Last week, The CW's newest series Kung Fu, a reimagining of the classic series of the same name, debuted. The new series follows a young woman, Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) as she returns home to San Francisco after the murder of her Shaolin mentor. The series was an instant hit with viewers with the pilot drawing in strong ratings, delivering the network’s highest total viewership for a Wednesday debut since The 100's debut in 2014 as well as its largest audience in the time period since Riverdale's debut in October 2018. It's an exciting start, one that series star Eddie Liu says the cast is both excited and relieved about.
"We are so incredibly excited, in a way relieved because the show has been over a year in the making for the cast and years in the making for Christina Kim, our showrunner," Liu, who plays Henry in the series, told ComicBook.com. "We're just so happy that we could finally share this with everyone. It's been odd, working quietly and keeping our heads down during the course of a pandemic. And it's been sort of our little thing for a long time, but now because we have to share it, we feel so proud and we're just really grateful that it's got people wanting to tune in and that, from what we've seen so far, that many people are really into the story of the show so far. And we love that. That's great."
The initial ratings from the premiere certainly back up the idea that people are wanting to tune in, and the show has already garnered a good bit of buzz on social media among fans as well but not just because of the interest in the story. Kung Fu is in many ways a groundbreaking series, both as an Asian-led television drama but coming at a time when Asian Americans are making headlines not because of their accomplishments, but because of hate crimes committed against them. For Liu, that juxtaposition creates a lot of mixed emotions as well as lends itself to a sense of responsibility to be part of the solution.
"I feel like I've been struggling with my mental state," Liu said. "And my mixed emotions with regards to how I feel about being in the media in such an extreme way. And you have us, you have this particular group of Asians being in the news for a really great, incredible, and really positive reason, getting to be on a TV show. That's once in a lifetime and that is amazing in and of itself. But then, on the other hand, you have other Asians in the news for getting beat up and attacked and killed. And so the juxtaposition of that is really unsettling and upsetting. I think for a lot of us, we're still trying to wrap our heads around it. And thankfully, we can lean on each other and talk to each other about it. And there is a sense of responsibility, but also a sense of pride and gratitude that we can do this at a time like this because ultimately, the people who perpetuate the problem don't see us as people and the fact that we have this opportunity to humanize Asians and Asian Americans is one of the key pieces we need in helping the problem. It's certainly not the solution, but we believe that it's certainly part of the solution."
And part of that solution comes with hoping that audiences take away not just joy from the series, but a sense of fun as well.
"It's interesting. We get so many questions about representation and what it means and all these serious solemn topics that we are more than happy to answer. I think what I want people to take away is not only joy as Olivia [Liang] said, but a sense of fun," Liu said. "Our show is such a fun adventure. And when you get past all the, you know, the serious discussions about what the show is outside of the show, when you get into the show you have, you know, a treasure hunt. You have a fun sibling dynamic. You have very relatable parent-child squabbles. You have a love triangle. And you have such great action, like magic. What's not to love?"
Kung Fu airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.