Aug. 15. Crazy Rich Asians, a story about a woman who discovers her boyfriend’s family in Singapore is insanely rich, opened in the US. It starred an all-Asian cast and an Asian-American lead — the first movie to do so in 25 years.
It was an immediate hit. It took $25.2 million at the domestic box office on its opening weekend, then stayed atop the box office for the next three weeks.
Months later, the effect of Crazy Rich Asians is having a ripple effect on entertainment.
A host of new TV projects have been announced focusing on Asian-American stories and starring Asian-American actors. In 2017, there were only two: Master of None and Fresh Off The Boat (Dr. Ken was cancelled that year after two seasons). Before them, the last Asian-American-led show was Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl. That was in 1994, 24 years ago.
But that was then and this is now. Get ready for these upcoming post-Crazy Rich Asians TV projects representing Asian-American stories.
1. Lazy Rich Asians
Lazy Rich Asians isn’t the official title, but it was used in the upcoming TV series’ pitch.
The pitch: Janet Zhao is a first-generation Chinese-American woman who must endure her family’s crazy behaviour. Janet has a wealthy grandma who dies and leaves Janet as the sole inheritor, but the catch is she’s now the matriarch of the family she’d been trying so hard to distance herself from.
Even more exciting, Lazy Rich Asians comes from the pen of, who won this year’s best animated program for writing Pickle Rick, a hugely popular episode of Rick and Morty. Gao’s also written for the likes of Silicon Valley, Robot Chicken and the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness TV series, and will add executive-producing duties to her CV for the new project.
Lazy Rich Asians has been confirmed for ABC, but its title and release date haven’t arrived yet.
Welcome to another TV series penned by a female writer. Lisa Takeuchi Cullen brings us ‘Ohana, an hourlong drama based on a 1994 novel called Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport.
Set in Hawaii, ‘Ohana follows four hapa women — “hapa” meaning a person who is partially of East Asian, South East Asian or Pacific Islander descent — who reunite when their grandmother dies and leaves them to inherit the family plantation. Even cooler, their grandmother was a mystic known as a kahuna.
“So many Hawaii-set stories have been told from the white point of view,” Cullen told The Hollywood Reporter about her new series. “This is a story we’re passionate about telling from the point of view of native Hawaiians — Pacific Islanders, people of Asian descent and people of hapa heritage.”
The Viola Davis and husband Julius Tennon are developing the series under their JuVee production company. They spoke on the nature of a story about people of half-Asian descent in a statement:
“http://www.techhnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/5-post-crazy-rich-asians-tv-shows-about-asian-americans.com”Ohana is Hawaiian for ‘family,’ and that is a big part of who we are and what we want JuVee to support: embracing cultures and points of view from all over the world and showing that we all can relate and connect to each other.”
If all that isn’t good enough, Cullen says she sold her script the day Crazy Rich Asians opened. Epic.
‘Ohana is also heading to ABC, but the release date isn’t known yet.
Another adaptation, Shogun is based on James Clavell’s 1975 novel by the same name. That novel also spawned a 1980 NBC miniseries starring Richard Chamberlain.
The new series will follow John Blackthorne, an English sailor who finds himself shipwrecked in Japan during the 1600s. There he encounters Lord Toronaga and Lady Mariko, a feudal lord and a female samurai respectively.
FX has picked Shogun up for 10 episodes and seems to have high hopes for it, touting the series its “largest international scale production to date,” according to THR. While the earlier adaption was told from Blackthorne’s perspective, this adaptation will apparently give the Japanese characters a more equal representation.
“The story of Shogun has captivated audiences since James Clavell first released his epic novel more than 40 years ago,” John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks, said. “The themes of an outsider encountering a new culture are as relevant today as then. We are honored to bring the series to today’s viewers.”
Ronan Bennett (Public Enemies) and Rachel Bennette (Bel Ami) are writing the series which reportedly will be shot in the UK and Japan.
FX hasn’t given a release date for Shogun just yet.
4. Kung Fu
Like Lazy Rich Asians and ‘Ohana, Kung Fu keeps with the theme of inheritance.
Featuring a female lead, Kung Fu follows the story of a Chinese-American woman who inherits her father’s kung fu studio. It turns out that studio is a safe haven for the Chinatown community, and by continuing the school’s mission, our heroine discovers more about her heritage and culture than ever before.
Kung Fu is described as an “action driven procedural” over hourlong episodes, with Albert Kim on writing duties and Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions producing — Greg Berlanti being the director behind critically-acclaimed rom-com Love Simon, so you know the project is in safe hands.
Fox is on board for Kung Fu, but there’s no word on a release date yet.
Like the title says, KTown takes us to Los Angeles’ Koreatown for what reportedly will be a dark and eccentric ride.
The series will focus on a range of characters in a kingpin family at the centre of the city. One of those characters will be Yumi Kang, a “Brentwood Barbie” — Brentwood being an affluent neighbourhood in LA — who sees her family as embarrassing. But as she reconnects with her heritage, she embraces being a Korean-American woman.
Kang will be played by Greta Lee, who had a recurring part on the second and third seasons of HBO’s Girls. She’s now showing off her writing chops too, penning the series alongside Jason Kim, who worked as a producer on Girls and on HBO comedy Barry.
HBO is behind the series, but we don’t know when we can go to KTown just yet.
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