Into the Badlands ran for three seasons on AMC, with the third and final season having the same number of episodes as the previous two. Now, AMC original dramas tend to take two forms: period dramas (Mad Men, Halt and Catch Fire) or something that is at least trying to be cool and different (the various Walking Dead series, the various Breaking Bad series). Which one is Into the Badlands?
Well, the pilot opens with a man riding a motorcycle in a post-apocalyptic world. He’s got on a long, red leather trenchcoat, and when he gets where he’s going, he using martial arts to kill a bunch of nomads while barely taking a single hit.
I think I know which of the two types of show this one is. And this will fill in nicely until Dark comes back for its own final season.
So, what is this? Set 500 years after some kind of apocalyptic event, the territory called “the Badlands” (which actually look rather bucolic) has a semi-feudal society. Enforcers called Clippers work for the various Barons in the different territories. The motorcycle-riding martial artist is Sunny. He works for Baron Quinn. Quinn produces opium.
Anyway, here’s how things get started: Sunny rescues a lad named M.K. M.K. has a pendant with a symbol that matches one Sunny himself has on a childhood compass. Sunny’s learning to read from his girlfriend Veil, and he may need to leave his sweet gig as the best of the best when it comes to Clippers.
M.K., meanwhile, turns into a nearly unstoppable fighting machine when he’s cut.
As for Quinn, he wants to marry a second wife, Jade. First wife Lydia doesn’t seem to mind since Barons can take as many wives as they want, and she knows she’ll still have a place in the Baron’s plans. Her son Ryder is a different story.
And the newest Baron, a woman known only as the Widow, really wants that kid.
So, here’s our set-up. Can Sunny kung-fu his way to freedom, or whatever he really wants to do? That we will have to wait and see.
At least we’ll have some cool fight scenes.