Lexx: I Worship His Shadow
March 6, 2021 11:25 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Lexx, 1997-2002, one of the weirdest science fiction tv shows ever produced is now available on Prime.

Totaling four seasons with each season having a different style, theme, and format, the first season consist of four episodes, each two hours long.

The main characters of the series are:

Lexx, the most powerful starship in the universe, sentient and loyal to it's captain.

Stanley H. Tweedle, a stupid cowardly sex obsessed immoral janitor who lucks into become captain of Lexx.

Zev Bellringer, a former love slave with enhanced healing and combat abilities.

Kai, an undead rogue assassin.

790, a love crazed psychopathic robot head.

If you are a fan of Red Dwarf, I highly recommend giving Lexx a chance, but be warned that the first season is the slowest, and the show doesn't really hit it's stride until season two when the format changes to one hour episodes. This series is absolutely worth the investment, but you'll need to be patient early on.
posted by Beholder (23 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Team 790!
posted by sammyo at 12:47 PM on March 6, 2021

Do review Garm's comment a few years ago, discussions may not work well on certain planets with certain species at certain periods. I still think BugBomb is the coolest.

The show struggles to be problematic and edgy, the problem with edgy, like a really great very current joke is that the world moves on.
posted by sammyo at 1:00 PM on March 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

I vaguely remember the show as gay friendly, but I'm straight and maybe didn't notice some stuff, especially the hell episode. That I do not remember at all. I do remember Lexx had a musical episode a month before Buffy did it, which is interesting nerd trivia, just as Dho Who featured a sonic screw driver a month before Star Trek did.
posted by Beholder at 1:16 PM on March 6, 2021

Ah, I stopped watching this at some point (season 2??) because it sort of felt like it descended into farce. Loved it otherwise, though. Maybe I should have stuck it out?
posted by zeek321 at 1:39 PM on March 6, 2021

Ah, I stopped watching this at some point (season 2??) because it sort of felt like it descended into farce. Loved it otherwise, though. Maybe I should have stuck it out?

No, it's complete farce. In fact, it only gets farcier. Like I said, Red Dwarf is a really good comparison. In fact, one of the actors from Red Dwarf has a cameo in a season four episode.
posted by Beholder at 1:56 PM on March 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

Thank you, Prime! The missus has never seen Lexx. She might be a little confused that there is another Xev Bellringer in this world, but I think she’ll roll with it.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:24 PM on March 6, 2021

I know that Lexx is the older show, but I’ve always thought of this one as “extremely horny Farscape.”
posted by jordemort at 5:28 PM on March 6, 2021 [5 favorites]

I had no idea it had more than one season. I remember the cheap practical effects very fondly - brake caliper stun guns? Plastic spatula magical tools?

Kai is a walking Fremen Mirage, yeah?

Thanks for the heads-up!
posted by clew at 12:28 AM on March 7, 2021

Had no idea that this was a Canadian production. I kind of recall it from when I was a lost cause after losing my first post-college job in 2002 and had Sci-Fi Channel (which eventually became SyFy) turned on whenever I got up after having passed out each night.

Lexx wasn't as regular/ ubiquitous as the syndicated Star Trek shows, but it showed up as reliably as Xena and Brisco and stuff.

I'm fond of it, but can't recall anything about it other than the ship and Xenia Seeberg/ Xev Bellringer, and that's only because "Xev Bellringer" is a nom de porno that someone used (and I don't think they looked anything like Seeberg?) that stuck in my head without my realizing where they got the name from. Zev and Xev hindered my googling and hazy recollections.

Thanks Beholder! Trying to track down the show now.
posted by porpoise at 1:11 AM on March 7, 2021

Strap in. This is a weird post, for a weird show.

Saturday I woke up with the Lexx's speech from this show's intro in my head ("I am the Lexx, the most powerful destructive force in the two universes...") and it got me thinking about the show for the first time in a while. Then I came here a few hours later and saw that a rewatch was just starting. Weird, right? That kind of thing happens often enough in my life that I always joke to my girlfriend that I'm psychic. I mean, I don't really believe it. And yet...

This show meant a lot to me, maybe more than it meant to its creators judging by how they descended into gross self-parody in that truly agonizing final season. I made my girlfriend a Lexx cake for one of her birthdays, along with a scratch-built Lexx model. (She was as obsessed with the show as I was.) In times of utter hopelessness, like before I'm heading into yet another miserable surgery or something, I've been known to sing myself the Brunnen-G song. ("Yo-ay-oh...") In fact, this show even influenced my perception of time.

