Dark Angel

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Darkangellogo.jpg

2000-2002

Premise:
In the near future, the United States has been rocked by a terrorist attack in the form of electromagnetic pulses. The result is a complete meltdown of all technology which turns the country into a chaotic third-world area. Taking advantage of this chaos are the X-5s, a group of genetically engineered children brought up under the rigid tutelage of Manticore, a government genetics corporation. Designed to be the perfect soldiers from birth, the X-5s were raised as adult killers in a militaristic compound.

However, during the terrorist attacks, most of the X-5s escaped from Manticore and split up all over the country. They are now on the run from Manticore agents (Season 1) and the mysterious Conclave (Season 2). They have superior strength, intelligence, and senses and must use all of these to remain safe and hidden.

Characters:

MAX GUEVARRA: Masquerading as a normal young woman working in a messenger service in Seattle, Max has managed to establish more roots and relationships than her fellow sibling X-5s. Unfortunately, these friendships and loves often make her more vulnerable and apt to risk her life.

With a sharp cynical nature and an often biting tongue, Max has a tough exterior, but she is nonetheless fiercely loyal to her friends and family. She is very sensitive about her genetically enhanced status and constantly fights to prove to herself and others that she is not the ruthless killer Manticore intended her to be. One of the results of this is that she will never use a gun, instead preferring to use her superhuman skills in physical combat.

Max often remembers her childhood, and the painful memories of merciless violence and control shape her grudgingly moral actions now.



LOGAN CALE / EYES ONLY:
Logan Cale is an underground freedom fighter, exposing the lies and crimes of the last vestiges of government still hanging on. He is extraordinarily intelligent and committed to the moral high ground, but sometimes he can be a bit righteous. He often butts heads with Max over some of her more blunt approaches to problems, but they usually see eye to eye in the end.

In the beginning of the series, Logan loses his ability to walk and spends much of the series dealing with the associated physical and social handicaps. Logan is extremely computer savvy and is heir to a family fortune, which make him a formidable activist and cyber-journalist.



ORIGINAL CINDY:
Original Cindy is Max's no-nonsense co-worker (and later roomate). At first oblivious to Max's abilities and upbringing, Cindy eventually becomes a trusted friend in whom Max confides almost everything. Original Cindy is known for talking about herself in the third person and speaking her mind.



SKETCHY:
Another co-worker of Max's, Sketchy is a scatter-brained addition to Jam Pony who often finds himself in situations in which he's less than able to help himself. Although he's not got the best problem-solving skills, his heart is in the right place, and he is loyal to Max and Original Cindy.



NORMAL:
As the boss of Jam Pony, Normal rides Max and his other employees very hard, insisting on constant punctuality and showing very little interest in their personal lives. Although he has an outspoken prejudice to transgenics, his feelings change as he is gradually exposed to the truth surrounding Max and her siblings.



LYDECKER:
Lydecker was the Manticore agent responsible for the upbringing of Max and her siblings. During Max's flashbacks, Lydecker is often seen grilling the children and training them using extreme and sometimes tortuous methods. After the Manticore children escaped, Lydecker spent the next few years tracking them down and returning them to Manticore. After the Manticore director betrays him, Lydecker becomes an ally of Max and Logan and conspires to bring down the organisation he once championed.



ALEC MCDOWELL:
Alec is a clone of one of Max's siblings, but was only introduced to her when she was returned to Manticore. At this time, he was presented as her breeding partner, an order in which she refused to indulge. Alec eventually escapes from Manticore and integrates into society, sometimes using questionable and sometimes illegal means. He works at Jam Pony with Max, and often allies himself albeit grudgingly, with Max and Logan.



JOSHUA:
Joshua is the first Manticore transgenic, a result of splicing a human embryo with canine DNA. Although he is strong even by transgenic standards, Joshua is extremely innocent of the ways of the world and looks to Max for guidance. Because he actually looks quite different from a normal human, Joshua spends most of his time hiding from the world and wants nothing more than to be normal and loved.



AMES WHITE:On the surface, White is a government agent charged with tracking down the Manticore escapees to protect the secret of the project. White is also a member of a mysterious and ancient breeding cult, 'The Conclave', that have used selective breeding to create superhumans, equivalent in abilities to Manticore transgenics.


Why It's Cool:
This is where Jessica Alba got her start, and is it ever a good-looking start. Where else can a young gal dress up in leather, ride a motorcycle, kick everyone's ass in a cult sf show, and yet still start a career as teenybopper movie actress? Plus, I think she's a perfect actress for this role... good eye candy, but also still a good enough actress to pull off the occasional bouts of confusion, sensitivity, anger, and frustration that this character demanded.

The tension between Max and Logan is great. Maybe something to do with their real life romance at the time? Too bad the writers never got to seal this deal....

The militaristic upbringing theme is common enough in sci-fi, but in Dark Angel the baddies are real bad, and the transgenics are dangerously hip, and the actors seem to have fun with it all. This makes Dark Angel just plain fun to watch.

Why It's Not So Cool:
It got cancelled far too abruptly, and the series left a lot of threads dangling when it ended.

Sometimes Dark Angel is just a bit too cool for its own good. The slang and street attitudes are probably not going to age well, and a couple of the characters are annoying at times (Herbal, Original Cindy).