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Series / Dark Angel

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Heaven... must be missing an angel...

"I don't know if you've noticed, but she ain't bad lookin' either..."
— From a Sky1 promo before the show's UK debut. No prizes for guessing the identity of the "she" to which the ad refers.

A dramatic show on Fox that ran from 2000 to 2002, set in a future of political, economic, and moral collapse that results when a shadowy terrorist group wipes out America's economy with a massive electromagnetic pulse. A genetically enhanced Super Soldier X5 prototype named Max escapes from military confinement and dwells amidst the decadent underground street life of 2019 Seattle while making minimum wage at a bike messaging service called Jam Pony and occasionally stealing. Searching for her brothers and sisters who were scattered in the aftermath of their escape from Manticore in 2009, Max encounters Logan Cale, aka Eyes Only, idealistic cyber-journalist battling repression and corruption in post-apocalypse America.

Eventually, Logan calls her to the highest part of her being and she becomes his samurai, taking on the ruthless power-brokers of the new millennium. Max and Logan's odyssey leads them closer to the secret of her past, deepening and complicating their relationship in the process.


At the beginning of the second season, Max frees more of Manticore's experiments, and the show goes from being focused on Logan and Max to more of an ensemble show. For some fans (especially those coming back to watch it for Jensen Ackles), the story of Alec (a recently freed clone of Max's Serial Killer brother Ben) in the second season was more interesting than the main plot. Fans of the first season and the original characters resented the dramatic transformation of the show's format and the focus on new characters over the series leads.

The series got moved to Friday nights in its second season and dropped after in favor of Firefly, causing some fan wars on the internet. The fact that Firefly was also dropped/mishandled by Fox is a lesson in Executive Meddling. What's more, the Dark Angel cast and crew were told by Fox that they had been picked up for a third season only two days before it was officially announced that they were canceled instead.


After the show's cancellation, its intended plot was continued in the novels Skin Game and After the Dark. There was also a prequel called Before the Dawn and a book called The Eyes Only Dossier with extra information about the show's universe and new subplots.

The series was co-created and produced by Aliens and Terminator director James Cameron. He also directed the final episode, his only dramatic TV effort to date and the only scripted work he shot between Titanic (1997) and Avatar. Cameron has turned similarly themed manga Battle Angel Alita into a live film, as well.

See also: Robert A. Heinlein's Friday, for another story of a genetically-engineered woman in a future where the United States has broken up.

No relation to the Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine chapter of the same name, or the Thrash Metal band.

This show provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The series takes place in 2019, with a 2009 Backstory. It aired from 2000-02.
  • AB Negative: Erroneously portrayed, as AB-Negative people can receive blood from anyone with a negative blood group.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer
  • Aerith and Bob: The names of Max's X5 "family" run the whole gamut: Zack, Max, Tinga, Brin, Ben, Seth, Vada, Kavi, Krit, Syl, Jondy, Zane, Jack, Jace, Eva, Alec (twin of Ben), Sam (twin of Max), Devon (twin of Krit), Jewel (twin of Tinga), Keema (twin of Brin), Lane (twin of Zack).Their official names are barcode numbers (for instance, Max is X5-452)
  • The Alleged Car: Logan's Pontiac Aztek.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • The Halloween episode, "Boo", is mostly Max's nightmare about the worst that could happen with her fellow transgenics being on the streets. The Aesop is that the worst that could happen wasn't all the wackiness, it was Max denying who she was.
    • The second half of the season 1 finale. After a "happy ending" it suddenly changes to "remember when she fell down and got up again when being chased? Well, she didn't really get up, everything since then was a dream and now she's been captured by the bad guys". This was the last minute or so of the episode, probably done because the producers didn't know whether or not the show would be renewed for another year until after filming had finished.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: A Cult which has been breeding supposedly superior humans that feel no pain for thousands of years. Their members include government agents, politicians, and even nurses, and they plan for the extinction of the rest of humanity via a viral apocalypse.
