As I stated in my introductory post for this blog, I am fascinated by new media. Traditional media such as TV, movies, and radio is great and I am clearly a big fan. But with the advent in technology there are new ways of doing things that can open up doors to new experiences.
One example is a web series available on Hulu called the LXD.
The LXD stands for the Legion of Extraordinary Dances. It is written and produced by Jon Chu, who is also responsible for the Step Up movies. But if you did not like those movies, please do not let that turn you off.  LXD is an example of a high concept that would not get a shot in traditional media.
In short LXD is about a select group of people who have the ability to use dance to activate superpowers. Chu described it as a “Justice League of dance”.  It sounds silly but once you get past that it turns out to be a really good show.
When I first started watching I decided to go in assuming it was an art piece. Each episode features a dance sequence and I figured if nothing else I could appreciate that. And if that is the only level you watch it on that is fine. I am not a dance expert by any means, but the dancing earns the title of extraordinary. The show claims to use no wires or special effects of any kind for the dancing or stunts. If this is true then the talent of the dancers is unreal. They use a mix of several types including hip hop styles, tap, ballet, and in a recent episode Flamenco.
As for the story, by the third episode I was starting to buy in and by the 5th I was sold.
Essentially you have a very classic good vs. evil story. The LXD are our heroes dedicated to protecting the world from those that would use the power (called the RA) for ill. The ones they protect against are Organization X, or the OX. Also in the mix is The Dark Doctor who appears to be against both the LXD and the OX.
The characters are a mix of archetypes having only being misfits in common. They include:
Trevor Drift, a loner high school student who discovers he is a hidden heir of the LXD leadership. When his powers manifest his father is killed and the LXD lead by his previously unknown brother Spex take him in and train him.
Next is Sp3cimen (yes they really spell it that way.) He is a dead soldier brought back to life by the Dark Doctor’s experiments as a human/robot hybrid. He escapes and finds his way to the LXD.
Elliot Hoo is an average man who finds a pair of shoes that grant him the ability to dance and use the RA.
The Fanboyz are a group of nerds (ok Hollywood nerds, but still) from Trevor Drifts high school that learn of the LXD and want to join. They get their RA powers just by trying hard enough to acquire them.
The first 2 seasons of the LXD are 10 episodes long with most episodes being less than 10 minutes long. The current 3rd season is up to 7 episodes. They have not announced how many this season will have, but I suspect it will be 10 again. No word if there is a 4th planned, but as it seems doubtful that they are wrapping up the story soon I suspect there will be one.
Seriously check this one out. Give it a few episodes and I think it will surprise you.

DC Comics Relaunch: Fairwell to the old DCU

With last week’s release of Flashpoint we have seen the end of the old DC universe. I can’t really comment on the New DC Universe yet as the only book out is Justice League. So let’s look at how the DCU of old ended.
Remember that we only heard about this change back in June. At that time the DCU was chugging along and none of us knew the end was nigh. What I wonder about is how many creators had advanced knowledge.
Zantanna was a title that was still relatively new with issue #16 being the final issue. During its run there was the set-up of a new mystic villain Brother Night and a new love interest Dale Colton. At around issue 12 the series was I would say midway through the Brother Night arc. I assume the plan was to go on with this story for a while.
Then we get the relaunch. Rather than accelerate the arc, the writers ignored it, Brother Night and Dale. The last issues of Zatanna were all stand-alone stories. To be fair they were good stories, but they did nothing to resolve the hanging plot threads of the series.
Zatanna will still be in the new DCU. She is a member of Justice League Dark. Maybe these threads will be picked up there, but I personally doubt it.
Wonder Woman was different in that the story already was dealing with an altered timeline. In this case the final issue resolved the storyline restoring Wonder Woman to her proper self. In a nod to the coming change Wonder Woman herself said she felt another change was coming. At least in this case there were no major plot threads left hanging.
This leaves the final story of the old DCU, Flashpoint.
Here is a case where I wanted to like this story, but in the end it just left me a bit cold.
Had this been just a simple Flash story line I would have been fine with it. But it isn’t, it is the catalyst for the new DCU.
When DC did its first major reboot in 1985 with Crisis on Infinite Earths it was a story on a grand scale. It incorporated the majority of the characters in the universe, was played on a cosmic scale and took place over the course of a year. Basically DC earned the reboot.
With Flashpoint it was in the end a Flash story dealing with time travel. While it could be argued that it dealt with major characters of the DCU, they were in unrecognizable forms, with half the heroes being turned into villains.  None of the mini-series that went along with Flashpoint have any apparent impact on what is to come and were really nothing more than a sales ploy. Some of them were good stories, but they do not add to the relaunch in any way that I can see.
The whole thing leaves me with the feeling that this is reboot feels soft and that at any moment the powers that be at DC (Dido, Lee and Johns) can say “Ok, done with that, fix the timeline and return the DC Universe to normal.”
So in the end the DCU went out not with a bang, but a whimper.