At the stroke of midnight on July 7th, the first two videos of Jon M. Chu’s web series, The LXD, went live for viewing in the United States, and the international release should not be far behind. Beginning with its “Moments” trailer released last December, The LXD has been hard at work during the first half of the year promoting its dance team and raising awareness for the web series with performances at TED, the Oscars, and So You Think You Can Dance. Billing itself as “the world’s first online dance adventure”, The LXD promises a transmedia experience spanning multiple platforms, including instructional videos, live events, film, and television supplementing the web series.
In his talk at TED 2010, Chu described The LXD web series as “a living, breathing comic book series – but unlike Spiderman and Iron Man, these guys can actually do it.” The LXD shows a world where dancers are superheroes with powers and abilities related to body movement and dance. A great battle between good and evil looms on the horizon in this world of superdancers, encapsulated in an event known as “The Uprising.” “There is a legion,” the unnamed series narrator tells us: “a legion of bravery, of hope, of the extraordinary. They lie amongst us, preparing for battle, waiting to rise and change things for good.”
The initial two videos offer a troupe of tropes from the “good vs evil” archives. There is Trevor, quiet and repressed but possessing secret powers of dance, a secret crush, and a demanding father. There is Illister, the villain, and the Observers, who are with the good guys and who protect “the son of the Drift.” There is also the conspiracy theorist reporter, determined to unlock the secrets of the LXD, and two best friends who will be torn apart by jealousy. Yet, in the story are some intriguing elements that rise above the tropes: what bestows these powers of movement on the dancers? what is really in the warehouse, who put it there, and why? And who is the Illister, my current personal favorite, described in the site’s character biographies as having “no side but his own”? (Except that his mission is to kill Trevor, so it sounds to me like he has a side – an evil side.)