‘Dark Angel’ is one of the best science fiction TV shows of all time, in my opinion. It only lasted two seasons from 2000–2002 before FOX enacted one of its infamous premature cancellations, though both seasons are excellent. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be season one.
Dark Angel is a post-apocalyptic show. However, the apocalypse is less extreme than in many examples of the subgenre. A nuclear EMP air-burst has fried all electronics east of the Rockies, which causes a countrywide infrastructure and financial crisis. The specific setting is the Seattle area, and the show takes full advantage of Pacific Northwest beauty and grandeur.
The main character is Max Guevera, played by Jessica Alba. Max is born as a government lab experiment in Project Manticore. She is given the codename 452 by her handlers at Manticore, and a bar code is tattooed to the back of her neck. She is considered to be a transgenic, a genetically engineered super soldier. Max has enhanced strength, speed, hearing and vision.
The show has a strong theme of overcoming obstacles despite disabilities or societal discrimination. Logan Cale–AKA “Eyes Only”–is paralyzed by gunfire in the pilot episode. He is confined to a wheelchair, and faces many subsequent challenges as a disabled person trying to reduce crime and corruption. Max suffers from the stigma of being a government lab experiment, and has trouble forming close relationships because of the secrets she must hide.
The acting in the show is excellent. I’ve seen plenty of Jessica Alba film roles, including her stint as the Invisible Woman in the ‘Fantastic Four’ movies, and ‘Dark Angel’ contains her best sci-fi acting performances. Other noteworthy acting performances include Michael Weatherly as Logan, Valarie Rae Miller as “Original Cindy,” J.C. MacKenzie as “Normal,” Kevin Durand as the dog-like transgenic Joshua, Jensen Ackles as Alec, John Savage as Donald Lydecker and Nana Visitor as Dr. Elizabeth Renfro.
Both seasons of ‘Dark Angel’ are available as a 12-disc DVD package.