Friday, June 11, 2010

What the heck did I just watch? (June 2010)

I'm not sure which series I should be more confused about: Lexx: Tales from a Parallel Universe or Emmanuelle in Space.

Emmanuelle in Space

Emmanuelle in Space is a late-night (see "Skinemax") 1994 science fiction television series starring Krista Allen as Emmanuelle, a character loosely based on the long standing fictional softcore-character named Emmanuelle. Well going into that territory, Emmanuelle in Space contains quite a bit of nudity. The series lasted 7, roughly 90 minute episodes.

This series kicks off with a hilariously flimsy framing device where aliens, unaware of what "love" is land on Earth to "learn" about us. And by "learn" I mean have lots of sex.

The highlight of the series is the nonsensical transitions (mostly taken from old educational videos about space) and the silly ship computer voices that play over whatever "action" might be going on screen. Even though Krista Allen couldn't act her way out of a paper bag in this series, there's at least some sense that she's taking it in stride, knowing exactly what kind of role she's in. Meathead "Captain Haffron" is as wooden as wooden gets and line-reads like he's auditioning for the role.


Lexx Season OneLexx is well, just bizarre. Lexx follows a band of misfits including Stanley H. Tweedle a security guard who fails at just about everything in life; Zev Bellringer a human partly converted into a "love slave" with lizard DNA thrown in (though you wouldn't know it by looking); Kai, an undead assassin; and 790, a robot head that received Zev's love slave programming and is madly in love with Zev. As an aside, I completely buy 20 year old Eva Habermann's (Zev) silver hair so much that it's odd looking at her normal blond hair color and would probably be floored if I ever saw her "Tatort" episode (which is unfortunately not a Hauptkommissar Max Ballauf and Freddy Schenk story, but I digress).

The show is laced with a lot of innuendo and borderline-softcore scenes (though only one scene where Eva Habermann's Zev showers nude). Other than that, the gimmick is the odd characters and the (usually) bizarre situations they're thrown into.

Lexx started off as a science-fantasy series consisting of four 90 minute TV movies. It later went on to become a regular series, but I won't talk about those right now. The original movies (or episodes as they're later called) are "I Worship His Shadow," "Super Nova," "Eating Pattern," and "Giga Shadow."

The stories range from mediocre to just plain strange and are mixed with a level of insanity that I just can't measure. I... I just don't know how to classify these. Were the people certifiably insane when they put together these stories or were these entirely honest attempts that were halted by no-budget?

Something that differentiates this from Emmanuelle in Space is that the people behind the show had put at least some effort into creating a very complex and diverse universe. The only problem is, without an outside force or character the audience can put itself into their shoes, I'm at a loss to a lot of the things that have been talked about and introduced. We're not talking about some quirky world like in The Fifth Element, but one that's so alien, so odd, and has a mythology that's complex and largely unexplained. The stories also just can't fill the 90 minute timeslots they've been given. I don't even know if they could fill 42 minutes worth of material if they weren't walking around, staring, or being involved with some unrelated subplot.

Watch the first episode here.

I don't know if I can fully justify why I am watching Lexx, but something, just something odd about it intrigues me enough to keep at it. I watched some of the later episodes a few years ago and frankly I'm not looking forward to the Xenia Seeberg-as-Xev transition once Eva Habermann leaves the series. At any rate, would I buy this? No fraking way. Hats off to HULU for providing this to me.

I still am not sure why I watched Emmanuelle in Space except for the laughs it was able to illicit from me.

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