So. Into the Badlands. If you didn’t watch it, let me start by commending it to you. I’m going to talk a little bit about it here, but I’ll tryto avoid spoilers. It’s a good show. Watch it.
Last night was the final episode of the season. I want to start by listing everything I liked about the show.
1) The aesthetic – high action kung fu set in a post apocalyptic Louisiana? Yes. Heavy steampunk influence? Yes. Weird mythology based on ancient Chinese legend. Oh, yes.
2) The characters – The show achieved one of those strange things that good stories need to achieve. The characters drove the story. Each character had their own motivations, and the story came from the interaction of those motivations. Nothing was imposed from the outside. The narrative flowed from natural character interaction. Good stuff.
3) The action – Good fight scenes, well choreographed, with very real and believable consequences. Most of the kung fu was entirely natural. There was some wire work, but the show is honest about some of the kung fu being supernatural, and they try to limit the wire work to the application of those supernatural powers. There are exceptions, but they don’t detract from the action.
3a) one negative – women fighting in high heels. Several of the characters are corset wearing ninja-ladies who strut around in super-sexah high heeled boots. But once the fighting starts, they’re shown in flats, because no one fights in high heels.
Let the ladies wear practical shoes, Hollywood. Ladies can be sexy as hell in practical shoes.
4) Diversity – There’s a great diversity of characters, across races and genders. Are there groups that are absent? Yes. But I was pleased with the seamless inclusion of powerful characters of many, many groups.
With all of that said, I have one complaint. This was sold to me as a mini-series. I was looking forward to some kind of resolution, even a lesser resolution that would have left open the possibility of a future series. But that’s not what this was. This was the first season of a show that hasn’t sold the rights to the second season yet. Hopefully it’ll get picked up, but don’t pretend it’s a closed story.