SURPRISE SURPRISE

Stan (Brian Downey) being embraced, but not by his object of desire

LEXX's Stanley Tweedle, the
irrepressible Brian Downey, reflects
on girl-chasing in Space

by Ian Spelling

Selected from Starburst #266

Despite its very European tone, ribald humor, outlandish stories and frisky nature, American audiences apparently both get and appreciate LEXX. "You're actually talking about me, aren't you?" wonders Brian Downey, who co-stars on the series as Stanley Tweedle, sex-starved captain of the LEXX. "I was never apprehensive about America getting us. I think I would have been disappointed had people in the United States not gotten us. We are a different kind of show. We are not trying to rival anybody else.

"As soon as I read the very first script back that (creator-producer) Paul Donovan sent me in 1994 or 1995 - when his idea was to make a feature that would spin off into a series based on that feature - I thought, 'Look, this is going to work. If somebody doesn't get this, they've just got their head in the sand.'

First-hand feedback

"And here we are, still doing it. I go into the chat rooms every once in a while, obviously not as myself, and I spend some time talking to the fans online. So I have some idea of the response. There are millions of pages on the web devoted to LEXX and they're in all different languages. So we've definitely made some kind of a connection with viewers."

In the United States, LEXX airs on Sci-Fi Channel, which just launched what it refers to as Season Two of LEXX. Those actually involved call it Season Three, which takes into account the four LEXX television movies that were originally produced (and aired in England as LEXX: The Dark Side and in America as Tales from a Parallel Universe). Whatever one wishes to label the new season, it's a season like no other.

"There are going to be big changes," Downey says simply, before elaborating in great detail. "One of the things I like about working on this series is that nothing is completely predictable from year to year. (Now) we've done something that resembles a true episodic show, something that's one story one week and another story the next week, but with the same characters and with new elements thrown in. So why not try a real serial? Let's go back to the 1940s and the 1930s, when they had serials that ran before the movie, and the serials had cliff-hangers. I think that works well for LEXX. Each story is relatively well contained."

This season, Downey joined the rest of his compatriots as they filmed not just in Halifax, but also on location in Namibia and Germany. Thus, the show has a lush new look, while the characters, after being together so long, are maturing.

Progress

"LEXX continues to develop," Downey says. "It sounds like pretentious crap, but it isn't. If you take a look at conventional Sci-Fi on TV, there is a very structured hierarchy. 'These are the relationships and the relationships don't change. We don't cross borders. We don't become that much more friendly or intimate. We don't become that much more personal with each other.' (But) LEXX is like any human relationship. The relationships deteriorate and then they recover. Sometimes it becomes more intimate than it had been in the beginning. The new locations keep things interesting visually. I'm all for all of it."

As the conversation nears its end, Downey contemplates the notion of what there is that he doesn't yet know about his alter ego. After cracking a few jokes - "I wonder," he asks, "if Stanley ever takes his shoes off during sex" - the actor takes a moment to give the question more consideration.

"Stanley, I think, has been through more than any other character, per necessity. Xev has been given a pretty defined description. She's part love slave, part cluster lizard. Kai is dead and he functions only in certain specific ways. Stanley, however, can do anything, can go anywhere, can become involved with anything and anyone, and he pretty much does all of that. He's had a lot of adventures. They've done everything to him that you could possibly imagine. I just want that to continue."

Starburst #266For the full feature, read on in Starburst #266

See also these LEXX cover features:
TV Zone #119TV Zone #124

Images © Salter Street Films

Feature © Visual Imagination 2000. Not for reproduction