The year 2020: the USA has become a Third World country following
an electromagnetic pulse unleashed by terrorists in 2009.
This is the world of Max Guevera, a genetically enhanced super-soldier
who gained her freedom thanks to the Pulse. On the run from
her creators and constantly searching for her super-siblings,
Max joins forces with an idealistic cyber-journalist...
Cameron and Charles Eglee's Dark Angel contributes
to the developing television trend for kick-ass fantasy females,
a sub-genre which also includes Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
and Alias. As with Alias (another series
that is overdue for a DVD and VHS release) the star of the
show, in this case Jessica Alba, is clearly involved in the
thick of much of the stunt work, which includes motorcycling,
jumping, gymnastics and martial arts. And she's a fine actress
Her co-star, Michael Weatherly (who is now engaged to Alba,
the lucky dog) is very much a Michael Beihn type. I can easily
imagine the Cameron-movie stalwart Beihn in the role of Logan
Cale, though this is not a criticism of Weatherly's splendid
world that Max and Logan inhabit has been cleverly conceived
by Cameron and Eglee. By setting the series in a future America
affected by the Pulse, which destroyed most of the country's
electronic data and wealth, they are able to comfortably combine
a retro look with a few hi-tech embellishments - not least
of which is the presence of genetically modified humans.
Another pleasing aspect of this show is the way in which it
develops. What appears to be the status quo for a number of
episodes may not necessarily remain so. For example, halfway
through the season, in the episode Rising, Max is forced
to confide in her friend and co-worker Original Cindy (Valarie
Rae Miller) about her genetic secret, which significantly
alters the dynamic between the two characters. Then there's
the introduction of Max's sibling Zack (William Gregory Lee),
Logan's ongoing struggle to regain his mobility following
a crippling injury, and Max's ever-changing relationship with
her creator and arch nemesis, Lydecker (John Savage).
If this all sounds a bit grim, then don't worry - Dark
Angel also has a rich vein of humour running through it.
Max herself is a wise-cracker, a la Buffy, and further
humour is generated by her colleagues at the delivery company
Jam Pony, including the sassy Original Cindy, the nerdy Sketchy
(Richard Gunn), hippy Herbal (Alimi Ballard) and their stick-in-the-mud
boss, "Normal" (J.C. MacKenzie). Max is frequently thrown
into comical situations, such as when she struggles to keep
a borrowed dress in perfect condition while on a mission in
Art Attack or when her feline DNA increases her sex
drive during Heat and MEOW. In the latter, she
even takes a shine to "Normal" before she comes to her senses!
extras on the final disc comprise "Q&A" sessions with producers/creators
Cameron and Eglee, and actors Alba, Weatherly and Savage.
In fact, they're more like "A" sessions, since we only get
to hear the answers, not the questions. John Savage's segments
are so brief that I had to play them twice before I could
even get the gist of what he was muttering about. And that's
it for extras, apart from a trailer for the
the price tag is still extremely reasonable for this collection
of 21 consistently high-quality episodes.
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