TV Review: Dark Angel (Everyone’s heard of Buffy but who knows Max?)

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James Cameron’s and Charles H. Eglee’s Dark Angel lasted a short two seasons back in 2000-2002, launching Jessica Alba’s Hollywood career.  Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this show had a similarly headstrong, wise-cracking, female superhero at the helm.

Set in the near future in rainy Seattle, Washington, Max was a bike courier by day and thief by night, struggling to get by in Post-Pulse America.  She burgles the wrong rich guy one evening who recognises her for what she is, an escaped genetically-engineered human from Manticore, a secret training facility that creates kids like Max and raises them to become soldiers and assassins.  With rich guy Logan’s (Michael Weatherly) guidance/nagging, Max grudgingly uses her physical and mental talents to do some good in the world.

Did I mention she did it grudgingly? Max is not a smiley, cheerful young woman.  Most of the time she’s got a scowl on her face but deep down she’s got heart, and despite the tough, ‘I don’t care about anyone but myself’ front she puts up, she’s still a normal young woman trying to put the trauma of being raised to be a weapon of destruction  behind her.  The torture and abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of those in Manticore still haunts her.

Alec & Max
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Max was among a dozen children that fled the prison-like institution ten years previously.  She tries to keep a low profile, fearful that her worst nightmare and personal bogey man Lydecker (played chillingly by John Savage) will find her.  She’s also trying to track down her “brothers” and “sisters”, the other kids who fled.  Logan agrees to help her in this quest in exchange for her help with his noble causes.  Logan is “Eyes Only”, an underground journalist and thorn in the side of criminals.

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Keeping Max company is her best friend Original Cindy (Valarie Rae Miller), Sketchy (Richard Gunn) an idiot who works alongside her and Normal, the grouchy but actually easy-going boss at the courier company Jam Pony.  Normal frequently shouts ‘bip bip’ at his employees in order to motivate them to do some work.  It rarely works!  Along the way we meet Zach (William Gregory Lee), her “brother” who is totally in love with her and Alec (played by hottie Jensen Ackles from Supernatural), another Manticore soldier.   We can’t forget about Joshua (Kevin Durrand), the dog-man, one of Manticore’s earliest experiments that left many of their people/creatures looking decidedly non-human.  They were confined to the basement in Manticore until Max releases them into the world in season 2 with devastating consequences. Max looks after Joshua and along with Alec, the three of them form somewhat of a weird, dysfunctional but tight-knit family.


Logan’s and Max’s relationship continues the will they/won’t they line for the duration of the two seasons.  A lot of fans wanted her to hook up with Alec but it never happened, despite a few lingering looks.  I loved the universe and characters of Dark Angel.  It’s one of my favourite supernatural/sci-fi tv shows of all time, right up there with Buffy, Roswell and The X- Files. The music was great, the characters awesome and the dialogue snappy.  For me, the most intriguing character was Lydecker.  Yes he was a bad guy, but in a creepy way he was also like the father figure of the group.

I made a short fan video celebrating Max’s awesomeness.

Check Dark Angel out on Amazon

About Emma

Buffy fan, avid reader, writer.
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29 Responses to TV Review: Dark Angel (Everyone’s heard of Buffy but who knows Max?)

  1. Christie Rich says:

    I loved Dark Angel. It was my favorite show while it aired, and Max was just awesome! Good call. I was one of the fans that wanted her with Logan. I was so bummed when it ended.

    • Emma says:

      I wanted her to be with Alec but I got why Logan and Max were suited, opposites attract and all that. Pity we never got to season 3.

  2. Shannon says:

    You’re after my own heart, Emma. I watched this show faithfully every week when it aired. I was devastated when it got cancelled. I own both seaasons on DVD, which I have viewed repeatedly. Had a HUGE crush on Alec. Max is one of my favorite heros of all time. I even got a season 2 Dark Angel poster. Yeah, can you tell I love this show? I am so stoked someone else loves it as much as I do!

