Named after its central character, Aeon Flux, this bizarre series began as six, 2–3 minute serial segments that aired as part of MTV’s 1991 series Liquid Television. Five, 3–5 minute individual stories were created for the show’s second season, which also aired on Liquid TV.
Set in a dystopian future, the series focused on the exploits of female secret agent Aeon Flux as she carried out missions, the purpose of which were largely or entirely unknown to the viewer. The characters never spoke, meaning story details had to be gleaned entirely from the actions of the characters in conjunction with the title of the episode. It was obvious that Aeon had incredibly honed shooting, acrobatic, espionage and infiltration skills, but a lapse in judgment or some fluke mishap led to her death by the end of every single story in the series’ first and second seasons.
The series continued for a third season in 1995, but with several significant changes. Episodes expanded to a half-hour in length, the characters finally spoke, and Aeon didn’t die in every episode—although her fate was at times far from envious. Back story revealed itself in small doses, but the series maintained its ambiguous tone and there was no way to tell if the stories were meant to be tied together as part of a continuous whole, or if they were largely independent and simply involved the same characters. It was possibly a combination of both.
A few story elements revealed themselves and remained consistent throughout: A large metropolis was divided in two by a series of continuous walls and defensive zones equipped with automated weapons that made crossing from one side to the other a deadly undertaking. On one side lay the nation of Monica; a free nation with no heads of state, for which Aeon Flux was an agent. On the other side of the barrier lay the nation of Bregna; an authoritarian state headed by Trevor Goodchild, who considered denial of personal freedom a fair exchange for the orderly life of the Breens under his rule. Although he was marked as the villain of the series, Trevor deemed himself a visionary who ultimately had mankind’s best interests at heart, and he spent a good deal of effort in finding scientific means for evolving or changing humanity to conform to his vision of a perfect society. Aeon Flux put a good deal of effort into preventing Trevor’s designs from reaching fruition.
It was clear that Aeon and Trevor had a past in which they were familiar with one another. As much as their ideological motivations were opposed, they had at one time been romantically, or perhaps just carnally, involved, and they still had feelings for one another. They could be battling one moment and locking lips the next, as long as their mission wasn’t at stake. Aeon was as impressively skilled and strong willed in the half-hour episodes as she had been in the shorter stories of the first two seasons, but she likewise remained prone to moments of inattention or unlucky happenstance that could lead to unfortunate results.
Ten episodes made up the third and final season, ending the series with little more background information than when it began. But if the viewer reads between the lines, one clear and undeniable message is delivered by the time the series reaches its conclusion. An enigmatic story espouses sacrifice in place of personal glory. You’re welcome.