selected from TV Zone #118

Featured reviews below are: LEXX Episodes B14-B20.

Also reviewed in this issue – the final three episodes of Buffy, plus new episodes, books or videos of:
Animaniacs • Deep Space Nine • Doctor Who • Earth: Final Conflict • Hercules • The Hunger • Star Trek • X-Files • Xena


EPISODES B14 - B20 overall: 8
Why destroy worlds when there are far bigger things?

The Web

The Universe is about to end. It always was, of course, but the real bummer is that it's going to end in 103 days. So, with this final batch of shows LEXX finally returns to the story arc that's been building since the crew first released the barking mad Mantrid in Episode One. That said, this resolutely unconventional show hasn't got the budget to go in for 10-episode special effects loaded finales.

Instead, the story and themes of these final episodes gradually build and intertwine. Patches in the Sky (a reference to dark areas appearing as Mantrid's drones demolish whole planets) returns to one of LEXX's perennial themes - how do you cope with the bad things you've done in the past? One answer is to seek oblivion. Trouble is, narcotic dreams aren't always too pleasant, as Stanley discovers when he tries to forget about the end of the Universe in a 'narcolounger'. Instead of the erotic fantasies he's hoping for, Stanley is once again confronted with the fact he is, in part at least, responsible for the death of billions.

It's a strong episode with some funny moments, which is a lot more than can be said for Woz. One of those tedious smutty LEXX episodes, Woz is basically a re-working of The Wizard of Oz. However, instead of being a conflict between a good wizard and a wicked witch, the conflict here is between an uptight nutter obsessed with "clichéd male-driven images of desirability" and a woman who is so ugly she wants to make other women beautiful. This proves to be an excuse for puerile scenes such as a very rotund Xev - she's been turned back into her pre-love slave form - being forced to watch animations of bananas being chopped to pieces. Ha ha ha - not. When will LEXX creator Paul Donovan realize the show works better when the humour is a by-product of the drama instead of trying to weld the drama to schoolboy humour?

As if to emphasize this, The Web is spooky and scary without the benefit of any jokes whatsoever. The LEXX and its crew are caught in a massive spider's web that leads to a claustrophobic tale of distorted realities. The writing is beautifully judged so that you're never too sure whether Stanley is really Stanley anymore or whether his mind has been taken over by an evil insect intelligence. In fact, it's so good that the producers decide to repeat exactly the same episode, scene by scene, in The Net. Except, towards the end, a few scenes are subtly altered so that we know more about what's really happening. Fabulous post-modern conceit or outrageous cost-cutting exercise? You decide, but for the record The Net works better as a stand alone episode than its predecessor does.

Brigadoom is also, even by LEXX's standards, a very strange episode. The episode fills in the story of Kai's life-before-death. But, rather than do this in conventional flashback style, Kai's tale is told in as a musical performed in a theatre floating in Space. Ridiculous? Of course. But also quite brilliant. The advantages of this cunning plot ploy are that the songs are jolly and hummable; Kai dresses up ridiculously in his pre-I Worship His Shadow pink and purple romper suit; Xev looks remarkably cute in a black wig; and Stanley is so moved by the spectacle that he discovers hitherto unsuspected reserves of courage.

It is immediately obvious that the LEXX creators has saved a big chunk of the series's budget for himself to ensure the series ends with a bang. Brizon is a return to the theme of consuming to survive. The Brizon of the title is the designer of the LEXX, a half-dead relic from the days of His Divine Shadow who parasitically uses Xev's liver to carry on living.

Episode B14 Patches in the Sky (7/10)
First aired: 12 March 1999, Sci-Fi
Episode B15 Woz (5/10)
First aired: 19 March 1999
Episode B16 The Web (7/10)
First aired: 26 March 1999
Episode B17 The Net (0 or 8/10 - Depends on viewpoint)
First aired: 2 April 1999
Episode B18 Brigadoom (8/10)
First aired: 9 April 1999
Episode B19 Brizon (9/10)
First aired: 16 April 1999
Episode B20 End of the Universe (10/10)
First aired: 23 April 1999
Reviewed by Jonathan Wright

As baddies go, Brizon is as evil as Mantrid and his appearance marks a welcome return to the darkness of the first four telemovies. His appearance is also a reminder, reinforced in End of the Universe, that the threatened destruction of literally everything is not likely to be very pleasant. And, without giving too much away, events in the Universe - which details the crew's ultimate showdown with Mantrid - bear this out.

A special effects fest with a plot that's more full of twists and turns than an elephant's intestines, the season finale is the ultimate reminder that when LEXX is good, it's not only very, very good, but bigger, bolder, badder and better than any other Sci-fi show on the block.

selected from TV Zone #118
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