Waiting For the LEXX Spin-off

When Star Trek was cancelled in 1969 many believed it was the end for the series. Phenomenal ratings for the syndicated reruns convinced Paramount to revive the series as movies and then as the spin-off series "...The Next Generation", "Deep Space Nine", "Voyager", and "Enterprise". Today it is accepted by fans of science fiction television that cancellation is never the ending and that a revival, spin-off, or reboot series is just a season or two away. But this is rarely the case with cult series. "Star Trek", "Doctor Who" and even "Battlestar Gallatica" became franchises because they had hundreds of millions of fans. Even so it took ten years and the success of the movie "Star Wars" to get Paramount to finally produce the first "Star Trek" movie. "Doctor Who" was off the air for 16 years before BBC brought it back ( Nine years if you count the one shot pilot movie made for the Fox network ). and "Battlestar Galatica" remained off of television for 23 years until the reboot in 2003. Cult series generate only a few million viewers. They usually return either because some struggling cable network has the budget to produce the series and needs to bring in viewers, or because the DVDs are best sellers. Although Lexx episodes on DVDs have sold well they have never been best sellers like "The Family Guy". Another problem is that the series producer and creator Paul Donovan is not that interested in reviving it and has apparently retired from show business altogether. And yet with five years passing since the series went off the air die hard fans continue to hope for some sort of continuation.

One problem though. Who would finance a spin-off? It was just dumb luck that Lexx has made it to four seasons. Originally conceived as a series of two hour made for cable television movies called "Tales From a Parallel Universe" Lexx was produced by Canada's Slater Street Films but financed for the most part by America's Showtime network as well as many European television networks who together paid for the show's production. Showtime agreed to four movies then no more, and it looked like Lexx was finished until Donovan reorganized the series as "Lexx" a weekly series of hour long episodes shot on a tighter budget. Fans of the original series did not care for the cheaper special effects and production values, nor liked it when cast member Eva Habermann was replaced with Xenia Seeberg. With Showtime not interested in more Lexx movies it would take two years before the hour long episodes were filmed by which time Eva was already working on another television series. In many countries Lexx lost viewers and was cancelled in some of the countries that carried it and there was doubt that a next season could be made. But then in 1999 Donovan was able to find a second cable network to pick up the show, the new Sci Fi channel. New money coming in meant that they could afford a 13 episode season after which Donovan hoped to talk Sci Fi into financing the season after. But for a while Sci Fi was not interested. When they bought the rights to the series they discovered that the first four movies which counted as the first season were exclusive to Showtime. They also discovered that Habermann was written out of the series and decided they did not want to confuse their viewers with a character that leaves after two episodes. They made a decision to only air episodes that featured Seeberg as Xev, but found they could not air all the episodes because the season's story arc with the villain Mantrid's plan to destroy the universe began in the first episode with Habermann. Episodes where Mantrid's drones showed up were not shown which limited Sci Fi to four episodes which they repeated a few times before finally giving in and deciding to air the entire season in it's correct broadcast order. Sci Fi also decided to negotiate with Showtime to allow them to air the first four movies. In late 2000 Sci Fi had completely aired all but one of the 20 episode second season ( skipping the episode "The Web" as redundant ) and the week the season finale was scheduled to air had also aired the first four movies as a week long special.

The following week Sci Fi aired the first episode of the third season. When Donovan realized he would only be doing a 13 episode season he decided to release it as a single story broken up into chapters about the Lexx being trapped in an orbit between the planets of Fire and Water. Many viewers were upset with the single story format and once again viewership dropped off leading to more cancellations. Sci Fi decided to air only half the third season and to keep the second half banked to air a year later in 2001 pulling the series from the air. It was not until Sci Fi aired the second half of the third season that they decided they wanted a fourth season. In fact they wanted it enough to bankroll 24 episodes. Donovan decided that this would be the final season for Lexx and in the last episode pretty much ended the series for good. In the final months of filming season 4 there was talk of Sci Fi wanting a possible spin off series involving some of the Lexx characters. There was also an announcement that there would be an official Lexx comic book that would pick up where the series left off and even a rumor of an animated series and a possible theatrical movie. But ultimately a combination of no one interested enough in financing a spin-off series and Donovan not interested in continuing the franchise. Plans for the comic book also fell through when Donovan and the publisher could not agree on the direction the book should go. Since then the franchise was as good as dead.