  • And This Is for...: The light-hearted episode "Fuhgeddaboudit" climaxes with the "Curvaceous Killer" (Max) giving her cage-fighting opponent "Monty Cora" (Alec) a whole load of these in a bid to get him to fight back ("That's for whatever stupid thing you do next"). He does, but she kicks his ass anyway.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Averted by Alec, who never even met Ben and isn't impressed by what he's heard. Played straight with Joshua at the end of "Two", but he gets better.
  • Artificial Human: The X series, who are artificially created people genetically engineered in various ways to be super soldiers for the US government. Other, less visibly human varieties are also seen later.
  • Artificial Limbs: The Steelhead Bird obtains a cyberarm between "Two" and "Some Assembly Required". No matter how much he tinkers with it, he still can't beat Zack at arm wrestling.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The genetics technobabble on this show is hilariously bad.
  • Backup Twin: Alec is introduced after Ben bites the big one. We got to see Max and Sam together, but not Ben and Alec. Shame.
  • Beast Man: Joshua and the rest of the "freaks".
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted. X5s tend to be attractive, but that's down to genetic engineering (and being played by Jessica Alba or Jensen Ackles). Manticore transgenics with more bizarre appearances are also generally good guys. However, they still fall prey to this, as anti-transgenic bigots especially play up the latter to demonize them, and one is shot dead by a police officer who thinks he's trying to hurt a boy (though he actually just saved his life), undoubtedly at least in part due to his hideous appearance.
  • Becoming the Mask: Alec as Simon Lehane, "The Berrisford Agenda". The My God, What Have I Done? variety.
  • Big Bad: Lydecker (later Renfro) and Manticore in Season One, Ames White and the Familiars in Season Two.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Zack
  • Blind and the Beast: Joshua's romance with Annie Fisher.
  • Blood Transfusion Plot: Logan receives blood transfusions from transgenics at least twice. The first time it's because they're Type O- and the writers didn't realize his Type AB Negative is nearly universal recipient, the second because he specifically needs the antibodies in their blood to cure a Synthetic Plague infection.
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • Max in "Designate This" and "Some Assembly Required".
    • Logan and Matt in "Out".
  • Brainwashed: Manticore loves to mess with people's minds. With a laser in the eye.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Jace (she got better) and Brin in Season One, Zack (he got better...sort of) in Season Two.
  • Bus Crash: Max's X7 clone, who also played her younger self in flashbacks, conracted a sudden case of progeria and was never seen again.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: The show reveled in throwing up literal barriers to Max and Logan getting intimate.
  • Cat Girl: Max. She is genetically engineered with cat genes to give her enhanced combat powers. Of course it also puts her in heat periodically, which causes all manner of problems.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Max's ability to recognize a phone number on speed dial in the first episode is essential in her plan to get Sophie back to her mother later on.
  • Child Soldiers: The X5s in flashbacks and the younger series in the present. Complete with uniforms and shaved heads.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Sketchy's girlfriend Natalie. Herbal Thought.
  • The Chosen One: Max is the one special X5 whose DNA holds the key to thwarting the aforementioned Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Max (and Alec).
  • Clone Army: Many of the X-5s have several clones, in the first season finale Max destroyed the stockpile of embryos so more wouldn't be born. When she was recaptured they tried breeding her the old fashioned way.
  • Clones Are People, Too
  • Cloning Blues:
    • Ben/Alec, Max/Sam, younger X7 clones of Max, Zack, and others. The blues kick in when Manticore decides the clones of the '09 escapees are the most at risk to make their own escape attempt, and makes with all with the eye-lasers and psychological torture at its disposal to make sure that doesn't happen.
    • Even more blues when you're Alec and your twin is not only an escapee but a Serial Killer, necessitating a spell in Psy Ops for observation. He'll also get you arrested.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Donald Lydecker. Villainous version.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Manticore in the first season and the Familiars in the second are both shadowy conspiracies demanding absolute devotion and suppression of individuality from their adherents. However, while Manticore is hyper-modern in its methods and aesthetics and exists to further cynical Realpolitik goals, the Familiars have been around for centuries and have the old-fashioned methods and traditions to show for it, and have visionary (albeit horrific) goals.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Alec's cover as Simon Lehane.
  • Cool Bike: Max's Kawasaki.
