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Rated Lexx

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Rated: Lexx is a serialized story of a mix of new and previously used video footage, along with some new story details with new narration. It was originally prepared for the American Sci-Fi Channel, but not all parts of it aired. It was eventually released as an extra in the North American Lexx DVDs.

Among the details disclosed in it were:

  • the origin of 790, including his brain cube coming from a bar waitress named Squeeze Pimmel

Plot Edit

The Lexx is traversing a space-time rift (presumably the Fractal Core leading from the Dark Zone to the Light Zone) . Stan, Zev and Kai are absent from the bridge, leaving 790 alone to talk with the Lexx. The rift has the curious effect of bestowing upon the crew - and the ship itself - enlightenment, specifically concerning events in their past - and their future. 790 and the Lexx then use their newfound combined intelligences (both having gained a temporary IQ boost from the rift) to tell "them" (who "they" are is not revealed; presumably this is a reference to the viewers) their story. They discuss His Divine Shadow and the rise of the Divine Order, Stanley Tweedle, the death and un-life of Kai, Zev's time at the wife bank and how she became a love slave, and how 790 came to be - including the fact that his brain cube came from a waitress called Squeeze Pimmel, who was reported for flirting with a cleric and had her body parts used in 790's creation. Lexx also mentions Zev's death and rebirth as Xev, but 790 reminds Lexx that this probably hasn't happened yet. As they approach the end of the rift, both the Lexx and 790 express their regret that they will not remember any of the things that transpired within the rift and will have their IQs reduced to their previous levels. The Lexx then leaves the rift and returns to normal space.

Behind the ScenesEdit

When US Sci Fi Channel bought the rights to the second season of LEXX, they didn't buy the first season, so there was a years worth of backstory that had to be dealt with. Why Kai was dead? Who was Stanley Tweedle and how did he get command of the LEXX? Why is Xev half Cluster Lizard? Etc.

So, around October/November, 1999, US Sci Fi Commissioned Salter Street to do a one hour special which would fill in that backstory. Most of it would essentially be a 'clip show' featuring footage primarily from IWHS and GS, although rearranged and re-edited, with new narration by Jeff Hirschfield as 790.

Jeff and Tom Gallant (the voice of Lexx) were the only cast members available for the project, since everyone else was going off to Namibia. Some extra footage was shot of 790 sitting on the bridge.

Paul Donovan, who was writing Rated: LEXX, apparently thought that having 790 as the narrator, posed some problems, because he/she was narrating everyone's backstory, but 790 itself literally had no backstory of his/her own.

So, he decided to write a backstory for 790, which would amount to perhaps ten minutes of the special.

The actual footage itself was shot by Willie Stevenson with a german/american crew at a Bar called the Golden Nugget in Berlin. 790's female persona, Squeeze Pimmel, was a czech actress/model whose name I don't have, unfortunately. The shooting took one day, and technical issues were simplified by doing it without dialogue, so no boom mikes, no sound checks, no sound recording, everything would be overlaid by narration.

In addition to laying narration and music over, post-production did do some compositing effects, in particular, using the lava lamp background from Terminal in some background scenes in the bar, giving a view of the sky when the Cleric opens the door, and inserting Squeeze's image into the Prisoner transport as it goes by.

Background images, Squeeze Pimmel's world is actually a shot of Fire and Water, and the building where she works is actually a shot of a Water City, and were taken from the third series.

Squeeze Pimmel's journey to the Cluster and execution, of course, is done by mixing footage from IWHS and Argon Protopi's execution. I think those scenes work particularly well, because the episode makes some effort to introduce us to Squeeze before she's tried and executed.

Unfortunately for Squeeze, Sci Fi US hated Rated: LEXX. They didn't like the Squeeze Pimmel concept, for one thing, it isn't suggested until very very late in the second season that 790 has any human components, and second, it isn't even whispered until third season that 790 might have been female.

They felt it might confuse viewers and give away plot points, some of which might never come up if they didn't buy the third season. They also didn't like a five or ten minute segment on His Divine Shadow, who obviously wasn't a player in the second series, so why bother.

As a result, Rated: LEXX was recut radically with some fifteen minutes perhaps, being dropped out. To bring the special back up to size new footage was needed. Sci Fi US was strongly pushing Xev as a sex kitten, and pushing the 'Lexx = Sexx' angle in its promotion. So scenes were taken from second year, Xev's flirting in Lafftrack, the seduction scene with the Captain in Love Grows, shots of Amy Kerr and Louise Wischerman, essentially, a lot of beautiful babes were cut in. This undermined the narrative established by Paul Donovan, however, and so the whole thing made a bit less sense. To compensate for that, they inserted 'talking head' scenes with the writers and actors from the second season documentary.

This second version of Rated: Lexx was the first Lexx ever aired on the US Sci Fi Channel, in January, 2000. It did fairly well, garnering a rating of 1.5, Lexx's second highest rating ever. And it must have did its job of introducing the show because the first actual episode aired to a rating of 2.0. Unfortunately, that episode was Nook.

The Broadcast version of Rated: Lexx only ever aired in January, 2000, and has not been seen since. A handful of fans have copies of it, so if you search hard enough you can probably find it.

The original version of Rated: Lexx was eventually chopped into five segments and used in the American LEXX DVD's, but not the British DVD's. Dedicated fans can reconstruct the original Rated: Lexx by basically downloading and splicing the segments together. I don't know whether there has been substantial re-editing for the DVD edition, but I don't think so.

The US Sci Fi Channel owns, or is part owner of the rights to both versions of Rated: LEXX, which is just another addition to what must be a really complicated legal rights situation with respect to the series.

How does either version of Rated: LEXX stand up? Well, any assessment has to recognize they were produced with practically no money and very little time. In particular, I think the writing could have been a bit better. But having said that, both represent interesting attempts to do something more unique and interesting. They could have gotten away with much less, they tried to go above and beyond, and to some extent, they succeeded.

LEXX has always had a history of recycling its own footage. Gigashadow, Mantrid, Stan's Trial, Garden and particularly the Beach recycled a lot of old shots in order to tell or enhance their story. Web and Net each have about 35 minutes of identical footage with only about 10 minutes of new footage. So, Rated: Lexx isn't thematically inconsistent in this respect.

In terms of television, one of the recurring cliches is the 'clip show' where a series is running out of money and time and so to pump out a cheap episode they have people sitting around going 'do you remember when...' and segue into flashbacks or highlights.

I think either Rated: Lexx works quite well as an introduction to LEXX for neophytes. It's well edited, fairly organized and contains lots of very impressive and expensive 'money shots.' If the viewer has never seen the movies, its worthwhile.

The original Rated: Lexx also had the Squeeze Pimmel segments and a not always successful narration by 790 who was a patently unreliable narrator (a literary device not usually seen in television) to add humour, so fans who had seen the movies could find something of interest.

In the Broadcast Rated: Lexx, the introduction of talking heads combined with 790's narration gives it a much more documentary quality, so we tend to trust the narration a bit more. A fictional narrator in a movie might be unreliable, a documentary narrator is simply assumed to be truthful. But 790's voice and view makes it a biased documentary, which is an interesting effect that I'm not sure many people caught.

The two versions of Rated: LEXX are rather more different from each other than Web and Net, and at least one contains as much 'new' footage as Web or Net.


See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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