It's [Into the Badlands] something that's very, very different and I think that's why it divided critics initially because they didn't understand it or get it. They didn't understand or have a knowledge of what we were trying to do. Bringing in the Asian martial arts aesthetic to American television. For us, these are the people who will make the show a hit or a failure in future seasons. So it's for us to respect them and interact and see what they have to say.
We liked the idea of introducing the audience to the world, and to show how much they had accepted or were confused by it. It was gratifying to see the people who embraced it immediately and understood it and got into it. They have tracked the characters through the six episodes, so it felt that now we can launch into the journey element of it. And really explore more of the Badlands.
[Into the Badlands] wasn't going to be two days of a splinter unit at the end of the shoot. The action and the martial arts had to be integral to the show. That's what makes it unique, that's what makes it special and different and ground-breaking. No one has attempted this before on American television.
There are a couple of specific things about the show [Into the Badlands]. We didn't want to do a contemporary show, which is always "Chinese cop comes to New York, teams up with racist cop, together they fight crime..."
We got the idea of nature almost encroaching. It's incredibly lush, incredibly green, we really popped the colors, lots of deep reds and the greens. It really has a sense of color which is unsettling actually and people are like, "It's so colorful."
Also, having grown up in England, you walk around London, you're passing relics that are a thousand years old - the wall of London is a thousand years old. You don't talk about it, it's part of your everyday life. The idea that people are in these environments and talking about the past and what happened, it's irrelevant. It's all about living and in this world it was about surviving.
It was very challenging in terms of making sure that everyone is distinct. Also, we wanted to have some Asian influences as well, so that it really is a mashup. We want evidence of our presence in this world, so you'll see there's an interest in technology, that there are not complex electronics. There's electricity in this world, but computers, circuits don't work.
I think that people are really hungry for original content. I think there's a sense of reboots and remakes, and we're lacking in any sense of originality in media. So, I think the people who want something like this which has a graphic novel feel or comic book feel but that is designed and created for the medium of television, I think that is something is very appealing to a lot of people.
We knew Terry Brooks' work, but we hadn't read the Shannara books. So, they sent us the book to read and we just loved the story and the characters. We thought it would make a very compelling season of television. We were like, "Someone is going to make this. Why don't we do it?"
Another thing we wanted to do, a lot of shows or movies that are in the future or the post-apocalyptic are very bleached, desaturated desert environments and we wanted to do the opposite of that. There's always talk about Chernobyl and the world that environment has recovered has become this idyllic, bizarrely refuge for wildlife.