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program reviews

Dark Angel

Moral Rating: take caution
Primary Audience: Teen to Adult
Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: 1 hr.


    Starring: Jensen Ackles, Jessica Alba | Produced by: Charles H. Eglee, James Cameron

Dark Angel

Viewer Comments   

Usually OK—While this show might exhibit some questionable morals, overall its characters tend to work very hard for each other and for strangers. The majority of the show is about helping people who can't help themselves. The characters are just people dealing with extraordinary circumstances against them. If you enjoy this kind of sci-fi show then I would recommend this. Also there is no California sun in the show, it is filmed in Canada.
   —Samantha, age 19

Usually OK—I don't think this show is so bad it should be avoided at all costs. There are some adult situations, but that is not the main focus of the show and there are usually no offensive things except for some violence and words. The underlying plot is good, though.
   —Kelson, age 20

Avoid—I was horrified to learn that this show trivializes relationships, promotes sexuality in dating and included scenes of homosexual exploration during dating scenes.
   —Kevin E. Brown, age 40

Avoid—First off, what is a DARK Angel? Doesn't really seem to have a GOOD title. One night when I was flipping through the channels, Dark Angel was on and there was an exorcism being performed. There is also correlation between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dark Angel. Definitely on my NOT TO WATCH LIST!
   —Keli Carter, age 30

Questionable—What I find troubling about this show is how Jessica Alba (which is Max, the main character) lives her private life. To me, it's not just about the show but who you are in real life as well. Jessica Alba (who used to be a Christian) had apparently left because there were "too many rules". Now [in her personal life] she's living with someone who is 35 years old. Personally I don't like tv shows whose actors become poor role models for teenagers. I wouldn't want my little sister thinking it's okay to walk away from God…
   —Kristina, age 20

Questionable—From the way Lester defines cyberpunk, I doubt he has read anything by William Gibson (“Neuromancer” and "Count Zero") or Bruce Sterling (“Mirrorshades”); or if he has seen "Johnny Mnenomic" or "The Matrix". Silly teenager. Read a book before you refer to its concepts. "Dark Angel" is NOT cyberpunk, it is steampunk—a term for science fiction that has a retro-cum-industrial-revolution-era setting, which is exactly what you will see in "Dark Angel". As a mature Christian, I watch "Dark Angel" for the same reason I read cyberpunk or go to films like "12 Monkeys". I like science fiction because it blends hard science with the big question, "What If?" The hard science issues in "Dark Angel" have to do with our dependency on electronic communications; genetic engineering; and environmental destruction. Max (Jessica Alba), the protagonist in the story, is a genetically-engineered woman who was conceived and raised as "the perfect soldier." Some of questions come into play here about the ethics of genetic engineering: Max is stronger, faster and smarter than average humans, but at what price? She never had a loving family and has an amoral sense of ethics, which her counterpart, Logan Cale (Michael Weatherly) is helping her to develop. (This is not a sexual or even romantic relationship; they collaborate to help the weak and the poor.) The science fiction genre includes many characters and ideas far from Christian beliefs. Being homosexual or bisexual, or even having sex with someone outside your species, is part of the "What If?" question, which makes us think. "Dark Angel" also puts some of our personal biases into perspective. The secondary stories center around the bicycle messenger service where Max works. The employees are a Jamaican Rastafarian (Alimi Ballard), a slacker (Richard Gunn) and a black lesbian (Valarie Rae Miller); their boss is Reagan Ronald (J.C. MacKenzie), who is a conservative, white, capitalist Republican. He squabbles with his employees, but when either side is in trouble, they stand up for each other. The series has a fair share of hand-to-hand combat but most of it has the look of well-choreographed Asian martial arts. Far more disturbing are some of the themes and plot elements. By disturbing, I mean that science fiction is a didactic genre (like fairy tales) and does not predict a happy future for humankind. But is this so different from the fictional Apocalyptic future depicted in books like "Left Behind"? On the question of role models, perhaps Max is not what many Christians would consider a "proper role model" but she is actually very chaste, she works hard, she tries to help others in need, and is able to defend herself. And this is, after all, science *fiction.*
   —Bouquineuse, age 30

