When Æon Flux first hit the airwaves in 1991, it was as part of MTV/(Colossal) Pictures' Liquid Television, a weekly half-hour collection of animated shorts.
Ask someone to name one of the one-shots on Liquid Television
and they might answer with Mike McKenna's Grinning Evil Death
or Yoshiaki Kawajiri's Running Man
. Ask them to name one of the serials, and they'll instantly reply with Æon Flux
(also known as, "the cool one with the chick shooting everyone!")
The brainchild of animator Peter Chung, that unnamed "chick" (later named after the series) made an unforgettable entry: armed with two futuristic guns, the futuristic Flux made mincemeat of scores of futuristic guards, using the kind of cool moves that every action/adventure movie star wishes he could do. She was beyond the standard labels of cop, secret agent, or vigilante: she was a force of nature. With the thrilling musical score playing in the background, the audience cheered as she mowed down dozens of faceless, obviously evil henchmen. Très
Then came the second episode: glancing only briefly at the skimpily-attired Flux, the camera focused on the scores of dead and dying henchmen. We heard their cries, their moans, their weeping and suffering. Without the thrilling music and cool moves, the scene was about as exciting as an abattoir. Chung had forced the audience to consider: was Flux really the hero? Had we been set up? Then it hits--this series has a message: don't take everything you see at face value
. The old clichés don't work here.
Since the series was completely without dialogue, the audience was left to figure everything out on their own.
The series proved popular enough that, despite the character's death in Liquid Television
's first season, five more shorts were ordered for the next. Chung took brought her back in five unrelated short pieces, again playing with science-fiction movie conventions and challenging the audience to try to make sense of the events in each episode by paying close attention to detail. Oh, and she died in each episode again.
Obviously, something still clicked with the public. Æon was given her own series of ten half-hour episodes, which started airing on MTV this fall. The same mind-bending weirdness went into the new shows, as well as one special element: now the characters could speak. Did this make things any easier to understand? Of course not. And really, would it be any fun if it did?
Emru Townsend: You just flew in [from Korea] yesterday, right?
How do you adjust to that? I mean, just out of curiosity--I assume you're going back and forth?
Yeah, well, my living schedule is fairly irregular to begin with. I really don't have set sleeping hours.
I guess that's lucky for you then. That just works with your job.