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Dark Angel: The Complete First Season (2000) – DVD Review

Dark Angel: The Complete First Season DVD cover art


Series Created by: James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee
Starring: Jessica Alba, Michael Weatherly, Jensen Eckles, John Savage, Valerie Rae Miller, Richard Gunn and Kevin Durand


  • Running audio commentary on the pilot by creator Eglee and director David Nutter
  • Running audio commentary on episode “Rising” by Eglee and writer René Echevarria
  • Running audio commentary on episode “And I Am a Camera” by Eglee, Echevarria and director Charles Woolnaugh
  • Three Behind-the-scenes featurettes
  • Audition tapes
  • Blooper Reel
  • James Cameron’s “Dark Angel” video game trailer

Released by: Fox
Region: 1
Rating: NR (violence)
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format

My Advice: Rent it.

Max (Alba) has a little problem. She remembers all this stuff from her childhood, but she doesn’t know what any of it means. It’s just little stuff…like the mad scientists that created her, you know, and her friends chasing her around a forest after escaping from their genetics hospital prison where they were being trained to kick some major ass as an elite, genetically altered infantry regiment…you know, typical childhood problems. Anyway, it’s 2019, after the big terrorism EMP that knocked America into the Second Great Depression and Max is trying to piece her life back together by hiring some cheap, two-bit P.I. to investigate her past. She teams up with a man known to the public as Eyes Only (Weatherly) to pick up where the P.I. left off, and in return, she will help him out with his revolution.

This show started out with some great potential. The pilot was really hot, fast paced and exciting, but after that, the shows became really trite and predictable. They just didn’t really keep the premise of the pilot going so, I found myself getting really frustrated with the fact that Max wasn’t making any headway at finding out how she became who she was. On a more positive note, on the acting side, Alba and Weatherly are very strong in their respective roles. I have no idea whether or not Alba does her own fight and stunt work (maybe the DVD will eventually tell me, huh?), but she kicks some major butt. Not only that, she looks fantastic all the while she’s doing it. Weatherly was a good choice as the successful businessman who is running his own video revolution out of his very upper-class apartment. Again, my only problem with it is all the episodes began to look like each other way too early in its life.

Jessica Alba is Max in Dark Angel

Most of the special features are to be found on disc six of the set. The first of the featurettes is a look at how the series came into being; it’s full of interviews with almost all of the actors about their characters and how they landed the roles. This is really refreshing because we don’t get a lot of psychobabble about their characters, instead we get to hear the actors talking about their particular audition experiences. The second, entitled “Seattle Ain’t What it Used to Be,” is a look at the creation of the world of the show; the production design of the sets and costumes. It’s neat to hear their reasoning behind their design choices, but that’s about all there is to it. And finally, the last is called “Creating an X5,” a detailed look at the creation of Max’s character. Obviously, it is mostly a series of interviews with Alba as well as some of the writers and producers of the show. It gets a little heavy into the genetically engineered aspects of the show that slowly unfold as the series progresses. Most of it is stuff that you can get just by watching the episodes, but then it gets into the other stuff like how Alba trained to prepare for the part.

Then we get to look at all the actors’ audition tapes (which were comprised of scenes from the pilot episode) and how they compared with the final release of the pilot. Well, any genius could tell you that there will definitely be changes between the audition tapes and the final version of the scene. There are little things like sets, costumes, lights, and better camera equipment being used for the final shot. The thing I find the most interesting is that they excluded Jessica Alba’s audition tape (she does appear on Weatherly’s a little bit). I have to say that I was very excited to see that there was a blooper reel attached to this set, but I was only mildly amused by it. It’s put together very well, but it’s just a lot of them flubbing up their lines. The best part about it is to see how feminine Alba can be when between takes! Finally, the video game trailer is pretty well done, but how excited can you get about a trailer for a game? The game looks like every other game spinoff that’s out there.

Jessica Alba is Max in Dark Angel

Most of the commentaries provided are very dry and there’s not a lot of information presented. They’re really just the participants in the commentary relating what’s going on in the show. This would be very handy, were it not for the fact that I had functioning eyes and could see all of that on my own, thanks.

If you are a hardcore fan of the show, you won’t be disappointed with this set and will definitely want to pick it up. Everyone else should just rent it sometime when you’ve got nothing else better to snag.

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