In the 1990s, computer generated animation became all the rage and opened the doors to doing science fiction shows that could never have been accomplished otherwise. Two such series are Perversions of Science and Lexx. Perversions of Science appeared on HBO and was an anthology series spin-off of the Tales from the Crypt horror series and based on EC Comic’s Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, and Incredible Science Fiction comic book series. Each episode is introduced by the computer-generated robot named Chrome (Maureen Teefy) also giving commentary on the story at the end of the episode. Lexx is a Canadian series that appeared on the Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S. Although the first season started out as four made for television movies, seasons 2-4 move to the standard series format. The plot sees a group of mismatched fugitives on the run in a living spaceship searching for a new home.
Perversions of Science (1997):
The episodes of this anthology series mainly focused on alien invasion or space/time travel and often had a more erotic touch while starring a slew of well-established actors along with some new comers who would make it big, well “bigish”. The pilot episode Dream of Doom is based on Weird Science issue #12 and stars Keith Carradine as a professor who cannot wake up from his dreams. Each time he wakes up he is in a different dream. The episode also stared Adam Arkin, Lolita Davidovich and Gretchen Palmer. Future episodes would star actors such as Jeff Fahey, Joanna Gleason, Kevin Pollak, William Shatner and his daughter Melanie, Jeffrey Combs, David Warner, Ron Perlman, Jason Lee, Jamie Kennedy, Harvey Korman, Chris Sarandon, Wil Wheaton, and Sean Astin. Stories rang from time periods ranging from the 1930s to the near and distant future.
To be quite honest, I was not impressed with the series when it first came out and was still not impressed with viewing an episode for this article. It was dull and I had a very tough time staying awake.
Kai (Michael McManus) is a Brunnen-G, a distinct race that was prophesized to be the ones to destroy the Shadow Order, 2008 years earlier he was killed and put into stasis where his undead body is resurrected when needed to act as an assassin. Zev (Eva Habermann) was a forced bride who embarrassed her betrothed on their wedding day, when he refused to marry her for being ugly, so she punched him. She was condemned to be transformed into a sex slave, but the process did not complete. Stanley H. Tweedle, is a class 4 security guard on the Cluster, with a dark past and always in trouble. These three characters find themselves running from the Shadow Order while searching for a new home along with the robot head, 790 (Jeffrey Hirschfield) and Lexx (Tom Gallant) the sentient ship they steal in the first episode. Zev falls in love with Kai, who cannot reciprocate as he cannot feel love being undead. Seasons 1 and 2 take place in the era and travel from planet to planet, season 3 jumps 4000 years into the future and takes place on two planets, “Fire” and “Water”. The final season takes place on Earth in the early 2000s. Eva Habermann’s character Zev is killed off in Season 2 and replaced with Xenia Seeberg as Xev, an exact clone of Zev, with a similar personality, but different appearance.
I did not watch this show when it originally aired, and I don’t remember why. The visuals for the show are quite good, especially for the time it was created. The computer animated sets and spaceships are well done and not your clichéd sci-fi fair. The creature and costume designs are also interesting, and the storyline has a lot of potential, with many themes centering around death and reincarnation. But at least in the first episode / movie, the execution of the story was not well told. We are thrown into this strange world with very little information and very little is given along the way. We are given enough to understand who each character is and a bit of their background, but the world this is set in is extremely complex and little to no exposition is presented. I am sure this is rectified as the series moves along, but overall, it left me a bit confused at points. The acting was over the top and made it hard to connect with the characters on an emotional level. The show did boast some great actors in guest starring roles, Barry Bostwick, Tim Curry, Rutger Hauer and Malcom McDowell to name a few. In the end, the series seemed to prefer flashy visual effects to quality storytelling. And for god’s sake do something with Kai’s hair!
Both these shows had a kind of erotic feel to them and relied on CGI effects for at least a portion of the series. Both also had great guest stars, but unfortunately, both also lacked in delivering coherent stories. Although, I did enjoy Lexx a lot more than I thought I would.
Forgotten Television: Perversions of Science and Lexx
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