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

Racing through the plot from the very, very busy pilot episode, the series stars Olivia Liang as Nicky Shen, a young Chinese-American woman who, on a solo trip to China, winds up dropping off the map as well as entering a Shaolin monastery, where she’s trained for more than three years.

After an attack on the monastery — as well as the theft of a priceless sword — Nicky returns home to San Francisco, just as her sister (Shannon Dang) is actually about to get married. Her arrival reopens old wounds about family dynamics, particularly involving her demanding mom (“Crazy Rich Asians'” Kheng Hua Tan), who clearly invested plenty of hopes as well as dreams in Nicky’s once-promising future.

Still, all is actually not well in Chinatown, with corrupt forces having endangered her parents’ restaurant business (Tzi Ma plays Nicky’s dad), threatening the local community. If only someone could stand up to them, perhaps by beating up groups of armed henchmen, as well as had an ex-boyfriend (Gavin Stenhouse) who happens to work from the D.A.’s office.

The timing certainly feels welcome for a series that will focuses on an Asian-American family, one that has a lot of conventional problems to go with the more fantastic ones — locating the villain who stole the aforementioned sword foremost among the latter.

Still, “Kung Fu” — developed by Christina M. Kim under Greg Berlanti, who oversees the CW’s superhero dramas — feels less like a reboot than a completely new series that will simply borrows the well-known title as well as spins out a litany of dramatic cliches. (In between, there was a syndicated revival from the 1990s.)

Granted, that will assessment is actually based on one episode, as well as This kind of might be worth sticking around for a couple more to see whether the mythological aspects actually blossom into something more than the premiere suggests. If not, to paraphrase the original show, This kind of’ll be time to leave.

Caitlin McGee, Topher Grace as well as Jimmy Tatro play siblings in ABC's 'Home Economics' (ABC/Temma Hankin)
“Kung Fu” kicks off a mini-wave of April broadcast-TV premieres, including a pair of completely new series This kind of week on ABC. Of those, “Home Economics,” a sitcom starring as well as produced by Topher Grace, feels potentially more distinctive than “Rebel,” which stars Katey Sagal as a blue-collar crusader without a law degree inspired by Erin Brockovich, who is actually among its producers.
Informed by a “Modern Family” vibe, “Home Economics” — which also happens to be set from the Bay Area — focuses on three grown siblings, two of whom (played by Grace as well as Caitlin McGee) are strapped for cash, while their younger brother (Jimmy Tatro) is actually awash in tech bucks, living in a house he bought via Matt Damon (yes, that will Matt Damon) that has a dazzling view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

“This kind of’s actually … tasteful,” Grace’s Tom lies upon entering the place.

The underlying tension is actually that will Tom, a novelist, is actually working on a book informed by — what else? — his crazy family. that will adds a little bite to what’s otherwise a pretty breezy exercise, which doesn’t fully exploit the potentially interesting impact of class issues as well as disparate economic status on sibling rivalries, at least initially, as aggressively or imaginatively as This kind of could.

All told, the concept as well as casting have promise. yet while This kind of features a modern family, at first blush, “Home Economics” is actually no “Modern Family.”

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

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