Review: Lexx the series, season 1

by W. Andrew Powell
Lexx 1-3
Lexx 1-1

Rated: 7.5/10

Lexx 1.0: I Worship His Shadow Take a robot head, a dead guy, a hot chick with lizard blood and add a total wimp and you’ve got the lineup for Lexx, a fresh, totally unique and wonderfully strange show set in the furthest reaches of space. It doesn’t take long to really get into the show but if you don’t go for quirky and dark sci-fi then you’re probably going to think this is the stupidest show you’ve ever seen. It isn’t Star Trek, Red Dwarf or anything in between, but it is one of the most interesting, and cheesy shows I’ve ever seen.

For starters, most hot-blooded men are going to like this show for at least one of two reasons. There’s a beautiful woman wearing a skimpy outfit and there’s lots of action. It’s not always very intelligent but it chock full of some incredibly original ideas jumbled into the mess of story and comedy; like a living spaceship that is actually a gigantic insect that can destroy entire planets. Or the robot head that spouts off poetry for the woman he loves. It’s slightly amusing fun with the occasional belly laugh thrown in by pure luck.

Lexx - Stanley and Zev
Lexx – Stanley and Zev

The first video, “I Worship His Shadow”, is definitely the best video in this four-part series of tapes. For an hour and-a-half this futuristic story explains how Stanley Tweedle (Brian Downey), the terribly annoying, wimpish character, becomes captain of the Lexx, “the most powerful destructive force in the two known universes”. How Zev Bellringer (Eva Habermann), an obese “criminal” gets changed into a sex slave and ends up escaping with Stan to the Lexx. And along the way it drops Kai (Michael McManus), the dead assassin, into the fray to save the others from utter destruction (on several occasions).

By far, one of the better scenes in this whole series is the opening sequence where Kai, nearly 2000 years in the past attacks one of His Shadow’s attack ships that is firing on his planet. The opening music is haunting and remorseful and it caries the moment through as Kai ends up inside the vessel with His Shadow leaning over him to rob him of his memories and life. The sequence brings a gothic, dark energy to the film that permeates every episode in the series. It’s clearly a starting point for the films entire mood. Before long this feeling passes a bit, but it is a strong structure to build the show around, the pure idea of survival and the physically strong lording over the weak.

Strangely enough, some of the cheesiest line hold on to this darkness just as it throws some great mythological and mystical concepts into the show. The idea of rebirth seems spread out over many of the shows story lines but they also take the concept of a mystic who can see into the future as a slightly more scientific thing rather than a connection to a higher power. As well, almost everyone on the show is some kind of super-being with an ability that has been engineered into them. You clearly get the impression in these early shows though, that this is not our world and if this is our future it is eons and eons away.

The Lexx
The Lexx

With the rest of the chaos of strange concepts and funny lines the special effects can take the show in all sorts of weird directions. Some scenes are almost flawless with exploding planets and the ship flying through space but then a moment later it turns into pure B-grade movie with a bad warp effect as the ship and its crew go through a distortion in space that looks like someone just twisted the entire image of the room around. In an way, it does go together pretty well and builds a sort of total oddball theme that makes it a rather endearing show, but it could use a little tweaking to make it a little more realistic looking.

Despite the other flaws, “I Worship His Shadow”, is a really amazing introduction to what the show is about. If you want to watch the TV show or get caught up with what is happening, the first video is a must to explain who His Supreme Shadow is, what Kai is all about and why Zev is so hot. Currently, the show is approaching season 4 so it may take you a while to get caught up but this is the best place to start.

Each show also has a guest star to spice things up. In this first video it’s Barry Bostwick as Thodin, who you will probably know from “Spin City” (he’s the bumbling Mayor of New York). In this, he’s an escaped bad-guy/”heretic” who tries to steal the Lexx from His Divine Shadow and for the most part he does a really good acting job. He’s believable and actually does a good little fight scene. I think the writers could have done some better lines for him though but except for a couple of really bad lines he pulled it off quite well.

As a series, this isn’t on par with some of the classics like Babylon 5. The sometimes weak plot and crazy stunts can be a bit hard to handle now and then and it’s sometimes hard to swallow but at least it’s being a lot more daring than other shows like Andromeda and its muscle bound reject actors. The stories get deeper as you go further in, so that’s at least something to look forward to, so strap yourself in, cause it’s a bit of a rough ride along the way.

Lexx 1-2

Rated: 5.5/10
Lexx 2.0: Super Nova Out of the 4 set series, Super Nova is absolutely the most forgettable. It doesn’t have the imagination or energy that all the other shows have but worst of all, it’s the most annoying show I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if it’s because of Tim Curry’s (of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame) over-the-top performance as Poet Man, or Ellen Dubin’sawful– work as Giggerota but the acting takes a serious dive towards the pits of the sale bin at Blockbuster.

Out of the whole show, Eva Habermann and Michael McManus are my favorites and do a pretty good job in trying to save the whole show. At points, Habermann is much more than just a pretty face but I won’t deny that the quick shower scene didn’t hurt my opinion of her (mind you, with the cheesy music and phallic symbol it could have been directly out of a porno). Other than this brief T&A the story suffers from being way too simple and it really doesn’t have any actors to back it up well either. I still enjoyed most of the episode, but compared to the first show it just doesn’t leave me with a good taste for the rest of the series.

