It took me just two months to watch the whole first season of Dark Angel since I got it for Christmas. I had read about the show and thought it sounded interesting. When I saw it on sale for $18.88 (or something like that) I thought picking it up was a no-brainer. I have written about it before, after I had seen just the first episode. Since then I have been slowly but surely working my way through all 21 first season episodes. Dark Angel is the story of Max (Jessica Alba), a genetically engineered soldier who escapes from her training institution, Manticore, as a child. She was bred to be a soldier and has a bar code on the back of her neck. Since her escape she tries to pass as a normal person. She lives her life as a messenger service delivery person in post-pulse Seattle, the shell of a city after some sort of electromagnetic pulse wipes out much of the technology and culture. It’s like the great depression but set in the not-too-distant future. The city is consistently dirty with the buildings mostly looking like the remnants of a war zone. Corruption is rampant and movement is severely restricted. In her quest to find the other eleven “brothers and sisters” who escaped with Max she takes to a life of crime and is caught in the act by Logan Cale (Michael Weatherly) who, seeing something he likes in this genetically enhanced woman, enlists her to help him in his one-man crusade against corruption. If she helps him, he tells her, he’ll use his considerable connections and computer savvy to help her find her siblings. She agrees and the rest of the season is spent bringing Max closer to her sibs and also closer to Cale.
No one is going to suggest that Jessica Alba was robbed of an Emmy Award for her work in Season One of Dark Angel. The writers aren’t going to get cited either for great dialogue – they sometimes work the futuristic slang a little too much. But overall, the episodes are at least entertaining and at times riveting as Max uses her skills and attitude to single-handedly get herself out of a number of scrapes. Her relationship with Cale has multiple layers and the writers handle them just about right most of the time. The futuristic hip-hop soundtrack is interesting and used to good effect. The supporting characters do a fine job of adding just the right amount of color even though some of them (Kendra, for example) just sort of disappear as the season goes on. As with many series, (Alias leaps to mind) things crank up nicely as the end of the season draws near and the season ends in a way that I found surprising and disturbing. It made me start to think about buying Season Two, which means that, despite my reservations, I enjoyed it enough to spend more money on it.