Some references to homosexuality as an accepted life option, some cleavage, some violence, some bad language. The show has only been on-air two weeks now and I am very intrigued by the overall concept of plot and setting. The setting is Seattle somewhere around 2020 A.D., a few years after "The Pulse" hit (I believe some kind of nuclear style blast which wiped out most computers and electronic data-base information along with extensive damage to structures). The city is under marshall law and movement is restricted within the city. The star of the show, Max, is a young (probably around 20 years old) genetically engineered 'superhuman' who escaped at age 9 from the place where she and many other kids had been 'developed', educated, trained and indoctrinated. Max has been living 'underground' and has been mostly inconspicuous, but becomes involved in helping people being oppressed/hunted down by the corrupt government. In addition, she is trying to find out if any of the other kids who escaped along with her in 2009 are still alive. I can't begin to do justice to all the plot twists. The cinematography is really great, very unlike most T.V. shows, it has the 'feel' of a movie the way it is shot. So far, I have really enjoyed the show, but I wouldn't mind if they would do away with some of the 'nonsense' at the beginning of the show (where most of the language and other un-related lifestyle issues show up).
   —David Duncan, age 41

Young people express their opinions…

Usually OK—This show is genius!! Yes Max is not the "perfect role model" there is no such thing (except for God). She is an average woman living in Seattle, earning a living doing her best to be a good person and falling in and out of love. Yes there is homosexuality, its in real life and we are now noticing it even though it still is a “sin”. Yes is has sensuality in it, most regular romantic relationships do (in or out of marriage). As I said she is a normal woman except for a small twist--she can run faster, kick higher, and see farther. She is genetically engineered. This show does NOT promote genetic engineering it shows the consequences if we do start playing God. It shows that people would shun them, kill them, and try to torture them because they are not “human”. It shows that it is wrong and even if it is these people have human DNA, have feelings, and have human anatomy [perhaps a relation to the gay/lesbian community].
   —Bianca, age 16

Usually OK—"Dark Angel" is easily one of the coolest shows out today. It has good scripts, a cool storyline, and excellent acting. One of the characters (Original Cindy) IS a lesbian, but she never does anything and is the only character who is of that persuasion. Some may object to the nasty, sadistic tendencies exhibited by the villain (Lydecker) but John Savage portrays him extremely well. The show contains positive messages of the importance of helping others and the main character (Max) does show Christian leanings. I recommend it heartily.
   —Matt Quinn, age 16

Avoid—Pretty detestable. While not nearly as violent as I expected it to be, it still found a way to fill itself with material of a more politically acceptable, but nonetheless morally questionable, material. One supporting character (and possibly the main character as well) is a lesbian who makes incessant vulgar homosexual comments, none of which contribute anything to the series' structure or plot; It comes off looking like a vain attempt to be 'hip.' None of the characters are particularly well formed, and they all act in a kind of greedy, edgy, and ultimately shallow 'emotional monotone' that will be familiar to those who have read too much 'cyberpunk' science fiction. It gets reeeeally exhausting to watch after a while. If you're a cyberpunk fan, or a proper Christian family member, don't bother with this one: it offers little for you. Its setting isn't nearly harsh enough to be considered proper cyberpunk; the fact that everyone within it has enough time to help each other out and discuss amongst themselves the general rottenness of the Earth is evidence of that. Oh, and all that California sunlight kind of kills the dark, edgy tone. And it offers nothing in the way of morality or proper role models.
   —Lester, age 17

Usually OK—…this show, like just about every other tv show, isn't a 'good' example of Christian morals. But it is still a great show-the camera work, dialogue, acting and plots are engaging and really enjoyable. The plots centre around helping out those less fortunate than you, accepting ppl even if they're different, and show the consequences of immoral things and all of that, so it does have some Christian values. Many of the plots have Max helping out her siblings - they aren't blood related, so this shows how they can still be family because they care about each other and support each other. The last few episodes of season one especially, show this, and also how she loses some of her siblings to the bad guys who don't respect any of their right to freedom etc. I'm trying to say that the theme of the show and the underlying morals are very deep. The show is also smart n savvy - i'm a Christian, I believe Jesus is our saviour, and I still LOVE this show. TV isn't all about Christian morals and that, it's about entertaining while giving you something more to think about, and this show does the lot without being absolutely un-Christian. I guess this show isn't for everyone though, watch a few episodes and see what you think. And don't disregard my comments just because I'm younger.
   —Anonymous, age 13