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Series / Kung Fu: The Legend Continues

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Kung Fu: The Legend Continues was a Sequel Series to Kung Fu (1972) that aired from 1993 to 1997. It ignores the events of the original sequel, Kung Fu: The Next Generation.

Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) is the Identical Grandson to his namesake, the protagonist of the original series. He is a Shaolin priest working in a temple in California with his teenage son Peter (Nathaniel Moreau, later Robert Bednarski as a child, Chris Potter as an adult). When a renegade priest burns the temple down, father and son are separated, each believing the other had perished, and thus go their separate ways. Caine wanders the country, while Peter winds up with a foster family, and follows his foster father into police work, largely forgetting his Shaolin training. 15 years later, Caine comes to the town where Peter works and is finally reunited with his son. Caine settles in the Chinatown district and uses his wisdom and martial arts skills to assist Peter in his various cases.

The Legend Continues adds:

  • Aborted Arc: A planed return for Captain Blaisdell was scrapped when his actor (Robert Lansing) died of cancer.
  • Action Fashionista: Captain Simms in the third and fourth seasons is described as having a flashy clothing sense and is willing to take a firm line with Peter (although rarely unreasonably so) and occasionally go into the field.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Played with. Peter habitually addresses Caine as "Pop," but Caine often (gently) expresses his dislike of it.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Peter often frowned on the idea of supernatural phenomenon being the cause of the episode's case. Even after they had often faced various such phenomena up close.
  • BFG: Kermit's Desert Eagle pistol.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Canadia, Caucasian Chris Potter plays the one-quarter Chinese Peter Caine.
  • By-the-Book Cop: In the first season, Peter often disapproved of his father's interference in police investigations. By the time he himself re-learned his own childhood martial arts training, he began to value Caine's assistance more.
  • Cain and Abel: Kwai Chang's long-lost brother Damon is a hardened man who wants to sacrifice him (although there are some hints he might have a Heel Realization).
  • Catchphrase: "Bloody marvelous" (The Ancient).
  • Characterizing Sitting Pose: Kwai Chang Caine routinely adopts a Lotus Position sitting pose when he has nothing to do at the moment, being a Shaolin monk and a Martial Pacifist. Often, he'll sit quietly after being captured, to conserve his strength. Too late, his captors learn it was part of an I Surrender, Suckers gambit, and that they've brought a One-Man Army into their midst.
  • Chick Magnet: Peter has many love interests throughout the show although Judy in an Unresolved Sexual Tension way and Kelly Blaine are the only long lasting ones.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The previous two tv movies have a completley different family tree from Kwai Chang (different son, only one grandson, and a different great grandson) who are never mentioned here. Whether their retconned out of existence or are simply an unmentioned seperate branch of the clan is unclear.
  • City with No Name: The city is never named. Fans called it Sloansville after the writer Micheal Sloan. Borders on Canada Does Not Exist. The setting is supposed to be an anonymous American city, which is supported by the occurrence of American flags and mailboxes, but bears a striking resemblance to Toronto, in and near which the show was filmed. For example, Toronto's Chinatown is quite recognizable, and the front of the actual Toronto coroner's office is used. In "Reunion", a radio broadcast makes a reference to the Gardiner Expressway, an actual local landmark. Even some Canadian money has been spotted on the show.
  • Crazy Survivalist: Gant in "Dragon's Eye" is a Vet that is clearly suffering from PTSD and tries to keep hold of an area of forest.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Captain Blaisdell and Kermit were mercenaries before becoming cops and some things they'd rather forget are hinted at.
    • Caine as well, his mother was lost and presumed dead while pregnant with his brother and he was separated from his son in an explosion and thought he was dead for fifteen years.
  • Dead Partner: Kira Blakemoor becomes one to Peter.
  • Dirty Cop: Used occasionally, most notably in "The Lacquered Box", where 2 dirty cops try to get Peter killed.
  • Dress Hits Floor: In the pilot episode, Marilyn (a woman who asks Kwai Chang Caine for help) is brought to the offices of the crime lord Tan, and is told to take her clothes off. Her dress drops to the floor just before she kisses Tan and then slaps him across the face.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: Unlike the original series, many of this series' stories revolve around outright supernatural plot-lines. Caine himself gains magical powers from his Shaolin training.
  • Friend on the Force: Several of the cops in, although most of them simply couldn't figure out the senior Caine at all. Peter himself was this for his father.
