TV Shows

Review of the Disney+ series ‘American Born Chinese’

Can’t everyone be a hero? This series thinks otherwise.

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton, Johnson Cheng, Dennis Liu ea | Cast: Ben Wang (Jin Wang), Jimmy Liu (Wei-Chen), Yann Yann Yeo (Christine Wang), Chin Han (Simon Wang), Ke Huy Quan (Freddy Wong/Jamie), ea | Episodes: 8 | Time to play: 32-45 minutes | Year: 2023

When Jin Wang is assigned to show new student Wei-Chen around (they both have Chinese backgrounds), things turn out differently than expected. Wei-Chen is not an ordinary student; he is on a supernatural mission and believes that Jin can help him. During their joint adventures in the school and the supernatural plane, there are other problems as well. Jin’s parents fight often, and a stereotypical Chinese figure from an old-fashioned sitcom is once again wandering the halls of the school.

chinese born american is a nice and well done series about the importance of representation and (ordinary) heroes. The focus is on Jin, who has dreams like all teenagers and isn’t really concerned with (the importance of) representation. He just doesn’t want to stand out in a negative way. This makes him a very easy character to live with. The fact that the show wants to speak very clearly about representation has the downside that some moral lessons are spoken literally, even in the story line about the racist sitcom character.

Stories about representation are becoming more and more common and therefore slowly becoming less innovative. This means that it becomes more difficult to be distinctive with only this subject. Fortunately it has chinese born american a strong aesthetic vision. While the sitcom story is a bit over the top, it is convincingly executed with a recognizable sitcom aesthetic. Plus get chinese born american clearly inspired by wuxia movies like Hero and the action sequences are well choreographed and filmed with fluid, dynamic movements.

The cast includes established names like Michelle Yeoh and Daniel Wu, as well as new talent like Ben Wang. Yeoh recently appeared in the groundbreaking Everything everywhere at once, which catapulted her to even greater worldwide fame. The fact that Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu from this movie also have a role in this series makes it impossible not to relate the two titles.

Through the connection with Everything everywhere at once it’s even more striking that these Chinese-American characters are mostly busy fighting for a place to be a hero, but not a hero like in the Marvel movies. It is about a person who goes on a trip and finds out things, as they say literally. The supernatural phenomena are not there so much to show how special the characters are, but rather to emphasize human emotions.

The series really only misses the mark in terms of content, if you ignore the obvious messages. Episode four suddenly tells the background of some minor characters, resulting in something that’s more of an experiment in style than a true addition to the story. This takes a bit of the pace out of the series, but because the episodes are short, it’s easy to beat it. chinese born american It is, in particular, an entertaining series, which takes another step towards diversifying the media landscape. Hopefully everything can be a little less explicit step by step.


chinese born american can be seen in Disney+.

Ritika Prasher

Hey! What's going on with TV Shows? I'll tell you. I am a TV show enthusiast that has watched over 500 TV shows and counting. I have the inside scoop on what to watch on Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more. Every TV show you want to binge watch, I've seen it. Want to know more about me, send me a mail at : [email protected]
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