    • Emma says:

      Hi Shannon, my Dark Angel dvds sit beside my Buffy & Roswell boxsets. Had a HUGE crush on Alec too; he’s just as tasty in Supernatural these days. You got the poster? Cool. Great to meet a fellow fan of Max.

  3. I haven’t watched Dark Angel in years…. I think my dad has the first few seasons on DVD. I shout catch up. I’ve pretty much watched anything Jensen Ackles has starred in. 🙂

  4. Alas, I tried to find this on Netflix, but my search returned no results. Well, it returned results, but not the one I wanted. LOL I remember Dark Angel being on, but I didn’t know what it was about.

  5. laurajc83 says:

    I LOVED Joshua!! He was so funny and cute! Whereas Zac looks like a Ken doll! 😀

  6. andrewmocete says:

    You know, I heard that Dark Angel had pretty good ratings for a Friday night show, but it was cancelled to make room for Firefly. And then that got cancelled even faster. Arg!

    It’s a shame about Dark Angel because, despite having an up and down second season, I thought it was set up for an awesome third season. There were a series of books that wrapped up the storyline, but I never read them. I’ll stick with the DVDs.

    • Emma says:

      Firefly was another excellent series that didn’t get much of a chance to shine. Lucky for us fans though they made the movie Serenity.
      Thanks for letting me know about the book series Andrew. I’m going to check them out and see what Max & co got up to.

  7. I like Firefly – then it was too soon gone! Will have to check out Dark Angel. thanks

  8. I loved Dark Angel when I watched it, but being scheduled on a friday before Tivo meant I didn’t get to see much of it. Of course that was back when friday nights meant going out with friends and trying to remember what happened the next morning. Ah yes, the Saturday morning comparing stories days (don’t mniss that). Ah well, now I have to go out find the Dark Angel series and see what I missed (I already have the Firefly series–loved it)..

    • Emma says:

      Those Friday nights sound like great fun; I know just what you mean 🙂
      Hope you love Dark Angel as much as you remember. It’s been awhile since I’ve watched my Firefly boxset, may have to bring it out soon and have a marathon.

  9. Debra Kristi says:

    Loved this show when it was on. I was so bummed when it was cancelled. Did it take forever to make that video? I admit to only watching the first episode of Firefly at first. I finally watched the whole thing later when they reran it and fell in love.

    • Emma says:

      I made it a couple of years ago so can’t even remember, probably a few hours.
      I think that happened with most people re Firefly. People didn’t seem to be aware of it when it was on.

  10. I don’t watch much television, but do love vampires! I see you love paranormal books/vampire books…I’ve got a few I’ll recommend if you’re interested.
    I’m always looking for recommendations too…so send me a list and we’ll exchange! Thanks!

    • Emma says:

      I can never get enough vampire/paranormal books 🙂 I would be happy to swap recommendations. I’ll Email you shortly. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. This is absolutely my favourite sci-fi/action tv show. I’ve probably watched every episode more than 3 or 4 times. I was really sad when it got cancelled. They should have finished it off better than that.

    • Emma says:

      Hi Stephanie, the third season was continued in a book series as far as I know. Have a look online and you might find them. It was a great show for the short time it lasted.

  12. kittyb78 says:

    Max! I adored Dark Angel. I have both seasons on DVD. Mt Cameron is quite a talented man if you look at his list of accomplishments. His spin on Native Americans in Avatar was definitely something that is rarely done.

    It was Max’s jaded outlook on life that made me really connect to her. In her place pretty much anyone would have become jaded like that.

  13. Nice summary of the show. I’m a huge fan, watch the series all the way through once or twice a year! For any fans that are looking to add it to thier collection, order it from The European version is in 16×9 widescreen, which looks better on modern TVs and lets you see more of the show. It seems there were a couple of Fox stations that actually were digital widescreen back when the show came out and broadcast it in that format.
    Oh, even with shipping overseas, the UK version ends up costing the same.

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