Aeon Flux: Full Season
November 23, 2020 7:28 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Æon Flux is a mysterious and amoral secret agent from the country of Monica. Her motives or background are left unexplained, as are those of her antagonist/love, Trevor Goodchild.

Why the Aeon Flux animated series was so groundbreaking: There are certain elements that can't be contained within descriptions of the story. Trevor is often the closing narrator of the episodes, and he emphasizes thoughtfulness and reason in his appeals for a fascist state. Aeon is his moral opposite, and while he questions whether what he's doing is truly wrong, she's always there to assure him that it absolutely is. They share the knowledge of human weakness and cruelty, but it takes them to different conclusions on every point.

“You Have Only Half the Picture”: Syzygies in Æon Flux: The show’s creator, Peter Chung, sees this as an attempt at building the visual equivalent of the “psychological and formal complexity” of writers like “Borges, Nabokov, Robbe-Grillet and Kafka,” and, despite the weight behind those names, the comparison is apt, especially to Borges. Æon Flux’s run on Liquid Television is a collection of dense, labyrinthine miniatures that are constantly pulling the rug out from beneath themselves. In their brevity and abstraction, their desire to surprise above all else, they approximate poems, albeit prose poems – working with more rigid, logical structures.

Peter Chung Interview on Monican_Spies: I've loved the medium of animation all my life, but was never able to understand why it was used almost exclusively to tell children's stories. My favorite writers are Borges, Nabokov, Robbe-Grillet and Kafka. I wanted to know if I could convey through animation a visual equivalent of that kind of psychological and formal complexity. The filmic equvalent of the structural rigor of Pale Fire or Jealousy is something I'd like to achieve some day.
posted by toastyk (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was working my way through AF online, after going decades since its run on MTV. After I moved onto the longer episodes, I had to give it up. Nothing against the show, but its deep, too deep for me. Also, while the animation is mindblowing, the barren scapes of Bregna and Monica are a little too oppressive for me. If AF has one weakness, it's its worldbuilding (probably not Peter's goal, I admit). The barren scapes of Bregna and Monica are hardhitting stylistically. But at the same time I wonder how anyone can live in those places?
posted by Stuka at 7:51 PM on November 23, 2020

I actually don't think the show is that deep? I think of Peter Chung + the other creators as playing around a lot with the format of animation, and pushing boundaries on what's possible for storytelling, but as depth, it seems to be your basic opposites attract in a sci-fi universe.

I actually came into the series without any idea of what it was about, and all the kinkiness of everything really threw me for a loop at first. I really like the same kind of writers Chung likes - Kafka, Borges, etc, and I think that really shows up in the storytelling. I thought the aesthetic really reminiscent of The Matrix, and when I looked it up, apparently Peter Chung directed Matriculated, one of the Animatrix shorts.

Most hilarious thing about Peter Chung is that he did Aeon Flux as a direct reaction to working on Rugrats and being limited by the fact that they're babies.
posted by toastyk at 1:15 PM on November 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

Here's a pretty recent Vogue interview with Peter Chung: “As an artist, what you find is it’s actually very difficult to draw realistic clothing, and even if you do it, your drawing then becomes more about what the character is wearing rather than the character itself,” says Chung. “It’s also another reason why you see, for example, in superhero comic books they wear skin-tight outfits. It is to show off the form of the body.”
posted by toastyk at 1:18 PM on November 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

So I was in my teens early 20s when this first came out, and fascinated by these tiny episodes with their surreal art style and non linear plots. I seem to recall that sometimes Aeon or Trevor would die in an episode, but then next time they were back again, which I could never wrap my head around. I was always hoping to be invited to whatever friends house that had cable so I could catch an episode here or there on MTV. Never dreamed that one day I would have the chance to see them all.

And I can, because I live in the USA and I have a subscription to CBS All Access. Two years ago I would never have guessed that it would become a streaming service I actually value. I subscribed very grudgingly to it in order to get access to Star Trek. Even so, if it had been more than $5/month I probably wouldn't have done it. Then after Picard, I found that Discovery was actually an OK show, and it is getting better. Then I chanced upon the strange charms of Bob hearts Abishola. Next I saw that all of Reno 911 was available. I am continually surprised how much I watch shows on CBS All Access, when I was sure it was going to be a failure.
posted by seasparrow at 12:40 PM on November 27, 2020

I remember Liquid Television popping up on graveyard shift New Zealand TV in the early 90s, and it was like an oasis: vibrant life in the middle of an otherwise desolate landscape. Aeon Flux was the best part, confusing and fascinating and just so different.
posted by Paragon at 4:48 PM on December 3, 2020

« Older His Dark Materials: The Cave...   |  Ghosts (UK): Series 1... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments