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Discussion Starter #21
Kung Fu's Olivia Liang Talks Feeling Empowered, 'Eerie' Timing of CW Reboot Amid Anti-Asian Violence
By Keisha Hatchett

Legacies’ Olivia Liang steps into the spotlight as a student-turned-warrior in Kung Fu, premiering this Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW.

The series, which breaks ground as the first network drama to feature a predominately Asian-American cast, follows Nicky Chen (Liang), an overachiever who drops out of college and heads abroad following a quarter-life crisis. After a life-altering journey to an isolated monastery in China, she returns home to find San Francisco rife with corruption and crime. Realizing her new destiny as the town’s protector, she’ll use her training to take on the local triad while reconnecting with her family and searching for the assassin who murdered her Shaolin mentor Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai).

Creator Christina M. Kim (Blindspot, Lost) brings a fresh perspective to the remake, which flips the script on the ’70s Western drama starring David Carradine. Whereas the original Kung Fu centered its story around a white man, this new iteration puts its Asian and Asian-American cast — led by Liang — front and center. With the series set to debut this week, Liang says the timing is uncanny, given the current events.

“It’s almost jarring to see the contrast between what’s happening in the world with anti-Asian hate crimes and violence and rhetoric being reported in the media, and then our show, where we’re really celebrating what it is to be Asian,” she tells TVLine. “I want to see more of that. I don’t want to just see the pain that we’re going through, although is important to shed light on it. I also want to see us going through joy, falling in love, experiencing good things in life, and our show is going to bring some of that to the screen.”

Liang adds that “the timing is just very eerie. Our showrunner and creator Christina Kim wrote this pilot over a year ago, and the fact that it is so poignant right now, we never could have predicted how relevant it would be. We always knew our show was going to be important, but it’s very eerie just how important it is right now in April 2021.”

In the series, Nicky finds her voice through her training and undergoes a massive personal transformation. Liang, who had no prior martial arts experience, admits she went through a similar journey while preparing for the role.

“I feel like a badass. I feel empowered,” she shares. “This show is my first real experience with martial arts, and I feel so privileged that I get to learn it for my job. Doing these beautifully choreographed fight sequences, it just really makes me feel strong, and it’s really translating into my personal life of just feeling a lot more powerful and a lot taller and stronger and bigger and just ready to take on the world.”

In addition to Liang, the CW drama also stars Tzi Ma as Nicky’s father Jin Chen, a restaurant owner with secrets that could bring down their family business; Kheng Hua Tan as Nicky’s mother Mei-Li Chen, who helped her husband with his business and also holds damaging secrets; Jon Prasida as Nicky’s brother Ryan Chen, a witty pre-med student; and Shannon Dang as Nicky’s sister Althea Chen, a computer whiz who just got engaged.

The series paints a multi-dimensional portrait of a Chinese-American family, with each of the Chens playing an important role in the story — including Nicky’s parents.

“What our writers have done so beautifully is make this a multi-generational show,” Liang explains. “When we see parents in shows, they’re not really the main storyline. They’re just there to move the plot along. But on our show, the parents are a huge part of every story, of Nicky’s purpose and drive. As the season goes on, and we see the love that Jin and Mei-Li have for each other, it just infuses so much richness into the story and so much history into what they’re going through. I think it’s something that hasn’t been represented that well in media and entertainment. This immigrant couple who have kids, they strived for the ‘American Dream,’ and to see what they’re going through is really beautiful.”

The show will see Nicky embark on a journey of self-discovery as she embraces her newfound destiny, tries to make amends with her family and processes the death of her mentor.

“We find her trying to bridge the gap between the woman she was when she left and the woman she is now, and all of these people that she has to reconcile with who only know her as the old Nicky,” Liang concludes.

With the returning warrior being pulled in different directions, she’ll be dealing with “this overarching trauma that she went through and this kind of final call to action from her shifu [mentor]. At the same time, she’ll need to heal relationships that she left behind, so it’s like this double fish-out-of-water story where she’s really just trying to find her footing and her place in the world.”

 

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Discussion Starter #22
New Take on ‘Kung Fu’ Is Sharp, Thoughtful Look at a Chinese American Family: TV Review

By Daniel D'Addario

Greg Berlanti’s domination of the CW continues with “Kung Fu” — and the new drama he executive produces is proof positive that the super-producer is using his powers for good. The show is a revival of a drama starring David Carradine that aired on ABC from 1972 to 1975. The whitewash of Carradine in the role of the Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine, who is depicted as half-American and half-Chinese, is a painful part of TV’s legacy. Now, in the hands of showrunner Christina M. Kim, “Kung Fu” reframes the story to be about a young Chinese American woman, and foregrounds a cast of Asian American actors in place of the original series’ white male lead. The pilot of “Kung Fu” suggests a sincere interest in the story of a Chinese family in the U.S., with an amount of complexity and sophistication that one might not necessarily expect from a network action series.

