Lexx is a science fiction television series that follows the adventures of a group of mismatched individuals aboard the organic space craft Lexx. They travel through two universes and encounter planets including a parody of the Earth.
The series is a Canadian and German co-production, with some additional funding from Britain's Channel 5. The Sci Fi Channel purchased the series from Salter Street Films and began airing versions of Season 2 episodes for United States' audience in January 2000.
Lexx was co-produced by Salter Street Films, later absorbed by Alliance Atlantis. In Canada, Lexx aired on the Alliance Atlantis-owned Showcase network.
The series was primarily filmed in Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) and Berlin (Germany), with additional filming on location in Iceland, Bangkok (Thailand), and Namibia.
The main characters of the series are the Lexx and her crew. The crew consists of the captain of the Lexx, Stanley H. Tweedle, the love slave Zev/Xev, the undead former assassin Kai, last of the Brunnen-G, and the love-crazed robot head 790. Together they are looking for a new home. The background conflict of the series is the war between Mankind and the Insect Civilization, in which each side seeks the annihilation of the other. It was foretold to Kai that one day he will destroy the last remnant of the Insect Civilization.
The plot unfolds across a time span of over 6,000 years. Kai's death (or undeath) occurs 2,008 years before the beginning of the events of the series. For the first two seasons, each episode is focused on space travel and usually one different planet. Each of the last two seasons has a single location for all episodes. At the beginning of Season 3 the crew spends about 4,000 years in cryostasis. In Season 4, the Lexx reaches our Earth in the present.
There are four seasons of Lexx totaling 61 episodes. The first season, debuting in Canada on 18 April 1997, consisted of four two-hour TV movies (sometimes screened as eight one-hour episodes), alternatively titled Tales from a Parallel Universe. However, some episode guides don't list the two-hour movies as a series but list the subsequent seasons as the first through third.
The second season consisted of twenty 48-minute episodes, with an overall story arc concerning an evil scientist called Mantrid, who attempts to kill everyone by converting the entire mass of the universe into one-armed Mantrid drones.
The third season comprises 13 episodes in which the Lexx is trapped in orbit around the warring planets Fire and Water, and the crew encounters Prince, the enigmatic and cheerful evil ruler of Fire, who is much like the Devil, though he actually identifies himself as death incarnate at the end of season four. The two planets orbit each other at an extremely close distance, and share a tunnel of atmosphere between them, allowing the inhabitants of Fire to carry out raids on Water to cause chaos. Fire is filmed between the dunes of Namibia and the Gothic architecture of Berlin. Prince reincarnates whenever it suits him. Water appears to have no opposing ruler, and contains a small population of hedonists on floating islands.
In the fourth and final season of 24 episodes, the Lexx arrives at Earth in the year 2000, only to find that Prince (now named Isambard Prince and head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which more or less runs the United States) and several other old adversaries have also arrived there. Between them, Prince and the Lexx manage to demolish large chunks of the Earth — including Orlando, Florida; Ottawa (a Canadian metonymical in-joke);Tokyo, the Amazon Rainforest, and Holland, which the Lexx eats — before the climactic final episode, televised on 26 April 2002. The Lexx is responsible for the destruction of Fire, Water, Pluto, Mars, Venus, and lastly Earth. Also, Priest, the President of the United States, manages to destroy via thermonuclear bombs the following countries or territories: Cuba, Newfoundland, and Vietnam.
Acorn Media released seasons 2-4 on DVD in single volume collections as well as complete season sets in 2002-2004. These releases have now been discontinued and are out of print.
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment has released all 4 seasons on DVD in the US only.
On September 3, 2013, Echo Bridge will release Lexx- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. The 9-disc set features all 61 episodes of the series.
In Canada, Alliance Home Entertainment has released all four seasons on DVD.
Seasons one to three of Lexx were released on VHS and Region 2 DVD in the UK by Contender Limited, although the Season 3 DVDs were initially exclusive to the MVC Entertainment chain of stores and all volumes have since been deleted. Contender failed to obtain the rights to Season 4, which instead went to Momentum Pictures (a subsidiary of Alliance Atlantis). Momentum Pictures has not yet released any DVDs.
MediumRare Entertainment released the complete run of Lexx in a 19-disc boxset in the UK in early 2011.
All four seasons were also released on Region 2 DVD in Germany. Unlike the rest of the world (bar Australia), the German DVDs of season 1 do still appear to be in print as of February 2007. However, the episodes of the first season of the German DVD release were cut to receive a 16 and up rating.
Beyond Home Entertainment released all 4 seasons on DVD in Australia. Season 1 on July 11, 2007, Season 2 on September 12, 2007, Season 3 on October 17, 2007 and Season 4 on January 16 2008. On May 13, 2009, Beyond Home Entertainment released Lexx- The Complete Series, a 19-disc boxset featuring all 61 episodes of the series in a special collectible tin. On December 1, 2010, Beyond Home Entertainment re-released the 19-Disc set as a boxset rather than the collector's tin released the year previously.
Netflix and Hulu both offer streaming versions of all 61 Lexx episodes. The versions available are the editions edited for U.S. broadcast.
Broadcast history and legacy:
The show's seasons had very different tones. While the original TV movies and the second season were mostly science fiction drama with plenty of dark comedy, the "Fire and Water" season took a more serious tone, while the show's final season — set on Earth in the year 2000 — took many turns into pure farce and introduced magic (as in the episode A Midsummer's Nightmare) and other new elements.
Lexx was shown originally on [City-TV] in Canada, then later picked up by Space, Channel 5 in the UK and then the Sci-Fi Channel in the United States. On Sci-Fi, it aired in the same Friday night lineup as Farscape, and the somewhat similar set-up for both shows (with a misfit crew flying through space on a huge, living starship) was often noted by critics, despite Lexx having premiered two years prior to Farscape. Lexx did achieve some mainstream notice (with Xenia Seeberg as "Xev" appearing on the cover of TV Guide, for instance).
Lexx was voted 23rd in a recent poll by SciFiNow magazine in June 2009 in the '25 Greatest Sci-Fi TV Shows'.
There are two versions of Lexx, the European and the American one. One point of difference is in the beginning of the first film: in the American version, there is no scene where Stanley is fooled and captured by Feppo. In the European version, this scene is between the death of Kai and the time when Stanley wakes up on the cluster (2008 years later).
Unlike the DVD edition, the German TV release was re-cut to include some flashback scenes at points where they mattered within the story, and not in the chronological order in which they happened. For example, Stanley's capture by the pirates was shown as a flashback in the fourth episode ("Gigashadow") of the miniseries, whereas the DVD version includes it prior to the Cluster scenes early on in the first episode of the show, somewhat out of context.