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tessaray

S01.E01: Pilot

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Air Date: April 7, 2021

From Wikipedia:

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Set in the present day, the series follows a young Chinese-American woman whose personal issues force her to leave college and make a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. Upon her return to America, she starts using her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community when her hometown of San Francisco is plagued by ongoing crime and corruption run by the Triad, all while dealing with her estranged family and searching for the assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor and is now targeting her.

 

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It just wasn't  very good. All the acting and characters felt contrived and the Kung Fu wasn't  great.

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I will keep watching. I like the sibling dynamic. 
 

I find it kinda refreshing that the lead told everyone about what she did during those three years. No secrets whatsoever.

Edited by memememe76
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1 hour ago, edhopper said:

It just wasn't  very good. All the acting and characters felt contrived and the Kung Fu wasn't  great.

It wasn't terrible either. The actors were at least adequate. This is one show where I expect there to be changes between the Pilot and the next episode.

My main reservation is that it looks like the fight scenes are going to fill up a lot of the screen time. I guess if the interpersonal interactions are good enough I can just check my messages while she's flinging villains around. 

I did like that they had the dad and the sister happy to see her, and then they resolved the angry mom and brother within the pilot. I hope this signifies that there won't be long arcs of relationship drama. 

I vaguely remember watching some of the OG Kung Fu episodes. I thought he was more into meditation, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen here. Probably there was some executive decision that folks would turn off the show if there was someone just sitting there quietly --which is probably true-- but it seems they could use her going into meditation as a scene transition fade out.

 

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I enjoyed it.  The main thing that bothered me was the very "CW" overly prominent musical score.  I know they thought the lyrics were pertinent I just found them annoying. 

I'm old enough to remember the original Kung Fu series and this is a completely different animal and reimaging which doesn't bother me in the least.  I love the fact that we actually have Asian Americans as the central figures unlike the OG series where the network insisted on a distinctly none Asian lead in Carradine. 

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The most unbelievable part of the episode is that an American can over stay their (at most) 2 month visit to China by 3 years and then hop on a plane back to America. She would be rotting away as a spy in a Chinese prison.

So the plot of this show is to find the 8 magical weapons that will allow you to rule the world.

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I enjoyed it and will stick with it. It wasn't groundbreaking, except in a representational way, but it filled an hour just fine.

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It was okay? OL didn't wow me but the family was interesting. I liked the sister immediately. And she turned out to be the geeky one.  I still like female characters with tech skills, even if it has become a tv trope. 

As a Berlanti show, will we get one magic sword per season? I did like their nod to the brands, when the sword burned into Nicky's hand.  

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For a pilot, it was ok. I think it set up the main storyline fairly well and I like the family dynamic, as well as Henry. I didn't love the scene where Nicky and Henry met, shared no more than six words, and that lady came up to basically say to the audience "HEY, THESE TWO ARE GONNA BE TOGETHER! LOOK AT HOW I SHIP THEM TOGETHER!" That was very heavy handed and not needed. We get it, show. Henry/Nicky are a potential endgame option.

Having the main story being around finding the eight swords to make sure they aren't brought together could be cool. 

I think that this is such an important show in terms of having such representation. There aren't any American shows that have a majority (like, 95%) Asian cast. And I even looked up the background to the only white series regular and he apparently grew up in Hong Kong for the first nine years of his life, so I thought that was so neat. That's what is going to make me stick to this show, to see the representation. Plus, the acting IS adequate, even if the writing needs some work (but it's a CW show; most CW shows don't have stellar writing). 

It helps that I never saw the original Kung Fu either, so I have nothing to compare it to. But really, for the fact that this show IS breaking ground with the cast representation, and the fact that I like some of the characters already, I'm sticking around for the long haul. As long as the show keeps my interest and doesn't go into ridiculous territory with the dialogue, I'm in.

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The viewpoint of this show is Un-American, in America whenever you borrow money from someone, you pay it back, regardless of who that person is, not have that person thrown in prison so that you don't have to pay the money back. That is just as bad as getting a credit card, maxing it out, and then declaring bankruptcy. The lesson should be, not to borrow money from loan sharks. What if Mei Li had borrowed the money from one of those Pay Day Loan places, which as just as bad as loan sharks, what would have happened then. Mei Li, if the rent goes up, you have to charge the customers more, not take out a loan and wish that the business is going to improve.

If I was Tony Kang and I saw the Chen family spending all those thousands of dollars on a wedding instead of trying to pay back my loan, I would have been as mad as Donald Duck on one of his worst tirades.

HarrmonyDump.thumb.jpg.d1fddb7fd27eacb0f4ff2a63c6c993de.jpg

Look at this place, it should have been called Harmony Dump instead of Harmony Dumplings, what did they spend that 50,000 dollars on? Nobody even looks like they might contempt going inside that rat hole.

