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How well I remember the pilot...a little girl named Max escapes from a
top-secret government facility where she has been bred specifically to be a
super-human. One day, she escapes, but is separated from her 'brother', who
she then searches for. It's fascinating to think that what is done in that
government facility is possible...and amazing to think that one little girl
on her own who has been super-enhanced can escape. Waitaminute...that was
the plot of a James Patterson book that came before 'Dark Angel' even hit
the screen. Hmm. I guess James Cameron couldn't come up with the idea on his
own, or even a name.
The series itself isn't bad. It's not great, but if you don't mind getting mired in to a side-plot, then it's really not bad. The first few episodes of the show were the best, because it was when Max was still concerned about finding out about herself. Then the show seemed to dwindle...it's still well-acted, but some of the writing has suffered. Although it's nice to see that Michael Weatherly ends up romantically involved with yet another of his co-stars.
I was really hoping this would be a kewl series, the commercials made it look action packed and exciting, to bad they forgot to work on the set design's and costuming, unless you just paid attention to the tight outfits Jessica was wearing thru out the show. The story line was mediocre and it felt like a really bad swipe off of Bladerunner & Soldier (both partly by David Webb Peoples). The costuming was really bad, who dressed the messengers in this movie? Did they really think that a messenger would live in an abandoned building and dress in non-used/beat up/raggedy clothing? Has Wardrobe ever seen a Bike Messenger? What's up with every outfit Sara Rutherds/Max takes off another person? Why do they always fit her when the person she got it off of is at least twice her size (it's the whole Star Trek thing, any outfit will fit Capt. Kirk). The whole set looks like it was designed by the assistant of the set designer of Back to the Future II, it wasn't believable at all, and it didn't look like Seattle in the least bit. This show is bad, and I only recommend it to fans of Hercules, Xena, and WWF.
There is nothing below the surface in this obvious and shallow show. Yes the stunts are all right, and Jessica Alba sure knows how to pout. But come on, for this she got nominated for a Golden Globe???? When she talks she sounds like a handful of marbles was stuffed in her mouth, (I guess that's supposed to be sexy). And both her and Michael Weatherly's reactions are incredibly planned and fake looking. Their performances would look fine in an Acting 101 class at a community college. It's really quite a shame, because the show had incredible promise. The scenario was good and original, and the scripts aren't half bad. But the horrible casting, which was so obviously based on looks alone, just ruins the rest of the show. But I suppose it does reach a target audience, mainly twenty something guys who drool over Alba, or twelve and thirteen year old girls who giggle over Weatherly. Personally, I'd hate to say this show was the launching point of my career, (sorry Jessica)
The single reason to watch is Jessica Alba. The premise is fine, but
the execution is terrible. Consistently poor writing and an absurd
structure (does anyone else find the "Jam Pony" scenes strangely
reminiscent of Taxi?) make this almost unwatchable. "Eyes Only" is
completely ridiculous -- Logan is the ONLY guy that can hack the cable
system but no one in this future can trace the hack or identify him
even though the broadcasts feature his unaltered voice and a clear view
of his retinas? Max's friends seem like they should be in some horrible
sitcom, not a sci-fi action show. Actually, it may be that Dark Angel
is entirely ironic, in which case it's still bad but at least
If you want to watch a well-written sci-fi series that was cancelled, check out Firefly.
Reading what other people have commented on the show, it seems this series
is a rather mixed bunch, trying to cater to many audiences but apparently
satisfying only few.
Female viewers are offended because Max is pretty and portrayed as such a sex object in every turn, but love the series because watching a girl kick (male) butt strokes their egoes.
Male viewers are offended because almost all the male characters are useless, impotent losers who (deservedly) get insulted and their asses kicked, but love the series for the action, and the hot lead character.
The series has an intentionally controversial message - with nothing substantial to say. It doesn't seem to offer much besides the usual endlessly expandable treadmill of standard cliche plot twists. I lost interest after the first couple of episodes.
This is a pretty good show, great action. It takes place in a dystopian
Seattle after a terrorist EMP. The govt has turned up the heat with
checkpoints setup across the city. Our heroin Max is basically an
opportunistic good guy and cat burglar looking for clues to where her
twelve genetically engineered siblings are. It's great original
What isn't fun is the title theme, fingernails on a chalkboard. The other is they like to flash a lot of posters and t-shirts of the butcher of hundreds of thousands of dissidents, communist and founder of Castro's secret police, Che Guevara. What message the writer is trying to send on the last name of Guevara that Max chooses for herself I don't know. Hardly a good symbol for equality and independence. Despite the political spin this series has, it is still good entertainment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It becomes preoccupied with the back story and ceases to be fun in the late episodes of season 1. The bloke in the wheel chair become a bore and the whole thing takes itself too seriously. It becomes a boring melodrama. Episodes 1-15 re fun and he rest is filler. At it's best the Dark Angel is out saving the world from evil republican scum despite her obligations to her job as a bicycle messenger and her funny co-workers. 'Original Cindy' and Kendra round out her girl crew. When Kendra departs it all goes to sideways. The character of Kendra was not so compelling as to presage the demise of the show. It's just a benchmark. The show goes seriously wrong when the stories are preoccupied with the past. Really stupid writers and producers are responsible for this programmes demise.
