By Dave B.
The New Legends of Monkey (Netflix) is a remake of a 1970s Japanese TV show called Monkey that was itself based on a 16th century Chinese novel named Journey to the West. This new version follows Triptiaka, the story’s young heroine, as she seeks to liberate the Monkey King from 500 years of imprisonment so that he can liberate humankind from domination by demons. Despite this seemingly dark premise, The New Legends of Monkey is a light-hearted show that’s fun for all ages.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this show is a masterpiece. It’s production quality is on par with shows like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or Xena: Warrior Princess. The action choreography isn’t particularly impressive. Neither are the special effects. If one were to base their rating of this show purely on it’s aesthetics, it wouldn’t fare very well. But The New Legends of Monkey has points in its favor.
For starters, the protagonists are all extremely likable. I can’t remember the last time that I watched a TV show and felt genuinely happy when any of the main characters were on the screen, but I felt that way about this show. The protagonists have depth, displaying empathy, hubris, and humor. And the actors and actresses that play them have great chemistry together. The themes involved are totally suitable for children, both as far as content and comprehensibility, and there isn’t any strong language. I don’t think that there’s anything that would be too scary for children either, but I don’t have kids and my dad made me watch Predator when I was like 7, so I’m inclined to believe that anything short of seeing someone’s skin ripped off isn’t going to have a negative impact on most children. In other words, I’m not necessarily the best judge of such things, but I think most kids will like this show.
Overall, The New Legends of Monkey provides some silly, family fun. At ten 30-minute episodes it’s an easy watch. It doesn’t require much emotional investment or time management. You and your family unit can just sit down, watch an episode or two or three and spend some time together. This show gets my recommendation.