'Kung Fu' review: The CW borrows the old show's name to kick off a contemporary drama


Racing by means of the plot in the very, very busy pilot episode, the collection stars Olivia Liang as Nicky Shen, a younger Chinese-American lady who, on a solo journey to China, winds up dropping off the map and coming 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 house to San Francisco, simply as her sister (Shannon Dang) is about to get married. Her arrival reopens old wounds about household dynamics, significantly involving her demanding mother (“Crazy Rich Asians'” Kheng Hua Tan), who clearly invested loads of hopes and desires in Nicky’s once-promising future.

Still, all will not be properly in Chinatown, with corrupt forces having endangered her mother and father’ restaurant enterprise (Tzi Ma performs Nicky’s dad), threatening the local people. If solely somebody may rise up to them, maybe by beating up teams of armed henchmen, and had an ex-boyfriend (Gavin Stenhouse) who occurs to work in the D.A.’s workplace.

The timing definitely feels welcome for a collection that focuses on an Asian-American household, one with a lot of typical issues to go together with the extra incredible ones — finding the villain who stole the aforementioned sword foremost amongst the latter.

Still, “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 new collection that merely borrows the well-known title and spins out a litany of dramatic cliches. (In between, there was a syndicated revival in the Nineteen Nineties.)

Granted, that evaluation is predicated on one episode, and it could be price sticking round for a couple extra to see whether or not the mythological elements truly blossom into one thing greater than the premiere suggests. If not, to paraphrase the unique present, it’s going to be time to go away.

Caitlin McGee, Topher Grace and Jimmy Tatro play siblings in ABC's 'Home Economics' (ABC/Temma Hankin)Caitlin McGee, Topher Grace and Jimmy Tatro play siblings in ABC's 'Home Economics' (ABC/Temma Hankin)
“Kung Fu” kicks off a mini-wave of April broadcast-TV premieres, together with a pair of recent collection this week on ABC. Of these, “Home Economics,” a sitcom starring and produced by Topher Grace, feels doubtlessly extra distinctive than “Rebel,” which stars Katey Sagal as a blue-collar crusader with out a regulation diploma impressed by Erin Brockovich, who’s amongst its producers.
Informed by a “Modern Family” vibe, “Home Economics” — which additionally occurs to be set in the Bay Area — 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 dazzling view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

“It’s really … tasteful,” Grace’s Tom lies upon coming into the place.

The underlying pressure is that Tom, a novelist, is engaged on a guide knowledgeable by — what else? — his loopy household. That provides a little chunk to what’s in any other case a fairly breezy train, which does not totally exploit the doubtlessly attention-grabbing influence of sophistication points and disparate financial standing on sibling rivalries, at the least initially, as aggressively or imaginatively because it may.

All informed, the idea and casting have promise. But whereas it options a fashionable household, at first blush, “Home Economics” isn’t any “Modern Family.”

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



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