My Favourite TV: Kung Fu
Running for 45 episodes between 1972 and 1975 this ground breaking show successfully mixed the martial arts genre with that of the classic Western. The premise of the show had David Carradine (playing the half Chinese half American Kwai Chang Caine) on the run from a crime he committed in
What made this show special to me was the figure of Caine himself. I can’t remember being particular impressed with the martial arts but what did strike me rather forcefully was the way he went about things. The character exhibited an amazing reverence for all life – even that of his opponents. He was at peace in a violent place and was unafraid in a land pervaded by fear. Above all else he exhibited a deep wisdom that left all those around him profoundly moved and more often than not bemused. I think it is not too far fetched to say that the wisdom of Caine had a significant influence on my teenage persona and probably was an important component of what makes me the person I am today. I’ve just finished watching the first series on DVD and was still much impressed by Carradine’s portrayal of the kindly, knowing and wise Kwai Chang Caine. The actually episodes, viewed through the cynical eyes of a 21st century TV viewer, are rather simplistic and to be honest rather slow in tempo but the nuggets of gold scattered throughout each episode still glitter as they did over 30 years ago. Caine's philosophy is simply breath-taking and as meaningful today as it was back then – maybe more so. I am really looking forward to watching the second series. If you missed this the first time around or where just too young to catch it I can recommend buying or borrowing the DVDs. If it is indeed your first time then I envy you because you’re in for a real treat. Enjoy.