Admist the bloodbath of network shows that were not renewed for the upcoming Fall television season, there were some fan favorite shows that were spared.  While many thought the cancellation of CW’s NIKITA was inevitable due to its low ratings, I was not surprised the show lived to see at least another season.  Boasting a very devoted fanbase who wrote emails, letters, tweets, etc to the network to save this critically acclaimed show,  NIKITA proved that sometimes a network isnt just driven by ratings.  Sometimes a network really does get it right and stands behind a show they know is great and nurtures it instead of killing it in favor of a more commercially viable reality show.  So for that, I thank you CW Network. 
As far as the cancellation of The Secret Circle which was also a CW Network show, that did come as a bit of a shock.  Lesson learned, TSC fans:  dont ever take for granted that renewal is a sure bet.  TSC may have boasted better numbers than NIKITA but its fanbase certainly wasnt as vocal when it counted.  Now they are scrambling to petition to have the show brought back.  I really do wish them luck, but it is far harder to resurrect a show that has been axed verses saving one that still has a chance. 
By Iris S. Ma


Wes Chatham is one of those actors whose nameless face you’ve seen in various movies and on television but cant quite recall where.  His role as Dillon Maguire in the just released indie film “The Philly Kid” might just change that.   Chatham stars as the aptly nicknamed down on his luck former fighter, who after being paroled from prison after 10 years, is thrown back into the sport to pay off a debt incurred by his sidekick Jake  (played by Devon Sawa).   But “The Philly Kid” is more than just a movie about professional Mixed Martial Arts.  The sport just serves as the action.  The real heart of the movie is Dillon’s journey to let go of his past and really internalize his trainer’s mantra that winners never quit.   Chatham himself performed all of his own fight scenes and the movie was shot in the course of only 18 days in Louisana.  Writer Adam Mervis also takes a turn in front of the camera as Dillon’s parole officer Ryan.
“The Philly Kid” is currently in very limited release but hopefully word of mouth will get this movie out there because it truly is one of the feel-good movies of the year so far.
By Iris S. Ma


May 12 welcomes back to Windward Park the 2nd annual Venice Music and Arts Festival.  Free to the public, local area artists are showcased and the following musical acts will performing:
11:00 am Street Smart
11:40 am Ya Harissa Belllydance Theater
12:00 pm Fly N Lion
12:40 pm Ya Harrissa Bellydance Theater
12:50 pm ATS Bellydance and Drums
1:00 pm The Divine Crime
1:40 pm ATS Bellydance and Drums
2:00 pm Delta Nove
2:40 pm Stephanie Lallouz
3:00 pm Braw …
3:40 pm Marc Blackbird
 4:00 pm LOONER
4:40 pm Corty Byron
5:00 pm Barry “The Fish” Melton, Michael Hinton, Tony Saunders, Andy Kravitz
6:00 pm Michael Jost
 6:20pm Tracii Guns’ League of Gentlemen


I really wanted to love the new Neon Trees album ‘Picture Show’ as much as its predessor ‘Habits’ but so far I cant say that I do.   There are definately tracks that have grown on me more than others (Lessons in Love, I Am The DJ) but the latter third of the album loses steam and start sounding repetitive.  Bands always frown upon fans who say their latter work isnt as good as their early releases but some times it just isnt.  ‘Habits’ was a solid album start to finish, it felt fresh and new.  ‘Picture Show’ screams the band’s influences just a little too loudly.  We get it, you love the 80’s.  So do I, but there’s almost synthesizer overload on certain tracks (Truth) and Pretend for the Weekend is more than a little Michael Jackson-esqe.  ‘Picture Show’ isnt a bad album, its good but not great and maybe I will grow to love it.  Maybe.
By: Iris Ma


As i write this, the CW Network’s NIKITA is in danger of being cancelled, with low ratings to blame.  Anyone who knows me knows this is more than a television show to me, it is part of my life and the fate of cancellation is one i am not going to accept without a good fight.  So i am publishing here a letter i wrote and sent to each of the top executives at both the CW and Warner Brothers Television.  I hope this will inspire my fellow NIKITA fans to do the same.

