By Amanda Guilford
In 2004, Nikki & Nora, the child of Nancylee Myatt’s creative mind (South of Nowhere), was heading to TV, but it was branded by many as a concept that was “ahead of its time” and as such was not picked up by the network to which is was launched. The pilot episode leaked to YouTube, and over the past ten years Nikki & Nora have built a cult following that culminated into its reinvention as a web series.
We find ourselves alongside Nikki Beaumont (Liz Vassey) and Nora Delaney (Christina Cox) as they navigate a far post-Katrina New Orleans. The city itself has picked up and has begun reshaping itself into a cultured and lively party city as once before, with Nikki and Nora themselves reshaping their own lives into a new home and new line of work. No longer detectives with the New Orleans Police Department as in the unlaunched pilot, the two women have taken on the roles of private investigators for Vieux Carre Investigations, scouring the city streets for crime and criminals alike.
The first season spans a single case, each episode linking seamlessly into the next with new characters and familiar scenery. The city is as vibrant and beautiful as ever, the shots and angles managing to capture the dark and majestic culture that is New Orleans.
Nikki and Nora, having purchased a one hundred and fifty year old house, find themselves juggling investigative work while discussing the ongoing renovations of their new residence. Armin Shimerman (Quark of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) makes appearances as Vieux Carre’s lawyer and the man who maintains a stern demeanor as he manages funds for the agency and its employees, all the while displaying a certain fondness as Nikki and Nora subject him to affectionate ribbing in regards to his personal relationships. We also touch on relationships in that of Nikki’s former flame, played by Wallace Langham (David Hodges of CSI), and Nora’s mother, played by Tess Harper (Mrs. Pinkman of Breaking Bad).
The past is not to be left behind in this reimagined series, however, with Nancylee Myatt and her creative team inserting mention of New Orleans as it was pre-Katrina. The storm is personified and recognized in both scenery and dialogue, most notably with Nora comforting Nikki in regards to her mother’s continued and chosen absence from her life.
“Fuck Katrina,” Nikki sniffs, and with a tenderness reserved only for the woman she loves, Nora agrees. “Fuck that bitch,” Nora says. For all she has ruined, Katrina cannot take away the desire of a city and it’s people to survive even the residual damage she has caused in personal relationships.
Myatt also introduces us to the music of Katie Todd, whose song “Scotch and Soda” so suits the feel of New Orleans and has us tapping our feet at the end credits as we eagerly anticipate the beginning of the next episode. The use of Todd’s music further brings together the feel of authenticity to the series’ locale and provides a balm to the usual disappointment that the episode has come to an end.
All in all, the relaunch of this series, once given the potential to be a pioneer in its field, has instead found new life among its web series brothers and sisters. Nikki and Nora is truly an enjoyable sight to see, and the vehicle of the internet is certain to allow it to flourish and grow into a world ready for its charms (nikkiandnora).
You can watch the complete season of Nikki & Nora at TelloFilms. TelloFilms is a lesbian distribution and production company for high-quality web series. With a $4.99 monthly subscription, you can have access to Nikki & Nora, as well as 11 other web series. Watch Nikki & Nora and subscribe to TelloFilms here.
If you’re going to the Dinah Shore in Palm Springs, be sure to get tickets to the Dinah Shore Film Festival where you can see more of Nikki & Nora and meet the executive producer Christin Mell, Liz Vassey (Nikki) and Aasha Davis (Pariah). You can buy tickets at the door on Friday, April 4 at the Hilton Hotel grand ballroom at 7 pm. The viewing will begin promptly at 8 pm. Web series #Hashtag, Kiss Her I’m Famous, Little Horribles and Dyke Central and films Girl Gets Girland Secrets & Toys will also be screening at the Dinah Film Festival. A Q&A will follow with the creators, cast and crew.