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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.
I originally wrote a review of "Dark Angel" after seeing the pilot (it's on
IMDB too), and short summary is: Rubbish.
I really didn't think much of it. The action scenes were poor, and the acting even worse. The camera work was restricted to beauty shots of Jessica Alba, and continuity seemed to be monitored by a chimp.
Well, I've now seen a number of episodes and my opinion hasn't changed much. There are some improvements - the action scenes are *much* better choreographed and more spectacular; and the reduced budget seems to have improved it by forcing it to have a bit more story and less flash.
There are still problems. Acting is pretty poor - Alba in particular does not have what it takes to play Max. While she is obviously very attractive, she cannot put across the more lively and playful aspects of Max's character. Her attempts often end up looking like gurning or obvious posing. Some of the blame for this has to lie with the director and producers of course - they do have a responsibility to spot when something is not working. It's not all bad though: the "will they/won't they" between Max and Logan Cale turned out to surprisingly effective and watchable - in fact, it is by far the best part of the show.
So does "Dark Angel" deserve another series. I'm sorry to say this but, no, in my opinion it doesn't. There just isn't enough there for me to care about it.
Jessica Alba is Max Guevera, a top secret genetically-engineered but
mentally deficient hotty who after escaping captivity lives as a bike
message courier in Seattle of a post-apocalyptic world of 2009, while
searching for the other government experiments that have
escaped,running up against the "evil" Manticor corporation, and
learning of her past piece by piece along the way. Her and her
wheelchair bound journalist do-gooder, try to take "the Man" down. Oh,
and I hate the black lesbian with the drag queen name of "the Original
Cindy", she's just an ultra-lame character. Other then that it was an
alright show... well the first season was at least, season 2 sucked
balls. Think of a second-rate "Alias", but with a sci-fi tinge.
My Season 1
Grade: C+ Season one
DVD Extras: Commentary on the Pilot by creator Eglee and director David Nutter, "Rising" by Eglee and writer René Echevarria, & "And I Am a Camera" by Eglee, Echevarria and director Charles Woolnaugh; three behind the scenes featurettes; Audition tapes; Blooper Reel; and "Dark Angel" video game trailer
I watched the first season religiously. If the show was on, everything had to stop. Nothing was getting in the way of me and my Albanator. Some of the episodes showed real heart and on occasion were even laugh out loud funny. They could even be heartbreaking, especially the one where her cat-in-heat tendencies finally overcame her. As goofy as it sounds, it's better understood by viewing. From time-to-time I was a bit annoyed with Jessica Alba's acting, which seemed to switch from ok to full-out sucks by means of an independent switch but she was hot so I didn't care. I also did get a little tired of that "I know that I'm fine" look that always seemed to be on her face, even when she'd be beating the living Christ out of someone. After watching the first season finale, I was absolutely positive that the show was gonna get even better. And then, reality struck. The first episode of the second season left me shrugging my shoulders. By the fourth episode, I couldn't bear it anymore. It got so stupid so quickly that I couldn't help but feel disappointed. It was like the producers wanted to give Buffy some comp by adding monsters (you read that right: monsters) into the mix. I don't know what the point is of me writing about the show other than to express my extreme disappointment at the way it turned out. And I honestly think that it didn't help the show any when it was announced that she and Michael Weatherly had gotten engaged. Booooooo!
This is a show that, despite horrible writing and terribly obvious plots, had a hot chick starring in it. Outside of that, I could not find any reason to watch this show. The first season, there were a few things to watch outside of the realm of the horny 14 year old boy, but in the season finale the first year, they destroyed the one thing that kept the series going. It's one thing to see someone fight a conspiracy, but once they win, well, there's not a whole hell of a lot to be said, without getting completely ridiculous. Which is what happened with this show... And made it completely suck
Dark Angel started off full of promise. However, just like most
contemporary American television, producers seem to think that good
actresses make for good viewing. They don't.
