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The brainchild of screenwriter/director Jon Chu (Justin Bieber: Never Say Never), The LXD: The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers is a mash-up of kinetic choreography and comic book superheroics, like West Side Story for the Heroes set. The show premiered on Hulu in 2010, and has become the most successful web series of all time. It involves a team of super-powered hoofers called The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers who must face off against the nefarious Organization X. Both the good and evil dancers draw their powers from a lifeforce or something-er-other called the RA, that allows them to vanquish one another in acrobatic dance offs. The show's mythology is entirely nonsensical, but if you dig watching dancers do their thing, who cares?
The episodes comprising the two seasons contained on this single-disc set do little more than introduce the characters of the Legion and Organization X, as well as slowly reveal the redonkulous mythology. I suppose that's a limitation of a web series whose episodes run no more than 15 minutes each. Still, the slow, methodical storytelling (if one can call it that) doesn't stop Chu and choreographer Harry Shum, Jr. (You Got Served) from serving up a buffet of dance routines crossing all manner of styles that I won't pretend to know anything about whatsoever. Chu shoots the sequences with a maximum of style. Lighting and framing are excellent throughout—though Chu tends to overdo it on the slow motion, which to my untrained eye actually diminishes rather than reinforces the impressive athleticism of the dancers.
Season 1: The Uprising Begins
Season 2: Secrets of the Ra
In terms of the technical qualities of this release, you can put aside any worries you might have about a web series not living up to the standards of DVD. Shot on high definition video (I presume), The LXD's production values are excellent. The DVD presentation is in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, enhanced for widescreen displays. The transfer itself is subtle and detailed, capturing Chu's stylized lighting without any intrusive digital artifacts. Audio is offered in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that handles the limited amount of dialogue well, while delivering a rich and full-bodied presentation of the nearly constant music.
The only extra is a 12-minute making-of featurette called The LXD: Building the Legion.
As someone with minimal interest in dance and movie musicals, I found The LXD acrobatic enough (and with brief enough episodes) to engage my interest. Would I have watched both seasons in their entirety if I hadn't been required to do so in order to write this review? Not likely. Will I ever revisit these episodes? No. But if you're into dance and musicals enough to own and rewatch Chu's features Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D, then The LXD should be right up your alley. The dancing is impressive, and the production values are off the charts for a web series.
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