  • Gaslighting: In "Straitjacket," Karen Kaden is the sole surviving heir to her family's estate. John Mitchell, CEO of her father's company and trustee of the family's estate, has her followed by stalkers who always leave before the police arrive, building a case against her as the "resident crackpot." At the beginning of the episode, Karen's apartment has been trashed. When she is trying to catch a bus out of town, one of Mitchell's associates flashes a knife in his waistband, but ditches it before boarding a bus behind her, and at the hearing to have her committed, two others who were at the bus station claim they were in classes at the time; meanwhile, the thugs who trashed her apartment put it back in order before the police come to investigate. This isn't so much to convince Karen that she is crazy as the authorities, but it leaves her questioning her own sanity.
  • Grand Finale: In the final story arc of the series, Peter finally completes his training and becomes a full Shaolin monk, resigning from the police force to pursue that calling full-time. Kwai Chang is granted the status of a Shambala Master and leaves Peter in order to continue his wandering and find out if his wife is still alive. The final scene between father and son concludes when Peter snatches the pebble from Kwai Chang's hand.
  • Heel–Face Turn: A former gang member in "Sacred Trust" makes it sound like he's turned away from that life, but he ends up killing another gang member in cold blood and trying to kill Peter, later.
  • Heroic Bastard: Martin Bradshaw is the illegitimate brother of Kwai Chang and proves to be an ally when he shows up (as opposed to Chang's full brother).
  • Hotter and Sexier: The international version of the pilot has a couple scenes in a strip club with all the boobage that implies.
  • I Am Not My Father:
    • Peter cites this trope during the first season's opening sequence:
    Peter: Look, I'm not my father. I don't do kung fu. I'm a cop. That's who I am; that's what I do.
    • Very nearly subverted in the Season 3 finale, when Peter undergoes the full Shaolin training regimen but stops just short of finishing it. The subversion is completed in the series finale; he takes the tiger/dragon brands, becoming a Shaolin priest, and turns in his badge.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: In the Pilot Movie when Peter quotes his father back to him.
    Peter: "Ah yes. Darkness shall overcome the light," as you would say. "But splinters of black will easily be crushed. The illumination of one candle shall forever touch mankind's luminous spirit."
    Kwai Chang: I never said anything like that. means absolutely nothing.
    Peter: I know. Sounded great though, didn't it?
  • Iconic Item: Kermit's dark green sunglasses.
  • Identical Grandson: Kwai Chang Caine from The Legend Continues, grandson of Kwai Chang from the original series. Both played by David Carradine, and both half-Chinese. Implied on occasion to actually be the same man.
    • David Carradine also played Matthew Caine, Kwai Chang's son & Kwai Chang II's father, in an episode or two of TLC.
    • People were disappointed that a young Kwai Chang Caine wasn't played by Chris Potter in Tournament.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: Kwai Chang Caine did this sometimes while meditating.
  • Magical Native American: In "Shaman", William Two-Feathers shows off some magical abilities.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: In an episode called "Dragonswing", where Caine and Peter assemble a team of Shao Lin alumni to help a friend rescue his girlfriend from the thugs who've taken over his Northwestern town. Robert Vaughn guest-starred as Rykker, a mercenary very similar to his Magnificent Seven character.
  • Nested Story: "The Lacquered Box" is Caine flashing back to a previous instance when Peter was injured as Peter is in the hospital after being shot.
  • Reference Overdosed/Waxing Lyrical: In a Running Gag throughout the series, Caine frequently quotes a piece of insight to another character, usually Peter, who invariably guesses that it's from an Eastern philosopher. Caine then reveals that it comes from a modern celebrity, very often a direct quote from a popular song.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: The perp in "Secret Place" speaks by quoting famous movie stars' roles.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Detectives Kira Blakemoor and Judy Powell (sisters) are played by the same actress.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: More and more in the later seasons.
  • Test of Pain: The opening sequence shows brief clips of the original Caine branding himself on the forearms while moving the brazier of coals as his final test. Peter stops just short of this point when he trains as a Shaolin priest, then goes all the way in the Grand Finale.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In one of the early episodes of The Legend Continues, Peter's in a bind against the Villain of the Week, who's beating the crap out of him like nobody's business. Then he instinctively taps into his forgotten kung fu skills via Groin Attack. The next season would focus on him gradually re-learning everything he'd been taught as a child. He takes it further, when he and Kermit are surrounded by bad guys with guns, he uses his father's Pyrokinetic ability to heat their guns before making a quick escape.