Dear Mr. Rosenblum,

I don’t know how many letters you’ve received like this and of those how many you’ve read but I really hope that you take the time to read this one. I implore you to take to heart a viewer’s perspective why the show NIKITA needs to be renewed for another season.

If ratings alone determined what shows get renewed season after season, the CW network would probably only be airing original programming on a part time basis or cease to exist entirely. I’m sure you value every loyal viewer that you have and our opinions as well. Viewers are the reason why programs are created in the first place. NIKITA’s numbers may not be great but those viewers who do turn in week after week are LOYAL. Given a better time slot and more advertising, NIKITA can only build on those numbers. NIKITA also has a strong fanbase overseas that isn’t reflected in Nielsen numbers.

As head of the network, I’m sure you aren’t watching shows about vampires and vapid socialites. I admit, I watched Gossip Girl for the first 3 seasons and somewhere along the way, it lost my interest. And occasionally I find entertainment value in America’s Next Top Model. But wouldn’t it be nice for the CW to have at least ONE show that offers real substance? A show with not one but three strong female leads. Superior acting and writing. A show whose characters have real flaws and have to overcome them in order to succeed. A show that teaches to always work towards good instead of evil. NIKITA does all that and more. NIKITA stands out all on its own, and even more so against the likes of The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl. Sure, those shows are more popular but even the popular kids in school lose their shine after awhile, while the underdog finds a way to come out on top.

Any given episode of NIKITA can make me cringe at the edge of my seat, laugh, and cry. It’s not just all action, its real human emotions too. I challenge you to find any other show in your roster or on any other network for that matter which can do the same to a viewer. I have been 100% vested in this show since Day 1; please allow us at least one more season to properly bring the storyline and characters full circle. I’m sure when you greenlighted NIKITA two years ago you had high expectations for it and I can honestly say that as a loyal viewer it has never disappointed me. Instead, it has set the bar very high and even motion pictures I have seen of the same genre (Haywire, for example) fall short by comparison.

I could go on with more personal reasons why NIKITA should be renewed but that could go on indefinitely and neither you nor I have that kind of time. Just know that this show means the world to me and many others, I wouldn’t be taking the time and effort to fight for it otherwise. I just hope you strongly consider more than ratings when making your final decision.   Also, the link below is for an online magazine ‘Mission Codename: Save Nikita’ created by which highlights the first two seasons of the series and all the reasons to renew it for a third.

Thank you for your time and attention and for giving us two amazing years with NIKITA and hopefully more to come!

Best regards,

Iris Ma
on behalf of

Mission Codename: Save Nikita

C2E2 2012: A Smaller, Better Con


This year Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, better known as C2E2, took place April 13-15 at McCormick Place Convention Center.   A smaller, more managable version of San Diego’s Comic Con, C2E2 boasts it fare share of memorabilia and fan favorite celebrities, such as John Cusak and Val Kilmer.
I attended the busiest convention day, Saturday, lured in from Los Angeles by the ‘NIKITA’ video presentation and Q&A session with series star Shane West and Executive Producer/Creator Craig Silverstein.   Without giving too much away from the remaining episodes of the season, the two answered fan questions and gave us hope for a third season of this mesmerizing show.
I also attended the Q&A with John Barrowman prior and I have to say despite not being very familiar with Mr. Barrowman’s career I was kept highly entertained throughout his hour long panel.  His extremely engaging personality and antics certainly left me wanting to keep up with his future endeavors.
All in all, good times were had in Chicago and while I’d like to encourage more people to check out C2E2, I would hate for it to become as massive as San Diego Comic Con where people have to fight tooth and nail just to be able to attend one day.
By Iris S. Ma