Overall I enjoyed the show, I don't know how beating everybody up in the neighborhood is going to make things better, but it has been done before. What I wish would happen in the future, Nicky Chen brings over her displaced Shaolin Monk sisters to America and starts a small female warrior army to patrol the streets. Now that is a TV show I would watch.

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1 hour ago, AnimeMania said:

What I wish would happen in the future, Nicky Chen brings over her displaced Shaolin Monk sisters to America and starts a small female warrior army to patrol the streets.

Or maybe just one Monk sister so they can develop the character adequately. 

 

1 hour ago, AnimeMania said:

If I was Tony Kang and I saw the Chen family spending all those thousands of dollars on a wedding instead of trying to pay back my loan, I would have been as mad as Donald Duck on one of his worst tirades.

Now I am picturing a mashup of this visual with Scrooge McDuck on his bed of cash.

 

Regarding Asian representation (and I apologize for using such a generic descriptor for so many different kinds of cultures, just as there is no "American" culture)--
--I really enjoy the Canadian show, Kim's Convenience, which I watch one season-behind on Netflix.
While I appreciate this iteration of Kung Fu being on network TV, I think it will do even better streaming, whether on the CW platform or others. Don't ask for my rationale, because I have none, heh. It's just a sense of how things work from someone who watches too much TV and is old.

 

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This episode really felt like a one hour trailer. It was odd that the whole Triad thing that we saw in commercials got handled so quickly, but there is this supernatural plot to cover for it. The brother felt way too reckless to me and the team forming up was a little too pat. I really loved the representation here, I could cheerfully give the show a watch just based on that. I'm interested to see how the show handles itself after this.

2 hours ago, AnimeMania said:

The viewpoint of this show is Un-American, in America whenever you borrow money from someone, you pay it back, regardless of who that person is, not have that person thrown in prison so that you don't have to pay the money back. That is just as bad as getting a credit card, maxing it out, and then declaring bankruptcy.

If I was Tony Kang and I saw the Chen family spending all those thousands of dollars on a wedding instead of trying to pay back my loan, I would have been as mad as Donald Duck on one of his worst tirades.

Seriously? That's just a horrible take. The guy was clearly squeezing protection money out of them. The debt went from 50,000 to 100,000!

That's not even getting into how he beat up their dad and threatened to kill them to take over the restaurant, or has been doing the same with everyone else in the community!

 

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The lesson should be, not to borrow money from loan sharks. What if Mei Li had borrowed the money from one of those Pay Day Loan places, which as just as bad as loan sharks, what would have happened then. Mei Li, if the rent goes up, you have to charge the customers more, not take out a loan and wish that the business is going to improve.

The lesson is no loan sharks. If she had borrowed from a sketchy loan place, they at least would not have tried to kill her.

 

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Look at this place, it should have been called Harmony Dump instead of Harmony Dumplings, what did they spend that 50,000 dollars on? Nobody even looks like they might contempt going inside that rat hole.

It's a perfectly normal restaurant of the kind I've seen all over the place. 

 

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Overall I enjoyed the show, I don't know how beating everybody up in the neighborhood is going to make things better, but it has been done before.

Less drug lords and loan sharks are always good.

 

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What I wish would happen in the future, Nicky Chen brings over her displaced Shaolin Monk sisters to America and starts a small female warrior army to patrol the streets. Now that is a TV show I would watch.

I agree on that.

Edited by Diapason Untuned
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That certainly was a pilot and was very heavy on the exposition and pilot-y stuff. They had to give us a lot of backstory and introduce a lot of characters and set up the shows premise, and that leads to a lot of clunky dialogue and getting so much information that it can all seem pretty rushed as they try to cram as much in as possible. However, despite it being a rather rough pilot, I thought it had a lot of potential. The cast is really solid and the lead actress seems like she can easily carry a show, and I already like the family dynamic. I especially like the sister, she seems like a lot of fun and will be covering the "perky girlie" spot and the "super hacker powers" parts of the crew that are needed in every evil fighting team. The basic premise with the magic swords is a decent premise, with them as the sort of McGuffins with a mythology around them, Nicky as some kind of possible chosen one, and the women who killed her teacher as her main villain, its a lot to throw at us really fast but it set up a lot of possibly interesting stuff. I never saw the original Kung Fu and only know that David Carradine was the main character? So I have nothing to compare this to. I thought this was pretty good, especially when it gets past its pilot awkwardness, I'll keep watching. 

The dialogue, like I said, was often clunky in a very pilot kind of way, especially when the random lady said how Henry and Kicky looked great together. Does she say that to every man and women who stand next to each other? I get that there will be a love triangle between Nicky, Henry, and her ex, but you don't need to throw it at us so awkwardly. In general there was a lot of "hello I am your sister who has been for three years let me talk about our relationship so the audience gets it" sort of scripting, but its a pilot, that is kind of inevitable. The actors at least sold it all pretty well, and now that the exposition is mostly over we can hopefully get more natural. 

