Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Dark Angel

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Dark Angel

Article excerpt

Dark Angel. Tuesday nights on Fox-TV.

It's easy for us to assume that no matter what comes our way, America will prevail politically and economically. Fox-TV's Tuesday night drama Dark Angel, which recently won a People's Choice award for favorite television dramatic series, confronts that assumption by asking "what if we don't?" Behind this rather typical sci-fi action thriller is a siren warning us where Gen-X thinks the world is headed in the new millennium. Unfortunately, the only hope the show gives is the old-fashioned triumph of the American individual.

Produced by filmmaker James Cameron (Titanic), Dark Angel thrusts viewers into a rundown, Bladerunner-like Seattle in the year 2019 where its rogue-heroine, genetically engineered Max (Jessica Alba), tries to remain undetected as she hides from malevolent government operatives who raised and trained her to be a superhuman fighting machine. Her goals in life are to not get caught or killed by these men; score enough of the amino acid called tryptophan to satisfy a genetic malfunction; and find the other test tube soldiers who escaped with her 10 years before.

Along the way, Max finds a friend in underground journalist Logan Cale (Michael Weatherly), a wealthy wheel-chaired idealist who anonymously broadcasts his investigative findings on a streaming video show named "Eyes Only" (only his eyes are shown). Logan is a cynical savior figure on the show, committed to bringing truth to a world where a free press is no longer functioning. He also occasionally gives Max information about the "siblings" for whom she's looking.

The world presented in Dark Angel is violent, filthy, urban, and young. Seattle looks like our worst ghetto nightmare, with open-air buildings used as squatter apartments, graffiti on the walls, homeless people camped out everywhere, and swarms of 20-somethings hanging around with nothing to do. The narrated show opening tells us that terrorists had set off an electromagnetic pulse that fried all computer systems and left the United States "a Third World country overnight." The environment appears ruined, the infrastructure has crumbled, and street crime is the rule. In fact, Max is a postmodern Robin Hood, stealing from the rich so she can help her friends, all of whom are poor. …

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