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Kung Fu: The Best TV Series. Ever.

I'm purposely being hyperbolic in calling Kung Fu the best TV series ever. I do not really believe that drama or any kind of art or entertainment can be judged as "objectively good" and therefore one cannot call one TV show "objectively better" than another. You can judge the "goodness" of a show only by what it is "good for," that is, how effective the show is in creating certain effects. Those effects will differ across individuals. When a show creates the same, desirable effect on a group of people, they may claim that the show is "objectively good." But in reality, the show is only good for creating certain effects on a certain group of people.

If a group of self-acclaimed experts insist that a show is objectively better than others, they are merely saying that there is a consensus that the show meets their arbitrary standards. If the masses claim that a show is objectively a great show, it means that a lot of people like the way the show affects them.

What matters to me when I watch drama is the personal effect it has on me. Am I entertained? Did I learn something? Did the show evoke strong feelings, make me laugh or cry? Did it change the way I saw the world?

I am currently watching Kung Fu on DVD, over 30 years after watching it live, and I am reminded that the show made a profound impact on me that has lasted a lifetime. It forever changed the way I saw the world.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 16th, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
I quite enjoyed watching Kung Fu re-runs and I have been thinking about picking it up.
Jun. 17th, 2007 12:10 am (UTC)
Do it. You will not be disappointed.
Jun. 17th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC)
Gosh. Guess I should try and see it some day.
Jun. 17th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
Umm, yeah!!!
Jun. 21st, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
Since the Kung Fu TV Series had such a profound impact on your life, I am curious. Have you or do you practice/do any of the martial arts?
Jun. 22nd, 2007 12:09 pm (UTC)
Nope. I read a book on martial arts self-defense in junior high school, which familiarized me with a few moves I still know. And I took a judo class in college to fulfill a physical education requirement. I don't practice any martial arts. I am a big fan of Mr. Miyagi's suggestion that the best defense is "no be there."
Jul. 8th, 2007 07:26 am (UTC)
wow, i like your analysis, thank you! :)
Oct. 2nd, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
Kung Fu
When I originally read your post about Kung Fu, I thought you were referring to some show my husband used to watch all the time. It was about a bunch of Oriental guys dressed in Oriental attire who were always in some sort of Martial Arts fights doing all kinds of unrealistic moves. The series had subtitles, and was translated into spoken English. It looked so silly with the guys mouths moving as they spoke in their native language while the audio dialog was in English. That show drove me nuts.

In my mind, I had been trying to understand why you thought the series was so profound. Then, a short while ago when I was on Amazon.com (ya know how they recommend things you might be interested in based on your previous purchases?) the Kung Fu TV series was recommended to me. As soon as I saw Caine's face on the DVD cover, I knew the TV series that you were referring to in your post. I used to watch that show all the time. Over the years, I had forgotten its title. That really was a great series.

Now, everything fits. I certainly understand why the show made such a profound impact on you. The values that the show set out to convey are evident in the way you present yourself both personally and professionally. It really has lasted a lifetime.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )