Cult Classic science fiction series Lexx: Tales from the Darkzone is a quirky series of unparalleled weirdness. It is set in a strange universe where two parallel universes exist side by side. The 'lightzone' was the universe where all sugary goodness originated, while the 'Darkzone' was a universe of evil and depravity. From the Darkzone came a sinister race of insects ruled by a tyrant known as His Divine Shadow. Lexx is set in a time after the shadows have overthrown the Lightzone, but follows a quirky selection of oddball characters that have stolen the shadows most powerful weapon (The Lexx) and fled into the Darkzone.
The interchange of banter between these characters is what has made Lexx such an enduring show. My favorite character has to be 790; a disembodied robot head that has accidentally received the mental programming of a love slave and subsequently become unyielding in his infatuation with crew member Zev. Zev was; of course, the person that was originally supposed to receive the love slave mind programming after she was found guilty of being an unattractive woman who treated her husband disrespectfully. However before her escape she did find her body transformed into the perfect female form and so she has a throbbing biological urge for any male with a pulse; except for Stanley Tweedle whom she oddly can't stand. Oh and we can't forget Kai; the last member of an ancient race who Zev has developed strong urges for despite the fact that he doesn't have a pulse. You see Kai is dead; he was killed thousands of years ago by one of the Divine Shadows after it was prophesied that someone from Kai's race would end their tyranny forever. Wiping out the entire race would have been a wise move except that His Shadow decided to keep Kai around as a reanimated assassin. After retrieving his memories Kai was able to break free of his mental programming and help the crew of The Lexx. Despite his generally noble intentions he cannot reciprocate Zev's love due to the fact that he's; you know, kind of dead! As such he has no desires or feelings beyond "They want him dead; he's dead. I go sleep now." This is something that annoys the heck out of Stanley because he's a man, and so obviously he has noticed the girl with the body of a love slave. Yet even though he is the last man in the known universe, he is the one man in the entire universe that she doesn't want. More than that, she's passing him up for a dead guy!
He does have an ace up his sleeve though; simply because within his body is a living creature that keys the Lexx, and the Lexx is the most powerful weapon of mass destruction in either universe. It's also a giant talking dragon fly that our crew lives inside; just in case my description has not yet been peculiar enough for you.
This boxed set contains the first two films in the Lexx Saga. Lexx 1.1: I Worship His Shadow is the origin story that explains my brief synopsis in greater detail. Meanwhile the second film; Lexx 1.2: Supernova is the strongest Lexx movie to date.
I Worship His Shadow sets you up for what you can expect from the show, and if I'm honest will help you to realize why Lexx was never a show to receive mainstream popularity. Straight from the bat Lexx is a show that looks bad. I mean really bad! The effects are as cheap as anything in the original Star Trek and all of the backgrounds are done with poorly integrated Matt paintings. As a result nothing in the show looks particularly authentic. However you cannot escape the simple truth that the shows visual style is unlike anything you have seen before. Every bit of technology in the show is insect based, including the spaceships. It makes for an intriguing look that has ensured Lexx has retained its small fan base over many years. The Lexx itself is a very phallic looking dragonfly and as you can imagine the sight of a giant planet destroying dragonfly spaceship is not something you will encounter anywhere else.
Unfortunately most else you could ask for from this first film is terrible. The writing is unnecessarily nasty, and the violence way too unpleasantly portrayed. You also have a selection of dialogue where the highlight is a line from a disembodied robot head. "What kind of a robot are you anyway?" "I'm a robot that wants to live in your underpants!"
Mercifully the actors seem to have realized what they were getting into and done an admirable job of hamming it up for the fans. Jeffery Hirshfield is phenomenal as the android 790; uttering lines such as the aforementioned underpants quote with worrying sincerity. Meanwhile Michael McManus monotone delivery of his lines makes Kai a supremely cool character, and Brian Downey's Stanley Tweedle was both relatable and funny in equal measures. Eva Habermann concludes with a very playful performance as the shows eye candy character Zev.
Supernova takes place directly after the events of that film. The crew of the Lexx are stranded in the Dark Zone after escaping his divine shadow through a fractal core. Kai is running low on Proto Blood and so needs to stay in suspended animation, except for in emergencies. Zev decides to try and find Brunas; the original home world of Kai's race, in the hope that they can find some information on resurrecting him. Not that there's any reason to believe that his people would be able to reverse the death of a person who died thousands of years ago; after the people left the planet to live in a different universe entirely, but it's the only shot they have! Oh, and Zev's in love, which excuses all kinds of foolishness. Anyway their problems are far from over once they find the planet. It seems that one of the good citizens drank far too much at the leaving party, and subsequently slept through the evacuation. This guy; whom we come to know as Poet Man (Tim Curry), went insane, and even though he is long dead has rewired the entire planet's computer system. Oh yeah, and the reason the Brunnen-G evacuated was because the planet's sun had died, and even though for thousands of years this has proven harmless, there's still the concern that it could explode at any moment.
What this second film in the Lexx saga does is to tone down the decidedly gross sense of humor that was so ever prevalent in the original film. It still has its moments, but there is a lot less gore and as a result the black comedy tends to be a lot funnier.
