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

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 educated 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 previous wounds about household dynamics, notably 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 will not be nicely 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 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 a whole lot of typical issues to go along with the extra implausible ones — finding the villain who stole the aforementioned sword foremost among the many latter.

Nonetheless, “Kung Fu” — developed by Christina M. Kim underneath 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 1990s.)

Granted, that evaluation relies on one episode, and it may be value sticking round for a pair 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 depart.

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 latest sequence this week on ABC. Of these, “House 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 out a regulation diploma impressed by Erin Brockovich, who’s amongst its producers.
Knowledgeable by a “Modern Family” vibe, “House 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 rigidity is that Tom, a novelist, is engaged on a e book knowledgeable by — what else? — his loopy household. That provides a little bit chunk to what’s in any other case a reasonably breezy train, which does not absolutely exploit the possibly attention-grabbing affect of sophistication points and disparate financial standing on sibling rivalries, at the very least initially, as aggressively or imaginatively because it may.

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

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

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