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


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?