AMC’s Into the Badlands was either a hit or miss — it really depends on who you ask. The audience was mediocre. The reviews were mediocre. Some people loved it. Other people hated it. While it aired its entire six-episode first season without the looming cloud of cancelation, silence about its future isn’t inspiring hope. In 2016, it appears that moderate viewership and critical notice (without acclaim) doesn’t secure a future on TV. Whatever Into the Badlands was, it wasn’t The Walking Dead.
In a recent interview with Indiewire, series creator Al Gough said the network are “taking in all the numbers” and “really sort of taking their time” about giving season two a go-ahead. “[W]e’re very positive and we’re certainly acting like there’s a Season 2, even though it hasn’t been officially greenlit yet.”
But the hybrid martial arts fantasy hasn’t provided fans with closure and, should AMC decide to pass, there’s an easy solution in the form of an equation: Season Two=Comic Book.
Into the Badlands does have a comic already. It’s a digital graphic novel and a prequel to the series, which AMC previously did for Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. The comic is written by two of the show’s writing staff, Matt Okumura and Justin Doble, with artist Steve Ellis’ illustrations. So it should be easy to go ahead and make “Season 2” with an already-established staff familiar with the characters and the world.
Comic book productions don’t require much besides time, patience, and a lot of emails. There are no stuntmen, long shooting days, or hefty actor contracts involved. The imagination is wide-open on the page. Sunny can go to space and fight aliens without its creators needing to worry about building a set that looks like the moon. And like film, comics remain a visual medium and Into the Badlands is a visual-heavy series.
While the plot and story of Badlands were underwhelming, the show dazzled with its action choreography. It alone made Into the Badlands worthy of tuning in even if the more dramatic and exposition scenes were pretty much eh.
Hell, check out what Okumura and Doble have already done with Ellis’ black-and-white (and red all over) images.
That’s another benefit to doing a comic for a violent series: fewer restrictions. Even AMC, which made a zombie show mainstream, wouldn’t let Into the Badlands go hard over the air as they could on the page.
Of course, a comic isn’t the most ideal for the show. Sure, I’d rather have a full-fledged season two (and three, and four, and…) and see guys like Daniel Wu kick ass on TV until the end of time. But as a fan who wants resolution, at least there are other options on the table. And it could be far worse: I could be a Wicked City fan.