Television

'Dark Angel' worth sampling despite occasional speed bumps

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Star World is counting on the science fiction genre to widen its audience base and maintain viewer loyalty. Dark Angel from the mind of Oscar winner James Cameron premieres tomorrow at 6:30 pm with a repeat at 10 pm.

The series takes the casual telly buff down an unusual turn. The plot kicks off in Wyoming where a secret government lab is building an army by creating children with superior DNA trained to fight and kill. The opening scene reminds one of Cameron‘s True Lies with its ice blue photography. The setting is 2009 and when the show starts, 12 of them escape.

Not long after a computer targeted electromagnetic pulse is triggered off, turning America the land of the free, honey, milk, blah blah into a third world country (TWC). Food riots and unemployment rule the roast. All electrical equipment, including bank and financial records are destroyed. The scene then shifts a decade later to 2019 in Washington. One of the escapees, Max, played by Jessica Alba is trying to search for the other 11.

The first episode shows promise. It has more dramatic elements than Alias which is more action oriented. That is not to say that Dark Angel doesn‘t have eye-popping visuals. Check out the scene where Alba flies from one building to another using a rope in order to burgle the home of a cyber journalist who runs Freedom Streaming Video. He has dreams of making a rotten society more liveable as it were. He tries to make a start by exposing the shenanigans of a business baron who is substituting a drug used for cancer treatment with sugar pills.

The drug is being sold in the Canadian black market while war veterans go untreated. The journalist soon susses out who Max really is. Alba is effective in conveying a woman going through her normal routine in a chirpy manner while trying to deal with a tormented past by taking pills to stop nerve seizures. The flashbacks showing the tortuous routine the kids were put through are one of the highlights of the pilot. Before she is trying to maintain a low profile, Alba is understandably reluctant to help the journalist in his crusade as she finds him to be too idealistic and not practical enough.

The show manages to let a wry sense of humour slip into the proceedings courtesy Alba‘s friend who happens to be a lesbian and one hopes to see more of her as the series progresses. On the flip side, a couple of trite situations like a police officer‘s visit to Alba‘s home do bog down proceedings to a certain extent. Also, one found it odd that a pulse could destroy everything electrical to such an extent that we are clueless as to how to fix the problem, though of course, we created the darn electrical gadgets in the first place.

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