See, if time is an infinite loop, which hardly seems impossible, maybe some people, like the Time Prophet, can dimly remember things that have happened before. They're not predicting anything. They're just remembering what's already occurred, before it happens again. So, maybe it wasn't just coincidence that I woke up with the Lexx speech in my head, just before this rewatch started. Maybe I dimly remembered this rewatch starting untold numbers of times before. (Look, I'm definitely not saying I'm a Time Prophet. But, do I have hazy, unpredictable flashes of futures past? The jury's out.)

I always thought this show was sure to find a Trek-like cult. I think it's just about as good as the original Trek, in the sense that one episode is kind of mediocre and the next is just embarrassing and then the one after that is so great you can't believe it. (I'd argue that TOS's notorious final season is still better than Lexx's final season, though.) But that cult never really happened, and if the show hasn't found a new fandom during lockdown I have a hunch it never will. I haven't seen it in years, but entire episodes are burned into my brain forever. It was a wonderfully strange show, so dark and twisted and horny. A big, multiverse-spanning saga realized with cheap props from Spencer's Gifts, and CGI that looked a little dodgy even then. The guest stars were just the best. Malcolm McDowell, Tim Curry, Dieter Laser, and all these great character actors with weird accents and weird faces. On any other show Brian Downey as a horny, cowardly security guard would be lucky to get a few minutes as comic relief, but here he's the show's weird, beating heart.

I don't know if there's enough of a following here to maintain a full rewatch, but I'll definitely be checking in as we go along. I truly adore this show... Just as I did in futures past, and just as I will in the futures yet to be...
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:28 AM on March 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

It's time to dig out the Brigadoom soundtrack again.....
posted by detachd at 7:24 AM on March 7, 2021

Produced in my home city, Halifax. I remember trying to get a job as a writer on the show. I still have the bible somewhere in my house, too. I remember the script I wrote had a lot of similarities with a later season episode, so I know I had the feel right, but boy was it disappointing not getting that job.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:56 PM on March 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

FWIW, GhostintheMachine, the show was written pretty consistently by the three guys who co-created it. Even if you turned in a killer script, they probably weren't that interested in outside writers.

I'd really like to read that series bible! Any chance you could post it online somewhere? Given that the series doesn't even have its own website anymore (last I checked) I have a hunch you wouldn't have to worry about a takedown notice.

My previous rambling, weird and supremely self-indulgent comment embarrasses me like nine different ways. What can I say, I was an absolute dork for this show. For all its flaws, it's one of my most beloved things. I even bought my girlfriend some of the original Brigadoom lyrics, hand-written by the composer. Around the time the show ended he was just selling them on Ebay for like $10 a pop!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:20 PM on March 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Wow, speaking of things I never expected to pop up on fanfare...

I have a funny relationship with this show (does anyone not?). I'm pretty super-normie these days (straight, married, two kids, etc...), but I like to think that my midnight consumption of shows like this as a horny Canadian teenager helped shaped me into (I hope!) a pretty open minded person (Sex TV is another one that springs to mind). Lexx is a show I'd almost rather not revisit just to avoid finding out it's aged badly.

It is so Canadian though, isn't it? I don't know what it is. Canadian media always has this particular tone to it, whether it's the Littlest Hobo or Cronenberg. Both clinically distant yet empathic. Both unsentimental yet humanistic.
posted by Alex404 at 12:40 AM on March 8, 2021

Glad to find out I'm not the only one who sometimes sings the Brunnen G Fight Song during times of stress.
posted by seasparrow at 1:52 AM on March 8, 2021 [4 favorites]

As someone who's a regular (if not dependably long-winded) commenter on every Trek thread, I'm absolutely no stranger to occasionally problematic space opera TV. I watched the first episode last night, and while I can see why some people have a problem with it, I can also see why it's got its own tiny but irrepressible cult. Trying to describe the overall design aesthetic for the show, the best I could come up with was "Brazil (the Terry Gilliam movie), the space opera, kind of like David Lynch's Dune, but more Cronenberg-esque, on a tight budget." Sort of. And Zev's "trial" in which we see the awful little shit who she was supposed to be arranged-married to goes a long way toward forgiving the implicit fanservice of the character, as does her obviously barely tolerating Stanley just to get the hell off that planet. And Horny Robot Head, and undead assassin who looks like a cross between the Cure's Robert Smith and a random spare Bowie persona, and really, just all of it. Plus, Barry Bostwick as the sexy rebel guy who you think is going to be the protagonist, plus the cannibal lady, plus... just all of it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:49 AM on March 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