The fights were alright, but I hope to see them taken up a notch. It doesn't have to go all Wuxia all of the time, but I would like to see things looking a little more dynamic. That might have more to do with the filming though instead of the choreography, I had a bit of trouble really seeing the moves and focusing on them with the slightly jerky camera movements and all of the cuts. 

So is this the end of the triad? I don't think so, just kicking this one guys ass wont get rid of all crime in Chinatown, especially if these guys are so dangerous no one will even talk about them. What are the odds they end up connected to the people who took the magic sword? 

Of course, the main thing that makes this show stand out and what really makes me excited about it is that its cast is almost entirely Asian, which is really rare for TV, and I would give this show a shot for that kind of representation alone. There aren't many shows with major Asian characters in general, let alone having a majority Asian cast, so that in and of itself is a really cool thing and reason for me to root for the show. 

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1 hour ago, tennisgurl said:

lead actress seems like she can easily carry a show

IA, which is weird because on Legacies her character is way OTT as a Mean Girl (almost a caricature of a mean girl)...

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Well, that wasn't too bad for a pilot. I liked the subtle nods to the original, the branding, the satchel and the dead master (there were probably more but I missed them, it's been a while). Too bad no grasshopper - but that would probably have been a step too far. I would have liked to have a bit more philosophy present, and if it's just a quote from the Tao Te Ching as opener.

I did not suspect quite as much magic but that might help deal with all the stuff that would otherwise require lots and lots of hand waving. Best thing was the sibling dynamic.

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27 minutes ago, MissLucas said:

Well, that wasn't too bad for a pilot. I liked the subtle nods to the original, the branding, the satchel and the dead master (there were probably more but I missed them, it's been a while). Too bad no grasshopper - but that would probably have been a step too far. I would have liked to have a bit more philosophy present, and if it's just a quote from the Tao Te Ching as opener.

Good catch, I missed the satchel. 

There was a close-up of a grasshopper, wasn't there? In a little cage? Though maybe that was a cricket, I'm ashamed to admit I wouldn't know the difference unless they were side by side.

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4 minutes ago, tessaray said:

There was a close-up of a grasshopper, wasn't there? In a little cage? Though maybe that was a cricket, I'm ashamed to admit I wouldn't know the difference unless they were side by side.

I could not tell the difference either. But I think that was supposed to be a cricket - it would fit with the quaint Chinese setting they had going (and sometimes pushing too far). It's an ancient tradition to keep crickets as pets in tiny cages.

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I'm in.  As someone who has watched the original series with David Carradine without the woke lens (I didn't know that David Carradine was whyte!), I am liking the the ample Asian representation and the storyline. 

Pilots are clunky by design, so I usually excuse them their shortcomings.  I'll even handwave Evan, as long as he stays with his girlfriend Sabine. Nicky and her family is awesome and I like Henry already.

3 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

That certainly was a pilot and was very heavy on the exposition and pilot-y stuff. They had to give us a lot of backstory and introduce a lot of characters and set up the shows premise, and that leads to a lot of clunky dialogue and getting so much information that it can all seem pretty rushed as they try to cram as much in as possible. However, despite it being a rather rough pilot, I thought it had a lot of potential. The cast is really solid and the lead actress seems like she can easily carry a show, and I already like the family dynamic. I especially like the sister, she seems like a lot of fun and will be covering the "perky girlie" spot and the "super hacker powers" parts of the crew that are needed in every evil fighting team. The basic premise with the magic swords is a decent premise, with them as the sort of McGuffins with a mythology around them, Nicky as some kind of possible chosen one, and the women who killed her teacher as her main villain, its a lot to throw at us really fast but it set up a lot of possibly interesting stuff. I never saw the original Kung Fu and only know that David Carradine was the main character? So I have nothing to compare this to. I thought this was pretty good, especially when it gets past its pilot awkwardness, I'll keep watching. 

The dialogue, like I said, was often clunky in a very pilot kind of way, especially when the random lady said how Henry and Kicky looked great together. Does she say that to every man and women who stand next to each other? I get that there will be a love triangle between Nicky, Henry, and her ex, but you don't need to throw it at us so awkwardly. In general there was a lot of "hello I am your sister who has been for three years let me talk about our relationship so the audience gets it" sort of scripting, but its a pilot, that is kind of inevitable. The actors at least sold it all pretty well, and now that the exposition is mostly over we can hopefully get more natural. 

The fights were alright, but I hope to see them taken up a notch. It doesn't have to go all Wuxia all of the time, but I would like to see things looking a little more dynamic. That might have more to do with the filming though instead of the choreography, I had a bit of trouble really seeing the moves and focusing on them with the slightly jerky camera movements and all of the cuts. 

So is this the end of the triad? I don't think so, just kicking this one guys ass wont get rid of all crime in Chinatown, especially if these guys are so dangerous no one will even talk about them. What are the odds they end up connected to the people who took the magic sword? 

