Into the Badlands: AMC's Multi-Genre Dystopia in the Age of Dystopias

This new show appears right after AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead and tells the story of a Clipper (assassin) named Sunny and his role in the dystopian world called The Badlands. What makes this show so interesting and unique is the variety of different genres it could possibly fall into. It has elements of a classic Kung-Fu movie, bringing us back to the great days of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, but it also incorporates elements of magic and other-worldliness that can only be described as fantasy. This show can also be labeled as a dystopia because the setting is very similar to our world and is supposedly set post-apocalypse. This series has the potential to reach a variety age groups: those who are older and appreciate the classic nature of a great Kung-Fu film and those who are younger and enjoy the current phenomena of the dystopia and fantasy genres. Could this menagerie of genres be the television of the future or is this simply an appeal to a wide variety of popular genre fads? How does this show use the varying genres to separate itself from more popular dystopias/post-apocalyptic stories like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and others? Is this a way of creating something unique out of the dystopian genre or is it simply another body in an already over-crowded genre?

  • What about the show should the focus be on? The interplay between a mish-mash of eastern discipline and action (and choreography/cinematography), American Southern restoration period aesthetics, and medieval feudalism (possibly the common ground between the east and west)? Should it be focused on how this genre is rarely used in television, if at all? Why now? Why go so heavy in kung fu on such an experiment (which seems to be a worthwhile payoff, quality wise at least)? Should it focus on an Asian male actor leading a prominent show, hearkening back to the legacy of Bruce Lee, who brought kung fu to the west more successfully than anyone before him, and to whom all subsequent kung fu/martial arts movies owe a debt of gratitude to? On the otherside of that same coin, why is it that Asian male (and female) action stars get pigeon holed in kung fu master roles? Basically, the prompt needs to be more than just "here's the show and some back ground; write something about it." But yeah, great show. – nsnow 8 years ago

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