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AMC is adding to its drama roster.
The cable network on Friday announced a straight-to-series pickup for martial arts drama Badlands.
Badlands is described as a genre-bending martial arts series very loosely based on the classic Chinese tale Journey to the West. In a land controlled by feudal barons, Badlands tells the story of a great warrior and a young boy who embark on a journey across a dangerous land to find enlightenment.
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The home of Mad Men and The Walking Dead has ordered six hourlong episodes of the drama from AMC Studios for a premiere in late 2015 or 2016. The drama was created by writers-showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville), who will exec produce alongside Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg (Pulp Fiction) and martial arts filmmakers Daniel Wu (Tai Chi Zero) and Stephen Fung. Entertainment One will handle international distribution.
Badlands becomes AMC’s third show picked up straight to series at the network, joining Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul and ratings hit The Walking Dead.
“We are incredibly excited to help Al and Miles, as well as Stacey and Michael from Double Feature to bring Badlands to life,” said AMC exec vp original programming Joel Stillerman. “This creative team has so much expertise in bringing a fresh take to classic genres from their film and television experience, and their take on martial arts will be no exception. Along with a beautiful story, they’ve also assembled the A-Team of martial arts fight choreography in Daniel Wu and Stephen Fung.”
For AMC, Badlands comes at a good time for the network, which has seen its latest two original scripted dramas — Turn and Halt and Catch Fire — stumble out of the gate. While Revolutionary War drama Turn was renewed for a second season, a decision on critical darling but ratings underperformer Halt has yet to be made. Neither series has broken through in a major way as AMC looks to replace Breaking Bad and the exiting Mad Men.
Badlands joins a scripted roster that also includes veteran Hell on Wheels and dramas Knifeman, Galyntine and We Hate Paul Revere, the latter three of which are in the pilot stage. The network also is working on a Walking Dead companion series, which it is also eyeing for 2015.
For Gough and Millar, Badlands becomes their second series on the air and the second one ordered on Friday. The pickup comes just hours after MTV ordered its adaptation of Shannara — also a straight to series addition — with a 10-episode commitment.
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