Of course, the main thing that makes this show stand out and what really makes me excited about it is that its cast is almost entirely Asian, which is really rare for TV, and I would give this show a shot for that kind of representation alone. There aren't many shows with major Asian characters in general, let alone having a majority Asian cast, so that in and of itself is a really cool thing and reason for me to root for the show. 

 This won't be the end of Tony Kang and the Triad that runs this town.  I'd expect Zhilan to be affiliated with him in some manner and to be related to Shifu Pei-Ling.  Sister, maybe daughter?  I like my shows to have supernatural elements in them, so I will tune in for sure!

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31 minutes ago, Stardancer Supreme said:

 This won't be the end of Tony Kang and the Triad that runs this town.  I'd expect Zhilan to be affiliated with him in some manner and to be related to Shifu Pei-Ling.  Sister, maybe daughter?  I like my shows to have supernatural elements in them, so I will tune in for sure!

I think Tony Kung and Zhilan were using the same fighting style, that is why Nicky Chen was able to evade Tony Kung's finishing blow.

Anybody know the ages of Nicky Chen and her siblings. Putting all those children through great colleges probably put it toll on the family finances, contributing to the loan shark solution.

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Ryan seems like the oldest, not yet a doctor but an intern. I think Nicky is the middle child but the age difference is likely tiny. Althea just seems the youngest. 

I think Nicky got her undergrad degree but left before going to law school. Evan obviously went to law school. 

Hiring Tzi Ma as the father seemed like a big get, and normally playing a parent on the CW is a death sentence. So, I was basically expecting him to die in the pilot. 

Edited by memememe76
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This is the most shot-in-Vancouver thing I have ever seen. The monastery is just the Sun Yat-Sen Gardens in Vancouver, with a CGI backdrop because normally one would see the downtown Vancouver skyline behind the walls.

So Nicky ditched her family for good (or at least three years) over a speed dating evening during the homeland tour? Smeesh.

This conversation between Nicky's sifu and her feels weird. There's zero acknowledgement that the Chinese mentality is very different from the American mentality. (I'm guessing Nicky is "ABC" -- American born Chinese.)

Do Shaolin nuns really sleep in their daytime robes??? Gross.

The sword thief thing feels like a ripoff of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The thief wears all black and "the sword is not meant for you", come on.

Yoooo, she basically didn't contact her family for three years? Are we supposed to be on her side? ... I wonder why Althea is so forgiving.

Evan's apartment is ludicrous for SF. Frankly, it would be ludicrous for Vancouver. Maybe he's loaded.

I just absolutely cannot buy Vancouver's Chinatown doubling for SF's. They look very different.

The hand-drawn art section for the Liang Daiyu flashback looked fantastic.

The prodigal daughter tries to hit her parents with the "if you two had just talked to each other"??? REALLY?

"UCSF has an amazing library of ancient Chinese tests" -- the real UCSF is entirely focused on health science. Just say Berkeley or Stanford next time. Or the SF public library, for that matter.

A prosecutor's office in San Francisco only has one Chinese translator? 21% of the city is Chinese!!!!

It was my vague understanding that when the local cops are compromised you gotta call in the FBI or something, not to mention that a Triad working the docks would probably have DEA or FBI working the case anyways.

Nicky and Ryan are incredibly lucky to have been able to flee a crime scene unseen by the cops, especially y'know, sharing the same ethnicity as the gangsters the cops went to nab. Also, I guess Ryan's camera had a big telephoto lens, but if I were doing an unofficial spy op, I might opt for a  camera that doesn't have a loud-ass shutter.

Zhilan is doing an Infinity Stones run????? I find it disappointing that the sword was her first weapon, not the third or even seventh.

Overall, I really wanted to like this more than I did. Despite an Asian showrunner (co-showrunner?) and Asian writers, it felt very dated. Like this was what Asian American people were talking about two decades ago. And Nicky's sifu feels like she's from a different, worse show. Not in acting quality, but she's saddled with such atrociously portentous lines. A fortune cookie spouting character.

On 4/8/2021 at 6:12 AM, Lady Calypso said:

I think that this is such an important show in terms of having such representation. There aren't any American shows that have a majority (like, 95%) Asian cast.

There's Warrior, which I believe is technically not officially cancelled yet*. But like Mo Ryan tweeted last month, there is not and never has been any American one-hour scripted show that "1) had majority Asian/AAPI cast -- they were center in story 2) did not revolve around suffering/harm inflicted on the community 3) did not revolve around or center on martial arts/action." And both Warrior and Kung Fu fail on the latter two. (Kim's Convenience is Canadian and in any case fails criteria 0: being an hourlong (aka drama))

edit: just wanted to update that Warrior has officially been renewed for season 3, moving to HBO Max! Did I manifest this somehow? Probably not, but I’m gonna take a little credit anyways.

