Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Sc-Fi TV! - ‘Lexx’ (‘I worship His Shadow’ – Lexx 1.1)

Channel Five premiered this slice of weird sci-fi (on terrestrial TV) about ten years ago and thanks to on-line dvd rental I’ve recently re-discovered the four TV movies that were first shown. Apparently they can only be rented now as they are out of print, this is a real shame as this series is still fun to watch.
Millennia from now (or millennia in the past according to the Time Prophet), humanity fought and won the Insect Wars, an upshot of which is that they now live under the iron dictatorship of His Shadow’s Divine Order. The prophecy says that the Divine Order will be destroyed at the hands of the Brunnen-G but His Shadow destroyed their home world 2000 years ago and the corpse of Kai (last of the Brunnen-G) now serves His Shadow as an undead assassin. As we join the story one of His Shadow’s plans is about to come to fruition. The Lexx (an insect spaceship with the power to destroy a planet) is almost fully-grown and ready to embark on its mission to bring order to heretic worlds. Once this mission has been carried out, His Shadow’s control over the Light Universe will be complete. In what can only be described as a comedy of errors the Lexx leaves the Cluster (planetary seat of power for His Shadow) but not controlled by the forces of Order. Instead; it is captained by Stanley Tweedle, the most cowardly security guard on the Cluster. He is desperate for female attention and is obsessed with Zev, a genetically engineered love slave. Unfortunately for Stanley, Zev cannot stand him and only has eyes for Kai, the undead assassin who regains his memories and seeks to fulfil the prophecy. The last member of the group is 790, a robot head that is madly in love with Zev (having received the programming meant for her). Fleeing the forces of His Shadow, they make their way through a fractal core into the Dark Zone (the polar opposite of the Light Universe) and it is here that they must find a new home…
Some sci-fi shows seek to depict alien life using special effects; others will develop elaborate histories. Special effects in ‘The Lexx’ are sometimes embarrassingly clunky (think ‘Blake’s 7’) but it’s alien settings are made believable through gratuitous violence and scantily clad women (don’t ask me why but this always seems to work!) Eva Habermann (Zev) and Brian Downey (Stanley) give a very good rendition of un-requited love versus utter contempt. As an emotionless undead assassin, Brian McManus (Kai) has the easiest (hardest?) acting role out of the three but makes up for this by getting chopped into pieces in various amusing ways.
If you can manage not to wince at some of the effects ‘Lexx 1.1’ makes for an enjoyable (if not very demanding) hour and a bit and sets things up very nicely for the next three TV movies.

Eight out of Ten

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