geekery

SF Obscure: from the files of missed the mark…DARK ANGEL

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DARK ANGEL is one of those shows that’s not really obscure, yet doesn’t seem to get as much mention as you would think given that’s it spawned the Jessica Alba mega career and the rest of the cast didn’t do to poorly. It doesn’t make those internet ‘Best SF series lists’ but generally manages to stay off of the “Worst list”. I put it in the category of ‘missing the mark’: never quite as good as it could have been and maybe should have been.

DARK ANGEL aired for two seasons, from 2000-2002. Two seasons. For those who don’t know, it’s briefly about a genetically altered woman named Max, part of a clandestine government program(MANTICORE) to create super soldiers. In a near feature, dystopian cyberpunk style Seattle, Max and some of her counterparts escape MANTICORE to live on the outside. There is another plot line about a US on the decline, and an oppressive Orwellian government. Her counterpart/love interest Logan Cale, runs an illegal free news network by the name of EYES ONLY. Max gets work as a bike messenger and with Eyes Only becomes sort of a superhero/superspy against an oppressive government.

At the beginning, Dark Angel looked to be a daring, provocative show. It boldly took on gender issues, had a out, proud lesbian character Original Cindy (VALARIE RAE MILLER) with an actual storyline,  and lots of people of color in a truly diverse future Seattle (2019). It boldly took on issues such as freedom of speech; class, poverty, gender, gay rights etc. with a underlining SF theme of government conspiracy, genetic engineering, and all that neat stuff.

And yet…something was missing. I remember being engaged in Season one, and then Season two rolled around and my interest dropped off. A whole slew of new characters were suddenly introduced; storylines  at the end of the first season were abandoned; even the main villains changed. (something about a group of genetically selected people in history with possible alien origins sort of thing that’s been done). The dystopian Americana  setting would be in one episode; gone in the next, and rarely discussed. Original Cindy, a great character, was given little to do. It’s as if the writers realized they had the potential for an edgy, different, varied cast-lost their nerve- and just went back to same on pretty people-love triangles-kinda SF stuff.  Every show doesn’t have to have a continuing story arc, but this show seemed to lose its purpose.

It turned out well enough for the cast. Jessica Alba(MAX) became a Hollywood Celeb. Jensen Ackles (ALEC) is forever Dean Winchester.  Alimi Ballard (HERBAL THOUGHT), went on to do Numb3rs( a great show) and Michael Weatherly(LOGAN CALE) has a nice gig with NCIS.

What say you blog readers? Any thoughts on DARK ANGEL?

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28 thoughts on “SF Obscure: from the files of missed the mark…DARK ANGEL

  1. I remember a little about this series, but was it really only two seasons? It’s one of those shows I remember being around for years, but I guess not 😀

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  2. I jumped on the Dark Angel fan wagon. This series is a part of my video collection. I did love it. It has been a while since I watched it though. I will have to fix that and see the “I saw them whens” for myself. I hadn’t realized. Thank you for the update. 😉 *off to watch Dark Angel again.”

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    • Have fun watching!It’s always weird when you realize ‘where you saw that face before’. I remember watching Criminal Minds forever until it finally dawned on me that was the guy from ‘Dharma & Greg” a show I had completely forgotten existed.

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  3. I did like this series but I don’t think it really had a seasonal story arc…more like ‘slice of life ‘ in dystopia…There were conflicts and bad guys but as far as I remember no goal to get rid of them or anything.

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  4. I do remember hearing about it, but totally missed this one. What I gravely refer to as the dark years when I had only two TV stations: a local ABC and a local PBS. We got them snowily through a set top antenna. LOL. First season sounds good enough to keep an eye out for. Maybe just pretend season two didn’t happen. Ha!

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  5. Liked the first season, never finished the second even after buying the boxed set. It’s like everyone involved lost interest in doing an intelligent show- kinda like Lost Girl.

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  6. This was one of my faves back in the day and I mourned its devolvement and loss of focus. Maybe we can start a revival/renewal? Alba is as gorgeous as ever 🙂

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    • I heard a rumor that she was approached about doing a big screen take, but by that time had no interest. Then again, the internet is nothing but one big rumor mill.:)

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  7. I also enjoyed the responsible science fiction as well as the intriguing direction of new technology. The second season had a lot of potential for exploring minorities as well, but the writers instead focused on making Jessica Alba’s character a mother figure. Not smart for ratings, not realistic for her character, and just plain obnoxious to watch. I would have watched a third season, but only in hopes that it was going somewhere is interesting as the first season.

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    • Thanks for commenting. I probably would have given a third season a go too..despite my deep reservations about season two.

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