Edited by arc
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13 hours ago, AnimeMania said:

The viewpoint of this show is Un-American, in America whenever you borrow money from someone, you pay it back, regardless of who that person is, not have that person thrown in prison so that you don't have to pay the money back. That is just as bad as getting a credit card, maxing it out, and then declaring bankruptcy. The lesson should be, not to borrow money from loan sharks. 

I think not borrowing from load sharks was the lesson.

In America, when someone borrows money from you, you don't charge an interest rate of 200% and try to kill people when they don't pay you back soon enough. I think the family fully intended to pay back the loan,  but the price shot up and they were attacked before they were reasonably able to.

I liked it well enough for a pilot. I'll need to watch a few more episodes to decide if it will work long term.

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I am not going to fault Kung Fu for not being This Is Us. I view this show as less a Kung Fu show as more a comic book show with Kung Fu elements. It is not that different from Arrow. 
 

I am of an older generation, my Asian parents are older. My nephews and nieces are closer to the characters’ age, but their parents are my cousins—either they were born in North America like me or they came to NA at a very young age but raised in this culture. I don’t know many younger people whose parents are immigrants. Are their experiences different than my two decades behind experiences? I can’t say, but their feelings of heavy expectations and burden resonated.

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2 minutes ago, KaveDweller said:

I think the family fully intended to pay back the loan,  but the price shot up and they were attacked before they were reasonably able to.

I am not sure about that, the father said he was 2 months late on the due date.

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Like most pilots it was a bit rough at times (especially with the exposition dumps), but I came out enjoying it quite a bit, which is a good enough win in my book.  While some of the actors are still feeling things out, I think they're already made the characters likable enough to root for and enjoy their dynamics, and I'm at least curious about how this stuff with Zhilan and the magical weapons play out, even if it's kind of the atypical "Find a whole bunch of stuff to become truly powerful!"  Still obvious that this is all shot in Canada despite their best efforts, but, hey, points for trying?

Not familiar with Olivia Liang outside of knowing she was on that Legacies show (say what you will about The CW, but if you make a good impression with them, you apparently are set for life!), but I thought she was good with the material she was given, and made Nicky a decent lead.  But I have to imagine she still will have to work on repairing things with her family (and ex), because even if her mom was the most overbearing mom ever, cutting off all contact for three years is still kind of a dick move.  At least she learned some stuff while she was away!

Surprised that I think the sister (Althea?) might be my favorite character so far.  I like that she isn't just spoiled or vapid like she might come off to some on the surface, but is intelligent, has some badass computer skills, and was the first to reach out and support Nicky when she came back.

I swear, poor Tzi Ma always seems to get his ass kicked whenever he pops up on a show.  Love the guy in everything he's been in, but I'm always waiting for something to happen to him whenever he's on camera.

Nothing against the actress playing Nicky's sifu; who I thought was good for what the role was; but I kept thinking that had this show had a bigger budget, the character totally would have been played by Michelle Yeoh, because it was written and the actress even performed it in a way that seemed like the way Yeoh probably would have done it.

Glad we got a few fight scenes, even if some of them were a mixed bag.  I thought the best was the one in front of the shop in Chinatown, but the one at the boat dock almost came off like they were running out of time and had to rush it, in order to get it in the can on time.

Totally going to be a love triangle between Nicky, her ex, and Henry, right?

Definitely down with the majority of the cast being Asian, which is refreshing.  I hope other familiar Asian actors stop by.  At the very least, I demand Byron Mann to show up as some kind of big baddie!

Edited by thuganomics85
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First my nitpick: the brother's friend (Henry?) said that the reason he was able to get the information about the Voltron/Horcrux sword so quickly was because UCSF has "an amazing library of ancient Chinese texts." UCSF is a medical school. There are no undergraduate programs there. The UCSF library's focus is health science. Cal or SF State would have been a lot more realistic (the first ethnic studies department in the United States was created at SF State after months of protests and strikes). Or, you know, the public library.

I didn't think the acting was worse than most CW shows or network sitcoms. I know that's a low bar, but let's be real - did anyone expect this to be on the level of Oscar winning acting? None of the actors stood out as terrible though. They were all fine to me.

To be honest, I'd keep watching even if the acting was awful. Representation matters and a show with this many Asian main characters is a rarity. I can count on one hand how many shows have had more than three Asian main characters at the same time. Hell, I can still count how many shows I've seen with ONE Asian main character in the last 20 years because there have been so few of them.

I was confused by how much contact Nicky had with her family while she was in China. Ryan made it sound like she hadn't spoken to them the entire time, but he also made it sound like everyone knew she'd been training at a monastery which means she must have been in touch at least minimally.

2 hours ago, memememe76 said:

I think Nicky got her undergrad degree but left before going to law school. Evan obviously went to law school.

