Many people would say that James Cameron’s Dark Angel was ahead of its time. Created in 2000 but set in 2021, within the post-apocalyptic landscape of Seattle, Dark Angel followed the story of a genetically engineered super-soldier named Max (Jessica Alba), who escaped the covert military facility ‘Manticore’ as a kid.
In its day, Dark Angel had a large cult following, but despite this, it was cancelled in 2002 at the conclusion of its second season. The reason for the show’s cancellation was due to several factors. The drastic change in theme between S1 and S2 caused a rift amid fans, with many put off by the ‘mutant of the week’ feel to S2’s storylines. On the flipside, the introduction of new reoccuring characters such as Alec (Jensen Ackles) caused many fans to favour S2 over S1. Many felt his character and that of another transgenic regular, Joshua (Kevin Durand) brought more depth to the series.
However the icing on the cake of Dark Angel’s demise happened when Fox moved it to a Friday night time slot (otherwise known as the death slot). This, unsurprisingly, caused a significant drop in ratings. And the ratings drop gave Fox the perfect excuse to cancel the show in order to make way for Joss Whedon’s Firefly.
Dark Angel overview:
Throughout season one, the show focused on Max’s quest to track down those of her unit who escaped with her, back in 2009. With the help of a cyber-journalist named Logan Cale (aka Eyes Only) she is able to come into contact with some of her unit (who she regards as her siblings) though she learns not all of them have settled into life beyond Manticore’s training yard.
Following the events of season one, season two takes an entirely new direction. Manticore has been destroyed, but Max is now on the run from a new enemy. Ames White (Martin Cummins), an NSA agent given the task of tracking down and destroying all surviving transgenics.
With so many transgenics now free from Manticore and on the loose, Max’s search for her fellow unit members is promptly dropped. Max now has her hands full trying to look out for the hundreds of transgenics who escaped Manticore’s burning remains, and then of course… There’s the Familiars.
Five thousand years of selective breeding has resulted in this race of superhumans. They too see the transgenics as a threat that must be extinguished – so that they can be the ones to inherit the Earth.
Dark Angel Synopsis:
In 2009 twelve genetically engineered children escape from a covert military base called ‘Manticore’. Forced to split up from each other, each make their own way into a world which remains ignorant to their existance.
When terrorists attack the United States using an electromagnetic pulse, all electrical systems are fried, plunging America into a technological apocolypse which sees riots and chaos tear the country apart -allowing the Manticore refugees to meld into the anonomity the Pulse has created.
Ten years later, we meet one of these children, now a woman trying to make her way in a broken world. Max is a Seattle bike messenger by day, cat burgler by night and all the time laying low from the men who track her – a Manticore black ops team lead by her former ‘father figure’, Colonel Lydecker.
Max meets Logan Cale; an underground cyber-jounalist by the screen-name of “Eyes Only” who’s own cause is to expose the crooks in a country neglected by its corrupt government. Logan runs cable hacks urging the regular people of Seattle to fight the power, seek the truth and bring criminals to justice. With a large database of contacts at his disposal, Logan has access to information on Max’s fellow escapees and uses it to convince Max to turn her cat burglering skills to a better cause; saving Seattle from corruption. Or, as Max fondly prefers to put it, “signing up for the Logan Cale brigade for the defense of widows, small children, and lost animals.”
But Max isn’t the only one hunting for the Manticore escapees. And every step which brings her closer to her siblings, in turn brings her enemies closer to herself.
Dark Angel Episodes
The following link contains information on each episode of Dark Angel, including episode transcripts.