Summary: A new take on the story of the Monkey King, Pigsy, Sandy and Tripitaka the monk, on their journey to restore the world.
I remember hearing about this show because of whitewashing rumors. This show is based on Chinese legend “The Monkey King” and people seemed to be upset that the main cast were white actors. When I looked at the promo picture they displayed, I was kind of confused because everyone is a person of color minus the woman on the far right. I recognized the actor playing the Monkey King from Mako Mermaids and I remember he’s Australian-Thai. The other two actors look like POCs as well, so I was confused but I clicked off and didn’t think about it again.
When it was finally put on Netflix, I noticed it, and saw Chai Hansen’s face and I went “Oh yeah, it’s that show… sure.” So while at work, I decided to watch it on my break and I have to say I loved it. I literally finished it in a day. Then I watched it again in a day and a half. I love this show and I hope they get a season two because I’m not playing games with Netflix.
Don’t cancel this show.
Cast and Characters. There isn’t a character in the show, regular or guest appearance that I didn’t like. I liked everyone. Everyone is written differently, they stand out from each other, and I think all of the actors (everyone is not always consistently good) do a good job for a majority of the show.
Chai Hansen as Monkey.
Monkey is a brash, childish and kind of arrogant young man. Not sure what his age is, I would assume somewhere in his 20s but in human years since he’s a God. He was supposed to be something great 500 years ago, but because the alleged crime he committed, he was seen as a traitor and thief and later sentenced to spend eternity in a rock. When Monkey was released, he lived on fanfare and there’s obviously much for him to learn but he doesn’t shy away from learning something. I mean, it might take a moment, but he won’t shy away. He’s always up for a fight, and he has no problem speaking his mind, he’s uncensored. I usually love characters like him, he’s kind of rude and arrogant but he’s sweet at the best of times. He’s also a source for a lot of humor in the show. I think Chai Hansen was a great choice for the character, his comedic timing was on point. He was charismatic, handsome in the role, and it’s easy to tell he enjoyed playing Monkey. He had great chemistry with Luciane Buchanan, which might mean something down the line, who knows, I won’t mind either way, but the chemistry is there if it does. His emotional moments were strong, and I can’t wait to see more into his back story. Also, the snarl lol, his snarl was great. He reminds me a lot of Inuyasha and I love that character so Monkey was easy to love.
Luciane Buchanan as Tripitaka.
We don’t know her real name. She is a young woman, I’m assuming about 18, who was left as a baby at a… school? I don’t know lol, but she’s been learning from The Scholar, until a demon comes on night, takes the Monkey King’s crown and kills everyone, including the real Tripitaka. So, when she finds the demon, after running to the nearby town, she steals the crown and releases the Monkey King. In order to escape the town after the demon causes ruckus, she receives help from a monastery. So, they help her pose as a monk, so she’s not only pretending to be a boy monk, she wasn’t named Tripitaka, she took it on herself in order to keep Monkey from leaving and preventing her from fulfilling the quest that Tripitaka is supposed to complete. I like her. I wasn’t sure at first because the first episode, her acting is a little meh, but as the show goes on, she gets better, she fills her role better and I definitely ended up liking her in the end. She’s like a mixture of Katara and Kagome, which I mean, they are kind of the same character lol. I love that she just takes on the mantle to get the job done, she’s headstrong, stubborn but also kind and tries to see the good in people… tries. The way she cares about her friends is sweet. She has no idea who her parents are, all she has is a letter from her mother, so there is an episode where she goes to find her old village and we learn a lot about her and she has to learn a lot. She definitely has a great arc throughout the show. I’ve never seen or heard of Luciane Buchanan before, but I think she does a good job. Like I said, in the beginning I was like meh, but she grew on me and I think she grew into the role.
Josh Thomson as Pigsy.
Pigsy is also a God, but he starts off working for the demon Princess Locke. He gets a little push into his morals and what he is, that he ends up going with Tripitaka and Monkey. He likes to eat and he almost is like the big brother figure in the group, he’s seen a lot but he’s been on the wrong side of things, so sometimes his ideas, are kind of crazy lol. However, he definitely grows to care about the others. He and Monkey have some great moments together and I we get to see them learn from each other even more in the second season (Not playing Netflix, second season). He also is a source for a lot of laughter, it just seems natural for the character and the actor. I’ve never seen Josh Thomson in anything but he’s great and likable as Pigsy, even when he was being “bad” I liked him. He’s just likable and his comedic timing is great.
Emilie Cocquerel as Sandy.
Probably one of my favorites in the show. Sandy is a God, perhaps a water God since she has the ability to control water. She lives in the sewers, and she meets Tripitaka when chasing after a demon that disguised itself as a little boy. We don’t really know much about her. She’s living in the sewers, but we don’t really know why. I think it’s okay to say that Monica at least knows her since she gives her food, or gives someone food. Sandy is always willing to fight and when she meets Tripitaka, she’s ready to go on the quest to find the scrolls to rid the world of demons. She doesn’t really fight the ideas, she might give her two cents but she’s always down. She’s sassy, but she grows close to Tripitaka and she’s like the eccentric older sister. Her back story is also a little sad, we learn about her in Tripitaka’s episode and it helps give an idea of how Sandy came to be who she is. I love her. Never heard of Emilie Cocquerel before either, but she’s great. She’s so likable and cute, that I can’t help but to love her character.
Supporting Characters. We meet a lot of characters throughout the ten episodes. There are a few that we see more than others, that have more to do than others.
Jarred Blakiston as Font Demon.
He is the demon we see from the beginning, he kind of reminds me of an evil Elf lol. The first episode when he faces off against Monkey, it’s hilarious because his facial expressions of being unimpressed are the best. His job is to hunt down and the find the others, mostly at the beginning, and we see him again later. I think since he’s a demon, he can be killed and then reborn as another “Front Demon”, it’d be interesting to see what happens with him in the second season.
Josh McKenzie as Davari. I don’t want to spoil anything, I kind of guessed his role but he is Monkey’s old friend from back in the day. He manages to have a lot of influence over Monkey, he’s like that hype man who doesn’t always hype for good reasons lol. I enjoyed him though lol.
Jordan Mooney as Raxion. He is a demon who is tasked to find Gods to bring back to Jade Mountain to translate the ancient scrolls. He first comes in contact with the others when he brings them to the shaman. We see a lot more of him throughout the season and he’s cool too. He feels ignored and glossed over by the boss and he wants to do something that will gain him favor.
Rachel House as Monica. I recognized her from the start, she was Moana’s grandmother in Moana and in Thor: Ragnarök as the Grandmaster’s henchwoman. She is the tavern keeper. She meets Tripitaka first, she even employs her. We see her a few times throughout the show. I like the voice she puts on for the character lol.
Daniel Watterson as Shaman. I feel like if this was a serious movie, Jared Leto would play this part because he reminded me of Jared Leto lol. But he creates this “Breaking Room” where he has the Gods that Raxion kidnaps and he buries them in their minds so they can mindlessly translate the scrolls. He’s cool, calm and collected. I’m interested to see what he does in the second season.