I watched Lexx while at uni, and I just loved the weirdness. The world needs more joint German & Canadian productions. And I totally sing the Brunnen G song to myself occasionally lo these many years later.
posted by Marticus at 4:21 PM on March 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Jeez, I just went down a rabbit hole of reading up on this show, and now I feel embarrassed about waxing nostalgic about it's Canadian humanism. It was funny, but man is this show is dark. Turns out I can't read about planets and universes getting destroyed without getting a bit upset. I think I need to watch Dead Ringers again or something to chill out.
posted by Alex404 at 10:16 PM on March 8, 2021

Jordemort, I've always thought that Farscape is "extremely horny Farscape."
posted by Mr. Excellent at 11:12 PM on March 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

It warms my heart to hear that other people sing "Yo Ay Oh"! It's a fight song for a fight you know you can't win, and it's kind of inspiring and despairing at the same time.

We saw IWHS after we'd seen the second season (The Sci-Fi Channel aired it all out of order) and it's striking how relatively serious this is compared to what came later. The level of invention and world-building here is just nuts. Like, Zev's transformation flies by as you're watching it, but think about just how much weird, complicated stuff is packed into a couple of minutes of screen time. She was going to be programmed as a love slave but a cluster lizard crashed in, Zev's DNA fused with the cluster lizard and her love slave programming was transferred to one of the cyborg guards, who was decapitated and become a head who was madly in love with her. While all that's going on you've got Barry Bostwick with a goddamned Bug Bomb up his nose, and all this other stuff too. It should all be totally confusing and exhausting, but somehow it works and you never feel like you're being overwhelmed by exposition or you're missing vital details.

I think there is something humanist in the show's messiness, the way its characters can do terrible things in one episode and noble things in another episode, without it seeming contradictory. These ridiculous people had surprising depths. Stanley Tweedle is a selfish, cowardly creep with layers. Something I realized as the series went on was that its creators apparently either didn't understand or didn't care how conventional dramatic structure works. That was both a liability and one of the show's secret strengths. There's one kind of terrible episode in the final season, when the Lexx gang is on Earth, and they write Stanley out of a few scenes by having him go take a nap on somebody's lawn. It's a funny development, because of course nobody's ever told Stanley he can't do that, but it also demonstrates how these guys were totally making it all up as they went along, scene by scene. That randomness could get really frustrating at times, but when it was working, like it did here, you got a show that was truly like nothing else.

I liked what I saw of Farscape, but it was a whole other deal and I never thought the comparisons were valid. Farscape felt like a fun, quirky sci-fi show that was written and produced by TV professionals, but Lexx was more like something that fell out of a crazy person's head.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:27 PM on March 8, 2021 [5 favorites]

I'm excited for a re-watch, thanks for I caught some of this show when it aired, but not all of it. I feel the need to brag that I once attended a rave in the sound studio when there were still set pieces hung up!
posted by Gor-ella at 12:34 PM on March 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

I really like this crazy, stupid show!

Farscape felt like a fun, quirky sci-fi show that was written and produced by TV professionals, but Lexx was more like something that fell out of a crazy person's head.

I got a big laugh out of that. That is the most accurate description I have ever seen for Lexx.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:48 PM on March 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

When you look at the creators' tongue-in-cheek writing rules for Lexx, you can see they were shooting for an "anti-Star Trek":
1. There shall be no rubber-faced aliens.

2. All creatures possess a sense of humour.
3. There is no Prime Directive.

4. There are no life-forms more intelligent than humans, unless and until such a life-form does the requisite script writing.

5. All planets worth landing all have human (or reasonably close) life-forms.
6. All humans (or reasonable facsimilies) speak the same language.

7. Humans must physically travel to other locations. There shall be no time travel because it has been done before, and done before, and done before, and done before...
8. Technology will rarely work as advertised.
9. No one shall ever defeat an enemy because they are good shots and the enemy are bad shots.

10. Stanley Tweedle shall never lose his hat.

They said they made it in the same mold as the 'novelty shows' they loved growing up with: Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, Adams Family, Beverly Hillbillies, etc. I think that's why I love it. To me those shows weren't novelty shows, they were the only *interesting* shows.
posted by jabah at 3:51 PM on March 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

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