INSIDE TREK & SCI-FI XENIA SEEBERG'S LEXX APPEAL
By Ian Spelling
December 27, 1999
Is the world ready for Lexx ?
Debuting Jan. 7 on the Sci-Fi Channel, the Canadian/German-made series gets the new millennium off to a quirky, sex-drenched start with a one-hour premiere and a teaser episode entitled Nook. Lexx centers on Xev (Xenia Seeberg), an unquenchable sex slave, Kai (Michael McManus), a 2,000-year-old, dead assassin adored by Xev, and Stanley Tweedle (Brian Downey), an inept captain with the hots for Xev. Then there's 790 (Jeffrey Hirschfield), a robot head who's also smitten with Xev. The four coexist with some difficulty aboard their powerful ship, Lexx, a sentient, genetically enhanced insect.
"Whatever you've seen of other sci-fi series, this is nothing like them," says Seeberg, a 27-year-old German actress with bee-stung lips and bright, blue-green eyes. "I'm not going to say there's nothing good on television, but there's nothing out there that's as twisted as our series.
"It's got a very dark and, I would even say, British kind of humor," Seeberg says. "That's what drew me to the show in the first place, but that's also what makes it special. We don't take ourselves or the characters or humankind in general too seriously, and that's very important.
"Smart viewers will get it right away," she adds. "Everybody else will get that it's pretty much about human nature and the various aspects of human nature. And they will see a lot about sexuality, not that they'll get to see a lot of sexuality.
Lexx reflects what's on people's minds."
The ambitious, in-your-face series, shot in Nova Scotia and Germany, emerged from a batch of television movies that aired as "Tales from a Parallel Universe.'' Eva Habermann played Zev as the character's name was formerly spelled in the earlier incarnation, and actually appears in two of the Sci-Fi Channel episodes before giving way to Seeberg's Xev, the way Terry Farrell's Jadzia Dax gave way to Nicole de Boer's Ezri Dax on DS9.
After accepting the role, Seeberg watched tapes of Habermann's performance, but primarily sought to make the character her own. She wanted to create a Xev who beneath that revealing outfit and stark red wig is simultaneously smart, funny and sexy.
"She's a little different from script to script, depending on what she's called upon to do," Seeberg says by telephone from Germany. "Sometimes she's more of a warrior or fighter, someone who has a sense of justice, and in other episodes she's very lighthearted." And, in other episodes, it is more about her lust, her elevated libido, and she just wants to have sex," the actress adds. "She especially wants to have sex when there's definitely no chance."
"Xev is the character who always wants to go to other planets, the one who drives the crew into dangerous situations," Seeberg says. "Basically she's looking for trouble, and she doesn't mind facing some trouble if there's a chance of meeting some guys who might be potential partners, so to speak." The Sci-Fi Channel plans to air all 20 existing episodes of Lexx this season. Among the upcoming hours are Lyekka, which introduces Seeberg as Xev, and Brigadoom, a musical episode that spotlights her skills as a singer. If audiences take to the show as they have to such Sci-Fi Channel fare as Farscape and First Wave, the network will pick up the next 20 episodes of Lexx, currently in production.
"That would be great," Seeberg says. "What we're doing now is not really a continuation of what you'll be seeing, because the concept has changed a little bit. "Every episode you'll be seeing pretty much has a beginning, middle and an end, and from episode to episode we're traveling from one place to another," she explains. "This season, it's more like one big story, but one episode twists into the next one.
"So it's a little more of an ongoing story," she concludes. "We'll have a few more guest characters this season that stay around a while, and Xev does change a little bit again, too.'" Seeberg giggles nervously.
"I can't tell you about that now," she says. "But at least it's still me playing Xev."
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