Olivia Liang plays Nicky Shen, a young woman who interrupts her college career to live in a monastery in China and learn martial arts. She’s on the run from her family’s expectations as well as from a sense of uncertainty: Like Sydney Bristow on “Alias,” she’s a bit adrift as a student but finds herself in righteous pugilism. After her mentor (Vanessa Kai) is killed, Nicky returns to San Francisco to find that life has continued without her. Her sister (Shannon Dang) is now engaged and fulfilling the family’s ambition to have a married daughter. Her brother (Jon Prasida) has tried, without much success, to be honest with his family about his sexuality. Her ex (Gavin Stenhouse) has moved on, too.

Worst of all, her parents (Tzi Ma and Kheng Hua Tan) are in debt to the mob, and organized crime has taken deeper root in the city. It’s Nicky’s mission both to free her family and to fight for what is righteous. The complicating element here is that the skills Nicky is using were learned in a sort of abandonment of her family and its principles. Nicky picked up kung fu specifically because it represented a break with her family — she notes in a conversation with her mother that she had to learn the Harvard fight song on piano as a young child, beginning a life of strictures and tough expectations. And now she is using it to save parents who aren’t sure they understand her at all.

Kim, previously a writer on “Blindspot” and “Lost,” writes the pilot with verve and insight, once the show gets past a rushed beginning that delivers a ton of information we might have been better served later on. (We see, in a rapid sequence that feels like a “Previously on” segment, Nicky enroll in the monastery, spend three years there, and lose her teacher, all before the opening credits.) In all, “Kung Fu” presents a compelling heroine, ably played by Liang, who feels obligations to community and family both generally relatable and specifically drawn. The mystical element of Nicky’s skills is treated matter-of-factly and with engaged interest — nothing here feels rote.

At a moment when hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are on the rise, the image of an empowered young woman fighting for what is right feels worthy and well-timed. Nicky will have you cheering her on; so too may TV fans root for “Kung Fu’s” success.

“Kung Fu” premieres Wednesday, April 7 at 8 p.m. on the CW.

 

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Discussion Starter #23
‘Kung Fu’ Showrunner Strives for ‘Three-Dimensional’ Portrait of Asian American Family

By Danielle Turchiano

The 1970s television drama “Kung Fu” was “groundbreaking for what it was when it aired,” says Christina M. Kim. The series brought the art of kung fu into mainstream conversation and millions of homes, also introducing Buddhism to many viewers and showcasing a way to use these spiritual elements to help people. Half a century later, that part of the story is more relevant than ever after a recent wave of anti-Asian racism and violent attacks across the United States.

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Well, just noticed through guide skimming that Kung-fu starts tonight. What to do, set the DVR to record it once, as it will probably be a one and done or set it to record all new episodes? A hard choice. :unsure:
 

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Well, just noticed through guide skimming that Kung-fu starts tonight. What to do, set the DVR to record it once, as it will probably be a one and done or set it to record all new episodes? A hard choice. :unsure:
I personally just set the pilot up as a one-time event, that or most of the time my "pilot/premere" Wishlist catches it for me, I always prioritize programs in my "pilot" folder to watch ASAP, for sure the same week it was recorded, if I like it in the least it gets a Season Pass, I then tend to prioritize the newest programs to watch shortly after it was recorded. If after the first couple of programs if I decided I don't like it I simply delete the season pass and any programs I haven't watched. Because of this strategy I often have lots of backlog of older programs I like but just don't have time to watch, but I know I'll like them when I get the time. When I had my stock 500GB HDD I couldn't accumulate all these programs but with my 3TB drive I have lots of room, well I tend to run around 80% full on my HDD but it seems to stay around that number pretty regularly, for whatever reason.
That said I'll probably be watching Kung-fu tonight or this weekend for sure. As someone who liked the original I'm not so sure I'll like the remake but I'm always willing to give things a shot, at least it's not one of those Marvel/superhero programs that the CW is so fond of airing ;)
 

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It was a by the numbers action/drama for the most part.
 

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I actually liked this. I liked most the cast which helped, especially the main lead and her sister. I think they rushed the back story a bit. It could have been stretched out in flashbacks like arrow or such. Will be interesting where they take this.
 

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I enjoyed this, and in particular, the fight scenes. The storyline should provide plenty of opportunity for fight action while the prime character goes on her search/quest of discovery. I'm in for at least a few more episodes to see what the writers have in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Ratings: Kung Fu Gives CW Slot a 2-1/2 Year Audience High, Nancy Drew Rises
By Matt Webb Mitovich

In the latest TV show ratings, The CW’s Kung Fu debuted on Wednesday night to 1.4 million total viewers and a 0.2 demo rating — improving upon Riverdale‘s season averages to date (530K/0.14) and, in fact, giving the time slot its largest audience in two-and-a-half years. TVLine readers gave the premiere an average grade of “B”; read recap.