  • Coolest Club Ever: Crash.
  • Creepy Child: The X7s.
  • Cyberpunk: Most definitely. Economic depression, a massive wealth gap, widespread corruption, and advanced technology that doesn't seem that far off. Season Two even features a Cyborg street gang called the Steelheads in a couple of episodes.
  • Dangerous Phlebotinum Interaction: In one episode Max used a brain implant designed to boost normal humans to superhuman levels of performance. With her genetically-enhanced physiology, it would have killed her if the implant hadn't been removed very soon.
  • Deception Noncompliance: When Original Cindy is being used as bait by a villain, she gives a warning of it by talking about her supposed new boyfriend despite Max knowing that she's only interested in women.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Max and Logan are destined to be together and nothing can stop The Power of Love™, or Max and Logan are wrong for each other and should spare themselves the heartache of being Star-Crossed Lovers. Seriously, watch "Fuhgeddaboudit" and then "Hello, Goodbye". You'll get whiplash.
    • Alec's jerkiness or scatter-brainedness also goes up and down like a yo-yo, but his happy go lucky nature is implied to be a facade anyway.
    • Max's power level, especially in first season, similarly varies wildly - sometimes she can deal with a whole bunch of cops, other times two fairly dozy security guards can take her down.
  • Destination Defenestration: Demonstrated by the villain in "Art Attack" (and unusually for this trope, the D-word is actually mentioned).
  • Disabled Love Interest: Logan, wheelchair bound and so very attractive.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In "Exposure," Max escapes from a telekinetic boy cultist holding her captive (long story) by showing him her breasts, which makes him lose concentration - and one or two punches from Max later, consciousness ("Made you look!").
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Max refuses to use guns since her sister Eva was shot during their childhood.
  • Dystopia: Crime and poverty are up. The police are supposedly more Big Brother-y (they have hoverdrones), but are frequently bought off by crooks. Finding a job is hell. Seattle, at least, is divided into sectors and you need a sector pass to move freely. Everything looks dirty, except the mansions. There are still rich people and they still have mansions. Many of America's national treasures and works of art have been taken by countries that are more well-off. But, as Max points out in the Pilot, although it's a depression, most people aren't that depressed. Rap/hip-hop culture is also up.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Normal's running crush on Alec, Played for Laughs.
  • Everyone Can See It: Max and Logan.
  • Evil Brit: British Eddy, the leader of the Steelheads.
  • Evil Luddite: The May 22 Movement (named for Ted Kaczynski's birthday, who's their inspiration) are a terrorist group who believe that genetic modification is an abomination that has to be stopped. As a result, they take hostages at a conference where gene therapy is being shown.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl
  • Face–Heel Turn: Brin
  • Fake Memories: Zack, "Some Assembly Required"
  • Fantastic Racism: Mostly on the part of ignorant humans towards transgenics. There are flaming Xs involved. Also the Familiar Breeding Cult thinks everyone else is inferior. In the last episode, we get to see a woman on TV who speculates that transgenics shouldn't be allowed to live, as they are the creations of man and so have no souls. The creepy smile on her face just makes things all the worse.
  • Fantastic Slurs: "Trannie" for transgenics. Where have we heard that before?
  • Flash Step: The X5s, occasionally. It's called "blurring".
  • Framing the Guilty Party: In "Art Attack", a gangster commits murder by defenestrating his victim, thus making it look like suicide. Logan conspires with Dr. Beverly Shankar to put a cap in the corpse's head, then has Max plant the murder weapon on the gangster as he attempts to leave the country.
  • Flawed Prototype:
    • The process of genetic enhancement is not without its faults. Many of the "'Nomalies", X-series subjects who have mutated, are shown to be practically feral. This was especially a problem with the X-2s, who were pretty much a complete disaster. Even X-5s like Max routinely suffer from seizures, requiring her to take Tryptophan supplements to suppress them. This wasn't brought up in the second season, so it's possible that this issue might have been fixed in the later iterations of X-series soldiers.
    • The Red Series soldiers are enhanced by an implant that augments their strength, speed, and durability, making them even more effective than the Manticore X-Series. This comes at the cost of their lifespan being reduced to mere months.
