I’ll start by saying that I surprisingly found myself thoroughly enjoying Into the Badlands, so don’t think I’m slamming AMC’s new martial arts series with reckless abandon. The series’ first season — which is unfortunately just six episodes — is filled with fantastic fight sequences, an intriguing story, and mostly great characters (I’ll get into why I say mostly later on). But even with these great elements that come together to form a good TV series, there’s one element that’s holding it back from being great: a backstory.
The biggest problem with Into the Badlands is that we’re just thrown into the badlands, with no explanation of how the ruthless territory came about, an essential bit of backstory that would enrich the series and allow those watching to buy-in a little more. Viewers are left to gather that it’s set sometime in the future after the U.S. crumbles (which is alluded to in a few scenes in which Baron Quinn is looking at/talking about a White House replica). But, that’s basically all we know. In fact, we’re not even able to determine just how far into the future the show takes place.
Unfortunately, we’re not told how the government fell, how the barons rose to their power, how Sunny (played by Daniel Wu) arrived to the plantation, or how M.K. gained his power. Undoubtedly, we’ll learn some of these details if we should see an Into the Badlands season 2 — which we’re crossing our fingers for — but until then, we have to rely on the minor story bits we were given in season 1. The backstory we should’ve been given in season 1, at least, is how the U.S. fell and how the badlands came to be. M.K.’s powers and more details on Sunny’s background can wait until season 2.
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For now, we don’t know whether or not an Into the Badlands season 2 is on the way, and it would be a mighty shame if it doesn’t get renewed and we’re left without answers. So, let’s pray to the TV gods for a second season.
Tell us what you think in the comments. Is Into the Badlands missing essential bits of the story? Sound off below — we’d love to hear from our readers.