Spoiler-Free Review of “Kung Fu” on The CW: Meet Nicky Shen

*This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!*

“You make the path that you live…”

Kung Fu premiered on The CW on April 7th 2021 and it will feature episodes that air weekly. The series stars Olivia Liang, Shannon Dang, Gavin Stenhouse, and Tzi Ma. Each episode runs for approximately 42 minutes.

Inspired by the 1972 series of the same name, The CW’s Kung Fu introduces us to Nicky Shen, who ends up running away from her family to become a Shaolin monk. After her mentor is killed and a mysterious sword is stolen, Nicky returns home and encounters several new threats along the way while trying to make things right with her family.

Here is the trailer:

Kung Fu has a lot to offer and its female heroine is likable enough, but there is a lot going on in the pilot episode which has me wondering about the true direction of this series. However, is it worth the watch? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of The CW

A female heroine to root for.

Olivia Liang portrays our main character, Nicky Shen and she is already doing an incredible job. Nicky Shen is extremely likable and I’m all for a female lead who can kick some serious ass!

I also really like that our main character doesn’t have any special/magical abilities. She doesn’t find herself embedded in a forced upon destiny. Rather, she makes her own decisions and tries to do what is right while still piecing together who she is and making mistakes along the way, which makes her feel like someone you can easily relate to.

Good balance of family & action.

Images courtesy of The CW

While The CW’s Walker failed to meet this balance in my opinion, I think that Kung Fu is already doing a better job of giving us enough fight scenes and action while still focusing on Nicky’s own personal journey. The scenes with her family are relevant and really paint a picture of who Nicky is and where she comes from without overdoing it.

Plus, I enjoyed a lot of the scenes filled with some humor and pop music as well so that the show didn’t feel heavy and overwhelming. It really was a nice touch.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of The CW

A lot going on…

The pilot episode is really busy with set-up, love possibilities, family issues, and a journey of self-discovery with some awesome fight scenes sprinkled in. I liked everything going on, but I was a little bit overwhelmed and I think that as long as the show doesn’t sacrifice character development to further a busy plot, it can find its true path without losing its audience in the process.

Watch out for tropes.

I wasn’t a fan of the voice-over narration, but I can live with it. I also think that the show needs to be careful about its supporting characters falling easily into many tropes we often see especially with some of the DC shows on The CW’s line-up.

Again, there is enough content going on and really enjoyable characters, but we need to allow each one to give us layers so that we become invested in them.

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of The CW

I’m in about 75 percent…

I actually really enjoyed the show and I really want to root for Nicky Shen. I think the show has a lot of redeeming qualities and it can really become a part of my regular line-up, but it needs to make a few tweaks over the next few episodes to keep my interest.

As long as the show can lean on character development more than a busy plot and avoid relying on tropes, I think it can actually do really well and I’m looking forward to watching more episodes.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Kung Fu in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!


Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl


It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

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Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

I live in Long Island, NY. I am obsessed with TV, movies, reading and writing! My top TV shows are Lost, Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Prison Break, Charmed, Veronica Mars, and Beverly Hills 90210. My dog, Honey, loves TV too!

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