However a revival is not impossible. A long delayed syndication deal would allow hundreds of millions of viewer's who did not have either Showtime or Sci Fi the opportunity to see the series. Donovan had hoped to syndicate the series as soon as Showtime's broadcast rights to the first four movies expired and they could be edited into eight one hour episodes bringing the series to 65 episodes. Of course stations would be stuck with the two part story begun in "The Web" and ending in "The Net". Basically "The Net" is the same episode as "The Web" only showing a few scenes that the first did not have and tacking on an ending that the first was missing. Sci Fi did not think their viewers would appreciate watching the same episode two weeks in a row with only a few minor changes the second week and chose to instead air only the second part. An argument could be made that "The Net" becomes a completely different story once you realize that one of the characters is possessed by an alien life form. But it is doubtful that all viewers would agree. But all hope for Lexx going into syndication ended on February 1st 2004 when during the Super Bowl XXXVIII half time show Justin Timberlake removed Janet Jackson's top briefly flashing one of her breasts. The nip slip seen around the world eventually resulted in more restrictive censorship on television which meant no chance of the Lexx series ever being seen outside of cable and little chance of standard cable airing the show during prime time. As the reruns disappeared from television and no word on what became of the spin-off fans began to blame Atlantis Alliance, the company that bought Slater Street Television and ended up owning the rights to the series claiming that some sort of grudge they have with Paul Donovan has them deliberately keeping the series off of Television and DVDs.

This is far from the case. The initial DVD release of Lexx was a mess. Showtime had the home video rights to the first four movies which they sold along with a bunch of other movies to Paramount who in turn saw them as straight to video VHS movies. The rights to the rest of the series remains separate and were eventually sold to a company called Acorn. Paramount had no plans to re-release the series on DVD so the only way to get the complete series in the United States was to buy expensive out of print copies. Recently the rights to both Paramount and Acorn ran out and Atlantis Alliance decide to release the series on their own label Echo Bridge. So far with very little fanfare they have released the first four movies as season one and plan to release the next four seasons as soon as the overstock from the Acorn releases runs out. And with the Janet Jackson incident slowly fading into history there is once again a possibility of syndicating Lexx in the United States. Both the new DVD releases and syndication of the entire series should open it up to a brand new audience, some who did not have the Sci Fi channel during it's initial run and others who were too young at the time. If Lexx is able to build a following then there will be some sort of pressure to turn it into a franchise. But what kind of franchise? With "Star Trek" Gene Roddenberry created the futuristic universe of The Federation that future producers could build on. Donovan had also built a fictional universe for the Lexx but then had it destroyed along with every planet the Lexx ever visited. However, seeds for a spin-off are evident in the final episode of Lexx. For no apparent reason two characters that by every right should have been killed named Bunny and Priest manage to survive the carnage thanks to being helped by the evil Isambard Prince. There was no reason for these characters to survive as this was to be Lexx's final episode other than Donovan wanting to use them for a possible spin-off. But would the spin-off be the future adventures of the villains from Lexx or the adventures of Lexx's surviving crew with Prince, Bunny, and Priest dropping by from time to time to cause trouble? And now that five years have passed which actors, if any, would still be willing to be part of a spin-off?

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Comments 14 comments

Tristan 7 years ago

I enjoyed your article. Lexx deserves all the attention it can get. How positive are you that Echo Bridge will release the rest of the series on DVD?


stethacantus 7 years ago Author

The series has already been released by a company called Acorn Media who were willing to release the series knowing the first season was off limits ( the home video distribution rights then owned by Paramount ). While the Acorn release is apparently now out of print ( Their website now shows only the volume one disc of the fourth season in stock ) there are probably still thousands of unsold Acorn Lexx DVDs out there. Given time those numbers will finally dwindle and you will see the price on Amazon and Ebay shoot up to $100 a disc. If Echo Bridge is planning a second, third, and fourth season release then they will want to wait until the Acorn discs are no longer on the market and demand is once again up. Another thing to consider is if a store like Best Buy already has Lexx Acorn DVDs in their warehouses then they will want to burn through that stock before ordering any Echo Bridge release for a restock. Right now season #1 has never been released on DVD in the United States so there was a demand that Echo Bridge filled. While they do not list any further Lexx seasons on their website they do show other television shows they are releasing in season box sets. That means that Echo Bridge has both the legal right and motive to release further seasons. This all depends on How well season #1 sells and if some third party video company does not offer Echo Bridge a fortune to buy the DVD release rights.


1963 6 years ago

"Awwwh!...for gods sake !....Just bring it back!!!!"


790 rocks 6 years ago

I hope they will continue the show! It was funny with with odd, but great stories! None other like it!


deadassassin26 6 years ago

the dead do not meddle in the affairs of the living!

but since i do possess the memories from when i was alive.i do know that keeping this show from the people is wrong.and as a divine assassin i have a responsibility to mame all those responsible for this error in judgement!


Harry 6 years ago

The problem with this show is that the staff decided to take the sex route rather than take the storyline route. Don't get me wrong, I watched all four seasons, didn't like what they did with season 3 and 4 because I'm more of a fan of the exploration of the unknown myself, but this show had excellent potential, tremendous potential that was virtually wasted on cheap sexual ratings grabbers that really served to cheapen a really great show in the long run.

If they had taken out all of the sexual parts in season one and filled that time in with relevant plot developing stuff, they'd of had a show that literally rivaled Star Trek. I mean their writers obviously had the creative talent and know-how to develop some very interesting concepts and plot ideas. I mean we saw that all throughout season one, but they just decided to forgo much of it in favor of stupidity of the sexual nature.

Unfortunately for us viewers who enjoyed the show despite all of that, will never see this show again because the show's sexual nature taking time from interesting plot development stuff will cause many who would otherwise love this show to be turned off from it, thereby dooming it to oblivion unless by some off chance someone makes a movie good enough to re-excite interest in the show, which really would be great.

