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In His Elements

As LEXX reaches Season Three, we sent Paul Spragg off to meet its producer/creator. Paul Donovan talks about the happenings on Fire and Water…

selected from TV Zone #124
Have you seen our LEXX coverage in these recent issues of TV Zone?
First three episodes of Season 3 reviewed in this issue!
TV Zone #124
Xenia Seeberg cover feature and interview, plus six-page episode guide to Seasons One and Two
TV Zone #119
Brian Downey
(Stanley Tweedle) interview
TV Zone #118
Reviews of the final Season Two episodes on-line
TV Zone #118
First UK video releases reviewed
TV Zone #117
previous Season Two episodes reviewed
TV Zone #112
TV Zone #113
TV Zone #115
Please note:
links are to details of each issue. Features are not necessarily on-line

I was deep in thought trying to come up with some searching questions for LEXX creator-producer-writer-director Paul Donovan when I looked up and found inspiration. The bus was passing a billboard advertising TCP, and the slogan was ‘Tastes as foul today as it always has’. Aside from providing a chuckle, it made me think that maybe the LEXX writers work on similar thoughts. But we’ll get to that later.

Firstly, it seems a good idea to ask Mr Donovan where his warped world first came from. “I’m not really sure. I mean, it’s a bit complicated, but I’m sort of a Sci-Fi fan. I grew up on a diet of Star Trek and Monty Python, that sort of thing and I think that they kinda fused in some odd way in my brain, with maybe Lost in Space thrown in there.”

So the whole thing came from a love of those tv shows? “I’m not sure about love. I think it’s more, when you’re a teenager, you come home from school, you watch tv for hours and hours on end, somehow it’s a rot that eats into your brain and it comes out kind of like pustulent ooze years later.” So does that mean LEXX is a state of mind? “State of mind? I think it’s more of a disease. A condition, an ailment.”

“The way I look at it is, let’s say you have a car chase and a shoot-out. The heroic cops, the salt ‘n’ pepper buddy cop team, rarely hit an innocent bystander, and I’ve always wanted to see the scene where they hit the innocent bystander and everything just goes wrong. The possibility that a security guard becomes captain of the most powerful force in the two universes, it’s that kind of thinking. And I feel compelled I had to do it because that’s just what I’ve been missing, what I haven’t seen.

"I wanna see the car chase where the police car spins out of control and hits the school bus full of kids and they say, ‘Oh, sorry about that,’ instead of everything always working out so conveniently. Some, particularly early, Hitchcock films had that element, where a character would try and kill someone and he wouldn’t die and then that would drag on for 15 minutes, trying to finish him off. Instead of being antiseptic, you’re drawn into the true horror of the moment.”

The Antithesis of Purity

LEXX truly is on a plane of its own when compared with other curent Sci-Fi series. The LEXX characters are certainly not your typical heroes, either, but they do differ from Donovan’s original conception.

“We’ve changed things quite a bit. We actually softened Stan a little bit from the beginning, from the opening of the first mini-series. He was a bit more nihilistic, and we made him have a tiny teensy element of altruism that wasn’t originally there. Kai has to remain the same, because his surface personality is very one-dimensional; we’ve refined it, we’ve given him the opportunity to have new and different personalities from time to time. And the Xev personality has absolutely changed, with the two different actresses who’ve played it plus we’ve tinkered with it quite a bit as we’ve gone along.”

Oddly, it’s only the background of Kai that we’ve seen to a great degree, even more strange when his past led to his death and therefore matters little to him now. As to the others, all we know is that Xev spent most of her early life in a box, and Stanley inadvertantly caused the destruction of several planets. However, viewers can expect to see more information coming through.

“We’ve done, in this season, more of the Xev background. And we shot a 790 background for the Sci-Fi Channel that they didn’t use, so we have that. We’re not quite sure what to do with it, but it’s kinda funny, you know, we like it. How 790 was once a person. [It] might be a little bonus we throw in on video.” What we will get to see, however, is 13 brand new episodes, running on Sci-Fi (UK) right now.

Paul Spragg

Get TV Zone #124 for the full six-page feature,
and more coverage of the new season of LEXX

LEXX image ©Slater Street Films / Sci-Fi
Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
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