Kung Fu: “Pilot” – Review

Kung Fu premieres April 7, 8pm on The CW.

By Ariba Bhuvad

Admittedly, my expectations weren’t all that high going into watching the CW’s Kung Fu pilot. Whether it was preemptively assuming the cheesiness factor would overshadow the story at hand or that the CW would drop the ball on representing the Asian community in a positive light free of clichés and stereotypes, I had my doubts.

But after watching the Kung Fu pilot, I must say I’m incredibly impressed. Not only does the series pilot veer away from stereotypical storylines and roles, but it presents a beautiful insight into the Chinese culture. Granted, this show is on the CW, and with that comes the exposition of loud, pop-driven background music and of course, the cheesiness.

Luckily for Kung Fu, all that is forgiven with its riveting fight scenes (minus the slow-motion–what is this, Zach Snyder’s Justice League?) and above all, lead star, Olivia Liang’s performance as Nicky Shen. As the pilot reveals, Nicky’s journey from college dropout to living in an isolated monastery in China is one worth paying attention to. The skills and lessons she learns while there prepare her for a different world upon returning home to San Francisco’s Chinatown.

What I love about this show, in particular, is that it isn’t scared to highlight the culture’s shortcomings while also heavily focusing on what makes it so beautiful. Moreso, Kung Fu comes at an opportune time when anti-Asian-American hate is at an all-time high in the United States because it dares to educate those who choose to be ignorant or perhaps have never had a proper platform to learn from. What makes it all the more beautiful is that it doesn’t force anything on the viewer, and allows you to form your own opinions without swaying you to think one way over the other. Kudos to the writers and the creative team on a job well done!

From the mythical aspect all the way to the cultural aspect, the Kung Fu pilot was a treat to watch, and I’m excited to see a heavily Asian cast get a kickass series of their own on the CW. It’s about freaking time!

I give the Kung Fu pilot a B-.