Turn Back The Clock

Tales From a Parallel Universe (Lexx)

Distributed by: Paramount Studios

Reviewed by Ismael Manzano

   

     Writing for www.g-pop.net offers many perks; one of which is allowing me the opportunity to dig up obscure shows from the past as an excuse to do a review.  Such is the case with this review of a show my cousin introduced me to years ago.

     While many have heard of the cult Sci-Fi channel hit Lexx, some don't know that the show actually began as a four part Showtime mini-series, entitled, "Tales From a Parallel Universe."  Even before it aired it was already an innovative endeavor in that it was the first show of its kind that relied so heavily on CGI--65% CGI, according to the creators.  Also its format was like none ever seen before in the science fiction world at that time, in that the crew was not morally adept or even unified by any stretch of the imagination save for a common enemy.  In my opinion it paved the way for shows like Farscape and Andromeda.

     The movies follow the adventures of three wayward souls aboard a gigantic bug--the Lexx--capable of destroying entire planets with one blink of its multifaceted eyeballs.  But let me backtrack a moment.  The three stars in question are, Fourth Class Security Officer, Stanley Tweedle--a cowardly, over-the-hill, good-for nothing, who had traded his own safety for the lives of hundreds of rebels--Xev Bellringer--a previously ugly woman who was transformed into a beautiful sex slave as punishment for disobeying an abusive husband--and Kai--a dead assassin from a thousand-years hence extinct species that a prophet had claimed would one day destroy the evil ruler of the League of 20,000 planets, His Shadow.  Oh, and did I mention 790--a robotic head that is annoyingly devoted to Xev.

     His Shadow, basically an all powerful dictator, has plans to use the Lexx to bring ultimate order to the light universe by destroying every planet that opposes his rule.  So when his number one assassin, Kai, gets his memories back and breaks free of his command to join up with Stanley and Xev--now fugitives because they refused to be executed--to steal the Lexx, His Shadow vows to track them down and prove the prophecy of his demise false.  Only in doing so, he puts his future in peril as ventures beyond the safety of the Cluster and into the dark universe where Kai and the others have gone. 

     The movies continue with the crew traveling through the dark universe to find a way to keep Kai's body animated beyond the limited amount of artificial blood he has left, while finding themselves a new home.  Their quest is made more arduous by their inability to co-exist peacefully and the Lexx's need for vast amounts of protein in order to stay alive and functional. 

     Along the way they encounter arrogant holograms, flesh-eating psychopaths, giant, snake-like lizards, a host of disembodied brains that used to be His Shadow, parasitic worms, and drugged out idiots with a pension for amputation.  In the end, however, they end up returning to the Cluster for a final confrontation with His Shadow, the outcome of which even the all-knowing Prophet could not predict.

     Tales From a Parallel Universe is one of those shows that you will either love for its originality and visual bombardment, or you'll hate for its low budget looking sets and over-the-top script.  But regardless if you love it or hate it, no one can deny it is a one of a kind show that spawned an equally one of a kind--though not quite as good--series, and challenged conventional views on science fiction space travel shows.  It was ground breaking to the point of surrealism at times, but I loved it, and I'd recommend Tales From a Parallel Universe to anyone who is tired of the norm, tired of morally preachy characters, and tired of space stereotypes.  If you're one of those people, get on the net, visit that video store that still carries Dr. Who, buy it, rent it or just call a wacky friend who is likely to have it, and then watch and enjoy; I did.

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