Liquid Television's Æon Flux

Liquid Television’s Æon Flux

If you had MTV in the early to mid ’90s you are probably familiar with their Liquid Television program. The program had a bunch of original animation, but what I remember most as a kid were Beavis & Butthead and Æon Flux - not that I really understood them. Regardless, I would stay up late to watch them on the only television we had at the time, in the living room, once everyone had fallen sleep.

All I can remember of Æon Flux is that it was weird and cool. Watching it tonight I realize that I never would have understood as an 11 year old. For tonight I chose to watch disc 1 which features five random episodes from season 3, which is probably a good place to start since I read the first two seasons have no dialogue.

To look at a single frame of the animation it might be fair to say it looks like a comic book. In reality though, the animation is in its own class. The animation uses camera movements like arc or tracking shots to make the futuristic acrobatics exciting. They use closeups, wide angle, low angle… basically following John Ford’s advice to young Spielberg at the end of The Fabelmans, and the show is all the better for it.

While the show definitely is dystopian science fiction, there are a number of interesting themes covered in the few episodes I watched.

  • Thanatophobia reminded me of “surgery is the new sex” from Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, and touches on how we build the systems that destroy us.
  • The Purge asks who decides what our conscience tells us is right or wrong? And if it’s instilled by some outside force do we really have free will?
  • A Last Time For Everything deals with human cloning and stealing someone’s likeness for personal enjoyment. It might even ask if at least one of our clone survives, are we still alive?

Hell, you could make a podcast episode analyzing each episode. I’m sure someone already has. Anyway, I’m really enjoying it and look forward to watching the rest.