Fresh off the San Diego Comic-Con presses, AMC debuted a trailer for its new martial arts/drama/fantasy series “Into The Badlands,” starring Daniel Wu and created, executive produced and showrun by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (“Smallville,” the 2011 “Charlie’s Angels,” “Shanghai Knights,” and “Shanghai Noon”). A panel was also held at Comic-Con with Wu (also an executive producer on the show), Gough, and Millar, as well as co-stars Emily Beecham, Orla Brady, Marton Csokas, Aramis Knight, and director/executive producer David Dobkin (“The Judge,” “The Change-Up,” “Wedding Crashers,” “Shanghai Knights”), along with fight director/executive producer Stephen Fung, most known for helming “Tai Chi Zero” and “Tai Chi Hero.”
From the trailer, the show appears to be a fascinating composite of “Django Unchained” (Stacy Sher and Michael Shamberg, who produced “Django Unchained” and other Tarantino films such as “Pulp Fiction,” are also executive producers), the “Mad Max” films, “The Walking Dead,” and high-octane contemporary martial arts and swordplay films, all set in a post-apocalyptic era where guns are outlawed. Based loosely on the classic Chinese novel, “Journey to the West” by Wu Cheng’en, the series follows a fighter — who may be a modern-day version of “The Monkey King” Son Wu Kong — named “Sunny” (Wu), who finds and decides to train a lost young boy named “M.K.” (Knight), and together they trek across a dystopian America ruled by seven Barons and their ruthless armies.
Featuring exceptionally choreographed, action-packed fight scenes (that boast some very cool swordwork), lush fantasy sets that also somehow seem familiar, and a diverse cast of imaginatively crafted characters, the show seems promising, but only time will tell if it becomes a hit. AMC placed an initial order of six episodes which will debut in November of 2015. During the panel, Wu also mentioned that he hoped “Into The Badlands” would revitalize the martial arts/kung fu genre for TV, similar to the way that “Smallville” brought back the superhero genre to the small screen, under the supervision of Gough and Millar.