Ryan said she dropped out just before graduation, so I guess her mom sent her to China to find a husband during spring break of her senior year. I remember one of my Chinese friends in college got sent on one of those love cruise trips because her parents hoped she would find a nice Chinese husband. I was like GIRL, WHAT?

1 hour ago, arc said:

This is the most shot-in-Vancouver thing I have ever seen.

I was cracking up because I know most (all?) CW shows shoot in Canada but they kept showing soooooo many establishing shots of San Francisco, as if that would be enough to convince people all of the scenes on the street were shot there.

 

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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10 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I was confused by how much contact Nicky had with her family while she was in China. Ryan made it sound like she hadn't spoken to them the entire time, but he also made it sound like everyone knew she'd been training at a monastery which means she must have been in touch at least minimally.

Ryan said she dropped out just before graduation, so I guess her mom sent her to China to find a husband during spring break of her senior year. I remember one of my Chinese friends in college got sent on one of those love cruise trips because her parents hoped she would find a nice Chinese husband. I was like GIRL, WHAT?

She probably let her parents know that she was staying in China so that they wouldn't think something happened to her. Her mother and brother who felt her absence the most went all dramatic with the 'She's dead to me!!!" attitude.   Nicky even told Evan that she "had to find herself".  I'm glad there was no mystery as to where Nicky was for 3 years. 

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I liked the lead, the family dynamic and most of the characters so I'll watch another ep. Not sure about anything else as it was very pilot-y with a lot of clunky dialogue and heavy on the clichés. The younger sister seems like a fun character and oh on the immediate set up of several love triangles, guess we know it's a CW show. 

Interesting that everyone seemed to know where she had been for three years, I thought at first it was going to be a big mystery for her family. 

12 hours ago, arc said:

This is the most shot-in-Vancouver thing I have ever seen. The monastery is just the Sun Yat-Sen Gardens in Vancouver, with a CGI backdrop because normally one would see the downtown Vancouver skyline behind the walls.

Yeah, it was a real "you know you what too many CW/Syfy shows when you can recognise specific trees and you've never been to Vancouver in your life." 42 minutes for me. 

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21 hours ago, AnimeMania said:

I am not sure about that, the father said he was 2 months late on the due date.

They were late on the loan shark's random deadlines and huge fees, but I think that was because they didn't have the money yet. Not because they were planning to skip out on the loan. 

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I liked this. Maybe as an Asian American I just like seeing a Asian family on tv. I mean it's still a pilot so it's heavy on the exposition and learning the character names. I expect that, but I'm interested to see more. 

I like the family so family dynamics and that her superhero team will most likely be made up of her own family. I liked the mysticism with the magical swords and floating marital arts those are always fun to see, especially when we have people commenting that she floated on air. 

I've never seen the original so I have no comparisons. Having seen Warrior Nun, this show is much better so far. 

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The plot feels a little generic and the editing felt a little rough around the edges, but overall, I found all the characters likeable enough to continue watching.  It's nice to watch a more light-hearted show with some humor, isn't all doom-and-gloom and doesn't take itself too seriously.

I think the team with Nicky, her brother, sister, Henry and occasionally her lawyer ex should be entertaining.  They all have their convenient skill sets. 

The plot itself just needs to be thought through a bit more.  If Chinatown was such a "small" community, and they grew up around that restaurant, why didn't any of the other store owners know them?  Hacking into the triad's bank account was fun and getting the documents from the lawyer led to a nice scene, but everything was way too easy.  At the end, they had to leave things to the "corrupt" police anyway.  They didn't find out anything about what the triad was actually doing on the docks.  Plus they just leave the criminal mastermind passed out on the roof, and that solved their debt problem? 

I liked the drawings showing the history of the sword, though I thought they would want to reveal the mythology a bit more gradually.  

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3 hours ago, Camera One said:

The plot itself just needs to be thought through a bit more.  If Chinatown was such a "small" community, and they grew up around that restaurant, why didn't any of the other store owners know them?  Hacking into the triad's bank account was fun and getting the documents from the lawyer led to a nice scene, but everything was way too easy.  At the end, they had to leave things to the "corrupt" police anyway.  They didn't find out anything about what the triad was actually doing on the docks.  Plus they just leave the criminal mastermind passed out on the roof, and that solved their debt problem? 

I liked the drawings showing the history of the sword, though I thought they would want to reveal the mythology a bit more gradually.  

That was one of the bits that felt extra clunky to me. That they had to realise and explain to themselves that as Chinese Americans who were part of the community they had an advantage and might be able to get more information from locals who were scared of Tony Kang than a white cop or lawyer, saying lines that no one says in real life. And then the shop owners didn't know them or want to talk anyway, the latter not being surprising. I guess the feeling is that if the mob boss is arrested then his goons or successor won't enforce the "pay $100,000 or die right now!".  That could have done with some fleshing out. 

I did think the forming of the proto team was very easy but I thought in the goofy context of the show it worked and I'm a sucker for crime fighting teams and family dynamics and this is two for one. 

