Dark Angel

TV review by
Elka Karl, Common Sense Media
Dark Angel TV Poster Image
Post-apocalyptic action drama features tough, smart heroine.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Max and Logan work together to attempt to correct injustices in an immoral, post-apocalyptic world. However, since all authority figures are corrupt, the duo engages in vigilante justice which often results in death. Max and Logan's bond, loyalty, and sense of morality tempers this violent message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Max is a powerful female lead whose physicality may be empowering to teenage girls. But she often uses her skills to hurt others (in the service of justice).


Characters, including the genetically engineered children, are shot at, tasered, beaten, and chased. Most episodes include hand to hand combat, guns, and tense chases.


While there is no overt sexual behavior, sexual topics do come up including prostitution and insinuations of sexual abuse.


"Bitch," "hell," and "ass" are used in most episodes. Characters also use a futuristic slang.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink at bars, rarely to excess. There is discussion of drug addiction in the context of Max's amino acid pills, which she must use to avoid seizures.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this dark sci-fi series centers on a genetically engineered superhuman who fights crime, but is very violent in the process. Bred as a superior fighting machine, the main character grew up without a strong moral compass and now attempts to live a "good" life. However, as she fights crime she also participates in it -- stealing, fighting, shooting guns, and bribing authority figures. Frequent flashbacks to Max's childhood in a military compound add a disturbing element that might upset sensitive viewers. Also, expect some strong language ("ass," "bitch").

User Reviews

  • Parents say
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Adult Written byNo JudgementMom October 2, 2020
Adult Written byRaidenCeleste November 15, 2018

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What's the story?

At the age of 9, Max Guevera (Jessica Alba), a genetically engineered superhuman, escapes from the military compound where she's been held for her entire life. Ten years later, Max is squatting in post-apocalyptic Seattle, where she blends in as a bike messenger. After meeting cyber journalist Logan Cale, Max partners with him to combat injustices while trying to discover her real identity -- and her "siblings," who also escaped from the compound.

Is it any good?

DARK ANGEL creator James Cameron offers a richly imagined view of a post-apocalyptic near future where the world has been thrown into chaos thanks to a terrorist bomb. Alba's character Max, who has been genetically enhanced by shady governent agents to become a superior fighting machine shows real development over the course of the series, growing into a better friend and more moral person. As more information about Max's enhancements roll out, viewers are treated to a richer portrait of the main character, learning exactly how and why she acts as she does. While definitely part of the "girls kick ass" school of TV dramas (see Alias and Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Max's sensitive, introspective side also emerges as the series progresses.

While the dialogue sometimes falls flat, overall the show is well-scripted and well acted, and Alba does an excellent job of carrying the series. Dark Angel isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is compelling television that teen sci-fi fans will enjoy. Younger kids, especially those who are particularly concerned about real-life terrorism, may find the series unsettling.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence. If Max is using violence to combat violence is she any better than the people she is working to defeat? Why or why not? Do the ends justify the means?

  • How does the show develop tension or a sense of fear? Does the use of children change your reaction to tense scenes? Do real-life concerns about terrorism make this show more powerful?

  • Action series frequently used to portray women as weak and helpless, but in recent years there have been many shows in which the female characters are as tough as any guy. What do you think of this shift?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strong girls

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