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I Worship His Shadow

LEXX is a science fiction series that ran from 1997 to 2002. During its 4-season run, it dared to go where no other sci-fi series had gone before, with mixed success. My initial description of the series was that it was 'B-movie sci-fi' - and I still stand by that today. Some of the ideas used in the series are excellent, some of them are hideous - some of the execution is excellent, and some of it is hideous. If you're a fan of shows that don't always take themselves entirely seriously, and are willing to take the good with the bad, then LEXX is the show for you.

The four seasons of LEXX are very different from each other, so I'll be covering each one in a seperate article. This article will cover the first season - a set of 4 made-for-TV movies - the first of which happens to be entitled "I Worship His Shadow"...


LEXX 1.1: I Worship His Shadow

The action begins with, well, some action. A space battle is occurring high above the planet Brunnis 2. The last few warriors defending the planet from the invading forces of His Shadow make one desperate attempt to destroy the weapons platform that is decimating their planets surface. They fail, and the Brunnen-G civilisation is no more.

Cut to 2008 years later, and Stanley H. Tweedle, Security Guard 4th class, is receiving his wakeup call. This scene serves to provide some of the background information about the world LEXX is set in - and so to help you familiarise yourselves with the universe, I'll repeat some of it here. The LEXX universe isn't one universe, but in fact two. These are referred to as the Light Zone and the Dark Zone. As the disembodied hands on the TV screen explain, the two universes exist in the same place, at the same time. The Dark Zone has no rules, no sense, no order. We give thanks to His Divine Shadow, for his ceaseless vigilance, protecting our universe of light and order from the horrors and disorder of the Dark Zone. We worship His Shadow.

During the following scene, we are introduced to several other important characters for this season, as they make their way towards The Cluster on a prison transport. The Cluster is a planetoid that serves as the seat of power for His Shadow, from which he rules the League of 20,000 planets. The Cluster also appears to be the center of law and order for the League, as hundreds of prison transports make their way there each day. The characters introduced during this scene are Giggerota The Wicked - a murderous canibal clothed in other people's skin, Zev Bellringer - "The ugliest woman I've ever met", and Thodin, a young man in a box.

"Divine Shadow, today is a dark day for heretics and infidels throughout our universe. The Lexx will soon be fully-grown, and you will be able to send it on its voyage, bringing destruction upon all those who would oppose the League of 20,000."

"And how shall we know which planets shelter enemies of order, which planets shall be chosen for destruction?"

"That will be your task"

"Then my task is complete. I choose to destroy them all."

The Lexx, as the story reveals, is a bio-engineered insectile spacecraft, in the shape of a 20km-long dragonfly. And as indicated above, it has one main purpose in life - to destroy planets for its captain. This episode not only deals with the background to the series, but also how Stan, Zev, Giggerota, Thodin, Kai and a robot head known as 790 come to steal the Lexx - the most powerful force in the two universes - and escape the tyrannical rule of His Shadow.

The Lexx leaving the cluster

The Good

The setting and storyline. I've deliberately left a lot of the details out of this review, so you'll have something interesting to watch. Needless to say, it's very different from any other sci-fi series out there.
The characters. Each of the core characters are unique, having their own quirks and flaws that are played out over the course of the series.
The gore. With the credits including entries such as "Brain No. 14", it's an altogether quite gruesome story that isn't afraid to pull out all the stops to get its message across.

The Bad

The special effects. LEXX is ambitious with what it tries to do on its budget, and some of the effects are good, but overall it's the bad effects you're likely to remember the most. I guess you've just got to realise that they are working on a budget here that's much smaller than would have been given to a hollywood movie.

The Other One

The acting. Most of the acting by the main characters is good, but Kai's first scene can be somewhat painful to watch. Also for much of the episode, Zev's speech is dubbed, but the reasons for this become clear about halfway through as the action heats up.
The pacing. Some of it seems a bit slow, and I think the same could be said of the entire series. I'm not sure if this is deliberate or not, but for the first episode it seems a bit counter-productive.
The music. It's all original, mostly electronic music, giving the series it's own unique sound. Some of the music is good, setting up the atmosphere nicely, while some of it is bad, setting up the atmosphere poorly.
Kai's speech on the bridge of the Lexx. When I first saw this, I immediately thought of Batty's speech in Bladerunner ("I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."). It seems to me that the writers were hoping for the same spine-tingling performance from Michael McManus, but unfortunately his acting in this first episode isn't up to the task.

Stan: Take us away from here, take us out beyond the fronteir, take us someplace better!

LEXX 1.2: Supernova

With Stan, Zev, Kai and the others in control of the Lexx, they now have the question of what to do with it. For Zev, the answer is simple: They must travel to Kai's homeplanet, in hope of finding a cure for his medical condition.

Stan: Oh. You mean dear, departed, dead Kai?

Yes, that's right, one of the main characters spends most of the run of the show as a corpse. This is a rather important part of the storyline, so I'll try not to avoid spoiling it by going into the details. But to sum it up, Zev is a horny little slut who, when faced with the choice of Stan or Kai, would rather choose the dead slab of meat with neither the equipment nor the desire to perform sexually. And frankly, I don't blame her.

Needless to say they find Kai's homeworld, and proceed to get themselves into much trouble on the planet's surface, courtesy of the treacherous Giggerota and cheeky Poet Man. Eventually the planet's sun goes supernova, and the crew are lucky to escape with their lives. Or their deaths, as the case may be.