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25 minutes ago, Featherhat said:

I'm a sucker for crime fighting teams and family dynamics and this is two for one. 

So this show is Blue Bloods meets Arrow in Chinatown? 
 

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Observations:

  • Writing is simplistic and just not very good, hopefully that improves
  • All the young characters are distractingly attractive, odds are against that in real life
  • How convenient that the siblings can fill in as superhero sidekicks (the hacker sister that can get all the answers, and the medic brother who can patch up the hero when she has to keep a low profile)
  • I preferred the premise of the original (a loner going around helping people)
  • I'm here for the fighting
  • For some reason I can't articulate, I don't trust the new brother-in-law
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Holy Asian stereotype galore, Batman! Overbearing mother who demands her children to excel in many areas? Check. Prominent in martial arts? Check. Wear cheongsam on daily basis? Check. Good with computer? Check.

There are too many plot holes to drive a truck into, but these are my favorites:

  • Why did Nicky ask a San Francisco ADA to investigate an even that happened in Yunnan Province?
  • Why did Nicky do her quest for Zhilan and the sword from San Francisco? This is like the joke of searching outside for keys one lost in the bedroom because it is brighter outside.
  • If the guests of Shen family came in Porsche and BMW (or are they their own cars?) why did they need $50k from loan shark? Their house itself worth multiple times that.
  • Nicky escaped from the arranged date, went to a monastery, and her mother just shrugged it off? No missing person reported? No search, from Chinese authorities and U.S. diplomatic mission alike?

Not nitpick or plot hole, but who want to bet that Zhilan and her new triad is somehow linked to Tony Kang and that she will make appearance in San Francisco?

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3 hours ago, TV Anonymous said:

Wear cheongsam on daily basis?

I only remember seeing cheongsams during the party where the fortune tellers chose a date for the sister's wedding (and that is an occasion where people would bust out a cheongsam).

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5 hours ago, Starchild said:

I don't trust the new brother-in-law

Anyone who's introduced with "his company was going to invest in my startup but that's on hold until the wedding" is sketchy!

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6 hours ago, Starchild said:

All the young characters are distractingly attractive, odds are against that in real life

That’s TV for ya. Esp CW.

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On 4/8/2021 at 8:19 PM, arc said:

"UCSF has an amazing library of ancient Chinese tests" -- the real UCSF is entirely focused on health science. Just say Berkeley or Stanford next time. Or the SF public library, for that matter.

This bugged the F out of me.  I have a fondness for the UCSF Library.  My friends and I used it's reading areas to study for the bar. Also, I know it's not a place anyone can really film, but holy crap that is not SF.

The pilot wasn't great.  But I'm prepared to give it at least 3 episodes before I decide. 

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On 4/11/2021 at 5:55 PM, TV Anonymous said:

Holy Asian stereotype galore, Batman! Overbearing mother who demands her children to excel in many areas? Check. Prominent in martial arts? Check. Wear cheongsam on daily basis? Check. Good with computer? Check.

There are too many plot holes to drive a truck into, but these are my favorites:

  • Why did Nicky ask a San Francisco ADA to investigate an even that happened in Yunnan Province?
  • Why did Nicky do her quest for Zhilan and the sword from San Francisco? This is like the joke of searching outside for keys one lost in the bedroom because it is brighter outside.
  • If the guests of Shen family came in Porsche and BMW (or are they their own cars?) why did they need $50k from loan shark? Their house itself worth multiple times that.
  • Nicky escaped from the arranged date, went to a monastery, and her mother just shrugged it off? No missing person reported? No search, from Chinese authorities and U.S. diplomatic mission alike?

Not nitpick or plot hole, but who want to bet that Zhilan and her new triad is somehow linked to Tony Kang and that she will make appearance in San Francisco?

I'm not going to defend the show's deficiencies, or claim it has none. But there are answers to some of your (probably rhetorical, but...) questions:

She asked the local to look into her target because he was a friend of hers and because of his job would have access to databases that she didn't. She wanted to know if there was any known info out there, like maybe this is a known entity or person of interest for some other reason.

She's in the USA because after the monastery was destroyed, she couldn't stay in China.

No idea what the financial situation is, unless they were being extorted in a mafia-style protection racket, in which it doesn't matter how much you pay, they keep increasing what you owe or otherwise changing the terms so you can't keep up the schedule no matter what you do. I agree that that whole mess was confusing because they do seem to be well-off. 

The family seemed to know where she was, so she must have told them. Thus, no missing persons report. She may in fact have applied to stay legally in China, but either had her status revoked when the monastery burned down, or simply was too devastated by the murder to want to stay there, and had no other place to go other than back to her family-- which she admitted is why she went "home"-- she had no other place to go. Then of course you have to factor in the supernatural element, telling her she has to heal her relationship with her family before she can do anything about the murders.

