Alright… I’m back to talk “Girl Power”. Or… um… wait, I’m actually here to talk about a sci-fi “gem” from the early 2000’s that I passed on originally. Probably for good reason. But having recently sat to watch the entire thing- well, let’s just say I think it’s one that if you haven’t seen, you should. Probably.
The problem is- I can’t decide if I actually like the show or not. But that’s neither here nor there at the moment… let’s first talk about the show. Welcome to Dark Angel.
In the early 2000’s James Cameron was a hot property. He probably still is, but I’ve lost interest in his work since he decided he was god’s gift to entertainment. Anyways, he tried to jump on the television bandwagon with a girl power show. Girl power, if you remember, was huge at the end of the 90’s with Buffy the Vampire Slayer doing phenomenally well, the fabulously camp Xena, Warrior Princess, and a collection of films and TV shows wherein the lead was an ass-kicking chick. Booyah! Take that, boys! Girls rule!
The take here was that a decade or more in our future the government has created- the ultimate test tube babies!- a group of super soldiers. Genetically enhanced kids- transgenics-, trained to be the ultimate soldier. The problem being that kids are kids- they got curious, they got emotional, they ran away. A group of the kids broke out and escaped into the world. And for a decade or so, they lived lives on the run.
Meet Max (or X5-452, as she is designated)(played by Jessica Alba). She’s a bike messenger by day and a cat burglar by night. Did I forget to mention that someone detonated an EMP pulse or something and effectively crippled the U.S. about the same time the kids broke out? Well, that’s important because it sets up the divide between the have and have-nots (Max is a have-not, in case you were wondering). Seattle, the setting for most of the series, did not fair well. It’s kind of like that opening scene in Terminator, before the time travel into the past- only slightly less destroyed. Slightly.
Enter “Eyes Only”- a computer hacker who takes over the air-waves to broadcast the truth; not the news that the government sees fit to share with the populace. He’s a bit of a rebel. Sees injustice and sets out to stop it. And he just might know something about these “transgenics”.
Max meets Logan (played by Michael Weatherly). Or actually, Logan and his bodyguard catch Max attempting to steal an expensive piece of art from his apartment. Logan is one of the haves. Feel the immediate chemistry that radiates between Max and Logan. She better meet up with this guy again! Oh, wait… Logan is “Eyes Only”… wait… wtf? There’s a have out there helping the little guy? That’s kind of hot.
Anyways… I’m going to jump ahead now- Max and Logan make a deal, she’ll help him with his cause if he helps her learn more about the other transgenics. And low and behold, we have season one. Add in a ton of sexual tension- oh, and Logan gets seriously wounded in the first episode (shot in the back and left paralyzed in a wheelchair)- and you have a pretty fun set of episodes.
My only qualms with the first season are actually the other transgenics. Mostly just Zach, the self appointed leader of the escapees. Zach is a douche with a stick up his ass. He has never let himself not be a soldier; never lived while he’s been free. So he has little patience for Max. Especially for the “Max & Logan” show. There were only one or two episodes with other transgenics as the focus that didn’t annoy me- the best being about Ben (played delightfully by Jensen Ackles), who went a wee bit nuts and became a serial killer. Also, there are a ton of friend characters- co-workers at Max’s work- who are sort of a waste. The worst offender is Herbal Thought. I usually love Alimi Ballard but they spent so much effort making him Rastafarian and not understandable, that he’s a waste of time because nobody has any clue what he is saying. It’s a running joke, I know, but it’s annoying. Sketchy, the comedic fool, Normal, Max’s boss, and Original Cyndy, Max’s best friend and confidant, are the main side characters and the only ones that survive to season 2. No one even mentions those characters that once were there and then disappear.
Season 2 is where the show jumps the shark and hitches a ride on a flying elephant into space. Seriously.
I know you think I’m kidding but the only piece that really makes sense is that having destroyed Manticore (the agency that created the transgenics), the world now has to deal with a whole heckuva lot of transgenics on the loose. And a lot of them aren’t as pretty as Max and her pals. Where the show went batty has a lot to do with the virus storyline. Max has been infected with a genetically targeted retro-virus that is set to Logan’s DNA and will kill him if they touch. Sorry, you thought those two crazy kids were finally going to get together, right? Nope. They touch, he dies. And apparently there’s no one with any clue how to fix this. Secondly, now that Manticore is destroyed, we need a new bad guy. How about an unknown agency that sets out to track the escaped transgenics down? Wait… let’s have the head guy of that agency be a genetic freak of evolution. From a cult of breeders. Wait… wtf? Yeah, don’t ask me. That storyline makes absolutely no sense. And is never explained well. Every episode about it makes my head hurt. Oh, and just to end on a high-note, we’re going to set it up, in the final two episodes, that Max is the second coming or some such bullshit- and we need her to save all us humans in order to ensure our survival. Somehow.
See? Somewhere in space there is a flying elephant with Max and Logan riding it. Only without touching. Cuz otherwise he’d die.
I picked up the DVDs a few years ago because I didn’t watch the show when it aired for some reason, but I felt I should watch it now. Only, when I remember watching the DVDs, I recall stopping in the middle of the first or second episode of season 2. It wasn’t until just recently- when the completion of my NCIS marathon inspired me to watch Michael Weatherly’s other works- that I watched the entirety of the series.
I think the highlight of season 2 is Jensen Ackles returning as a series regular. But as a different character- his first season character’s, Ben, twin. Jensen has long been a favorite of mine to watch as he just has a lot of fun with characters. Alec, short for smart alec, is no different. He’s a schemer. Also, Kevin Durand as Joshua- the first transgenic, a half dog-half man with a big heart.
By now I’ve pretty much told you everything there is to know about this show. Watch it or don’t, assuming you haven’t already. If you have- what are your thoughts? I’m still conflicted after the end… did I like the series? I really don’t know. I certainly enjoyed parts of it! And yes, I am still on Weatherly kick… there’s just something about him. 😉