Dark Angel suffered from about the second or third episode into the second season, and the television networks did well to drop it like the proverbial plague. Bad storylines coupled with poor acting made this one of the worst shows ever. Even "The Simpson" has better acting, and they're all celluloid!
I think Cameron should have made Dark Angel a movie rather than a television series. He should have spent more on a script and drafted a decent actress. And it was scandalous how they dropped John Savage without warning - he was definitely one of the highlights of the show.
Bring back Dark Angel? No, let it die in peace. Lots of good moments, but sadly far too many duff ones. There was also too much stereotyping. Main star (Alba) is eye candy, then there's the black girl friend with "yo mama" speech built-in, and a nerdy type (Eyes Only). Pur-lease! Show some originality! This typecasting was evident in Knight Rider of the 1980's...why, oh why, are producers still coming out with formulaic stuff? Especially when it fails to work.
It's true that the plot is pretty cliché, and that in some ways Alba is
more a 'looker' than an actress in this show. But there are some great
moments in the first season, to be sure. Some real drama, some good
character development, and some rather funny dialogue, as well. The
scenes at the bike courier depot that run through the show are actually
far more entertaining than secondary plots usually are (works better
than the 'Buy-More' at Chuck, for instance). There's nothing new
offered in this show, just unrealized promise.
And this show clearly should have stopped after the first season. It gets ridiculous by the end. Rather than just 'super-soldiers', we find that there are essentially 'mutants' running about, now, including a half-man half-dog creature who we're supposed to find 'adorable', and yet I found only increasingly annoying.
If there's absolutely nothing better to watch, the first season of Dark Angel is a mediocre show which has some high points. But the show does collapse under it's own weak foundations and lack of direction. And so unless you've already seen everything else to see, it's probably better not to get too involved in this one.
I absolutely love the series....i agree though that the first series was better than the second....i loved the plot more....not that i didn't love the 2nd series....that was amazing to ....but there was a lot going on in the plot....but whatever they both were amazing and i really wish that they will bring it back.....they talked about making it into a movie but id rather see a 3rd season....think about it...if they make it a movie they will have to summarize the first two seasons so that people can get the jist if they've never seen it and then the fact that it has to fit into a 2 hour time limit...i think that we would be jipped out of a really good ending....no i think they should put out another series so that they really get into depth of a amazing ending that doesn't leave us hanging or angry as we leave the movie theater. but if it has to be a movie, i would rather it be that then nothing at all.....the open ending is driving me insane...its kind of like having to wait for breaking dawn or harry potter 7 to come out....only more so because there is a big possibility that they wont make an ending....i really hope they do....and i think a lot of fans are going to be extremely mad if they don't come out with a satisfying ending some how!!!!!! please please please bring Dark Angel back. and keep the same actors for the key characters.....i have grown to love jessica alba, Micheal weatherly, and jensen ackles in their parts.
Dark Angel was a good show but at points it got well stupid, Jessica played the part very well but they did mumble sometimes *either that or it was my TV* but still if u didn't like it and just wanna yell because u thought it was stupid then don't post a comment. it annoys me and probably others if you didn't like it you shouldn't have watched it.*may spoil for some* i thought genetically enhanced children were awesome i could watch them train continuesly.and i could believe the pulse could happen because ban accounts are kept on computers so magnets could have ruined that. but the part were no one noticed what she could do ??????? i mean come on she litarly shakes because of seizures wouldn't her room mate have noticed? and asked questions and then original Cindy didn't have any questions either and when max can push her co workers across the room with out breathing real heavy? but oh well it was a good show
After seeing the first season i was very impressed and enjoyed the
show. The second season was also very good but had lost a bit of its
edge. However the program had always grabbed my attention and overall
was very enjoyable.
When watching the episodes on DVD i would actually spend pretty much all of the day sat in my couch, with eye's glued to the T.V, watching episode after episode. The characters are played very well and they fit in together brilliantly! Each episode keeps you watching with the different problems that Max/452 has.
I would definitely like to see more episodes made, but after so long after being cancelled i cant see it happening. (I still have hopes though!)
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