Dark Angel is a great action packed show with great actors. Jessica
Alba did an amazing job as Max and the the show should have gone on. It
was an amazing show and had a great run. It's too bad it had end so
soon, if the person who declared that he didn't like Science fiction
then why was he helping to write a Science fiction show? I can't think
of a better person who could've portrayed Max or any of the characters
any better. And reading other peoples comments I honestly don't
understand why they are so fixed on criticizing Jessica Alba so badly.
I mean she's a great actress and the rest of the cast are all great as
well. I never noticed any so much mumbling I mean if you can understand
them then so what. And the times are obviously real rough and you can't
expect them to be all upbeat and happy all the time. The story was very
intriguing and the action was off the chain. Eyes only was a good idea
and very cool. It was sad that Logan and Max had such a screwed up
relationship. They were such a cute couple.
All in all a great show that will be missed.
Having seen the pilot and the first episode, I have mixed feeling about
Angel. Oh sure, Jessica Alba looks very good, but is this enough to make
Dark Angel worth watching? I'm not sure.
The plot is pretty standard, not bad, but I've seen it before MANY times. Max is a messenger with no parents, no past and lives in a poor house, yet she has stylish clothes and has an expensive bike. How is this possible in a world where USA experienced a Apcalyptic-scale depression?
One thing that annoys me a bit is that most men the show seem... well... stupid to say the least, except that reporter - Logan. Also, I'm not anti-gay, but I don't see why that lesbian friend of Max should make remarks all the time. I'm rather tired with the whole Girl Power and Politically Correct things.
What I fear most is that Dark Angel will degenerate in a mindless series with no actual advancement in plot. Max will never really find what she's looking for, she and Logan will secretly fall in love with each other and so on... and so on, season after season.
With "Dark Angel," science fiction has reached its maturity on television.
It encompasses a broad scope that even "The X-Files" cannot hope to match.
Following the adventures of Max (Jessica Alba), a free-spirited and
amoral genetically-engineered being hiding out in Seattle in 2009, it
certainly has an evocative sci-fi look. It's enjoyable to see for the
time, perhaps as a milestone in TV history.
On its own terms, however, I believe "Dark Angel" will be forgotten within a few years. The characterization of Max is one of its problems. On the surface, they seem to have gotten her character nailed: inhumanly tough, extraordinarily intelligent, and morally ambiguous. But I believe the writers spent too much time trying to make her seem like a normal American girl (which she clearly is not). Max's dialogue is interspersed with 1990s slang and her actions betray a sense of exuberance that show she is clearly enjoying herself. To look at her relatively sanitized existence, one would be hard-pressed to believe she escaped from a brutal genetics lab and continues to suffer from violent flashbacks (the sci-fi equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder). A simple portrait of a troubled youth who just happens to possess superhuman powers would have been fine, but the writers have seemingly been compelled to try to sell Max to the masses with a muddled characterization.
Another example of how "Dark Angel" panders to its TV audience is in its cast of supporting characters. Max, it turns out, is a bicycle messenger who goes to work every day from the apartment she shares with a parade of multicultural young people, one of whom is a lesbian. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with minorities and gays on television; it's just that I think these characters were created solely to cash in on Fox's young, liberal demographic. Besides, isn't Max supposed to be a moody loner obsessed with finding the children with whom she was imprisoned in the genetics lab? Surrounding her with an assortment of "hip" characters really distracts us from the plot. In particular, the witty comments made by Max's lesbian friend don't seem to fit the tone of the show.
Then there's Logan Cale, a muckraking cyberjournalist who is determined to shut down the corrupt politicians and businessman who have seized control of Seattle. After meeting Max, he agrees to help her find her missing labmates if she will in turn use her enhanced abilities to fight crime in the city. The actor playing Cale does a good job of helping to bring out Max's sense of morality, but I can't help thinking he'll eventually wind up a caricature. I'm particularly certain he'll become Max's "dopey sidekick" who gets into trouble and has to be rescued by her in just about every episode.
On top of all this, "Dark Angel" seems to be extremely slow-moving. If the writers have been aiming for a coming-at-you narrative, they have failed miserably. The pilot started out good, with brief yet descriptive images of a futuristic hell, but everything went downhill from there with too many subplots and expository scenes.
This show could still work, if James Cameron manages to persuade Fox to make a few changes after the pilot: no wimpy sidekicks, no clichéd stock characters. Focus exclusively on Max and Cale, develop their relationship. Make both of them fully believable characters with individual strengths and weaknesses. I will continue watching "Dark Angel" for the next two to three weeks or so. If nothing has changed by then, I'm afraid I'll have to say goodbye to this potentially excellent sci-fi series.
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