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I'm probably not going to have a lot of commentary, I'll be watching this delayed, but I'm in. I thought it it was fairly strong for a pilot. I'm invested in the characters and the mystery set up.

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On 4/8/2021 at 4:12 PM, MissLucas said:

Well, that wasn't too bad for a pilot. I liked the subtle nods to the original, the branding, the satchel and the dead master (there were probably more but I missed them, it's been a while). Too bad no grasshopper - but that would probably have been a step too far. I would have liked to have a bit more philosophy present, and if it's just a quote from the Tao Te Ching as opener.

I did not suspect quite as much magic but that might help deal with all the stuff that would otherwise require lots and lots of hand waving. Best thing was the sibling dynamic.

There was a quick shot of a grasshopper in a bamboo cage and the very beginning of the show. I gave an “I’m 8 years old again”  squeal when I saw that. 

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My first impression of this show is that Greg Berlanti has run out of ideas because the set up is pretty much Arrow Chinese-style. First there is our vigilante fighter hero with a mission, using old skills instead of super powers. She has an ex in the DA's office (Laurel) who has a new live-in girlfriend (Tommy). The strict mother with expectations and the indulgent father. Felicity becomes a combination of the guy who researches Chinese history and the sister who can hack into anywhere and like Thea is a fashionista, although she's a lot like Mary, the step-sister from Batwoman. Lots of slo-mo fighting in the dark.

It seems like the arc of the show is to acquire all 8 weapons but how are they going to do that if the show is set in San Francisco and not China? Are all 8 going to suddenly magically appear in the US?

I liked the Chinese cultural centre, with the children coming downstairs from their language or math class and the older people playing mah-jong.

It was an entertaining hour that didn't require too much thought. Not great and I think the lead is the weakest actor, but I'll stick with it a while. I wish that they would cut down on the music though, it's like a song fanfic.

I assume that when they say "Chinese", they mean Mandarin and not Cantonese or one of the other languages in China.

On 4/8/2021 at 9:49 AM, AnimeMania said:

The viewpoint of this show is Un-American, in America whenever you borrow money from someone, you pay it back, regardless of who that person is, not have that person thrown in prison so that you don't have to pay the money back.

True. But he was a loan shark who terrorized the neighbourhood and had lots of illegal dealings. So like Oliver Queen going after the members of society in  his father's book, there was justification for what they did.

On 4/7/2021 at 11:18 PM, shapeshifter said:

I vaguely remember watching some of the OG Kung Fu episodes. I thought he was more into meditation, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen here. Probably there was some executive decision that folks would turn off the show if there was someone just sitting there quietly --which is probably true-- but it seems they could use her going into meditation as a scene transition fade out.

Both the original series in the 70s and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues which ran for 4 seasons in the 90s emphasized meditation and the power of the mind to enable them to do all those tricky moves. I'd hate to think that the lack of it in this series is a reflection on what people want in 2021.

On 4/8/2021 at 11:43 PM, memememe76 said:

I am of an older generation, my Asian parents are older. My nephews and nieces are closer to the characters’ age, but their parents are my cousins—either they were born in North America like me or they came to NA at a very young age but raised in this culture. I don’t know many younger people whose parents are immigrants. Are their experiences different than my two decades behind experiences? I can’t say, but their feelings of heavy expectations and burden resonated.

From my experience, the experience for the second generation is similar but it fades for the third.

I don't know Vancouver's Chinatown. Toronto has 3 Chinatown's, one in Agincourt is called "Asian-court" because the only language on the signs is Mandarin. It's very confusing for a non-Chinese person to visit. There is a local joke that first you have to become an engineer or a doctor and only after that can you choose your own career.

I recommend Kim's Convenience to get a sense of the conflict between first generation immigrants and their second generation children. Not just the Korean family on the show but other cultures identify in it too.

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3 hours ago, statsgirl said:

It seems like the arc of the show is to acquire all 8 weapons

I sure hope not. That’s Zhilan’s goal. Nicky wants justice for her sifu, Pei Lin.

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So Nicky wants to... capture? kill? punish? Zhilan... and so the show will drag it out and never let it happen. I think I would rather they had a stronger case of the week format, so they don't have to have her chasing a goal the show can't let her achieve lest the series end. 

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I’m sure the ghost sifu can talk Nicky into some kind of wandering (within the Bay Area) do-gooder thing for the rest of her life, if the show goes that long.

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On 5/4/2021 at 3:26 PM, possibilities said:

So Nicky wants to... capture? kill? punish? Zhilan... and so the show will drag it out and never let it happen. I think I would rather they had a stronger case of the week format, so they don't have to have her chasing a goal the show can't let her achieve lest the series end. 

Yeah, I too am not thrilled at that possibility.  Or they will give Zhilan a sob origin story and try to redeem her just when Nicky has the means to kill her, and the ghost sifu will be all "Forgive and forget, not bear old grudges, let bygones be bygones."  

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