I have to admit, I didn't like the sexual nature of the show, it turned me off several times, but science fiction really is the only genre that has ever had a huge advantage to draw my interest into a show. I love sci-fi more than any other style or genre. So for me, despite the sexual nature of the show, I still was able to get drawn into it's episodes. However, most people are not like me at all, therefore, this show will not draw the amount of popularity that it really could have had, had they not elected to go sexual and instead took this show seriously and decided to stay plot focused like most great shows do today.

Man, it's a shame. This show really could have been one of the sci-fi greats, but now it will merely be demoted to a minor cult following that may, by some miracle, later on get a movie. I just hope the writing staff of any movie is a bit wiser and seriously focuses on developing a good plot and storyline that will really draw in the crowds so that perhaps it can become a series once again.


pandorabutterfly1 6 years ago

LEXX is and always will be the best sci-fi show i've ever had the privilege of watching.

The only thing that makes me angry is when a show is cancelled in it's prime. I loved the fact that lexx had hidden and not so hidden sexual content. They need to revive lexx. Especially now, when there is a larger then ever sci-fi following. As far as the sexuality of the show... just look at some of the popular teen hit shows on cwb,mtv,ect. There's more actual contact on those shows. Plus the final episode left us all wanting to know more.

We never got to see xev fulfill her goal as sex slave(not really). Stan and xev still haven't found a home. How about prince,bunny and priest? Com'on can't forget the fact that hello new little lexx. There is sooooo much they can do. How will they breed moths without moth breeders? ect! ect! ect!

The times have changed since the show aired it last episode. As far as the actors if they can't or won't return they could always do a cameo with a switch like they did with the original xev.

Now i will admit without kyi it might be hard. Prince could have reniiged on his deal at last sec?

Just a few ideas just in case someone somewhere in a power position reads this. The people have spoken we want lexx back.

does any one remember what the fans of farscape did? there's some food for thought.


Ubunutu8 5 years ago

I think if they did bring the series back they should not do a Kai didn't die plot.

What they can do is go to a planet where Kai has been reborn.

They could go to a world where Kai has been reborn which would mean they could introduce new actors.


maryjane 5 years ago

I just discovered the show and i absolutely love it. I was greatful that it wasn't just cancelled and that the show was given some type of ending, but I couldn't help but feeling like there should be more. They ended the show with all the main characters still alive, both good and bad, except for Lexx who they were kind enough to replace with Little Lexx and Kai who we all know could very easily just appear on another planet. The show would be very different with a living Kai and a new Little Lexx, but i would definitely watch, especially because of how much i wanted to see Xev with Kai once he got his soul back. Then all they would have to do is program 790 to love Stan the Man, this way he wouldn't want to kill any of them. I know that might make it a little harder to think of storylines but i never liked how much 790 wanted to kill Xev and Stan, I liked him alot more when he was in love with Xev. When he first fell in love with Kai it was pretty funny, but it got old quick and he did too many horrible things that went unpunished. I really wish they wouldv'e had Prince give Kai his soul back just a little sooner so at least he could've been alive when he and Xev kissed. PLEASSSSSSE BRING BACK LEXX!!!!!!!!


little little lexx 4 years ago

Me too, I want more LEXX. Best show ever.


lexxfan 4 years ago

The series ended with an opening. On the Noah, Prince told Priest and Bunny that their journey finally begins. What does that mean, anyways. It would be good to find out in a spin-off. Also, Xev and Stan now have the Little Lexx. Even without Kai, they could land on a planet with a Kai doppelganger. Who knows. If the Lexx could blow up planets, what could the Little Lexx do? The universe is still open to more Lexx adventures.


Janika 4 years ago

So, Echo Bridge has released all the Lexx stuff now http://www.examiner.com/review/the-cult-sci-fi-ser... , what next? I've got traffic coming through a Lexx blog saying heck yeah, fans all over the world are still VERY interested...


BillMan 3 years ago

They could start it off with Prince who takes over the little Lexx if they can't get back all the main Characters, Just a thought.


Janika Banks 2 years ago

I keep coming back to this article, pure gold in the lost pages of Lexx history. I talk to fans all over the globe who want to see this show picked back up, remade, rebooted, *something*. Some of us have been so extremely patient and loyal through all the marketing and contracting stumbles. No, it hasn't been a smooth ride. I remember saying in forums that one day Lexx, which was so scarce that used discs got really pricey, would show up on store shelves again. Guess what, the entire season in Target, $20 last summer. LEXX IS BACK. Anyone can purchase it now, THANK YOU. I was lucky enough to get the original prints from Salter Street, and all I can say is how hard some of us fans have worked to keep conversation going about Lexx when it was so unavailable that no one could see what it was even if they wanted to. There are people out there creating their own Lexx merch because no one else is making any. The stuff fans are still doing is awesome, but no one sees it because Lexx isn't in a spotlight. The cult fans of Lexx are the most cult I've ever met.

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