March 16th 2007 Dark Angel

I watched the series premiere of Dark Angel last night. Turns out I still had a recording of it on an old videotape. Actually, after going through my old videotapes—which probably haven’t been viewed since I got a DVD player many moons ago—I found that my videotape storage box is a real treasure trove of old media. I found old recordings of Simpsons episodes, SNL episodes (back when it was still good), The Right Stuff… Anyway, one videotape I found was a series of Dark Angel episodes, and one of them happened to be the series premiere, which I think was aired sometime in 2000.

I recalled that, back in the heyday of my high school freshman days, I was a huge fan of Dark Angel. Maybe that was partly due to the influence of Jessica Alba, but there was more to it than that: Back then I was a huge fan of science fiction, especially cyberpunk, and Dark Angel was the best (perhaps only) near-future science fiction show on network television (I didn’t have cable back then—nor do I now, for that matter).

While it was fun to watch the old episodes of Dark Angel, I was inclined to ask myself why I liked it so much back then. Truth be told, it’s no surprise Fox canceled the show. While an interesting concept, the pilot—and most of the other episodes—were not terribly well written. The appeal of Jessica Alba was mostly responsible for dragging the show out to two seasons.

But I still see some appeal in the show. The concept is interesting: People trying to eke out a living in a post-apocalyptic third-world America, trying to find meaning in a possibly meaningless existence—told from the point of view of an ass-kicking, comic book-style heroine. Had it been written better, I think there are a lot of interesting social and psychological issues that could have been tackled in the show in a most interesting manner—along with its share of action sequences and fast motorcycles.

It’s certainly an interesting premise for a show. It’s only a shame it didn’t last more than two seasons—and didn’t attract higher-quality writers. That’s what you get when Fox picks up your show, I guess. Let’s just hope that 24 doesn’t ever end up the same way.