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Today's Date is:

Dark Angel: The Complete First Season


Reviewed by: David Litton
Genre: Television
Video: 1.33:1 fullframe
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Language: English, French, Spanish
Subtitle: English, Spanish
Length: NA
Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: 05/20/2003
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Commentary: Episode commentaries
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: "Dark Angel: Genesis" featurette, "Seattle Ain't What It Used To Be" featurette, "Creating an X-5" featurette
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: None
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: None
Other: Audition tapes, blooper reel, promo spot
Cast and Crew: Jessica Alba, Michael Weatherly, Valarie Rae Miller, Richard Gunn
Written By: Assorted
Produced by: Assorted
Directed By: Assorted
Music: Assorted
The Review:

While it certainly had potential (not to mention director James Cameron's name to its credit), "Dark Angel" just wasn't the series that people were looking for to fill their weekly time slot. Featuring a WB-ish storyline that focuses on genetically-enhanced superheroes who fill out dark spaces and sad facial expressions, this two-year clunker features Jessica Alba in a role that doesn't really exercise her talent in a pleasing fashion. She pouts, she looks sullen and unhappy, but does she ever really get into the role outside of the physical elements? Judging by what I've seen onscreen, I don't think so. ***

Cameron certainly appears to be trying here: the whole post-Apocalyptic idea, the dark look of the show, the lofty production values, and the overall pinache with which it is produced certainly looks good enough, but as eye candy only. When it comes down to things like story and character development, it's either a case of first-day jitters for the cast, or a sense of been-there-done-that which becomes really old really fast. It only lasted for two seasons, and in all honesty, it's easy to see why. "Dark Angel" may have the visual guts, but it lacks heart.

Image and Sound

One of the best TV-to-DVD transfers I've seen to date. Cameron's intention to produce the show on DVD in fullframe aside, these are some very impressive-looking images. Color saturation is excellent, with vivid and accurate hues and some striking contrast and shadow detail throughout. Blacks are always solid, and edges are sharp with almost no signs of enhancement halos or compression artifacts. Top-notch! ***

The sound, however, is mastered in Dolby 2.0 Surround, and isn't very impressive. For one thing, despite the fact that everything sounds clean and organized, it's all very front-heavy, with very little use of the surrounds or deep bass from the .1 LFE. Stereo separation is good and dialogue is natural, but this could have really used a full 5.1 upgrade.

The Extras First things first: if you're buying "Dark Angel" on DVD, do it for the show, and not for the supplements. There's really nothing too terribly interesting here outside of a few commentaries (see below), and a handful of miniscule featurettes that don't provide much insight into their topics. "Dark Angel: Genesis" provides the obligatory introduction to the series without digging too deep into anything important, while the following pieces, "Seattle Ain't What It Used To Be" and "Creating an X-5," are even less appealing. These are followed by some audition tapes which, at the very least, shows us what sci-fi dialogue really sounds like sans the sets and F/X, a blooper reel, and a promo for a video game based on the series.
Commentary This six-disc set includes four episode commentaries: one for the pilot featuring executive producer and creator Charles Eglee and director David Nutter; one for "Rising" with Eglee and co-executive producer Rene Echevarria; one for "And I Am a Camera" with Eglee, Echevarria and director Jeff Woolnough; and one for "...And Jesus Brought a Casserole" with actors Jessica Alba and Michael Weatherly. To be brief, none of them are particularly interesting in their musings about things like character and plot, with Alba and Weatherly providing the worst of the quartet of commentaries.
Final Words: Not quite the hit that Cameron had hoped for, I'm sure, "Dark Angel" may find a home audience on DVD, but then again, it had it chance in the living room on TV, and didn't do so well then, either.


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May 18, 2003