Dark Angel is the first television project
involving accomplished science fiction film director James Cameron (Aliens,
Terminator, The Abyss) - it's also the single most anticipated SF
event on television this year (with the possible exception of Andromeda).
The year is 2009. A terrorist group has
detonated a nuclear warhead high in the atmosphere above the United States - the
resulting electromagnetic pulse causes catastrophic disruptions of critical
computer systems. The US is plunged into chaos; much of the lost data can
never be recovered. The country is not so much destroyed as it is knocked
down a peg - America is no longer the superpower it once was.
Meanwhile, a group of children escape from a
secret military base hidden in the Rocky Mountains. Raised in an Orwellian
boot camp, these children have been genetically engineered to be stronger,
faster, smarter, with more acute senses than normal humans - and they're trained
for combat. The runaway children are either captured or killed - except
one. A young girl named Max.
Jump forward ten years. Max (played by
Jessica Alba), now a young woman, earns a hard living as a bicycle courier in
Seattle, Washington. Once beautiful Seattle has been reduced (for the most
part) to an enlarged ghetto where money, safety and medical care are hard to
come by. Max is haunted by memories of her time in the camp, and uses her
enhanced abilities to steal items she can sell on the black market. During
a particularly promising heist, she inadvertently discovers the secret identity
of Logan Cale (played by Michael Weatherly), an insurgent leader who hacks onto
the airwaves to decry the corruption and abuse which have become widespread
since "the Pulse." As she befriends him, she is forced to choose
between her youthful cynicism and a desire to set the world right. In the
background, a mysterious government operative named Lydecker (played by John
Savage) is beginning to pick up Max's trail.
The first season begins ten years later in 2019
after the escape, as it follows the
life of the now 19-year-old Max as she struggles to search for her Manticore brothers and sisters. In a United States which is now barely more than a Third World nation, she tries to live her life, evade capture, and learn to trust and love. She is aided by Logan Cale, an underground cyber-journalist with the alias Eyes Only; Zack, a fellow X-5; and her friends Original Cindy and Sketchy at Jam Pony, a courier company where she works as a bicycle messenger. Other X-5s are periodically introduced as well.
In the second season of the show, the tone changes as Max brings down Manticore and frees the soldiers. She is helped in her escape by Alec, in an attempt to facilitate the assassination and capture of Eyes Only, and Joshua, a transgenic with canine DNA. She later learns that Joshua was the first transgenic created by Manticore's founder Sandeman. Max also finds out that Manticore produced soldiers for speciality environments such as desert and Arctic
conditions and consequently look vastly different from normal humans. A
major theme in the second season is the discovery of an even more
deadly enemy in a millennia-old breeding cult similar in structure to
the Illuminati. This has resulted in humans even more formidable than the Manticore-produced transgenics, and even some with strong telekinetic powers. Ames White,
a government agent introduced early in the second season trying to
eliminate the loose transgenics, is revealed to be a member of the
cult. When a strange message written in Max's genetic code makes an
appearance on her skin, it is revealed that Sandeman is a renegade from
the breeding cult. Ames White is Sandeman's son, which essentially
makes him "related" to Max and her transgenic brethren. However, the
series was cancelled before the producers could play with this dynamic.