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Discussion Starter #32
Kung Fu | Hero Within | Season Trailer


Kung Fu | Fight | Season Trailer


Kung Fu | Warrior | Season Trailer


Kung Fu | Family Style | Season Trailer

 

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Discussion Starter #33
Kung Fu | The Heart Of Kung Fu


Kung Fu | Cast Featurette


Kung Fu | Olivia Liang - Nicky Stands Up

 

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Discussion Starter #34
‘Kung Fu’ Debuts Strong, Hits The CW’s Highest Wednesday Viewership In 7 Years
By Dino-Ray Ramos

The CW’s reboot of Kung Fu delivered a strong debut on April 7, scoring The CW’s highest total viewership number for a Wednesday debut in 7 years since The 100 debuted on March 19, 2014.

The reboot debuted to the tune of 1.4 million total viewers and a 0.2 in the 18-49 demographic.

In addition, Kung Fu delivered The CW’s largest audience in the time period in two and half years since Riverdale in October 2018 (0.1, 530,000).

This continues ratings traction for the CW as Kung Fu is the third best premiere of the season including returning series following the debuts of Walker and Superman & Lois. Following Kung Fu, Nancy Drew (0.1, 666,000) delivered its largest audience of the season and its best since December 11, 2019.

Last night was The CW’s best Wednesday night since April 22, 2020.

Written by Christina M. Kim and inspired by the original series created by Ed Spielman, the new Kung Fu reboot follows a young Chinese American woman Nicky (Olivia Liang), whose quarter-life crisis causes her to drop out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to San Francisco, she finds her hometown is overrun with crime and corruption and her own parents Jin (Tzi Ma) and Mei-Li (Kheng Hua Tan) are at the mercy of a powerful Triad. Nicky will rely on her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice…all while searching for the ruthless assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai) and is now targeting her.

 

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You guys are fairly forgiving, it seems. :) I almost hit delete during the ninja attack at the Shoalin Temple for girls, lol, the fighting, dimly shot to avoid scrutiny, I thought pretty lame. Made it a little ways through the return to her family and had enough. One and done. Hittin the bus, Gus. 🚍 Motoring on.
 

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You guys are fairly forgiving, it seems. :) I almost hit delete during the ninja attack at the Shoalin Temple for girls, lol, the fighting, dimly shot to avoid scrutiny, I thought pretty lame. Made it a little ways through the return to her family and had enough. One and done. Hittin the bus, Gus. 🚍 Motoring on.
+1
I didn't even make it to the 1/2hr mark, typical CW fare IMO, all the best to those who stick around but I'm also outta here.....
 

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It felt to me like the network shot an entire pilot episode about the character's backstory with her family, her trip to China, and her training at the temple, then realized, "This is boring. Let's just condense all that into a five minute montage at the beginning of the next episode."

To me, this was a bumpy pilot that was very likely worked over and reworked several times before airing. It was very rushed to establish the premise of the story. Huge chunks of it were lifted directly out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (they all but came out and called the magical sword "Green Destiny") and other famous martial arts movies.

This may or may not be representative of the rest of the series. The real test for the show will be how the next several episodes fare.
 

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yeah, I also almost deleted it , but will give show a chance , since I like martial arts shows/movies etc...

One thing I think they screwed up on was , they could've made at least one complete episode on
her in china ! Also , she only studied 3 years of martial arts ! hahah.. that's nothing and she didn't
have any training before that. They could've easily written in the script that she studied 4-5 years
as a kid. Maybe they'll say in a future episode that a master martial artist spirit is in her body or
something and that's whats making her such a good fighter.
 

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yeah, I also almost deleted it , but will give show a chance , since I like martial arts shows/movies etc...

One thing I think they screwed up on was , they could've made at least one complete episode on
her in china ! Also , she only studied 3 years of martial arts ! hahah.. that's nothing and she didn't
have any training before that. They could've easily written in the script that she studied 4-5 years
as a kid. Maybe they'll say in a future episode that a master martial artist spirit is in her body or
something and that's whats making her such a good fighter.
Oliver queen was catching arrows with his hands and shooting arrows out of the air after "only" 5 years. And his time on the island and elsewhere wasn't pure training it was filled with other stuff. In a world with magic swords and sorcery I don't have a problem with an exceptional individual becoming an in human like master after only 3 years.

I completely agree that the back story should have been fleshed out in perhaps multiple episodes with just enough details given in the first one to move the pilot along.
 

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I’m disappointed that the whole Shaolin thing was just martial arts camp for her. In the original it was more of a commitment and way of life. Who can forget Caine carrying the burning hot urn with his forearms to get the “tattoos.”

But I must say that I liked that they interwove actual Chinese culture into the show besides the obvious playing mahjong and ping pong and doing tai chi. I sure hope they don’t do the trope that every person in Chinatown knows Kung fu.

It did feel a bit rushed. Perhaps they’ll do more flashbacks to expand on her time at the temple. And she got her Scooby gang together pretty fast. That can’t be the end to the loan shark guy who runs the whole of Chinatown right?
 
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