  • Functional Addict: Max's roomies think she's one when they find her stash of pills. She's never told them about her neurological condition that means she depends on tryptophan (an amino acid), so they throw the pills away and stage an intervention. It doesn't go well, especially since she walks out rather than explain herself. (This incident, like Max's reliance on the pills, is never mentioned again.)
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke
  • Genius Cripple: Logan and his Stephen Hawking-esque friend Sebastian both fit this trope.
  • Gentle Giant: Joshua
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Alec says that "Ames White and His Familiars" sounds like one.
  • Government Conspiracy
  • Half-Human Hybrid: X5s and humans are interfertile, though there are mentions of difficulties with the crossbreeding experiments at Manticore - the offspring were "of spectacular mediocrity" and "those were the successes". Those not conceived as part of experiments don't seem to have any such setbacks.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Alec. Lydecker splits the difference between this and Enemy Mine.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Eyes Only is considered a cyberterrorist by the corrupt authorities. Max herself is the key to saving humanity from the Familiars, and she and her fellow transgenics are the targets of public hatred after being outed.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Subverted with Bruno Anselmo, who Max reluctantly has to protect in "Red". He's a disgusting, morally repugnant douchebag who is only testifying against the corrupt mayor because he wants his daughter to have one reason to remember him as something other than a disgusting, morally repugnant douchebag. And he still sells out Max to the Red Series soldiers afterwards.
  • Hive Mind: The X7s
  • Human Weapon: the X-5s were treated as though they were biological warbots rather than people.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "Pollo Loco"
  • Identifying the Body: In one episode, Max sees a body on TV with the barcode tattoo of one of her brothers on it, so she asks to identify the body it's not him, he's become a serial killer who tattoos his barcode on his victims.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Mia is a transgenic with hypnotic powers. One of the things that draws her to her human boyfriend Doug is that she can't influence him that way, due to the brain anomaly that makes him narcoleptic. "What fun is being in love if everything's easy?"
  • The Immune:
    • The transgenics were made to survive the breeding cult's virus, which only members of the cult were supposed to be able to survive. Max doesn't even feel ill when exposed, unlike other transgenics, and both the post-series novels and the writers' aborted Season Three plans state that her genetic code can be used to immunize regular humans. The cult aren't too happy to discover this.
    • The transgenics settle down in "Terminal City", a part of Seattle where biocontaminants were accidentally released from a lab when its containment was immobilized by the Pulse, because they can survive there and humans can't.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother
  • In Love with the Mark: See Becoming the Mask.
  • Information Wants to Be Free: Logan's shtick as Eyes Only, except of course when it comes to his own identity and those of his operatives.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Alec's reason for telling Asha to forget about the possibility of a relationship with him.
  • Intimate Artistry: Joshua, the man-dog genetic hybrid that is ostracized from human society due to his animal-ish features, expresses his feelings of isolation and passion through painting. The owner of an art gallery falls in love with his work, and when he needs to break into her gallery to retrieve his paintings (He had accidentally included important papers) she catches him, but is able to see past his appearance due to already having connected with his more important aspects.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Zach and Max employ this on Lydecker in a first season episode. He does them one better and breaks his own finger to convince them he's telling the truth.
  • Jerkass:
  • Lightning Bruiser: X-5 series soldiers are incredibly quick, making them fearsome opponents in hand-to-hand combat. This neatly justifies why Max Doesn't Like Guns also; She's so damn fast, she doesn't really need them. Though, as the season 1 finale shows, they are not Made of Iron, as Max goes down to a single gunshot by her own clone.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: All the transgenics have DNA culled from various humans and animals (which animal depends on the type) so that they have peak physical and mental abilities. As far as is known, none looks exactly like any human donor.
  • Monster of the Week: Season 2. But only rarely a villainous monster. Season 1 also had "monsters of the week" in the sense of criminal threats that were dealt with in the space of one episode.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jessica Alba. That is all. (One of many, many examples: the opening shot of "Fuhgeddaboudit" as the camera pans up Max's legs in a very short skirt.)
