In Review: The LXD – the Scifi Web Series Science Fiction Fans NEED to Know About
Upon reading fellow ScifiPulse writer, Marx Pyle’s article “The IndieNet and Beyond – Top Ten Web Series of 2010.” I realized that I was not alone in my love of The LXD. Because of this, I really want to share why I think everyone should watch The LXD.
The LXD – The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers – is a webseires that when summarized, I shouldn’t like. For those of you who haven’t heard of LXD, it follows the adventures of people who are able to access superpowers by dancing. It borrows heavily from tropes present in science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, kung fu, and other adventure narratives. For example, the first episode of season two, “The Legion” and “Lessons,” features a school environment clearly reminiscent of the X-Men and Harry Potter franchises. Additionally, it was created by John Chu, the director of Step Up 2 and Step Up 3.
Despite The LXD freely borrowing from scifi/fantasy stories and its creator having little experience with science fiction or related genres, the series just works.
When describing this series to my friends, I often use Avatar as a parallel.
Avatar is really just a mash-up of Disney’s Pocahontas and FernGully: The Last Rainforest set in space. Though the plot is predictable and well traveled, the CGI used to tell the story is able to make these clichés feel fresh. Similarly, the way John Chu uses dancing to deploy The LXD makes these elements of science fiction feel timeless.
An example of how LXD embraces traditional tropes in a cool and fun way can be easily found in the second season. This season, as mentioned above, references the X-Men and Harry Potter franchises, but also introduces villains reminiscent of classic monsters and comic book super-villains. For instance, “Raising” features a group of bonebreakers (dancers whose’ movements suggest that they are breaking their bones) with vampirisitic qualities. “Origins” explains how the Dark Doctor – a character with Doctor Doom characteristics – came to be.
One of my favorite episodes is “Elliot’s Shoes” Starring Glee’s Harry Shum, Jr., this episode features the character of Elliot finding a pair of sneakers sealed behind a wall in a house he’s moving into. He puts on the shoes and falls asleep. As he sleeps the shoes begin moving on their own, cause a nearby radio to turn and change music stations, and forces Elliot to dance. This episode is clearly borrowing from Han Christian Andersen’s “The Red Shoes,” but it is also referencing countless fantasy and science fiction objects that empower wearers and possess a personality of their own.
As I said in the beginning, this is the kind of series science fiction fans will hate the first time they hear about it. However, I find myself always entertained by every webisode and looking forward to the next chapter of this series.
I think what I love most about this series is the untapped potential it illuminates in the deployment of science fiction narratives. For instance, the majority of video games using motion capture controllers are dancing or sports games. A well done LXD video game could introduce people who typically play sci-fi/first person shooter games to a more physically engaging type of gaming.
Also, the reality of movie production is that most fight scenes in science fiction/fantasy movies are heavily choreographed; with professional dancers assisting in the process. I feel LXD has the potential to show just how imaginative fight scenes can still be when people from a non-genre background – like John Chu – are able to do inject their style.
The LXD is founded on the aspects of science fiction and escapist fantasies that we all love: battles between good and evil, magic, superpowers, and the belief that everyone has the potential to change the world. What makes it unique, and why YOU need to watch The LXD is that it challenges our expectations of how scifi and fantasy stories should be told. In short, it does what every piece of science fiction should do – it reminds us just how varied the genre can be.
So if you found the Spider-Man musical to be disappointing, or were traumatized by one of the actors getting hurt, The LXD is the perfect blend of musicals and science fiction.
Follow us on Twitter @SciFiPulse.