On Saturday, an acquaintance mentioned looking at a show on Amazon Prime, Into the Badlands, and the name made me so curious I decided to watch it. And you know what, it’s pretty damn good.
Into the Badlands takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, where Barons carved up the region known as The Badlands and brought order out of the chaos. The Barons rule over these lands and keep a strict social order: Clippers, the warriors that kill or clip people for their lords, the Cogs which do the work and the Dolls, which are essentially prostitutes. It’s a world without guns, where the strong rule through steel, fist and careful manipulations.
The series follows several point of view characters with intertwining storylines on every level of the class system. Sunny, the Clipper is on a quest to escape the Badlands with his secret pregnant girlfriend before they’re discovered; M.K. the runaway kid with a mysterious and deadly power; The Widow, a rising Baroness intent on destroying the class system and her enemies; Baron Quinn and his family, Sunny’s boss and one of the central sources of conflict in the Badlands. And many more.
Into the Badlands has political intrigue between the nobles, incredible fighting scenes with choreographies that will remind you of classic Kung Fu films, personal quests for answers and redemption and perhaps even more, happiness, which is in short supply in the Badlands. Hell, there’s even mystical monks and a mysterious urban legend city.
And that’s just the first season, with the second further expanding the cast, territories and circumstances. They even bring in Nick Frost into the mix for one of the coolest characters in the series, both in charm and ass-kicking, only second to Stephen Lang, whom I adored in Terra Nova and is back here to kick ass, even from a wheelchair. But to be honest, now that I’ve seen it all, one of my favourite things about Into the Badlands is hearing Marton Csokas talk in that southern drawl as Quinn, his mad ramblings are just phenomenal. Daniel Wu’s fight scenes are a sight to behold, the choreographies fast and fluid.
What I love the most about Into the Badlands is that it accomplishes all of this, telling compelling stories and entertaining with amazing fights without ever showing nudity or excessive gore. At most you’ll see blood spatter on the violence side and someone’s naked back. It follows more traditional television in terms of what it shows and it proves that even in this post Game of Thrones and Starz world, you really don’t need to go pornographic to be engaging.
Season 1 is a short one, with only six episodes and Season 2 has an increased episode count of ten. You can find both on Amazon Prime video and Season 3 has already been greenlit with an even greater episode count, so there’s more Into the Badlands to come and what’s already here is good enough for a weekend binge.
So, jump into Amazon Prime Video, load up Into the Badlands and prepare for some ass-whooping, bone cracking and lots of personal and political intrigue. There’s nobility and opium and those always mean trouble! It’s also the most amazing Kung Fu genre piece you’ll see in a long time!