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: It's Jessica Alba with enhanced strength. "Pollo Loco" writer Doris Egan relates on her livejournal that one of the producers objected to casting Jensen Ackles as an X5 because he wasn't very muscular. Egan pointed out that they were following this trope for X5s, and the producer obliviously advocated a Double Standard.
  • Neuro-Vault: Episode "The Kidz Are Aiight". The X5s were taught how to do this at will. Zack buries the locations of his siblings in his mind so that Manticore torturers can't extract the information.
  • Never Found the Body: Lydecker, after "Proof of Purchase". He survived, as seen at the end of After the Dark.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Although Logan can be a bit cocky at times and is very bitter about his paralysis, he is usually kind-hearted and has principles.
    • Logan's physical therapist Bling is quite possibly the nicest guy on the show, and Only Sane Man when it comes to Max and Logan's relationship issues.
  • No Name Given: Most Jam Pony employees go by nicknames, it seems. Original Cindy (Cynthia McEachin), Sketchy (Calvin Simon Theodore), Normal (Reagan Ronald), Herbal Thought, Druid.
  • No Social Skills:
    • The X6 teenagers seen in "Bag 'Em" display this, having been released into the world in 2020 after spending their whole lives in Manticore.
    • Alec, despite being in a similar situation, was much more worldwise because he had been trained for infiltration and assassination missions. Still, flashbacks in "The Berrisford Agenda" show that while he could converse normally about most things while undercover, he had no clue about romance until he experienced it firsthand. Which is funny because in the present day he's a Handsome Lech.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Subversion, Max and Zack are only siblings in the sense of being from the same unit at Manticore, but she's still squicked when he makes a (Brainwashed) move on her. Doesn't stop fans from shipping Max/Zack or Max/Ben. Or Max/Alec. Although Alec isn't from Max's unit, he's a clone of Ben, who is.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The Red Series are supposedly South Africans. Not one of them, nor their handler, tries to put on any kind of South African accent. Instead they all sound American.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: At the start and end of Season 2.
    • The season starts with Manticore being completely destroyed and large numbers of transgenics with various superhuman abilities being loosed into the world, moving the show from a sci-fi crime/conspiracy story to one that's about dealing with a hidden underworld of superbeings.
    • At the end of the season, transgenics have become known to the public and are making their stand in Terminal City. Also, the first freeborn transgenic has come into the world (and lacks a barcode), symbolising that they're here to stay.
  • Not So Different: Alec and Season 1 Max. Both are opportunistic, are pulled into the 'hero business' when they'd rather be indulging in petty crime, and keep themselves at a distance from others. Actually pointed out in Season 2 episode The Berrisford Agenda.
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: Max has one in "Boo" in which she is naked just before she wakes up.
  • Not Wearing Tights
  • Obfuscating Disability: Once used by Logan. He's a real paraplegic most of the time, but an easily hidden exoskeleton allows him to walk. After receiving a blood transfusion from Joshua, he ceases to need the exoskeleton at all, but still uses it for emergency situations since it increases his speed and strength.
  • Off the Wagon: Lydecker, when his plans start going to hell.
  • Only One: Max, pretty much every time.
  • Only One Name: The main character was named Max, with no last name (she did use the last name Guevara on occasion, but she made this up). Her fellow X5s (Zack, Alec, Ben, etc) also had only one name, as did the dogboy Joshua. Alec's fake surname was supposedly McDowell, but it was never spoken aloud.
  • Questionable Consent: While in heat, Max aggressively has sex with a guy she's just met. Afterward, she's shown in bed next to him looking very unhappy, indicating the overwhelming hormonal urges made her do it, which she wouldn't otherwise.
  • Par Kourier: The Jam Pony bike message service.
  • People Jars: Tinga dies in one.
  • Perma-Stubble: The wealthy and otherwise clean-cut Logan Cale wears this, apparently as a sign to the viewer of his single-minded dedication to righting the world's wrongs, even when he is supposed to have "cleaned up" for his cousin's wedding. The three-day pause every time Michael Weatherly shaved is said to have complicated the shooting schedule.
  • Photographic Memory
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Series premise
  • Phrase Catcher: Several times Logan is told a variant of "I will kick your ass, wheelchair or no wheelchair."
