Why am I writing an analysis and exploration of the concept of Lexx...?
Because in thirty-one years of reading, writing, and watching sci-fi - on the big screen, on the small screen, and on video - I have only one other time come across anything so innovative, iconoclastic, anarchic and downright sexy. It is, quite simply, sublime.
Initially, I Worship His Shadow introduces us to the grim, constrictive reality that, propaganda aside, comprises the truth of this part of the Light Universe, a continuum in which the slightest infringement of the rules can be punished by a painful, lingering death. Where if you're female and happen to be born on the wrong planet, you can be condemned to be a sex slave to an entire seminary (how many men are we talking, here?) for objecting to your (unchosen and probably unwanted) husband's opinion. Where the descendants of the race that saved humanity, that led your ancestors to victory in the Insect Wars can be wiped out without a second's thought by the ruler of the League of 20,000 Planets. (I wept. It was brave, it was futile, but they had no choice. What else could they do, except give in and succumb without a fight? And as we discover later, the Brunnen-G did not meekly submit to fate...)
Comparisons with some of the less admirable periods in earth's history are inevitable. The Cluster's legal system is on a par, at least, with the Spanish Inquisition under Torquemada, but chillingly inhuman in its cold, dispassionate assembly-line dispensing of 'justice'. And the bright-eyed little darlings receiving their awards somehow reminded me of what little I know about the Hitler Youth. The city itself is bleak, grey and gloomy, more reminiscent of a prison (or my university campus) than anywhere people could actually live, although, of course, we did not see a great deal of it, and what was shown were working areas rather than living accommodation (except for Stan's cubicle, which looked rather like a Japanese capsule hotel). Nevertheless, it would probably be safe to assume that citizen's domiciles not be significantly more cheery or attractive!
Personally, I would NOT want to even take a weekend break here, let alone make it my home. So why didn't I switch off? What's the appeal?
Probably the most disparate group of beings you could ever imagine. We have an incompetent yet strangely endearing idiot who has accidentally managed to acquire the biokey to the 'most powerful destructive force in the two universes'. A superbly beautiful woman who is part love-slave, part Cluster Lizard, and somehow at the same time almost wholly herself, strong, positive and determined. A robot head who is unbelievably intelligent, mistakenly and desperately in love, insanely possessive, but who can do little about it because his body was eaten by a Cluster Lizard. (Interesting thought, here. If Zev is part Cluster Lizard herself, is 790's response to her partly masochistic?) A huge phallic bug with a gorgeous voice, the personality of an infant, and the ability to destroy practically anything in its path (it's probably just as well it turns out to be such a sweetie!). And an apparently indestructible member of a legendary race who has been dead for two thousand years.
However, before they all come together... Complete mayhem erupts in Cluster city.
It's all Thodin's fault. If he hadn't had that nifty little BugBomb hiding up in his sinuses (that HAD to hurt!) he'd have been eaten by Cluster Lizards, Zev would currently be serving time on her back in the seminary, Stan would be dead, the amnesiac Kai would still be killing people His Shadow didn't like, and the Lexx would be destroying planets left, right, up, down and centre....
So through a bizarre sequence of mishaps, coincidences and synchronicities, this even more bizarre group of anti-heroes manages to escape through a fractal core (from its description, it would appear to be something along the lines of a black hole) into the parallel continuum known as the Dark Zone - although 'escape' might be entirely the wrong term! The Dark Zone is a universe of 'depravity, evil and chaos' - hmmm. Sounds rather like the one they've just left....
It is interesting (because it confirms the Lexx as a character in its own right) that it is made clear at this early stage in the story that the Lexx is in fact capable of independent action - in a limited way, at least. It can act to preserve its own life, by destroying the MegaShadow, although it is explained that it is only able to do so because the voyage through the fractal core has resulted in a loss of some of its memory. Does this mean that every time it travels through a core (and it is a core, not the core) it will lose more memory? We will have to wait and see.
There is a wonderful sense of continuity running through the Dark Zone Stories. Events that happened thousands of years ago are shown to be relevant to what is happening now, and raise speculations about what is to happen in the future. And in a genre that has seen so many different types of character, ranging from the mind-bendingly bland through the predictable to the unbelievably over the top, it is both refreshing and exciting to find a group of beings who are wild, wacky, believable and completely off the wall. And fabulous, strong, independent females! True and valid role models for women everywhere (though I have to confess to a slight preference for Giggerota over Zev. But then, I would. She reminds me of me... You have been warned!)
Questions That Should Probably Be Left Unasked!
Argon Protopi is condemned to have his individual life terminated, but some of his vital organs are to be used in the creation of 'robotic drones'. Presumably, then, organs 'donated' as punishment by people such as Stan would be used for the same purpose. But whatever use would a robot have for testicles?! (Or don't I want to know...?)
Are Thodin and his pretty young sidekick related? They look rather like father and son...
Stanley H Tweedle. Stan isn't a hologram, even if he does share the odd character flaw with Arnold Rimmer, so what does the H stand for?
Enquiring minds want to know...
© 1999 WordWrights.