The whole idea of this episode is that the group is trying to find Kai’s home planet, Brunnus, in the hopes that they will find a way to keep Kai alive since his proto blood is running out. On the planet, the group enters the memory catacombs, an area where the memories of many of the people who lived on the planet have been stored.

Generally, the show is well paced and a fair amount of things happen, but it feels a little lacking no matter who is taking the most screen time. The concepts are pretty cool though and every time you run into a new one, like these memory chambers, you can’t help but grin a little bit.

One of the other few good things about Super Nova is the special effects. From start to finish, Brunnis is an amazing looking planet and even most of the internal scenes are really well done. I also loved some of the special effects at the end… but to save the surprise for those of you who want to see it, I won’t let any of those secrets slip.

So yes, it is a forgettable episode in a lot of ways and even though I usually love Tim Curry’s work, I didn’t enjoy him very much at all in this episode. Some important events happen in this show though, so if you’re a serious fan you can’t really skip over this one. Just don’t expect much and you should be okay.

Lexx 1-3

Rated: 7/10

Lexx 3.0: Eating Patterns is possibly the weirdest episode of the first four. The guest star of this episode is none other than Mr. Rutger Hauer as Bog, the leader of the Klaagians. These Klaagians are a strange race of people who like to play games. Unfortunately, for our heroes from the Lexx, this game isn’t exactly the kind that most people would really want to play.

Right from the start, things sound a little bad in this episode. Lexx is starving to eat something, Kai gets freeze dried in his pod and looks to be unrevivable, and things are just generally looking not-so-good. Eventually, the group land on a planet so that they can bury Kai and Lexx can feed. Inadvertently, the group gets caught-up in the Klaagians game (that reminds me a lot of “Wheel Of Fortune”) that could leave them without some of their favorite limbs.

It’s really kind of a funny episode, but it’s also one of the more unsavory shows too – complete with gooey substances, worms coming out of people’s bodies and lots, lots more. In normal Lexx fashion, the parts that might be disgusting in other shows isn’t that bad here. In fact, a lot of it is more comical than anything else. There are still the parts that are there to bother you or look nasty, but they’re still done well enough that you have to marvel at the show’s adventuresome spirit and creativity.

Out of the first 4 episodes, this isn’t as bad as Super Nova, but it’s also not as good as the first episode. The effects are also pretty weak here, but I really think that Doreen Jacobi (as Wist) and Rutger Haur do a lot for this episode. Between them they are dark, daring, sexy (that would be Wist), and just a little creepy.

This is one of those shows that makes you wonder what on earth the writers were thinking. It defies normal logic and goes on valiantly with whatever fool thought pops into the collective brain of the whole show. Just when you think you might have a clue what they’re doing, things change again and every explanation just sounds weirder than the question. In a strange way, this is the kind of show that is the answer to all the mundane dramas that plague television today, but as you watch Blog create his strange “patterns” you have to ask where these idea came from.

Lexx 1-4

Rated: 8/10

Lexx 4.0: The Giga Shadow is the perfect finish to the opening episodes of the Lexx series. In almost every way imaginable, it’s fresh and lively, stupid and fun, dark and foreboding, and generally different from anything else you have or will see again. From here, the rest of the stage is set for the continuing series and diehard fans will want to know where it all began.

There is a lot of story and history behind this episode and that’s actually one of the reasons I loved the whole thing, and there is also another great reason to love this episode: Malcolm McDowell. He is one of my favorite actors and as Yottskry, he is quite good, even if his part is shorter than I would have liked.

During The Giga Shadow we get introduced to more of the story behind the history of His Shadow and the empire he has created… including his original beginnings that include connections to the Insect Wars. We also find Kai, still low on proto blood, coming back to his home where he was originally awakened as a dead guy, The Cluster. This trip back to the Cluster brings them back in time to meet up with the newly awakened creature, the Giga Shadow.

The other great part of this episode is the side-story that is happening with Stanley. Seems that once, a long time ago when he was just a courier for His Shadow, he was captured and tormented by two sadistic sickos named Feppo and Smoor. We get a chance to see some of what happened and as Stanley gets sucked into a trap, we get introduced to the duo again. Stanley also has some really great scenes in the Lexx where he comes up with some new and interesting titles for himself… “Stanley, the perfect, the mighty and terrible champion of the oppressed”, “Stanley, the all powerful legendary space stud man”, and so on.

There’s a lot happening in this episode and I think that’s why it works so well. Each of the characters seems occupied with their own goals while all the main action is going on too. The energy is high and the addition of a “pet” is also fleetingly funny. There’s also a lot of music and singing in this episode, something that actually works extremely well for Lexx and goes far to make things even more interesting and amusing.

For all these reasons, this is my favorite episode of the four in the first season and it nicely bookends all the information we get out of “I Worship His Shadow”. It also sets up the second season perfectly and cleans the slate off to let the crew explore things without the same old problems hanging over their heads. Instead, we get the feeling that things will always be evolving and new obstacles will grow out of old ones.

It’s all great work for a series that has nothing to fear from the more mainstream junk that usually clogs the airwaves. Eventually, I’m also hoping that Lexx will get the big-screen treatment and make us long-time fans proud of the weirdness that is Lexx.

All Lexx Images Copyright Salter Street Films

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