  • Poor Communication Kills: Very nearly. Kendra and Cindy don't know about Max's neurological condition, and they throw away her tryptophan tablets, thinking they're recreational drugs that Max is addicted to. Then they confront her about it. Rather than coming clean about her condition, Max says, "Tell me you didn't," and leaves without another word. Logan has to set them straight later.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Kendra, who moved into her boyfriend Walter's home, allowing Original Cindy and Max to become roommates.
    • At least her disappearance was explained; what happened to Asha?
    • Neither Herbal nor Bling return for Season 2, although Bling returns in the novels (as does Asha).
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Alec, in "The Berrisford Agenda". Ben also has a moment where he glares at his reflection, but he doesn't punch it.
  • Reality Ensues: The first time we see Max "in heat," it's played for laughs as she almost has sex with a dorky guy who's definitely not her type, and then has to deal with him the next morning. The second time, she actually does have a one-night stand with a guy she just met - and afterward, we see her wracked with self-disgust at having had sex with a stranger, especially when she has genuine feelings for Logan, and the whole thing suddenly seems a lot less funny.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Detective Ramon Clemente in the finale.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Lydecker kept some of his dead wife's DNA alive in Max, though she is not an exact clone - "More 'inspired by'. You have her eyes". Creepy.
  • The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: Since the show ended mid-plot, two novels ("Skin Game" and "After the Dark") were published to finish the story, in addition to a prequel novel ("Before the Dawn") which feeds into both the Pilot and "After the Dark". "Skin Game" wraps up the siege of Terminal City, while "After the Dark" provides closure to the Myth Arc. Completing the set is a compilation of in-universe documents called "The Eyes Only Dossier".
  • Room Full of Crazy: Ben had written words from Manticore indoctrination sessions, like Duty, Discipline, and Mission, all over the walls and boxes of a warehouse.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Original Cindy. Please see Totally Radical, below.
  • Scannable Man: All the transgenics except Joshua, who was first, have a barcode at the base of their necks. It's more than just a simple tattoo, as Max explains that she had hers removed at a tattoo removal clinic, only for it to reappear due to it actually being coded into her DNA.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: Max, Joshua, and Alec develop into one. Intentionally averted by the 12 '09 escapees in that Zack had them split up to making capturing them all harder. Max and Jondy were paired off, but got separated.
  • Separated at Birth: The X5 twins. Separated before birth, really. The embryos from the same test-tube were divided and then implanted in different surrogate mothers.
  • Serial Killer: Ben, Isaac.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend / He Is Not My Boyfriend: Max and Logan keep insisting this in both seasons, even though the other characters see right through it and refer to them as a couple.
  • Shirtless Scene: Alec has one after coming out of a shower. Also when he is fighting in a cage match.
  • Shooting Gallery: with Eyes Only targets, for Zack when he was Brainwashed and Crazy
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Original Cindy is moving in with Max, one of her belongings is a XENA LIVES! poster. This is either because Xena was being cancelled that year or that a show that possibly aired before Cindy was BORN was still popular decades later. Now, what are the odds of— oh, wait...
    • Also, the resistance group S1W (Security of the First World) is a direct reference to the rap group Public Enemy (Which should come as no surprise since Chuck D was one of the writers of the theme song.
    • Max gives Joshua a copy of Stephen King's "It" in "Two".
    • In "Before the Dawn", Max steals a jewel from a Titanic exhibit. This is also a James Cameron gag.
    • In "Borrowed Time", Max and Alec steal the original film reels from either one of the Star Wars or Star Trek movies (it's never really clear which, since both of them get the two series confused).
    • During one of Alec's flashbacks in "The Berrisford Agenda", Rachel starts playing the theme song from the Peanuts TV specials during one of her piano lessons.
    • The female Steelhead, Lux, has retractable razor blades under her fingernails, similar to Molly Millions from Neuromancer.
    • Max's clone "twin" is named Sam. Where have we heard those two names together before?
    • There is also an adventure supplement for Shadowrun with the title Dark Angel, and though both the game and the show are set in near-future Seattle, the adventure was released about a decade before the TV show first aired.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Max, Ben, Alec, Logan, etc. have done this on the Space Needle.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: More cynical, but with fair amounts of humor.
