tek's rating: ½

Dark Angel, on FOX
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This aired in 2000-2002. Okay, so there was this secret government project called Manticore, which had various experiments going on, mainly involving genetically engineered people called transgenics- designed as potential supersoldiers and assassins, with various enhanced abilities like strength and speed, etc. There were several different series of transgenics, though the show mainly focuses on those referred to as X5's. Part of their engineering included animal DNA, though with most of them you couldn't tell by looking. But there were also "nomalies," animal/human hybrids which I guess were the results of Manticore experiments gone awry, and which were like bogeymen to the X5s when they were kids. (Though some hybrids may not have been mistakes, but were made intentionally for various purposes.) All the transgenics were basically created, raised, trained, and more or less programmed by Manticore, where they were essentially government property, not allowed to have anything like real lives. But in 2009, twelve young X5s, led by a boy named Zack, escaped from Manticore, but they got separated.

Shortly thereafter, terrorists detonated an electromagnetic pulse, which took out most of the United States' technology, and we became like a third world country or something. So this sets up the dystopian future in which the series is set, in the year 2019, though I don't quite understand why things are so bad, because at this point there seems to be a fair amount of technology in use. Obviously the effects of the EMP weren't lasting, but... whatever. I'll suspend disbelief. And anyway, there is a depression going on...

Ten years after the X5s escaped, one of them, Max Guevara (Jessica Alba), is a bike messenger by day (she works for a courier service called Jam Pony) and thief by night. One night, she's robbing the home of this rich guy named Logan Cale (a journalist with a family fortune), who turns out to be this crusader against corruption known as "Eyes Only," who frequently pirates TV signals to broadcast a "Streaming Freedom Video" about... you know, corruption and stuff. Anyway, when he realizes what she is... because he hears about all sorts of things like the Manticore project... he wants her to help him in his crusade. She doesn't want anything to do with it at first. She just wants to stay under the radar of the people (such as Col. Donald Lydecker) who would like to find and recapture her and the other escapees. But Logan promises to help Max find information about the other escapees, and other stuff happens that gets her to agree to help him. And in the pilot, Logan loses the use of his legs. I should also mention that there's a guy who works for Logan called Bling. And Logan has various sources of information and help, like a police detective named Matt Sung, a mute quadriplegic genius named Sebastian, Dr. Sam Carr, Dr. Beverly Shankar, etc...

Max also has some friends (who don't know her secret), mainly coworkers at Jam Pony, including Original Cindy, Sketchy, and Herbal Thought. Their boss is Reagan "Normal" Ronald, who they all hate. Oh, and I guess Original Cindy is one of Max's roommates (another one is a woman named Kendra). I should mention that a ways into the first season, Original Cindy learns the truth about Max. And after awhile Zack shows up, and he wants Max to go on the run with him, but she'd rather stay in Seattle, with her job, her friends, and Logan. Zack would show up again from time to time, as would other X5s- some as allies, some as enemies.

There was someone who worked at Manticore named Dr. Elizabeth Renfro (Nana Visitor), who turned out to have things going on that Lydecker didn't know about, and after awhile she tried to have him killed. So he went on the run, and would occasionally help out Max and Logan. And eventually Logan got to walk again. Sometimes. And in the second season, a bunch of transgenics (and nomalies) escaped from Manticore, including a nomaly with doglike features, named Joshua. He helped Max... and she wanted to help him find the person he calls "Father," a man named Sandeman, who worked at Manticore. And um, there was another X5, who Max called Alec (as in "smart aleck"; played by Jensen Ackles), who mainly just looks out for his own interests, though he'd occasionally help Max out with some missions for Logan, or whatever. He also got a job at Jam Pony.

And uh, there'll be new enemies for Max and Logan (and all the escapees from Manticore). The chief enemy in season 2 is someone named Ames White, who was apparently connected to Manticore, though his secrets and agenda go way above and beyond that. He's also a federal agent of some kind, with like the FBI or something along those lines, I dunno. But I'm pretty sure most of the people who work under him in that capacity are unaware that he's also a member of some secret breeding cult that goes back thousands of years.... And it seems as if there was a connection between the cult and Manticore, though I don't think it was very strong.

Another problem Max and Logan have to deal with is a viral agent Manticore infected Logan with that will kill him if he and Max ever touch. Which is especially bothersome since their relationship was finally starting to move beyond friendship. There's also a militant group called S1W, which works against government corruption (so of course the government considers them terrorists). They sometimes have worked with Logan, mainly through one of their members, Asha Barlowe. She apparently doesn't know that Logan is Eyes Only; like most of his contacts, she believes Logan just knows Eyes Only.

Anyway, while Ames and his people were trying to round up escaped transgenics to study or kill, a kind of hysteria began to grow among the general public, about escaped transgenics. At first it was mainly confined to the tabloids, but more and more people can to believe they were real. Including Sketchy, who wanted to write about mutants for the tabloids, and Normal, who was one of countless people that organized groups that claimed to be like neighborhood watch groups but could actually be closer to mobs... ah yes, prejudice ran rampant in Seattle, and by the end of the season, everything came to a head.

Well, it ended somewhat hopefully, but... not much actually changed by the end of season 2, except that everyone knew transgenics were real, and they decided to stop running and hiding and make a stand. And it would've been pretty cool to see what happens next... but the series ended, so... whatever. I dunno. But it was a fairly cool show, anyway.

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