May 10, 2001
Dark Angel - I Just Don't Get It
by stacy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Even though I'm certain the WB's similarly named series "Angel" is vastly superior, on Tuesday nights at 8:00 CST, I watch "Dark Angel" over on The Little Network that Thought It Could, otherwise known as Fox. For the 2% of folks who read this site and are not fanboys who spend large amounts of time making love to their right hands with Jessica Alba's Maxim pictures clutched in the left hand, I will explain the premise of this show, which you can also learn by watching the intro that is shown every single week.
It's pretty simple. The year is approximately 2000. The government is sponsoring a shady research facility known as Manticore that does genetic experiments on humans to try and produce super soldiers with superior intellectual and physical skills. After many trials, the project produces a number of specimens called the X5's (presumably X's 1-4 did not work out so well) that do have excellent intelligence and physical abilities. Ten years later, a bunch of these super children escape. The government would have promptly caught them and brought them back except some unnamed terrorist organization sets off a nuclear explosion somewhere in the US which somehow wreaks havoc on all technology everywhere. The escaped X5's find ways to blend in and assume normal lives, all the while keeping an eye out for each other and the Manticore goons who are still looking for them. The series is set when the X5's are all about 20 years old and centers on one named Max.
Alright, that's a pretty good setup. But the show only does stupid things with it that don't pique the viewers' interest at all. Lately they've thrown in Major Kira as the boss of guy we previously thought was the head Manticore goon, and she's even more evil than he is. We don't know anything about the terrorists who started the mess the United States is in, or even where this bomb went off. The intro makes it look like it's out in the Pacific somewhere, but at other times it looks like it's in the Great Lakes region. The federal government is nonexistent except for the military stuff, the police are all Mafia thugs, and the few do-gooders in the series are all, well, sorta dumb.
The thing that gets the big PFFT! from me though is the last episode. One thing the series is big on is continuity and that's cool. Some time ago, Max finds one of the other X5's and tries to help her when she's very ill, but she can't do enough for her so she goes back to Manticore where they promise they can save her life. This week she shows up, all brainwashed back into her Loyal Soldier persona, with the duty of rounding up yet another X5 and her husband and son. But they've got all these X5's who have such great physical abilities, yet they use them as coordinators and commanders. Why? Why not use them as the muscle. Everytime an X5 is in charge, all the normal soldiers under their command end up dead cause they just can't handle fighting an X5. Stupid move on the part of the Manticore people. No, stupid move on the part of the writers of the show. If you're going to spend all this time and money creating superior soldiers, use them as soldiers already.
This show needs some direction. I'm starting to lose patience with it, and there's very little of the fun aspect that makes other shows that need direction more tolerable. The X-Files was a lot better back in the days when they could laugh at themselves from time to time, and I don't think the loss of David Duchovny has anything to do with it. They've turned Scully into a dour, overprotective old maid with no sense of fun. Bleh. Maybe the entire Fox lineup could use some new and improved writers. I bet I could do a better job than they do.
Published: May 10, 2001