The LXD Season 1 Review: Part 1

For those of you who don’t know the LXD or Legion of Extraordinary Dancers is an online web series created by John Chu, and while you may have seen them perform on TV or along side the Glee cast at concerts their web series is more then just performances, its a about people who can harness powers through dance and use it to fight a number of evil groups harnessing this power for evil. Though the first series is a series of short stories essentially introducing the heroes of the franchise, each one mostly self contained and more in style to a music in most cases.

LXD – THE UPRISING BEGINS

All episodes of this show can be watched on Hulu or if your not in America its downloadable on Itunes.

Anyway welcome to the LXD Season 1 Review Part 1.

The opening of each episode features a narrator from an unknown person (played by Roger Aaron Brown) which explains a little about why each was chosen to be part of the LXD or the following characters relation to the LXD.

— Chapter 1: The Tale of Trevor Drift

The first episode is actually very narrative heavy and something that doesn’t happen often in the series, possibly because while the performers are fantastic dancers in the top of their field when it comes to acting its only average, and I don’t blame the series for sticking to its strengths in the future. Anyway were shown a short scene of a younger Trevor Drift, after falling off a chair he was standing up on as a young boy he manages to flip in the air and land on his feet. His family quickly hustle him inside like he’s done something wrong, later again while he’s on his own he manages to replicate the accident performing a flip in front of a mirror.

Flash forward to his prom week, his Dad bans him from attending the function, to protect the young boy from his becoming part of the LXD and their enemies. He however sneaks off to attend the function where he dancers to impress a girl he likes. A mystery person however is watching (The illister, player by Daniel “Cloud” Campos) sets up to attack Trevor, before Trevor’s LXD guardians intervene and turn the dance into a show for the Prom. Its later shown that after this Trevor leaves after being invited to the LXD and the Illister attacks Trevor’s Dad in stead of Trevor.

The first episode is a small introduction to the series that hints of a universe and cast much bigger then shown by the first episode, you finish knowing that a great future awaits Trevor and that the are already sources of good and Evil playing their parts behind the scenes. However the real thing you watch the show for is the dancing, Trevor (Luis “Luigi” Rosado) is a world class b-boy and performs some amazing break dancing along with the other LXD members. While the lead up to it tends to go on a bit when it hits the dancing you forget about the rest of it as just sit and watch; amazed at the almost gravity defying stunts these people can achieve… worth mentioning that the production never uses visual effects or wire work to pull off stunts, everything you see them do is being done for real! Anyway that’s the opening episode, moving on…

— Chapter 2: Anti Gravity Heroes

The second episode is almost an exact opposite of the first, two young boys break into a warehouse and start playing around with a bunch of seamlessly empty boxes filled with Styrofoam. However after falling into a bunch of them one of the boys then performs a gravity defying flip… amazed at seeing what his friend does he jumps into the packaging and afterwards finds himself able to do the same thing. The rest of the episode features the two boys showing off various tricking flips and jumps while were introduced to another character; an online reporter known as Cole Waters who’s investigating the LXD. He explains that the warehouse belongs to them and they store important artefacts here that have special properties out of the way. The episode closes with one of the boys (Justin) being invited to the LXD and leaving his friend, however unknown to either of them the other boy (Jimmy) also receives an invite but it is intercepted by the Illister and ripped up, so he ends up left their on his own, with a more angered look practising martial arts more then tricking.

The second episode is a complete reverse of the first, it gets right into the ‘dance’ so to speak and rolls with it throughout the entire episode, everything else takes place while we see that which gives us something to watch as characters, mostly Cole, feed us exposition which works much better then the first episodes way. If every episode is an experimental then this one holds up much better then the first. The Illister also has an amazing on screen presence, he never talks but oozes style for a bad guy! You never learn much about the two boys but its very much left that while they part as friends the look on Jimmy’s face shows that, that friendship is not going to remain.

— Chapter 3: Robot Love Story

This is the episode that proves why dance is such a powerful art form, aside from the opening narration there is no speech during the entire episode, resorting to a more comic like approach displaying text on screen like a comic when its needed. A young man simple known as Sp3cimen (possibly dead or comatose as the narrator mentioned people dying before they reach their destiny, played by Chadd “Madd Chadd” Smith ) has some object placed in his chest by the ‘Dark Doctor’ which revives hi, however hey moves like a robot and seems unable to talk. A nurse slowly helps him to recover and come to terms with his new existence. The two of them come to develop feelings for each other, however the Doctor has plans for sp3cimen and the nurse, in love with him betrays the Doctor and tells him to escape and to contact the LXD, while she goes home and packs she starts to act more robotic herself. The episode ends with Sp3cimen’s escape and the ‘Dark Doctor’ turning up at the nurse’s house for revenge at the loss of his prize.

Now while the story does not sound like much the real power of this episode lies in its executing and really is a must see to really understand the greatness of it and the LXD series as a whole. I’m sure a story told in this way was likely to have had a hit or miss feel to it in production, as it really seems like its something you’ll either love or hate, but I hope that everyone who sees it loves it as it’s a genuine spectacle!

For the ‘dance’ element of this episode we have (ro)boting, and Chadd really is possibly the best in the world at this, backing dancers also a great at making it a team dance scene, its also nicely worked into the story in the future that these other dancers all dressed the same seem to appear out of nowhere. The nurse is also very good as well, performing with a different style and pace to Chadd that adds a nice balance as the dance cuts between the two of them representing the different emotions of the characters. Its also nice to finally see a female character with an important role, something I think the series needs more of, there’s also a Dark nurse that gets a minor role in this episode who performs ballet for a small time we see her. Over all this is the best in terms of style that season 1 has to offer and possibly one of the best episode made so far!

— Chapter 4: The Uprising Begins

The series 4th episode introduces us to how the LXD actually fight, or at least the basics of it as its heavily expanded into a more physical practice in later episodes. But were introduces to Spex (Richard “Steelo” Vazquez ), ex LXD member currently working in an office, he’s introduced to a new employee who he seems to recognise. Fast forward to the end of the day once the office is empty of staff the two begin to fight. Tearing up across the office eventually Spex is victorious however he receives a phone call informing him that the rival group the ‘OX’ have his wife.

This episode mostly has a combat feel, while not much really happens in terms of character development aside from the end which points to Spex rejoining the LXD, the combat doesn’t really feel like combat, just one dancer chasing another around an office pulling off dance moves, perhaps why it was revised in later episodes to be more physical. Its a bit underwhelming and not on par with the previous episode but its the nature of the experimental nature of the series, it also never really captures the spirit of a music video as much as the other episodes have so far. I’d like to write more about this episode as it seems I’m a little light on talking about it but really that’s all there is too it and others coming up in the future have even less in them.. at least I can say what I don’t think works for them.. for this it just falls foul of being average.

So that’s it for part 1, see you in part 2 where I’ll cover more episodes from season 1

Ryatta

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About Ryatta

So about me... Well when I'm not reviewing things I'm a technical animator working in one of the UKs biggest game studios!

Posted on 01/30/2012, in Other, Text Reviews/Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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