I've been DVRing Into the Badlands (And Legion. And Taboo. And a couple other things. Maybe I'll get to them, at some point, but Orange is the New Black starts in a couple weeks...) ItB was something I was watching in the same way I used to watch The Walking Dead: I was interested in where they were going to take it, more in a clinical sense than from an "I'm really entertained by this!" perspective. They'd combined two relatively disparate elements: a post-apocalyptic setting and Hong Kong-style martial arts. I'm a mild fan of the latter and a huge fan of the former, so I was willing to watch the 6-episode first season... and then kinda forgot about it until the second season started appearing on the DVR a couple months ago. So I sat down and binged it over the past few days and had two reactions: 1. I'm more intrigued by the setting, as they fleshed out the world considerably. 2. I'm still not ready to plant myself in front of it every Sunday night.
On 1, as I noted in my post about the premiere episode last year, the setting was redolent of an old RPG known as Gamma World that I used to run campaigns with as a kid. The Badlands is a totally restructured society that still clings to some parts of the old technology (oil), but rejects others (guns), lacks more (computers), and treats others as something bordering on magic (the items surrounding the legendary city of Azra.) Gamma World was like that, too, in which some members of society remembered the old technology or had learned to adapt it to their world, while others would be completely mystified by it (think Donald Trump's attachment to Twitter and confusion at the concept of press releases and you'll be on the right track.)
|How does that work again?|
And that question kind of leads into point 2: Why is ItB still not compelling TV? There are a number of answers to that question.
|I'm not sure 'penetrating gaze' is the right phrase here.|
|Day in the life.|
|Dance, pigeon! Dance!|
|Yeah. No way, man.|
Overall, I'm not disappointed. I'm just kind of keeping my clinical distance for now. I'll definitely watch the opener next season and see what they've developed in the new production. AMC apparently has faith, since it went from 6 episodes in season one to 10 in season two and a reported 15 for the confirmed season three. AMC's shows often develop into things like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead (even though I've parted ways with the latter.) But they also sometimes linger on without direction like Hell on Wheels. Here's hoping for more good than bad(lands.)