Along with a jealous teammate
itching for revenge and a poten-
tial love triangle secretly forming,
the school is threatening to cut the
Hellcats due to budget problems.
According to cheerleading Coach
Vanessa Lodge (Sharon Leal, "Why
did I get Married Too?"), the Hell-
cats are in need of a fresh perspec-
tive. Unfortunately, "Hellcats" does
not deliver.
Michalka is unrealistic as the
alternative "wrong-side-of-the-
tracks" character, complete with
leather jacket and anti-establish-
ment snarks. As oiled males and
scantily clad extras decorate the
scenes, Michalka's attempts at
spontaneous dance outbreaks are
awkward and leave more than just
her fellow cheerleaders wondering
what just happened. The result is
a curly-mopped, Taylor Swift clone
doing Michael Jackson in sparkly
Converse, strange pelvic thrusting
included. Michalka is shadowed by
the talent of more physically expe-

rienced extras and even more so by
the supportingcast.
Salvageable at least are the per-
formances of Matt Barr ("Harper's
island") and Ashley Tisdale ("High
School Musical"). Barr plays ador-
ably cocky, yet genuine Dan Patch.
With fussy, spiked blond hair and
the gaze of an Upper East Side stun-
ner, Dan is one of Marti's multiple
suitors. Pulling double duty as Mar-
ti's best friend, Dan pleads her to
stay grounded amid the sparkle and
pep. Ultimately, it's Captain Savan-
nah Monroe who deserves the
praise. Played by Tisdale, Savan-
nah is dedicated and perky but not
overbearing or disingenuous. Tis-
dale acts with such sincerity that
she begins to evoke a sympathy
and respect for cheerleading as a
sport by her first scene. Offended
by Michalka's spitting comments
when they meet, the Hellcats cap-
tain steps up to the plate for a steady
15 seconds. Yet even that moment
doesn't last, as a "goth" versus
"cheerleader" dispute erupts and
"Hellcats" once again loses steam
and relatability.
Many sports fanatics would fight
for a year-round football league, but
let's be thankful that "Hellcats" will
be forced to pack in its pom-poms
in only a couple short months. High
in attitude, but low in spirit (and
even lower in entertainment value),
"Hellcats" shouldn't expect to take
home a trophy any time soon.

Daily Arts Writer
The 1990 French cult movie
"La Femme Nikita," about a young
criminal recruited to work for the
government, had a particularly
enduring prem-
ise. It's even
been rebooted
before on TV, but Nikita
that didn't stop T
the CW from re- Thrdy
remaking it into at9 p.m.
a bore of a show TheCW
that's been seen
a million times before.
The newest "Nikita" picks up
where the movie left off, follow-
ing 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 net-
work 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. Liter-
ally every time Nikita kills some-
one, 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 mesmeriz-
ing; 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 con-
tains the corny factor that
makes all other spy shows some-
what 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 dra-
matic 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 somewonce-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 psycholo-
gist. 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 fig-
ure 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 epi-
Alas, it seems the only reason
Do we need
more objectified
action actresses?
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 vio-
lence, they will soon realize that
"Nikita" just doesn't have staying

That glove is really worrisome.


FX sniffs out
some chemistry
By ALEX RUSS One of the marks of a good
Daily Arts Writer pilot is the ability to create com-
pelling cliffhangers. By the end
When people like Shawn of the pilot, as Dolworth and Pol-
Ryan, the creator of the hit TV lack successfully have Lindus in
show "The Shield," and Ted Grif- custody, they start wondering to
fin, who wrote the screenplay themselves if they are ever going
for the "Ocean's Eleven" remake, to have to deal with him or his
come together men again. Not only are Dolworth
to produce a and Pollack pondering this, but
TV show, view- *** the audience is as well. Perhaps
ers should - in Lindus is done, but if not, Dol-
theory - buckle TerierS worth and Pollack will undoubt-
their seatbelts Wednesdays edly have their hands full.
for an exciting at10 p.m. However, one bone that needs
ride. Well, you picking is that there's little in
can loosen the FX this show to set it apart from the
straps a little rest of the FX lineup. There's
bit. While the new FX series simply not very much about
"Terriers" does feature two "Terriers" that's truly original.
leads with strong chemistry in The writers were seemingly
Donal Logue ("Grounded For unwilling to take chances, and
Life") and Michael Raymond- while they succeeded in creat-
James ("True Blood"), and the ing a realistic drama, they also
pilot does create suspense for created a plain boring one. Even
next week, the dialogue and vibe going literal with the title and
of the show are so dull at points throwing in a dog sidekick would
that it's easy to drift your focus have improved things immense-

from the TV.
"Terriers" centers around two
private investigators, Hank Dol-
worth (Logue) and Britt Pollack
(Raymond-James). Dolworth is
a former police officer who lost
his job and wife due to alcohol-
ism, and Pollack is a former thief
who decided to change his ways
and become a detective. In the
pilot, Dolworth and Pollack try
to track the daughter of one of
Hank's friends, while at the same
time uncovering a business con-
spiracy involving Robert Lindus
(Christopher Cousins, "Breaking
Bad"), one of the town's "favorite
One of the true highlights
of this show is the chemistry
between Logue and Raymond-
James. Sure, their characters may
have been on opposite sides of the
law at certain points, but that
doesn't get in the way their abil-
ity to work together. There's no
clashing between their person-
alities as one might expect, and
both characters are able to throw
in their fair share of comic relief.

'Terriers' takes
an unoriginal
approach to a
strong premise.
ly. Not that "Terriers" needs a
dog sidekick specifically to be a
great show - but it needs a jolt
of innovation or excitement, sig-
nificant action scenes being the
most obvious missing piece.
When watching the rest of
the FX lineup, from "Its Always
Sunny in Philadelphia" to "Res-
cue Me," it's clear the writers
of those particular shows have
taken chances with their respec-
tive genres. That's why those
shows are returning for new sea-
sons and have such loyal fanbas-
es. If "Terriers" wants to make it
past its first season, it will need to
find an X-Factor.

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