One of TV's more interesting tough-girl action shows, Dark Angel
is a distinctive blend of the personal, the adventurous and the politically aware. Cocreators James Cameron (yes, that James Cameron) and Charles Eglee present a complex scenario of biological super-science and social collapse in which their gene-manipulated heroine and hacker/journalist hero can genuinely make a difference. In this first series they also provide an adversary who is a lot more than just a conventional villain.
Jessica Alba is impressive as Max, bred and trained as a super-soldier but reclaiming her individual humanity; Michael Weatherly is scruffily attractive as Eyes Only, who sits semi-paralysed in his eyrie above Seattle uncovering crime, corruption and other skulduggeries and sending the woman whom he hopelessly loves out on deadly errands. Jon Savage has real authority as Lydeker, a man who has stretched his conscience to breaking point, but is not personally corrupt. Some of the best episodes here--"Prodigy" for example--are ones in which Lydeker and Max are forced into temporary alliance. Early on the relationship between Max and the other workers at Jam Pony--the courier firm that provides her with a cover identity--is a little forced, but later on the two parts of Max's life are more successfully integrated: "Shorties in Love", for example, is a genuinely touching tale about Diamond, the doomed criminal ex-lover of Max's lesbian roommate. Dark Angel was never a perfect show, but at its occasional best it manages to be simultaneously funny and dramatic.
On the DVD: Dark Angel, Series 1's Region 2 DVD is ungenerous with special features, providing only short interviews with James Cameron and Charles Eglee and with the stars, and giving us a preview of the Dark Angel computer game. The episodes are presented in widescreen and have excellent Dolby Digital sound which gives vivid presence to both the dialogue and the hard-driving contemporary rock score that is part of the show's style. --Roz Kaveney
The complete first series of the James Cameron-produced TV show. In 'Dark Angel (The Pilot)' we are introduced to Max, a young bike messenger and thief and who was raised as part of a Top Secret Government genetics program and who is now attempting to find those who also underwent the same process. 'Heat' has Logan lead Max to one of her siblings, unwittingly exposing her to an attack by government agent Lydecker. 'Flushed' finds Logan and Original Cindy attempting to help Max when she ends up behind bars. 'C.R.E.A.M.' sees Max help Sketchy take his revenge on a crooked casino owner. '411 on the DL' has Logan's wife re-enter the picture. 'Prodigy' finds Max and Lydecker attending the same genetics conference. 'Cold Comfort' sees Max joining forces with Lydecker in a battle against a mutual enemy. In 'Blah Blah Woof Woof' Max becomes the most wanted woman in Seattle. In 'Out' Max and Logan arrange their first date, only to have Logan bow out at the last moment. 'Red' has Max provide protection for a Federal witness. 'Art Attack' finds Max accompanying Logan to a family wedding. 'Rising' sees original Cindy kidnapped in a plot to get at Max. 'The Kidz Are Aiight' has Zack escape from Lydecker, while Max and Logan continue to edge closer to each other. 'Female Trouble' finds Logan on the trail of a specialist doctor. 'Haven' sees Max and Logan visit a town with a hidden secret. In 'Shorties in Love' Original Cindy's old boyfriend, Diamond, returns for a visit. 'Pollo Loco' has Max forced to deal with a dangerous serial killer. 'I and I am a Camera' finds Max and Logan investigating the murders of some recently paroled inmates. 'Hit a Sista Back' sees Max and Tinga attempt to rescue the latter's family from Lydecker. 'Meow' has Lydecker acquire the technology which will allow him to capture his ultimate prey. Finally, in 'And Jesus Brought a Casserole', Lydecker helps Max and Zack in their plans to attack Manticore.