Centuries in the future, the way of life as we know it is gone. After nations collapsed, a feudal system came into power. The territories, called the Badlands, were divided between seven Barons, each with an army of protectors: assassins called Clippers.
The most powerful baron, Baron Quinn (Martin Csokas), is protected by his head Clipper, Sunny (Daniel Wu), who rose in the ranks to be his most trusted assassin, but secretly dreams of a normal life beyond the Badlands, out from under the Baron's control.
When rumors rise among other Barons that Quinn is growing vulnerable, he is soon challenged for his land. The newest Baron, The Widow (Emily Beecham), is out to bring him down, with the help of her 'Butterflies.'
While attempting to recover a transport stolen by the Nomads, Sunny rescues a teenage boy, M.K. (Aramis Knight), who he trains as his Colt. He soon discovers that M.K. is hiding a dark power that may be the key to escaping his life in the Badlands.
The series has an amazing cast and wide array of well-developed characters, from the cruel Baron Quinn and often his equally vile family, to the realistic yet hopeful Sunny and the often naive M.K., and everyone in between. Each has a well-thought backstory to pull you in. I'm most intrigued by the Widow, as though a Baron and killer herself, she may eventually rise to become what the Badlands needs, and I'm curious how it will play out in season two.
The look of the show in general is beautiful, bringing together the past and the future, often with a steam punk aesthetic, from the landscapes to the sets. The costumes help bring it all together.
The show is full of drama and action, with a bit of the supernatural, bound together with some martial arts. It has it's own unique style that helps draw you in.
Season one is only six episodes, which feels like just enough; it does a great job bringing the story to life without extra filler. Into the Badlands
has a bit of something for everyone, and is worth a watch. Special Features:
Inside Into the Badlands:
There is one for each episode, and they feature the cast and crew talking about the characters and events of each episode of the show, including executive producers/co-creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, among others. * Inside Episode 101: The Fort
[5:02] - The cast and crew talk about what goes on
in the premiere episode and introduce the concept and characters, such as
who the Colts and Clippers are, about Quinn's family, and about Sunny's forbidden
relationship with Veil (Madeleine Mantock), as well as a bit about M.K. and his
dark Chi, and the possibility of escaping the Badlands. * Inside Episode 102: Fist Like a Bullet
[2:17] - Topics discussed by the cast and
crew are Quinn finding out about his tumor and killing Veil's family, which is a
major turning point for Sunny. * Inside Episode 103: White Stork Spreads Wings
[3:15] - In this featurette,
Quinn and the Widow's fight is discussed, as well as a bit about Angelica (Teressa
Liane) and Quinn being sick. * Inside Episode 104: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons
[3:56] - Wu talks about
Sunny trying to figure out M.K.'s power and trying to get him to control it, as well
as how Tilda (Ally Ioannides) ends up helping. There is also discussion about
Jacobee (Edi Gathegi). * Inside Episode 105: Snake Creeps Down
[3:14] - Sunny and M.K.'s relationship,
as well as trust, is explored. * Inside Episode 106: Hand of Five Poisons
[3:37] - Millar and Gough talk about
the themes of the episode: trust, betrayal, lies, and secrets. The outcome of
Lydia (Orla Brady) and what Jade (Sarah Bolger) did is discussed, and the
actresses weigh in. Some other highlights include Waldo (Stephen Lang) telling
Sunny about the pendant, Wu discussing his tattoos no longer being his pride, but
a weight, and Sunny facing off with the Abbots. Anatomy of a Fight:
These features give a behind the scenes look from the cast and crew at the fight scenes and what goes into them, from fighting style, to weapons, to wirework, and more. Different crew members are featured in addition to the cast, including executive producer/fight director Stephen Fung, producer/martial arts coordinator Master Dee Dee, and stunt coordinator Matt Leonard. * Episode 101: The Fort
[3:08] - The types of fighting are discussed, as well as
choreographing the scenes. They also talk about the use of primitive weapons by
the Nomads and wanting to keep the world realistic. * Episode 102: Fist Like a Bullet
[2:57] - The Widow's fight scene at the night club
is talked about, including visual effects, weapons, and choreography. Beecham
also weighs in on filming the scene. * Episode 103: White Stork Spreads Wings
[2:55] - Wu talks about his action
sequence of chasing Angelica to bring her back to Quinn. Liane tells it from her
side. Wirework is also discussed. * Episode 104: Two Tigers Subdue Dragons
[2:21] - This featurette is about the
parlay scene. The types of weapons each character uses is talked about, and the
actors talk about filming the scene. Knight also talks about controlling the dark
Chi. * Episode 105: Snake Creeps Down
[2:10] - Wu talks about the battle between
the Widow and Sunny. Some of the visual effects are discussed, and Fung talks
about wanting them to fight with different weapons and reaching the armory to
have more at their disposal to switch between. Wirework is also discussed, and
Beecham talks about fighting Sunny sideways on the wall. * Episode 106: Hand of Five Poisons
[2:19] - Wu talks about M.K.'s power. The
last big fight of the season is also highlighted. The Abbots are discussed.
