The original Kung Fu series ran on ABC between 1972 and 1975, but it continues to enjoy unmatched popularity. Starring David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine (aka the Grasshopper), the adventure-drama series counts kung fu cinema lovers like Quentin Tarantino among its fans.
Kung Fu spawned several spinoffs over the years — the latest one being the CW's newly launched reinterpretation of the timeless tale. So, what's there to know about the plot of the original series? How did Kung Fu end?
The original 'Kung Fu' came to an end after just three seasons.
Kung Fu charts the adventures of Kwai Chang Caine, the son of an American sailor and a Chinese woman who spent his childhood years at a Shaolin monastery.
Kwai Chang Caine is left with no choice but to take bloodied revenge on the Chinese emperor's nephew after he guns down his master, Master Po (Keye Luke). He flees to the U.S. partly to escape punishment and to reunite with his long-lost brother, Danny Caine (Tim McIntire).
In Season 3 of Kung Fu, Kwai Chang Caine picks up the fight with the members of "The Order of the Avenging Dragon," who follow him to the U.S. to avenge the death of the emperor's nephew. In the last batch of episodes, Kwai Chang Caine provides much-needed help for the vulnerable and disenfranchised, while he also manages to arrange a meeting with his long-lost brother, Danny.
The original 'Kung Fu' spawned several spinoffs, including the new version airing on the CW.
Kung Fu spawned spinoffs like the 1986 Kung Fu: The Movie, the 1987 Kung Fu: The Next Generation, the 1992 Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, an American-Canadian action drama that ran between 1993 and 1997 on TNT.
Executive produced by Greg Berlanti, the latest 'Kung Fu' stars Olivia Liang.
Created by Christina M. Kim and executive produced by Greg Berlanti, 2021's Kung Fu offers an imaginary reinterpretation of the cult classic. Featuring Olivia Liang in the lead role, the new series charts the adventures of San Fransisco-born Nicky, who decides to stay at a Shaolin monastery for women while on a trip to Yunnan, China.
Much like in the original, Nicky returns to her home city after the murder of her mentor. Once there, she has to learn that her family owes money to the local mafia. The discovery propels her to make use of her freshly earned martial art skills and defend her folks.
The original 'Kung Fu' reportedly ended because David Carradine suffered too many injuries.
According to most sources, Kung Fu raked in strong viewership ratings throughout its three-year-long run on ABC. As an urban legend has it, the show wasn't canceled. Some believe that the hit TV series came to an end because lead actor David Carradine suffered too many injuries during its filming.
Catch new episodes of Kung Fu every Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on the CW.