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Craig R. Baxley
In a future of political, economic and moral collapse, a genetically enhanced superhuman prototype named Max escapes from military confines and dwells amidst the decadent underground street life of *Seattle* to avoid government agents who want to bring her back into the fold. Searching for others of her kind who were scattered in the aftermath of her escape, Max encounters Logan, an idealistic cyber-journalist battling repression and corruption in post-apocalypse America. Eventually, Logan calls her to the highest part of her being and Max becomes his samurai as the pair takes on the ruthless power-brokers of the new millennium. Max and Logan's odyssey leads them closer to the secret of her past, deepening and complicating their relationship in the process. Written by
Max is a genetically engineered soldier. From birth she was trained to be a soldier by those at Manticore, however as a child they escaped and spread out. As an adult, Max works as a bicycle express courier in a post-apocalyptic Seattle filled with corruption. She also helps activist `Eyes Only' (Logan) to get information and expose wrong doers and in exchange for him helping her find out where her brothers and sisters have gone. However the sinister force of Manticore led by Lydecker is ever close.
When I watched the pilot for this series I was not too impressed but thought I'd give it a go and stick with it. At several points I thought of giving up but I have stuck with it through to the end of series 1 - which I have just watched. The plot was reasonable despite being weak at the odd time. The basic element surrounding Manticore was always well used but the show often went off into little side plots that were done in one hour where Max helps people etc. It became like a action version of The Littlest Hobo after a while! However the central theme worked well.
As this was aimed at the teen audience the series suffered from lots of unnecessary bits and pieces. Worst of these were the characters at Max's workplace, they are teen stereotypes who talk in clichés and are a little annoying. Original Cindy is sexy but annoying and Herbal and the rest are just poorly used stoners. They add a comic side to the series that it didn't need and doesn't work well as it takes away from the dark thriller side to it.
Generally the writing is good but it is full or holes and doesn't stand up if you take a long hard look at the series, also some episodes are very weak or a little silly. My personal choice for silliest episode in series 1 is where Max is `on heat' supposedly due to her feline DNA! Even when it's good it's not that great but was just about passable enough to keep me watching but only just. As for series 2 I may not stick with it as I noticed the series starting to flag recently.
Alba is pretty good in the lead, but she has the annoying habit of being too cocky - standing with her hand on her hips and her head cocked all the time! She is good looking and pretty sassy but is not a very talented actress - more a nice piece of ass! Weatherly is OK as Logan and is a better actor than the series maybe deserves. Savage is also pretty good as Lydecker but maybe that's because his plots were usually quite good. The support cast are all pretty wooden or are there for comic relief and I found none of them to be of benefit to the series other than attracting a younger audience. Examples of this would be Max's brother who looks just like a bulky Brad Pitt type or the fact that Cindy is a black (tick!) lesbian (tick) and the series makes use of the chance to have her talk about sex as much as possible as well as hooking up with an old girlfriend.
Overall I stuck with this series despite that fact that it never really grabbed me - it was more like a time where I just turned off my brain or did something else at the same time as watching it. There are much better series out there which are aimed at adults or teenagers. At first I thought this series struggled with consistency but I soon realised that this was not the case. No, this series is consistent but the downside is that it is consistently average.
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