The Good

GiggerotaThe acting. Michael McManus has slipped into his role nicely, meaning that all the cast deliver excellent perfomances. In particular Ellen Dubin and Tim Curry shine out in their roles as Giggerota and Poet Man. It's a shame that they both get incinerated by the supernova, but fans of Giggerota will be glad to hear that this doesn't stop her making an appearance in seasons 3 and 4.
The setting and storyline. The entire planet is a giant museum piece, and with Poet Man as the self-imposed curator you'll be in for a tour like no other.
The special effects. They all seem spot on for this episode.
The suspense. All the characters find themselves in sticky situations, leaving you wondering exactly how they're going to make it out alive (Or dead, as the case may be)
The comedy. Far more pronounced than in the first episode, the funny parts make for excellent viewing. In particular Stan's scene in the memory catacombs stands out in my memory.
The shower scene. Well, what do you expect? Now, go somewhere private and erupt by yourself.

The Bad

A musical number with a dead man? Please, god no.
The ending. It just seems all rather contrived.

The Other One

Nothing, really. It's all good!
Well, apart from that musical bit, and the ending.

Lexx: The food was good there.

LEXX 1.3: Eating Pattern

Bog: Why not come and visit the secondary resource ..planet, Clagia. Some planets are good, other planets are not.

They know it's not going to be a very nice place, but with everyone on the Lexx feeling peckish (Including the Lexx himself), the crew find themselves with no choice but to visit garbage planet Clagia, where they meet Bog and his band of merry men. And if Bog and his men weren't trouble enough, they also run into a strange young woman by the name of Wist. Needless to say they all find themselves in a spot of trouble - Stan gets enslaved, Kai loses his head, and Zev almost gets turned into P P Pattern.

The Good

The Wicked Wists of the WestThe acting. Rutger Hauer is positively out of his mind in his role as Bog, and Doreen Jacobi makes an excellent accomplice in the form of Wist.
The finale. With Kai battling a 200-foot woman chomping on the side of the Lexx, it can't get much more out-of-this-world.

The Bad

I'm inclined to say that the story is weak. It's not exactly bad, but for me the characters and the setting far outweigh it.

The Other One

The pacing. It's possibly just where I've seen it a few times, but it does feel like it's one of the slower episodes.
The special effects. Of course they're never going to stand up to present-day effects, but I think a few of them could have done with some more polish.

Time Prophet: But before the rebirth, first came the clensing...

LEXX 1.4: Giga Shadow

Here we are then. The big finale of the series. With Kai running desperately low on the protoblood that fuels his body, the crew are forced to head back to the Cluster in order to look for more. But it's not the same Cluster that they left behind. A lot has changed in the last few months, and the fact that all the planets that they find are strangely deserted soon becomes the least of their concerns...

The Good

YottskryThe acting. Without a doubt, Malcom McDowell was born to play the part of Yottskry.
The characters. We learn some more about the history of Stan and Zev in this episode, as well as His Shadow.
The storyline. His Shadow really is a very bad man indeed...
The pacing. This time, it seems spot on.
790's poetry. He really loves Stan, he does.
Singing brains. Fantastic!
Squish. Aren't hand puppets great?

The Bad

It's the end of the series. Wah!

The Other One

Feppo and Smoor. Without a doubt LEXX dares to go where no-one has gone before, even if some of their excellent characters do make for uncomfortable viewing.
The special effects. Although most of it is great, the bits which aren't do make for humourous viewing.


Lexxtacular viewing. LEXX is truly a gem.

Why not tune in next time, for my review of season 2? Hopefully I'll be able to go into the specifics of some of the plotlines a bit more. I couldn't really do that with this review, as with only 4 episodes if I'd gone into too much detail there wouldn't be anything left for you to watch!

About this entry


Go Jeffrey go go go!

By Philip J Reed, VSc
November 09, 2006 @ 1:27 am

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I'm actually tempted to seek this out sometime. It seems your most common "complaints" are the slow pacing and poor special effects, but neither of those tends to bother me, usually...most of my favorite films are deliberately slow moving...

Also, in episode one, is the reason for Zev's dubbed speech something that actually has to do with the plot? Or is it something unrelated that we'll realize for another reason?

By Philip J Reed, VSc
November 09, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

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Also, in episode one, is the reason for Zev's dubbed speech something that actually has to do with the plot?

Yes - it will become apparent around halfway through the episode. Although thinking about it now, I'm not entirely sure whether it was dubbed.

By Jeffrey Lee
November 09, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

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Hurrah! For all it's flaws, I'm not ashamed to say I really love Lexx. It will probably always be an object of derision for "serious" sci-fi fans, but I don't care. I think it's great.

Actually, I can fully understand why many people are dismissive of this series at first glance. It has a certain "surface tackiness" which is hard to get by at first, but it's worth persevering with for the strong characters and the ongoing storylines. It's an entirely unique series, and occasionally a brilliant one.

The first episode is actually one of the best, as it has such a strong set-up. It almost seems a shame that having the established the bureaucratic nightmare of The Cluster, they immediately have to destroy it. I think overall my favourite season is the third, but I'll comment more on that when Jeffrey does his article on it.

Incidentally, I saw an episode of Stargate SGI a couple of years ago and they had a bad guy clearly just copied from His Divine Shadow, with the same voice, hood and minion-slaughtering tendencies. The cheeky beggars.

By Phil_A
November 09, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

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I think overall my favourite season is the third, but I'll comment more on that when Jeffrey does his article on it.

That may actually be my favourite one :) I love the setting they chose for it.

The next article (written as soon as I receive the last of my season 2 DVD's) will probably fill in a few facts about the main characters that I (deliberately) missed out of this article. So if you want to find about them by watching the show, I'd advise you to get your hands on a copy of the 1st season sometime soon.

By Jeffrey Lee
November 10, 2006 @ 12:42 am

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