‘Kung Fu’ simply borrows the outdated present’s title to kick off a CW-style drama

'Kung Fu' just borrows the old show's name to kick off a CW-style drama

2021-04-07 19:07:35

Racing by way of the plot within the very, very busy pilot episode, the sequence stars Olivia Liang as Nicky Shen, a younger Chinese language-American lady who, on a solo journey to China, winds up dropping off the map and getting into a Shaolin monastery, the place she’s skilled for greater than three years.

After an assault on the monastery — and the theft of a priceless sword — Nicky returns residence to San Francisco, simply as her sister (Shannon Dang) is about to get married. Her arrival reopens outdated wounds about household dynamics, significantly involving her demanding mother (“Loopy Wealthy Asians'” Kheng Hua Tan), who clearly invested loads of hopes and goals in Nicky’s once-promising future.

Nonetheless, all just isn’t nicely in Chinatown, with corrupt forces having endangered her dad and mom’ restaurant enterprise (Tzi Ma performs Nicky’s dad), threatening the local people. If solely somebody might stand as much as them, maybe by beating up teams of armed henchmen, and had an ex-boyfriend (Gavin Stenhouse) who occurs to work within the D.A.’s workplace.

The timing definitely feels welcome for a sequence that focuses on an Asian-American household, one with lots of standard issues to go along with the extra unbelievable ones — finding the villain who stole the aforementioned sword foremost among the many latter.

Nonetheless, “Kung Fu” — developed by Christina M. Kim below Greg Berlanti, who oversees the CW’s superhero dramas — feels much less like a reboot than a brand new sequence that merely borrows the well-known title and spins out a litany of dramatic cliches. (In between, there was a syndicated revival within the Nineteen Nineties.)

Granted, that evaluation relies on one episode, and it could be value sticking round for a pair extra to see whether or not the mythological elements really blossom into one thing greater than the premiere suggests. If not, to paraphrase the unique present, it will be time to go away.

“Kung Fu” kicks off a mini-wave of April broadcast-TV premieres, together with a pair of latest sequence this week on ABC. Of these, “Dwelling Economics,” a sitcom starring and produced by Topher Grace, feels doubtlessly extra distinctive than “Insurgent,” which stars Katey Sagal as a blue-collar crusader with no legislation diploma impressed by Erin Brockovich, who’s amongst its producers.
Knowledgeable by a “Fashionable Household” vibe, “Dwelling Economics” — which additionally occurs to be set within the Bay Space — focuses on three grown siblings, two of whom (performed by Grace and Caitlin McGee) are strapped for money, whereas their youthful brother (Jimmy Tatro) is awash in tech bucks, residing in a home he purchased from Matt Damon (sure, that Matt Damon) with a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

“It is actually … tasteful,” Grace’s Tom lies upon getting into the place.

The underlying stress is that Tom, a novelist, is engaged on a e book knowledgeable by — what else? — his loopy household. That provides slightly chew to what’s in any other case a fairly breezy train, which does not totally exploit the possibly attention-grabbing impression of sophistication points and disparate financial standing on sibling rivalries, not less than initially, as aggressively or imaginatively because it might.

All advised, the idea and casting have promise. However whereas it contains a fashionable household, at first blush, “Dwelling Economics” isn’t any “Fashionable Household.”

“Kung Fu” and “Dwelling Economics” premiere April 7 at 8 p.m. and eight:30 p.m. ET, respectively, on CW and ABC.

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