Lexx - Series 1 Complete - The Movies (Slimpack)
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ALL FOUR Season 1 feature length movie episodes of this stunning series on 4 DVDs in superbly designed and very attractive slimline packaging complete with slipcase. Includes 1.1:I WORSHIP HIS SHADOW 1.2:SUPERNOVA 1.3:EATING PATTERN 1.4:GIGA SHADOW
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Now, looking for decent and engaging TV drama to watch, its potential called to me over the decades and could (imperfectly) see these apparent failings as real strengths. So, I bought the first series.
Just to set the scene, Lexx ran over four seasons between its debut in 1997 and its closure in 2002 and it follows the adventures of a small, eclectic band of misfits as they travel the universe in their enormous (and stolen) spaceship, The Lexx. The main characters are: Stanley Tweedle (Brian Downey) an ex-Security guard 4th class, Arch Traitor, agent of a failed rebellion, and accidental captain of the Lexx; Zev Bellringer (Eva Habermann), a renegade love slave and Kai (Michael McManus), an emotionless, undead assassin and last of the Brunnen-G.
They are supported by a small cast of associates such as 790 (a detached robot head)and Lyekka (Louise Wischermann), a cannibal and occasional Lexx crew member. They are chased by His Divine Shadow, the sinister galactic overlord and erstwhile owner of the Lexx and the first series essentially deals with the crew's efforts to escape his attention and find a safe haven.
Series 1 consists of four movie length (2 hour) episodes, hence the slightly confusing DVD description "Series 1 - the Movies". In point of fact, series 1 /is/ the movies so you don't need to be looking for "Series 1 - the episodes" (the four movies were sometimes aired /as/ eight 60m episodes but as far as I know the content was identical). The DVD contains a "making of" featurette for each of these movies but nothing else, not even sub-titles (this is the basis of my only complaint, for which see later) or commentaries.
Yes indeed, it is hugely camp and also not a little saucy, with plenty of sexual references (this is the edited version - the original was clearly deemed a little too naughty for general consumption - boo!). Stanley is of course fixated on Zev, but being (how can I put this kindly) a far from heroic hero in appearance as well as deed, the chances of him ever getting his end away with her have to be pretty low. Is it in any way flawed? I can't see it myself. The acting may be a little over the top but given the intentional campness of the whole thing, that is really just a part of the deal. Later seasons go even further off-kilter and I have yet to determine whether they stray too far into the world of parody but for the time being, if you accept this for what it is, there is nothing to complain about. Yes, the CGI SFX look a little obvious to our sophisticated eye, but remember, this was produced nearly 15 years ago and, at the time, it must have been groundbreaking. Certainly the "vision" that the series tries to deliver is galactic in size and if ever it fails, it can hardly be for a lack of imagination and effort.
One complaint is the sound repro in which the dialogue tends to fade somewhat behind the ambient sound effects and score. This may be down to the settings on my TV as it seems to be a common problem and I generally overcome it by engaging the sub-titles. Unfortunately there are none on this release - a big negative for me.
Another complaint is the extras. There's one "making of" documentary with each episode and they must be the least tempting productions I have ever seen. Picture, if you will, the producer, stood outside his office and flanked by two of his crew. They are huddled against the driving rain (one has his coat pulled over his head to shelter him) and the producer announces that he is contractually obliged to fill an additional 20m per episode with some sort of extra (he reiterates this point several times in the documentaries). What follows is (inside in the dry, mercifully) the three crew men talking fairly unenthusiastically for 20m about the production of the series with almost no footage from the production itself. I watched (sorry fast forwarded through) the first two of these so perhaps I missed the really exciting third or fourth "making of" documentary, but I didn't feel in any way tempted to find out. Oh well. I didn't buy it for the extras, thank god!
Put all that aside and what you have, however, is something a little special. I readily admit that I used the word "little" very deliberately: Lexx will never be looked on as a serious contender against Star Wars/Firefly/Star Trek (etc etc insert fave sci-fi epic here). It does fulfill a role as an enthusiastic, fairly well done epic, but its main strength is that has a sense of humour and doesn't try to take itself seriously.
Each Series has its' own female lead. "Eye-candy" definitely but the plot would not be the same without them.
I particularly enjoyed Xenia Seebergs' impression of a cluster lizard. More like an angry kitten! Ahhh! rather than Arggh! but I am a sucker for brown-eyed redheads.
Recommending Lexx is difficult. If mainstream Sci-Fi is to your taste then probably better to give this one a miss. If "Quirky" and "Oddball" feature in your viewing criteria it is definitely worth a try.
It has only a small main cast and most of them are pretty interesting characters. I could have done without Jiggorata though. She was just disturbing... And on the subject of disturbing there is a little too much brain eating and cannibalism in this show for my personal taste!! That said, it is totally engaging and entertaining. It's completely unpredictable and the most imaginative series I have ever watched
Another surprise for this series is the guest stars that pop up. Malcolm McDowall, Tim Curry and Rutger Hauer!! God only knows how they persuaded them into doing this show - but their appearances are entertaining nonetheless.
Give it a shot if you liked Farscape. It's not as poished as Farscape, and it certainly is not as easy to follow, but its worth watching just to see how weird weird can get!
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