Spooks < La Femme Nikita. But Loved the Aerial London Shots.

Richard Armitage as Lucas North in Spooks (courtesy of: mythra.tumblr.com)

With only eight episodes per season, the time constraints of Spooks allow me to look past its lapses in plausibility. But sometimes the plot threads make no sense and the cause-and-effect rationality is just not there and it’s all happening in a very fast English accent and there’s no closed captioning on Netflix streaming.

Generally each episode focuses on one mission that is resolved in 52 minutes, and is solved by a team of 1 tech guy, 1 commander, and 2-3 field agents. There’s also backup teams of shooters who are merely extras and never have any lines or interactions with the agents. Sometimes London CC technology can find any suspect (there he is!), other times not (he got away!).

Spooks seems to be quite similar to 24 and La Femme Nikita, both of which were created by Joel Surnow.  I think that LFN is the greatest spy series ever: although the show had a small budget, it had terrific style (the late 90s being the era of minimalism helped), crackerjack writing, killer electronica music selections (Everything But the Girl, Garbage, Depeche Mode, Enigma, Mono), and a slow-burning love story between the senior operative Michael and the innocent newcomer Nikita. You probably are more familiar with the J.J. Abrams’ series Alias, which was a total LFN knock-off (see examples here). I highly, highly recommend LFN if you are a fan of Spooks. There is a narrative throughout the entire series and it involves characters both major and minor—I miss that in Spooks. I also was disappointed with the mostly one-note “villains” of Spooks compared to the exceptional actors that guest-starred in LFN. Incidentally, one of the most memorable LFN villains, James Faulkner (who played Dominic in “War” (the cage scene episode) and “Cat and Mouse”) was in Spooks Season 9, Episode 2 as Robert Westhouse.

Peta Wilson and Roy Dupuis make spy magic in La Femme Nikita

Here is the greatest LFN compilation video ever made – wow:

Richard Armitage as Warrior: Tiny version & British God version

This is my take on similar photos posted and discussed by servetus on Me + Armitage and by many all over tumblr this week.

Richard Armitage appeared on a Rise Up Christchurch benefit television program (supporting New Zealanders as they recover from the recent earthquake) in his Thorin dwarf prototype test beard and hat. It’s our first glimpse of him getting into character on The Hobbit set.

Screencap of Richard Armitage in early makeup/costume tests for "The Hobbit" (courtesy of: http://thorntonmakesmyrealityaletdown.tumblr.com

Bwahaha at thortonmakesmyrealityaletdown tumblr’s response:well I’m turned on.

Sex(y) dwarf? I always found Soft Cell’s song “Sex Dwarf” amusing.

But this appearance has been upstaged. Shot during the filming of the final RA episode of Spooks, this astonishing photo has been burning up the Internet.

Richard Armitage as the epitome of masculinity (courtesy of: http://recycledvinyl.tumblr.com/post/5758920497)

Look forward, look forward at me. Fierce.

servetus at Me + Armitage is doing a thorough analysis of this image.

A more detached look at the picture: this is John Bateman, not the tender, sympathetic Lucas North alter ego of seasons past – this is the murdering terrorist that I have no sympathy for and would totally snitch out to Sir Harry Pearce.

DIGRESSION

  1. Blargh – the writers did the character and RA a disservice with this late revelation. Kind of like the Season 4 ending of La Femme Nikita (SPOILER) when it is revealed that Nikita was a spy for Center and fans became upset since it invalidated Nikita’s journey through Section One after Season 1. And also because it was a stunning revelation for fans who loved Michael and Nikita’s relationship and wanted to believe in her love for him and wanted that moment of freedom for them to be together.
  2. See the unforgettable Season 4 “finale” scene here—with one of Roy Dupuis‘ brilliant improvisational gestures.
  3. Due to the intensity of the fans’ campaign against the ending, the USA network greenlit a final eight episodes and the series ended on a much more satisfying (and romantic) note, albeit a bittersweet one. See the Season 5 for-real finale scenes here. An amazing gift to the fans by the LFN cast, crew, and the USA network.

But back to RA. I’m trying to think of a good song to accompany this arresting picture for when it shows up in fanvids. I was recently blown away by Glee’s Heather Morris’s dance moves in this Esquire video. Especially the “Heart Attack” by Raphael Saadiq number.

Heart attack indeed. Well I’m turned on.

But what are the female song equivalents for asserting a sexual gaze towards a man? Certainly P.J. Harvey‘s “This is Love” qualifies:

Hand-to-Hand: Period Drama and Spy Action

So there’s this moment in Spooks where Lucas North (Richard Armitage) poses as a bike messenger and takes off his glove with his teeth—an homage to a similar move RA does as Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood. The latter scene is clipped in the below video which also has a recap of the first hand-to-hand contact between RA and Daniela Denby-Ashe in North and South and between Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice.

And since Spooks reminds me so much of (the superior spy series) La Femme Nikita, here is a link to the killer “hand dance” clip between Roy Dupuis and Peta Wilson (I love that it was Dupuis’s idea).