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The giant stupid talking bug that can annihilate planets with one shot is back for a third run. Having escaped from the Light Universe before the evil Mantrid destroyed it, Lexx is now back in the Dark Zone for the first time since season one. This third season changed the show quite a lot; it was nowhere near as dark as the previous seasons and no-where near as bizarre. Most fans of the show will admit that this is not at all what they were expecting to see when their beloved Lexx returned. Instead of the crew having a different adventure every episode, this season as a fixed storyline that goes through the whole season.

Lexx: The Complete Third Series
The third season funny enough takes place thousands of years after the second. The Lexx has been adrift after having to go into hibernation and its crew into stasis. It turns out that they did not have the resources to continue flying and no food for Lexx to continue functioning, so they had to conserve. Things change when Lexx floats into the orbit of two planets, which are connected by a small strip of atmosphere.

These planets are called ‘Fire’ and ‘Water’, with Fire being the source of all things evil on a desert planet of blistering sun, and Water being a place of luxury and goodness. The Lexx is considered to be a giant comet until Prince (Nigel Bennett), an evil leader from Fire, is able to board it and discover what it really is. He sees it as an advantage as Fire and Water are fighting a vicious war. Now Stan, Kai and Xev are thrust into a series of adventures on these two planets whilst they try to get the Lexx enough food to leave. However, they are about to find there is more to these planets than meets the eye.

As I said in my review of season two, this season was toned down a bit from the previous to be more accessible and recruit a new audience, whilst not repeating itself too much for dedicated fans. The people and the places that are encountered are not near as strange as those we saw in the first two seasons. This season focuses more on adventure and action with the occasional black comedy. The comedy also loses the subtlety it once had, as now cartoonish sound effects are added whenever someone falls from a great height and when someone says or does something stupid (that stupid drum). The storylines are also less out-there and a little more common sci-fi in order to win new audiences over. There are also some funny Star Wars like cross fades However, there are episodes like ‘The Key’ and ‘Tunnels’ which try to regain some of the extra weirdness and eerie sexiness that is sort of lost.

Lexx: The Complete Third Series
That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable though; in fact quite the opposite. Although it ditches a lot of what we are used to, this is still a remarkably entertaining and fast-paced season. The characters are put in many situations that you will want to see them get out, of such as riding a bike that kills you if you stop, falling through a planet and coming out the other end, and a town where everyone has sex all the time (believe me, it’s not as fun as it might sound). It also runs rather short being only thirteen episodes, but they do run ten minutes longer than last season’s episodes. This works well as you would have had enough by the time the final credits roll (the story starts showing signs of wearing thin). There are also some really fascinating story developments about life and death. The two planets are obviously a symbol of Heaven and Hell and the things that happen after death are really well played with by the creators.

One thing that can be said about this season is it brilliant visual style. Each planet is really well thought out and both look amazing thanks to some brilliant sets and impressive CGI. Fire looks very much like the world in the original Stargate film, with a futuristic looking Egyptian setting, whereas Water is lush, clear and beautiful, with oceans and gardens. The towns of Water also are made of gold I believe. The buildings are wonderfully designed and truly capture the planet and the people on it.

Each original cast member (except Eva Haberman of course) is back as well. Michael McManus still has Kai down pat, but is sabotaged here and there by comedic sound effects and a poorly written script to the episode ‘Tunnels.’ Brian Downey still hasn’t forgotten how to play Stan either, portraying the ugly wimp splendidly. There is eye candy for everyone as the character of Xev (Xenia Seeberg) comes out of stasis with a new hairstyle and more revealing outfit, which leaves her looking hotter than Hell and planet Fire combined. Seeberg still shows Haberman how it’s done, being perfect in her role. Newcomer to this season is the villainous Prince, played by Nigel Bennet. Bennet is great as he balances out being evil and funny so well. He is a far better bad guy than Mantrid. The creators obviously thought the same as he was again brought back for season four.

Lexx: The Complete Third Series
Although different, this season is still a fun ride. It seems fair to say that the lighter nature of this season made the show a little easier to watch, even though we lose some of the edgy plots we sampled in the previous seasons. It is still the same characters having fascinating adventures and facing a much better villain in a more interesting setting, which comes out brilliantly thanks to updated effects. Although fans may have lost something, there is still plenty here to have fun with. The fact that the show has opened up for newcomers (which was important because Lexx was just a cult thing until this season when much more people tuned in) also ads to its credibility. Stick it in and have some unique sci-fi fun.

Video
Again we receive the broadcasted 1:33.1 Full Frame presentation for this release. Although it’s an improvement over the previous season, the video here still far from perfect. The visual style of the season meant this could have been a knockout transfer. The colours are fine as they are well saturated with a distinct blues and oranges for the opposing planets. Shadow detail improves as can be seen in the early scenes of the episode ‘Battle’. Skin tones are also good, which is more than can be said about season two. There are also no artefact issues. Although there are still issues with grain, it is not as bad the previous season. The grain here seems to be not so bad in some scenes, but terrible in others. The only other problem comes in the form of blur during some special effects shots. Is this intentional? I’m not sure. A better transfer, but still far from perfect.

Audio
Yet again we get a Dolby Stereo track in English. There is also a French option which went ignored. It’s an improvement over season two, but still is unremarkable. Good thing is volume levels are higher than the previous season, still not that high though. Dialogue is clear and in synch. There is never any over-dominant ambience or music, one can’t help but feel that this track is just too plain. There is plenty of action in this season such as airborne battles and shootouts with arrows, but this track hardly bothers using any directional effects or anything. It seems that the attitude taken is that if you can hear it in some form, it’s fine. There is still some directional work, but it’s very subtle. This is a stereo track so of course the surrounds are dormant. This is an improvement, but again unremarkable.

Lexx: The Complete Third Series
Extras
As it was with the second season, these four discs were once sold as separate volumes, so again we get the extras splayed over all discs. The extras are pretty similar to the previous seasons.

Again we get a ‘Making of’, which is divided up into four segments and split over each disc. This is very good and would have been great had it all been one documentary. It covers shooting, sets, make-up, special effects, locations costumes and even has a couple of out-takes. It also covers season four a little bit which may explain why season four lacked extras.

There are interviews with crew members al discs except the first. Interviewed are film editor Stewart Dowds, Videomatics director Peter Gaskin and visual effects producers Alex Busby. Still no interview with Xenia Seeberg! It is good to hear a little about the tech of Lexx however. As there was on season two, each disc has interactive trivia about the episodes from that particular disc.

Finishing off the extras are a variety of galleries, which display storyboards, locations shots and production sketches. So there you have it; a few less features than season two. It’s not too much an issue as what we get here is fair enough. It has much more on the production and technical things, which make up for it. It’s funny how the region two sets beat the region one as they included commentaries on selected episodes on the second season, whereas the third season received a barebones release in region two.

Lexx: The Complete Third Series
Overall
This season of Lexx is no better, but no worse than those that came before. It throws away the heavily dark and bizarre plots in favour of a more accessible plot, but it is well done ad should not turn fan away one bit. The creators obviously knew what they were doing. It’s too bad that an entertaining season with so much battling and stunning visuals couldn’t get a great transfer it needs. The audio and video aren’t bad, but far from perfect. The extras are decent and should hold anyone, especially fans, over. Not too bad a set to watch, but I still remain hopeful that all Lexx seasons will get a re-vamp one day with good widescreen transfers, 5.1 tracks and commentaries, some more extras and interviews would be cool too. Doubtful, but it would be cool.


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