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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Complete Series


Starring: Brian Downey, Eva Habermann, Michael McManus, Xenia Seeberg and Jeffrey Hirschfield
Mediumrare Entertainment
RRP: £69.99
Certificate: 15
Available 28 March 2011

When the Brunnen-G helped mankind defeat the Insect race, the time prophet saw a future when the Brunnen-G themselves would be destroyed, but she also foretold that the last of the Brunnen-G would destroy His Divine Shadow. Leading a last ditch defence against His Divine Shadow, Kai become the last survivor of his race. Killed in battle, Kai is turned into a dead assassin. Two thousand years later His Shadow is on the verge of launching the Lexx, a massive ship which can destroy whole planets. The only thing which stands in his way is an idiot, a robot head, a sex slave and Kai, last of the Brunnen-G...

Lexx (1997-2002) is a Canadian/German science fiction show which ran for four seasons. The show was created by Paul Donovan (Def-Con 4 (1985), The Conclave (2006)), an independent, Canadian producer and director who co-founded Salter Street Films.

The mismatched crews motivation usually revolves around fear and sex, especially for Stanley H. Tweedle (Brian Downey), a lowly grade four security guard and by accident captain of the Lexx, who hasn’t had sex for seven years. This is not helped by being stuck in the ship with Zev/Xev Bellringer (Eva Habermann (as Zev) a half lizard, half love slave who is programmed to love sex. The problem is that she only has eyes, and everything else, for Kai (Michael McManus). Stanley isn’t the only one who is after Zev as the last crew member is a robot head 790 (Jeffrey Hirschfield), who got caught in the same machine which transformed Zev, so he also as a rather active libido.

The new box set gathers together all four season of the show, previously only the first three were available in the UK.

Season one consisted of four, two hour, television films - I Worship His Shadow, Super Nova, Eating Pattern and Giga Shadow - which revealed the unfolding events, from the initial stealing of the ship in the first episode. The crew finally escape through to the Dark Universe, where they hope to find the original planet of the Brunnen-G. Escaping Brunnis the ship travels to a trash planet before having to return to the Light Universe and we see their final confrontation with the Giga Shadow and the completion of the prophecy.

The first series did well for guest stars with Tim Curry, Rutger Hauer and Malcolm McDowell appearing in episodes two to three respectively. But what makes the show really work is the combination of the crew. Brian Downey has the sort of face made for pathos, as the hard done by Stanley, a coward at heart, he spends his waking hours feeling sexually frustrated and impotent, and he is generally either being intimidated by the rest of the cast or made an object of fun.

Although it would have been easy to write Zev as an air head, the character is the most adventurous. Her desire to return Kai to a state of humanity drives much of the first season. Likewise, Michael McManus plays Kai as a sort of enigmatic Spock figure, with little compunction about killing.

Most of the comedy for the show comes from the competition between Stanley and 790 for Zev’s affection and their constant battle of minor wits. The Lexx (voiced by Tom Gallant) has the intelligence of your average dog.

A ship the size of Manhattan, Lexx is based on insect technology, looking very much like a dragonfly without its wings or a rather large phallic shape depending of your personal sensibilities.

On the strength of the movies production moved into creating a weekly show. With the twenty episodes of season two, the story arc tells of the crew trying to stop Mandrid from converting the whole of creation into Mandrid drones. Of course being Lexx this is also an excuse to shoot anything from a musical to a horror story, generally many surreal stories of sex and mayhem.

Having, finally escaped into the Dark Universe, to flee the destruction of the Light, season three's thirteen episodes, has the show make a step up in both the quality of its effects, but also of its concepts and writing.

In the Dark Universe the crew discover two planets of Fire and Water. Fire is ruled by Prince (Nigel Bennett) and wants the crew to destroy Water (the two are analogous to heaven and hell in their presentation), through the season the crew travel across the faces of both planets, often having to make moral choices and meeting dead acquaintances, who do not seem to remember them. At the end of the season Stanley returns from the dead, the two planets are destroyed with the souls of their inhabitants transferred to a planet which looks suspiciously like Earth.

It’s fair to say that what started as a funny, but low brow show, had found its golden age in the third season, Zev is replace with Xev and the crew die and are resurrected, it holds some of the more complex ideas of the show, but does not do this at the expense of the ribald humour that fans had come to expect.

Season four, the one which may be the selling point for the box set, as it was never released in the UK, is strangely the weakest season. Certainly the humour remains, but the show moves its focus away from matters of faith to politics, which differs from country to country, so were less successful as universal themes.

Most of the actors had been retained from season three and fulfil almost the same purpose with Prince still being the Machiavellian mover and shaker. There is much micky-taking of American’s and American politics, which might work well in Canada and America, but tended to leave its European audiences scratching their heads in confusion.

Now to prove that a reviewer’s life isn’t just one made up of parties and freebies the PR Company only provided the first three television movies for review. Apparently, the complete set contains all sixty-one episodes, spread across nineteen discs, of all four seasons as well as vague PR references to promised Making Of’s, Interviews and deleted scenes, but no real information as to how many or how long these will be.

The quality of the discs appears to be identical to the originally released three series. As a contemporary of shows like Babylon 5, the quality of the CGI has held up pretty well, especially as Lexx was made on a relative shoestring.

At times naughty, at other times just plain odd, Lexx was rarely anything less than entertaining. I enjoyed the show during its first run, so if you’re like me you’ll love to finally be able to get your hands on the complete package.


Charles Packer

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