  • Smug Snake: Ames White, Renfro, and Lydecker's subordinate, Sandoval.
  • The Social Darwinist: The Familiars cult believes they are meant to replace baseline humans as a result of their superior breeding. Ames White even mocks the idea that "the meek shall inherit the Earth" explicitly.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Max to Logan, constantly.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Alec when pretending to be Simon Lehane. Logan, all the time.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Max.
  • Super Breeding Program: The purpose of The Familiars.
  • Super Soldier:
    • What the X5s and most of the Manticore "mutants" were designed for.
    • The South African Red Series are convicts who had their sentences commuted in exchange for being pressganged into service. They're fitted with an implant that increases their combat abilities, making them better fighters than even the X-5s, but drastically reduces their lifespan. Max has to take on one of their implants to stand a chance against them.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: To Logan.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: CeCe and Biggs were supposed to be return appearances by Syl and Krit, but the actors' schedules didn't work out.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Max and Sam. None of the other twins fit.
  • They Look Like Us Now: The Familiars intentionally provoke this reaction in the populace by revealing that there are not only obvious "monster" transgenics but also the human-looking X-series living among them.
  • Third Party Stops Attack: A Breeder Elite Soldier is beating on Logan when Joshua intervenes in this manner.
  • Third-Person Person: Original Cindy and Diamond.
  • Tomboyish Name: Max, obviously. And her twin Sam and sister Jace. And an X6 who chooses the name Ralph, which Max points out is a boy's name. Max, however, could be short for Maxine, like Chris, from Christina, Sam from Samantha, and Alex, from Alexandra, whereas Ralph isn't usually short for anything.
  • Totally Radical: Watch with the sound off. This is an incredibly beautiful, very cinematic series, whose dialogue tries so hard to be Young and Hip that it may actually cause brain damage.
  • Transgender: One episode has Jam Pony's resident square Normal get into a relationship with a trans woman. When he finds out, he's still quite willing to go out with her, but she dumps him and expresses interest in resident lesbian Original Cindy, who is repulsed.
  • True Companions:
    • Max, Original Cindy, and Sketchy.
    • Max, Alec and Joshua in season 2.
  • Twofer Token Minority: "Original Cindy" is a black lesbian. Max is also a Latina and transgenic.
  • Tyke Bomb:
    • The X5s again. Abused TykeBombs.
    • Also the X7s.
  • The Unmasqued World: By the end of the series, the existence of transgenics is known to the public and the identities of the X5s who could pass as humans are exposed. This leads to Fantastic Racism.
  • Urban Segregation: Most of Seattle (and any other American city) is slum, but there are still nice areas. They tend to have more security now. Additionally, citizens need special "sector passes" to move in between the different areas of the city.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Ben and Isaac.
  • Voice of the Resistance: Eyes Only. This is a Streaming Freedom video bulletin. It cannot be traced, it cannot be stopped, and it is the only free voice left in this city.
  • Wunza Plot: And often enough, They Fight Crime!.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Max (and all the rest of the X5s) doesn't manufacture enough serotonin due to flaws in the genetic engineering, requiring her to buy supplements of pure tryptophan (milk is only a stop-gap measure) or her seizures could get bad enough that she'd shut down every month or so. Her brother Jack died of this before the escape. This lead to some Worf Had the Flu moments when she wasn't able to get the medicine in time in the first season, but was later dropped without explanation. However, it was implied that when she was recaptured by Manticore, Max was "fixed" and thus, stopped having seizures.
  • A World Half Full
  • Would Hurt a Child: Max has no qualms about beating up a boy smaller than she is ("Exposure"). Then again, he a) has telekinetic powers (which he used to fling her all over the place before being Distracted by the Sexy as explained above) and b) was looking forward to watching her die before she revealed that she was faking being ill...
  • You Are Number 6: Max is 452, Sam is 453, Ben is 493, Alec is 494, Zack is 599, Tinga is 656, etc.
  • Your Door Was Open: Max and Zack often appear in Logan's apartment without warning. They are basically ninjas.


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