Itâ€™s 7.30am Sunday morning and Iâ€™m snuggling down amid the duvets with my Dark Angel DVD box set. Why so early? Donâ€™t know. Canâ€™t sleep. Anyway, not often that I get to watch these babies anymore. Usually because I can never decide which ep to go with, so I end up watching none at all. This morning is different. I pour cold water into my mug of Nescafe (doh!) and figure where better to kick of the first TBW Editorial than with Dark Angelâ€™s pilot episode?
Now, let me first tell you Iâ€™m feeling slightly zombie-like and my brain has not quite realised that this whole being awake business is real, and not some kind of realistic feeling dream, so I will no doubt babble aimlessly (more so than usual). In fact, if you manage to get through a page of my writing, youâ€™ll find yourself reaching the bottom and asking yourself â€œwhat the hell was that all about?â€. But then, anyone whoâ€™s ever read one of my fanficâ€™s will have experienced that feeling already, so bear with me and letâ€™s just get on with it.
From the moment those bare feet hit the snow running, I recall the magnetism I felt when I watched DARK ANGEL for the first time. The pilot takes me back to what DARK ANGEL is about – what made this show rise above all the general hodge-podge choking up TV land. Kids escaping a military facilityâ€¦ Genetically engineered and on the run from a covert black ops organisationâ€¦ And those Manticore flashbacks were an intriguing lure if nothing else.
Admittedly, Jessica Albaâ€™s awkward, inexperienced voiceovers as she tried to talk us through Americaâ€™s sci-fi post-Pulse history reminded me a little of someone reading for a class speech test, and between that and my total inability to decipher anything the gay African-American chick was saying, I nearly gave up on the show altogether. But the deep dark mysterious Manticore and the concept of transgenics striving to live beneath the radar in post-Pulse America was too tempting, and what the show initially lacked in Albaâ€™s acting credibility, it made up for with great ass-kicking action and a fantastically original post-apocalyptic storyline.
Watching the pilot for the umpteenth time, I grudgingly admit some of those one-liners need work and at times continue to do so throughout the show, but Max pulls out a few goodies to store away in the head for future use. (â€œI don’t know how to break this to you, Normal. We’re all looking for another job.â€ How Iâ€™ve longed to use that one in the workplace from time to time.)
I can forgive some of the more worse-for-wear one-liners, however there is one particular moment that really puts a damper on the Pilotâ€™s credibility for me. You know the scene where Max poses as Sketchyâ€™s girlfriend Natalie to confront his bit-on-the-side, Lydia? Max dangling a girl twice her size off a third floor balcony by her ankle I can handle. Itâ€™s Lydia herself who grates my nerves like the scraping of cheesy acrylic nails down a chalkboard.
â€œYou’re a very understanding person. You’re also a fool.â€
Yeek. It never fails to make me cringe.
Asides from that, I love how Manticore is introduced in a series of flashbacks. I also like how Max gives Theoâ€™s wife a warmly sympathetic hug when she find out he has died, and then after she stands and walks away her expression hardens into that stoic mask we learn to know so well. Despite how â€™humanâ€™ Max may appear to be, sheâ€™s a soldier underneath it all – a military weapon who has been finely honed to deny emotion. You have to wonder, which was the mask?
I havenâ€™t yet touched upon two other key figures of Dark Angel which the Pilot makes a fantastic job of introducing: Lydecker and Eyes Only. But Iâ€™ve run out of time and Iâ€™ve probably also run out of readers.
Letâ€™s just wrap this up by saying if you haven’t watched the pilot recently but you have the box set handy, I urge you to watch it again. If it doesn’t inspire you to fall in love with the show all over, it’ll at least teach you how to deal with the nastier forms of human life .
Serve them coffee. 😉
Submit a Column?
Fan Columns are articles written by any Dark Angel fan on any characteristic of the show, the fandom, or the cast. They are the opinion of the writer, and an opportunity for fans to share their thoughts on any feature relating to Dark Angel that love, hate, feel inspired by, etc.
If you’d like to write a fan column for TBW, please send it in to admin @ thebrokenworld.org with the subjectline of “Fan Column Submission”.
It is important to ensure your article is checked for correct spelling and grammar.