Wirework and their seemingly otherworldly fighting style is talked about. Building the World of the Badlands
[2:54] - The look of the series, including sets and costumes, are talked about by members of the cast and crew, including Millar and Gough, director of photography Shane Hurlbut, executive Stephen Fung, art director Raymond Pumilia, and more. They topics they talk about include bringing in a steam punk aesthetic and building sets and props, such as the motorcycle. The Characters of Into the Badlands: The Barons
[3:23] - Quinn, his family, and the social hierarchy in the series are discussed by the cast and crew, including Millar, Gough, executive producer/director David Dobkin, and more. Characters highlighted include Quinn, Ryder (Oliver Stark), Lydia, and Jade. The Characters of Into the Badlands: The Clippers
[3:15] - The Clippers and Colts are highlighted, focusing, of course, on Sunny and M.K. Their relationships with Veil and Tilda are also discussed. The Master: Into the Badlands Fight Camp Episode 1 [2:57
] - Wu gives a behind the scenes look at the actor fight training at the training facility in New Orleans. This featurette talks about the actors practicing stunts and wirework. They talk about having Master Dee Dee, the martial arts coordinator, and what he brings to the show. The actors talks about working on the fight scenes and stunts. Creating Real Kung: Into the Badlands Fight Camp Episode 2
[3:22] - Fung and Dee Dee talk about using authentic Chinese martial arts in the series and adding other fight styles into the style, as well as the challenge of keeping the fights interesting when there are a lot more in a television series than film. Wu talks about the actors also having to give realistic reactions to being punched or kicked, as well as trying to film the fights in as few shots as possible so that they can perform, rather than the fight being created through the editing. Bringing it All Together: Into the Badlands: Fight Camp Episode 3
[2:38] - Fung talks about filming a sort of previsualization of the fight scenes after choreographing them. The camera movement isn't finalized, but it helps them to get an idea of the timing and rhythm. Fung also talks about wanting a chance to showcase martial arts in ways that is new to American television. He also talks about the actors needing to be both physically and mentally in shape. Wu talks about the training also helping them to get to know each other as a cast.
Into the Badlands Digital Comic
[22:55] - There are three stories here: "Poll of a Falling Star," "Piercing Through Stone," and "A Series of Blows." They cannot be chosen separately. In the feature, the camera moves over the pages fairly quickly; I found it hard to read without constantly pausing. Packaging:
The blu-ray set comes in the normal blue clamshell case with cardboard slipcover. Also included is a digital HD code for Ultraviolet, as well as an ad for the series' return, with an ad for The Walking Dead
on the flip side. The first disc, which is front-loaded with an ad for AMC's series, contains the first four episodes; the second contains the last two, as well as the bonus features. Final Thoughts:
While there aren't a ton of special features, what is there is enjoyable. Regardless, the series is fun and the blu-ray set worth it.