The path that Supernova goes down instead is to highlight the more; ahem, sensual side of the Lexx universe. Largely this is just harmless flirtation with the audience that can make a joke out of the universes sexuality. If you're looking for examples then there's an attempt by the brains of the previous Divine Shadows to get Giggerota the Cannibal on their side by showing her the planet of the milk fed boys. Or Stanley's unfortunate incident when a computer malfunctions; registers him as a woman, and tries to inseminate him. It's all funny, very sick, but also very funny. The thing is that there is one scene that goes a little further. This DVD is the uncut version, and so a shower scene involving Zev has been extended. What was once a pretty well done scene is now a full frontal scene of nudity with no purpose to the film beyond; well beyond pleasing the male audience members. I realize that this is not going to be a con with everyone, but I honestly felt that when they removed the subtlety of this scene then they hurt the film overall.
After that it really is business as usual for the Lexx crew; inhabiting as they do a typically surreal world of insect technology, fascinating visuals, and awful dialogue. However out of the initial 4 films, Supernova is by far my favorite. The bad visuals; sitting on top of bad Matte paintings, didn't seem nearly as bad in the context. It wasn't that they were necessarily better, but just that they don't stand out as much within the brighter colors of the episode. It allows for some of the most atmospheric imagery of the series, particularly the buildings located on Brunas that are designed as giant, Gigeresq. heads.
However the main reason that this is my favorite episode is for the acting. The cast of the original film; or the survivors at least, all return. Yet I would like to go on, because I'm sure I failed to give any real credit to Ellen Dubin, who has so much fun overplaying the wild evil of Giggerota that she makes the minor character one of the episodes best. She can't be the best though because Tim Curry is so gloriously perfect as Poet Man that he defies belief. As the Poet Man hologram appears from time to time; interrupting important messages and laughing sadistically, it's Curry's experienced sense of timing that makes the character the series best. Not just in this film, or in the first series, but the Lexx universe is yet to feature a character as memorable as the stupendously over the top Poet Man.
The disk starts off with 2 trailers for the series; at least that's what the menu states but I wouldn't really call them trailers. The Sci-fi User's Guide is actually a featurette that was shown between programs on the Sci-fi channel. It sees quotes from the cast and crew but in the end is not informative enough to be interesting, and too informative to be intriguing.
The Kult TV Trailer is the ad for the video release, about 30 seconds long but again is not particularly interesting.
The Documentary subtitles itself 'Extra Stuff' and that's all it is, a little filler designed to make the disk look better. It's interesting to see the original Lexx promo, but other than that it's just 3 people talking about themselves.
That's it, those 3 measly things, and the usual DVD Rom bits that equal a few links and stuff. So it's not the most feature packed disk on the market!
The first extra you come across is a stills gallery, which, in my opinion, is just a boring waste of DVD space.
There's yet another documentary into this episode, the writers/directors get together to discuss the episode, and they do it in great detail. However they say themselves that they are doing it purely out of contractual obligations, and it shows. Definitely worth a watch, but not enough to carry a DVD by itself.
Finally there's the traditional biographical information; which is interesting the first time you saw it on IMDB, but is hardly worth bothering with on the DVD.
Both films look surprisingly good for made for TV fantasy films. There's no grain at all on the print; no dirt and nothing else to distract you. However it's still not exactly Crystal Clear.
The audio is fine. It has no moments where it loses sound, and there's no noise on the film, yet I personally found that it sounds ever so slightly muffled at times.
the first two Lexx films are essential if you are interested in the show at all. However the series is not exactly the greatest thing on Earth. One of these films focuses a little too much on unnecessary nastiness, while the other is one of the few good Lexx movies. The DVDs are a little basic though.
A "Light Universe" and a "Dark Zone" keep good and bad apart for the characters of Lexx, even though it's often hard to tell the difference between the two in this offbeat and unique sci-fi show that delights in its own nastiness. The show's Canadian creators, "Supreme Beans" Paul Donovan, Lex Gigeroff, and Jeffrey Hirschfield--partnered with German money and studio facilities--intended every episode to be, in their words, "a nasty adventure". With flashes of nudity and surgical gore, and a collection of extreme hairstyles and accents, the overall look is often akin to a sci-fi Eurotrash. Aboard the stolen 10-kilometre-long spaceship Lexx (designed to look like a dragonfly) are the "Dirty Three-and-a-Half": insufferable coward Stanley H Tweedle (Brian Downey), the Edward Scissorhands clone and 2000 years-dead Kai (Michael McManus), decapitated and lovestruck robot head 790 (voiced by writer Hirschfield), and the skimpily wardrobed Zev (19-year-old Eva Habermann). It's with the last of these characters that the show generated its main audience and proved itself totally indifferent to regular boundaries of TV formatting. A disregard both for genre conventions and good taste makes the show a constant series of surprises. --Paul Tonks On the DVD: The jam-packed pilot "I Worship His Shadow" is full of startlingly graphic imagery, skimpily clad women, and literally wall-to-wall computer graphics. TV sci-fi has never been introduced so explosively. "Super Nova" has the crew of the Lexx hunting for Kai's homeworld, and drawn to a planet by a holographic message from Poetman (Tim Curry). Essentially, the story has little to do with the overall arc, but is an experiment in format and testing boundaries (the most obvious example being Zev's naked shower scene). There's also a nutty song and dance moment for Kai and Zev, a cameo of the director floating in space, and Curry chewing scenery with gusto. The first movie's disc features a Sci-fi Channel trailer of interviews for the series, a behind-the-scenes documentary introducing the show's creators and their irreverent sense of humour, plus DVD-ROM Screen Saver and Weblinks. The second movie's disc features a gallery of 12 stills, cast biographies, and another documentary which this time looks at the enormous CGI work put into the first season. This is where the digital transfer really pays off, and the FX-heavy show looks gorgeous in crisp definition as opposed to the general murkiness of TV broadcast or the VHS releases. --Paul Tonks